Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't get depressed, don't get depressed...

That's what I kept repeating to myself last night.

Yesterday morning I felt great. I had written 12 pages for one spec rewrite and had a nice workout. Life was good.

That evening I fell to earth. My manager loved the writing on my latest spec (that would be spec number 3) but said the script was "too inside baseball". Continuing with the same metaphor, this is strike number three.

I lost it. I totally start crying while my manager said just keep writing.

It didn't help that early I read Melissa's blog Women & Hollywood. One nice little statistic that jumped out at me was less than 10% of Hollywood movies are written by women. That is ridiculous! She was quote in an article that was slamming the recent horrendous "chick flicks" that have come out lately. Here is a link that story.

It seems my commercial sensibilities are out of sync with what Hollywood wants right now. The spec market is dead. We are still recovering from the Writers strike, add what one A-list writer said about making it as a screenwriter to the mix, "it's best to be a young, rich, white male" and it's not looking very good for this ragazza.

I gave myself 2009 to be my make or break year because I can't continue to do this for much longer financially or mentally. I see pieces of crap scripts getting bought left and right. So hearing you write well means pretty much nothing if no one cares about the subjects you write about. grrrr.

Last night I had a strange dream. I was in some incredible house listening to a DJ. This man walked in and stabbed the host. I ran to another room and locked the door but he broke in by punching a hole in the window pane glass. I hauled ass with a few other people and ended up on the Rome metro/subway. This was strange because the party looked like it was in a Hampton's house and everyone at the party was American.

I have no idea what the heck that dream means. ha

I work up super early today and rewrote 15 pages. I feel good about them. The sun is finally out. I'm going to download some new music, go on a run and just keep freaking writing.

This year will be a good year. It has to be.


Kim B. said...

Oh Ragazza. Hang in there. I don't know anything about the industry so I can't offer any advice, but I just KNOW you have so much to offer!!!!! There are lots of us out here waiting for good movies like yours will be. 2009 is still young young young, you have lots of time to make your dream come true. Keep plugging away. You have such a strong work ethic and such a fun, cool, smart sensibility -- there is someone out there who wants to buy that kind of script!!!!!!

I believe in you!!!!!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

kim b - thanks for the encouraging words. I'm just going to put on blinders, forget about the stats and see what the rest of the year brings.

Diana Strinati Baur said...

Ragazza, First off, we love you. It might seem like just internet love, but it's real because we are going through all this with you. Your beautiful writing style keeps us hooked on your blog, because it is pure.

It's a shit year, that is for sure. But things will get better. You are right. Forget the stats. Forget them. If I had looked at the stats, I would have seen that there is not one B&B in this entire area that has ever had even a 40% booked season. I did not know that, and not knowing it helped me.

Plugging away helps. Getting away from plugging away helps, too.

Just a couple of wisdoms -- remember that you are safe, that you will always do whatever you need to do to keep yourself safe and sound. You are smart. You have your wits about you. None of the people who know you and love you will allow that you falter for long. Have faith in that. Have faith in the fact that there are always options -- millions of them literally -- to choose from.

Remember who you are, my dear girl. You are one brave chick. You will continue writing and it is going to click.

And remember the cheerleading squad out here with our pom poms with a big A across our chests. We are cheering for you.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Diana - thanks for being on the "squad" ha.
You're right about forgetting the stats. Obsessing about them will only depressed me and make my goals seen unobtainable.

I'm so glad I was working on two projects at the same time. I will try to "unplug" at some point. Maybe once I turn in the next draft of the other project.

That is interesting about the B&B booking rates. Is it because that area is not as well known as other parts of Italy? I keep seeing travel articles about that area as the next place "to discover".

Skywalker said...

Its only February - you have 10 months to kick in high gear. Don't get yourself down this early in the game. I know you're going to do great!

Petulia said...

It will be! and it is already me. we are all here for you and we all know you are going to be successful. There are so many possibilities out there for someone as intelligent and adventurous as you are. GO GIRL! You are going to make it!

erin :: the olive notes said...

ditto ditto ditto on everyone's comments so far. 2009 still has a way to, you're strong! I'm not sure I could be up the very next day immediately back at it again. But I do say it's best not to listen to what the standards are...(like the rich, white, male thing) b/c that info is doing you NO good (and really doesn't matter). or the standards of what Hollywood "supposedly" wants (b/c it is always changing, it hasn't worked, and some of the most praised films broke that mold when they came out!).

