Saturday, June 11, 2005

Ten Days of Nothing...

Okay, I pretty much had ten days of no writing. It was all fixin' and finnin', as in I was fixin' to write and finnin' to write. As you can see, I have a spankin' new progress meter on the side, so I will be updating it on a day to day basis. Beginning tomorrow, I need to get back to a minimum three thousand words per day regiment. I'm getting tired of working on the porn novel, and I want to move on. So keep looking at that meter and beat me over the head if I don't add to it.

Back to Julie Dash. Today, we sat at Magic Johnson's Starbucks in Ladera sipping Jamba Juices. First, I appreciated that she'd bought a copy of The Divine Nine (that keeps my son in Catholic school!), and that she was so generous with her time. During my summer "listening" tour of former UCLA film school alums, and working Hollywood writers and directors, I've been astounded by the kindness and encouragement I've received.

We talked about some of the obstacles black writers have to deal with in today's Hollywood. For those of you who don't know, I want to write screenplays that are African American/diaspora versions of Mike Leigh films. Quiet stories, not full of stereotypes, chuckles, and humiliating versions of "black" life. But we live in an era of "Soul Plane" (which I wrote on my UCLA application as an example of what is bad in Hollywood) and other stereotypes that are derivative of old racist silent movies.

It's hard enough to be a screenwriter, but it has to be even harder to be a minority screenwriter. Now, don't take that as any sort of self defeating fatalism because it's not. This is nothing new for anyone who is black, Latino, or any other minority. You get used to facing these hurdles throughout education (for me: prep school and undergraduate) and in whatever field you choose. What you have to have is a plan, a sledgeahammer mentality to breakthrough barriers, and tenacity beyond measure. And most importantly, you've got to be excellent in what you do. Speaking with Julie showed me a black woman who has those attributes.

My next meeting is going to be with Julie's agent. I want to get her perspective on the market for the scripts I'm writing, and also her perspective on how to guide a writers career.


odocoileus said...

Think I'll run out to Home Depot, get myself a sledgehammer to prop up next to my desk.

Then again, if the script isn't going well, I might just be tempted to smash something out of frustation. Maybe I'll leave the sledgehammer alone.

Great post, though.

Lawrence said...

Thanks and I told my wife that I'm going to put a sledgehammer on my desk. If any Hollywood executive comes to me asking for a script that has a funny black cop and his stern white partner, then I'll pick it up and smash him with it.