2019 Game Plan

I can’t believe it’s that time of the year again! A lot has been going on in my life and I’ve been trying to make sense of it all these past few weeks, so I’ve been quiet on social media lately in order to tune out some of the noise. I still plan on being off social media until the new year, but I do want to write a few blog post before the end of the year.

Here are a few things I’ve been working on this past month: 

  • Packing, donating and throwing away things for my plans to move in February.
  • Figuring out my writing goals for 2019
  • Figuring out my personal goals for 2019
  • Writing down my goals for each week in my new planner

Here are my weekly goals for 2019: 

Writing Goals

(The first four goals are taken from Scott Myers Go into the Story blog post.)

  • Read 1 screenplay
  • Watch 2 movies
  • Write 7 pages
  • 14 hours of prepping a story
  • Listen to 3 podcast episodes
  • Attend 3 hours of online classes
  • Read 1 magazine from my Hollywood Reporter archive stack
  • Read 1 book a month
  • Write 1 blog post

Personal Goals

  • Eat 100% Whole Food Plant Based (no processed vegan junk food)
  • Workout 4 times a week
  • Write and/or record journal entry every day
  • Dance it out 2 times a week (Yep, I’m taking a tip from Shonda Rhimes and dancing it out just like she had her Grey’s Anatomy characters do so many times. I danced it out a few times this past month and it felt amazing.)

So, these are my core goals for the new year. I’m really excited to see how my new goals are going to shape my progress as a writer and how my mental, physical and emotional health will develop over time. Plus, I can’t wait to share my journey with you all!

I’m Talking To Myself Again

Okay, I’m not crazy, but I did start talking to myself again. I did try an alternative before I took this route. I wanted to journal in a notebook every day, but it’s been a struggle to write out my thoughts and on top of that write other characters thoughts.

When I started my screenwriting journey back in 2012, I used to talk to myself a lot. Okay, now I’m really starting to sound crazy. I was recording myself people! Think of it like an audio journal. Or a one woman podcast with no downloads.

It’s actually therapeutic to just speak freely with no judgement. Right now, I’m just talking about my screenwriting journey, but eventually I want to incorporate other aspects of my life.

I definitely recommend trying it at least once. Have any of you ever done something similar? If so, how has it helped you on your journey?

The Macro Episodic Lab

I’m still trying to figure out how this happened. It’s been awhile since I’ve advanced in any contest. Actually, I can’t remember the last time anything like this has happened to me. I’ve gotten so use to the rejection letters it feels like that’s all I’ve ever received. Over the past couple of years I’ve only submitted to one or two contest and nothing ever came of it. When I initially started this writing journey seven years ago I was submitting to everything! Now I’m at the point where I just want to focus on my craft and apply to opportunities that help me develop my craft, like this one.

When I applied to this opportunity I honestly thought there was no way I would be selected to the next round. I figured they would read my submission and think it was a good idea, but then look at my resume/bio and put me in the rejection pile. It’s not that I didn’t believe in the idea I was submitting, I just thought that they were probably looking for people already in the industry or people who have web series already on YouTube and a huge following. I’m just a single mom raising my teenage daughter, while living in Dayton, Ohio and working a basic 9 to 5 and writing before and after.

They still wanted to know more.

Even if I don’t make it to the next round after this, being selected to advance to the second round has inspired me tremendously. I know this script idea I have is a game changer for me. Whether it moves on to the next round is to be determined at a later time. So in the meantime, I’ll be working around the clock this weekend to get my script into the best possible shape I can get it. It would be an honor to develop this project with this group of talented creatives. If I don’t get selected things will still be okay. Like everyone else who submitted to this opportunity and other opportunities like it, I’ll keep pushing forward knowing that my day will eventually come.

Like I said…

I’m just a single mom with a dream. An outsider trying to break in to Hollywood. Maybe this opportunity could get me one step closer.

Starting Over…

Starting over with anything is hard. Two years ago I left a job after six years to start a new job that was in a completely different job industry. It was scary at first, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had. Two years ago I became newly single. Being out of the game for eleven plus years can be terrifying, but it was the best decision I made for me and my daughter. Don’t forget that I’m starting over with a new blog after blogging for five years and I’m starting over with my hair. I cut it all off people!

Now I’m ready to do it with my writing. Over the years there have been some scripts that have been hard to walk away from, because I felt like something was there and if I kept rewriting it would finally work out. The majority of the scripts I have written are never going to be rewritten again. There are two scripts that I love the concept, but the scripts don’t really get the original idea across.

All of the scripts I’m currently working on are brand new except for these two. Over the last few months, I’ve been playing it in my head of where I want these characters to go and not all of the characters are surviving this reimagining. For one of the scripts the concept is getting bigger and the genre is going to a darker place.

So, with both of these scripts playing out completely different then what I first imagined, I’ve come to the conclusion to let both of the scripts go and start with a page one rewrite. So everything that I’m writing now is starting with a first draft. In a way it’s kind of freeing. I really want to step outside of my comfort zone and explore some other genres to write. Maybe this is the step that I need to finally get my creative juices flowing again? Starting over is scary, but staying stagnant when it comes to my writing could be even scarier.

But I Love My Comfort Zone…

I have never been a social butterfly. I know hard to believe, right? Seriously, I’m kind of a loner, I’m introverted and I’m a writer. Get me around people I’m comfortable with and I can hold a conversation. Throw me in a room full a strangers, that’s where things can get a little complicated for me. I still get flashbacks of how uncomfortable I was in certain situations at the 2015 Austin Film Festival.