Be you! We believe in that.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

skywalker - thank you. true I have 6 hollywood months. We'll see.

petulia - grazie mille!

erin - thanks. good point about how some of the most successful movies are the one that break from the mold. I've decided for the rest of the year I'm just going to pretend those stats don't exist. Sometimes ignorance is bliss.

Rebecca said...

congratulations for getting up today and re-writing 15 pages! That is incredible. I believe, I believe, that even though the odds are stacked against you, heck against almost all women in the arts (me, too), that we will make it. I am with you in spirit, and dang it, wish I was with you in Italy, too!

Megan in Liguria said...

Hand in there ragazza! This is your year...un abbracio!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

You've gotta believe in yourself. We all do. You are a talented writer and your time is coming. You know how many times a writer comes out of the blue and makes it to the top and no one's ever heard of her? That's going to be you! And we can all say "we knew her when." Keep the faith. keep the faith. And keep connecting.

Sherry said...

Ragazza, I'm just going to cosign what everyone else has said and tell you WE BELIEVE IN YOU. Don't give up. I can't wait to see one of your films. Remember, stats also said someone like Barack Obama could never be president of a country that just some 50 or so years ago wouldn't have served him or his father in a restaurant. The time for breaking the mold is now. You got this.

glamah16 said...

I dont know what to say. I was just reading Vanity Fair with Obama on the cover. In an article called The State of the Industry, there is a quote 'It's my ardent wish that I could create more movies that I'd actualy want to see', confessed one production chief.
Who ever is making these decisions are not coming up up with winners either in profits or tastes.
Just hanh in there and keep focused. God didnt bring you all the way over there for nothing.

glamah16 said...

Also they say its all about cable now, not film. Would you consider that medium.? I would loveto see a show based in Europe from you point of view.

dorina said...

keep writing. you have a very special voice.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

rebecca - thank you. True it's not easy for women in the arts but dammit we have to keep moving forward.

megan - grazie mille for the "hug".

ciaochowlinda - I would love to be "an overnight success". Most of the overnights have been working for years before their break. ha

sherry - that's what cracks me up. Obama can get elected but I don't think will see a black president of a major hollywood studio anytime soon. ha

glamah16 - I have to read that article. Movie attendance is up but there is a lot of panic in the industry between piracy, and new media. Yes I am open to all medium. TV is a little more difficult to work in from aboard. I would probably have to move back to L.A.

dorina - thank you.

J.Doe said...

You sound like a morning person. My advice is keep writing and smiling then because if 1 screenwriter doesn't like what you've written, so what? There are many others. I am not an expert but I can't see how chick flicks would fail since the majority of the world's population is female.
P.S. But for now it sounds like you need one of those rich tasty hot chocolates that you can get in Italy

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

j. doe - grazie. Yes I am a morning person. I'm such a wimp it's hard for me to stay up past 11:00! My friends here are like "that's a major problem since dinner starts at 9 or 10" ha.

Those hot chocolates are amazing. I'm thinking I should have one this weekend. All of a sudden it got cold again but at least it stop raining for a minute.

I cannot understand why Hollywood is still surprised when a few driven movie like Twilight or Mamma Mia does well. Drives me nuts.

Alison said...

Stick with it! Tune out all the statistics & negativity, and do what you love. Good things will come.

Tracie B. said...

do i need to kick some '09 butt for you, nyc?

Anonymous said...

Hold on tight to your dreams. You work hard and have more determination than most people out there. I would love to see a movie or read a book written by you. I cannot tell you the last movie I've seen in the theatre because to be honest, most are a load of ka-ka.
Keep on truckin'

BigCNYC said...

my friend nneka sent me this calendar with the following note: "don't let fear become the boundaries of your dreams." you've come too far, you're almost there. toni morrison didn't write her first novel until she was in her 40s! keep your eye on the prize ragazza.

Anonymous said...
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nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

alison - grazie. I doing my best to tune out the negativity. It helps living in a place like Rome.

tracie b. - I could use all the help I can get. ha

ms. violetta - Thank you. I hope there will be a few good commercial flicks this summer. Most of the indie/smaller films don't come out until the fall.

bigcnyc - grazie. I like that quote. The other night I was so close to saying forget I can't do this. Then I remembered what a pain it was to get here. (ha) I have to see things thru.

Anonymous said...

