Sunday, March 6, 2011

Proud of Me

My almost eight year old daughter is proud of me for the writing I'm doing, and that feels wonderful, in a way no other praise can come close to imitating. I love how excited she is when something great happens for me. Her eyes shine, and she doesn't hold back in her praise. Kids haven't figured out yet how competitive the world is, and how many fears we develop as adults, so their enthusiasm has a purity that most grown-ups can't replicate.

I loved being a "just a mom" for the first few years of my kids' lives, but I must admit that I love being a "writer mom" now even more. Ava used to ask me at bedtime why daddy worked and I didn't, and I would explain that I worked just as hard but at home, and for no pay, but we were both supporting our family in different ways. I still believe that one hundred percent, but now I've added in a component of following my own personal dreams while still giving to my kids on a daily basis, and I like that they are watching me pursue what I want in life.

Yesterday I jumped on a three hour call with Screenwriting U on rewriting your script. It was a free call, and there were more than one hundred screenwriters listening to a twenty-one step process packed with helpful hints and ideas. During the call, my thoughts began to move again where they had once been stuck, and I could spot problems that I sensed were there but that I simply couldn't see before.

Even more important than the inspiration I found, was the identification I experienced. It was a similar feeling to the one that rolled over me in one of my earliest Film 201 classes at U of C's Weekend University in the fall of 2009. As I watched a Martin Scorcese documentary, I realized, very slowly, that filmmaking was a real job, with actual people earning a living doing it. In that moment, many of my fears about how only a select few could make their way into this industry melted and disappeared. I felt free to pursue this dream, and not be ashamed of myself or the goal I had long held to be a living, breathing screenwriter.

In this call, much like in that class, there were many others pursuing the same dream. It's not easy to write a screenplay that will attract not only agents, but producers and A-list actors. You would think that more people trying to do the same thing would be intimidating, but it had the opposite effect for me. More people legitimized it somehow, and meant I was not on a crazy path at all, but a perfectly reasonable one for me. It gave me a boost of confidence where I was beginning to doubt myself again.

When I came out of the call, filled with inspiration and hope and my head swimming in new ideas, Ava asked me how it went, and I told her. She grinned and said, "Good for you" and my heart soared to an entirely new level. I saw the pride in her eyes, and no matter how long it takes, and how many disappointments I encounter on this road to my writing dreams, it's worth pursuing, for myself and for that look on my daughter's face last night.

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