But all of that is going to change this year!

Okay, maybe that’s being a little dramatic, but I am going to the Austin Film Festival this year by myself and I’m open to stepping outside of my comfort zone to talk to complete strangers. (Don’t worry Mom, I know my drink limit is a shot of tequila and I’ll make responsible choices). I am comforted by the fact that some of the Story Broads will be there. Can’t wait to see you ladies!

I still feel like I need to do something to help me step outside of my social comfort zone. So, I’ve decided to start a screenwriting Meetup group in my area. I haven’t made it public yet, because I have to find out some final information about a possible location for the first two meet ups.

You’re probably wondering why I need to start my own group.

Why don’t I just join an existing group?

You’re taking on a big responsibility!

You work a full-time job, you’re a full-time mother and don’t get me started on how many projects you need to write!

Why be social? Just stay in your room and make friends with your characters!

There are other writing groups out there, but none focus completely on writing for TV and film. I live in Ohio people! To be fair we do have a great organization for filmmakers, but I can never attend their meetings since they’re too late during the weekday.

The next best thing? Say it with me!

“If you build it, they will come.”

Why can’t I start my own meet up? I want it to be a writers support group, especially since we’ll be writers trying to break in to the Hollywood system while living outside of California. The group would get together once or twice a month to update each other on our progress, share tips and advice, while getting to know each other as fellow creatives.

I told myself to start getting out there to meet new people and what better way to do it then through this group. Don’t get me wrong, I love the online community I’ve found, but I need some face-to-face interaction with likeminded people. Once I move to Los Angeles that will be easier, but for now I have to seek these people out.

Now I know there’s no guarantee anyone will even show up to one of my meetings. If that’s the case, at least I tried and I can try to find likeminded people a different way. If I’m lucky, maybe one or two people may show and we can build from there.

Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Seek out new opportunities that will allow you to get different perspectives from people who share similar interest, but are on totally different paths then you. Maybe you can give each other some insight on what could be your next step? Maybe make a new friend? Share some screenwriting horror stories over a cup of coffee?

In a world that has become so use to interacting in front of a screen…

Wouldn’t it be nice to step outside of our comfort zones, shake a hand and discuss our passion for screenwriting?

Revisiting My Old Self

For the last few days, I’ve been listening to some old recordings I made of myself back in 2012. These were the beginning stages of me pursuing this screenwriting career. At first, I had no desire to listen to them, especially since I hate the sound of my voice, but one randomly popped up on my iPod and I started to listen. Surprisingly, I wasn’t filled with embarrassment like I thought I would be. While listening something inside me clicked.

Where is that girl?

She was so hopeful and bursting with energy. Staying up late nights and pounding out pages. Willing to go after every opportunity just to see if one of them was HER opportunity.

Had the Hollywood system beat me down before I even got my foot in the door?

It will be seven years this October, when I finally decided to take the leap into actively pursuing this career. At this point a lot of people may have given up. I’ve never felt like that, but I did need to step away for a moment to deal with some life situations.

As I listened to the old me, even through the tears, she was very determined to never give up no matter how long it took. Even if she didn’t become a successful working screenwriter she wanted to make sure that she did everything in her power to try to make it happen.

I soon realized that part of me never left. Even when I wasn’t writing I was thinking about it. Trying to come up with new ideas or new twist on old ones. That desire has always been in me.

Every screenwriters path is different. Some get to work in the industry straight out of college. Some have been trying to break in for ten plus years. My story is going to be different from everyone else, but as long as I have that drive to never give up and to keep writing.

Even if it takes ten more years…

You can count me in.

Allow Me To Reintroduce Myself…

Back in 2011, I started a blog that followed my screenwriting journey to becoming a working screenwriter. I finally ended that blog back in early 2017 due to the desire of wanting to write about something else. Plus I think I was a little frustrated with my screenwriting journey. Here I am writing about the struggles of how to “break in to Hollywood,” but nothing was really happening for me. It got a little depressing. I even stopped writing for a while. I wasn’t giving up on my dreams. I still wanted to be a working screenwriter, but real life issues were clashing with my fantasy world issues. Basically, my real life issues beat my fantasy worlds ass.

I had a lot of things going on that I had to deal with. I was unhappy with where my life was and I felt like I lost myself. I was single after being in a relationship for eleven years. I was a single mom raising a pre-teen daughter. I was unhappy with my body and the way I was eating. I felt lost and stuck.

So, I decided to do something about it. June of 2017, I decided to go vegan and I haven’t looked back.

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Yes, vegans eat more than just salads.

At the end of August 2017, I did the big chop and it was the best decision I made that year.

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I was 35 and had no idea what my natural hair looked like.

As for my relationship status, I’m still single and have no desire to jump into a relationship. I love being able to just focus on myself and figure out what I want in life. That side of me has been neglected for years. I always sacrificed for everyone else, but now I’m finding time for myself, while still making sure my daughter is number one.

In regards to my writing, I’m just now starting to get back into the swing of things. It’s been a struggle, but I know that I’m at a point in my life where I can balance my personal life and my screenwriting goals.

In essence, that’s what this blog is about…

The journey of April Austin. Let’s see where this road takes me.