Hang in there! This is YOUR year!

kel said...

Repeat your daily affirmation: I am an awesome writer. Hollywood has never seen a script like this.

At some point, it'll come true. It has to, because that is your new reality. If you want it to be....

Jen of A2eatwrite said...

You've got your focus and your passion. Those are two major strikes FOR you.

And you've got talent.

You're going to get there - I just know it.

girasoli said...

I just wanted to let you know that I am pulling for you also.

dalia said...

hang in there.

i feel the same way about writing novels.

we all believe in you!

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

thanks anon.

kel - I agree...trying to get into a good head space does help a lot.

jen - thank you. What is that saying? Success is when luck hits hard work and talent?

girasoli - grazie mille

dalia - thank you and good luck with your writing.

jstele said...

Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. That's what Clint Eastwood said, but he is probably not the first.

You've worked in Hollywood, so you have the connections to get your script seen. You have talent as a writer. You understand the business of Hollywood. You're way ahead of the game. Maybe you should think of marketing it in a different way.

Would you consider going the independent route, making it into an independent film? Yes, there won't be much money in the beginning, but with the right people it could do well and you could get the money later.

Anyways, there's a story of a screenwriter who had difficulty selling her script. She found a way to finance the movie and there is a happy outcome, but the story is not over yet. The movie has done well in the places it was shown and she was contacted by Ron Meyer.

A video of her journey:

"The very good news is that all my hard work is starting to get recognized. The President of Universal Studios, Ron Meyer, actually saw the film and called me to congratulate me on my efforts. From everything I've read about Mr. Meyer, he seems to be one of the nicest studio heads and in my short telephone conversation with him, he definitely is living up to his reputation. Of course my dream now is to do a direct a romantic comedy for Universal. A phone call like that really can raise new hopes in this very tough industry."

Sept. 22, 2008 entry on

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jstele - grazie. I couldn't remember the exact quote. I have been a producer on an independent movie. If I was interested in directing that would be one option. To be a working writer I have to actually sell a script or have a strong enough sample that it will lead to other work. We'll see.

I watched the video. The battle with independent film is not necessarily getting the money it's finding distribution once your movie is done. Good for the director taking charge. It's not easy. I hope she will be able to get DVD distribution.

jstele said...

I have some thoughts about what your dream may mean.

You start out at a party in the Hampton's. We know that it's a place where a lot of celebrities and other rich people live, so it could represent the Hollywood life. Everyone there is American, so the place also represents America. The host gets stabbed. Without a host, there is no party. In this context, the party represents the Hollywood/American life. The stabbing represents the destruction of that kind of life. You escape to Rome, a place of safety.

There are several ways to interpret this dream.

Rome is your safe haven from the Hollywood lifestyle. You are in Rome to escape the spiritual destruction in Hollywood.

When interpreting dreams, you need to look at the associations each of the images/events have for you. What is their spiritual meaning? How did you feel during and after the dream?

Lauren said...

Hi there,

I've been following your blog for many months and feel compelled to state the basic facts here: you are a ballsy, bad-ass MF who has surmounted Italian bureaucracy, cultural and linguistic barriers, a shitty exchange rate, and cobblestones in high heels, while pursuing your dream career by starting over in a new role in a cut-throat industry. Gesu Cristo! I think you're incredible!

Keep writing! The film-going public needs your smart screenplay to offset the other merde that apparently passes muster in movie making.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

jstele - I was thinking along those lines as well. If I had jumped on the NYC subway that would have made more sense, logically. I do know if I was going through this rough patch and still living in L.A. I would be a basket case.

lauren - ciao. thanks for commenting and for the encouraging words. I do need to step back sometimes and stop dwelling on hasn't happened and think about the great things I do have in my life.

sacredrhythm said...

arlene-your blog made me cry. 4 30am head draped over my table and just crying. guess it just helps to see we all go through it. staying up all night doesn't really improve one's sense of self so i'll head to bed now, inspired by the idea that thousands of miles away you put stories to paper and your dreams to flight and we are kin.


does one of these entries define ragazza? i'll look it up.

nyc/caribbean ragazza said...

Ciao taj - ragazza is Italian for girl. So I am an American of West Indian descent who lives in Italy hence the title of zee blog.

It's good to know I'm no the only person trying to do this. It's such a solitary line of work and I'm grateful I know you and other writers.

Stay strong sister...2009 is going to get better. I just know it.