On (Not) Going Hollywood

Around the age of nineteen or twenty, I had the idea that I might want to work in film. I had no talent as an actor, I had no desire to attend film school or take classes, and my attempts at writing scripts were laughable at best.

At the time, the Star Trek television series had an open submissions policy, and I thought I could do that. I bought a screenplay, a copy of Syd Fields’ Screenplay, saw how a screenplay should look, and hammered away at some truly terrible scripts. One had a runabout from Deep Space Nine find a planet of space vampires in the Gamma Quadrant. Then there was the wormhole accident that brought the Enterprise-H and an evil future Dax to the station in the 24th-century. Then Star Trek: Voyager started, and I gave that a try, too; the Borg, a shattered Dyson Sphere, and a guest star I intended as Richard Kiley was the result there.

The thing I learned from this experience was that writing scripts wasn’t for everyone. It certainly wasn’t for me, and when a friend and I decided a few years later we were going to create a sitcom one night when sitting around drinking, I realized in the sober light of morning that, no matter how good the idea was, we had no agent, we knew no one in Hollywood, it was unlikely that either of us would move to California, and so there was nothing to do with this sitcom idea. You want to work in television or movies? You have to be where the action is. You have to be there to take meetings and press the flesh. At twenty, going Hollywood sounds romantic. At twenty-five, reality sets in. That said, we did write a series bible, and I tackled the pilot script, just in case. But that was also four (or was it five?) moves ago, and I certainly no longer have the materials.

Maybe there’s another life where we made a different decision and headed cross country to pound on doors and try to sell Spew! (Contrary to the title, it wasn’t a gross-out humor sitcom. In the context of the series, the title makes sense.) What if we had?

Perhaps we’d be producing. Low-budget and indie fare. A period baseball movie here. A sensitive drama there.

Directing? Nah. I’d be clueless behind the camera. I have enough trouble with a regular camera.

And acting? No way.

Honestly, I can’t make myself believe that we’d have done that — chuck everything and head cross country in search of Hollywood dreams. Not my speed. :)


Topic taken from The Daily Post‘s “The Show Must Go On” prompt.

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