03 July 2006

leaving on a jet plane

Los Angeles. City of Angels. The land where dreams are made real, and the real gets reduced to dreams.

I'll be out there this week — shmoozing and visiting and carousing and networking and touching base and socializing and all that jazz.

It's a surreal thing to think about. Right now I'm ass-deep in Suburbia, with a yard needing mowing, kids in the yard, a homeowner's association complaining about some damned fool thing ("please remove your recycling bin from the curb promptly in the afternoon after pickup!"), and I just spent two days at a little league tournament in the company of a whole bunch of very similar folks: perfectly fine anddecent folks with kids and mortgages and relatively normal lives.

Come Wednesday, I'll hop a jet and three hours later I'll be in LA. Staying somewhere between Bel-Air and Beverly Hills. Meeting with folks whose names appear on DVDs in my movie collection, talking about words I strung together and put onto pages.

I'm wondering if at some point in that flight out there — maybe over the Trans-Pecos region — I'll suddenly switch from Suburban Dad Guy to LA Screenwriter Guy, almost like crossing into an adjacent time zone. I think that particular emotional jet lag will be worse on the return flight, as I have to re-calibrate from Fun Unencumbered Guy Tasked With Radiating Charisma Ceaselessly and crawl back into the cocoon so as to more easily fit back into Normal Life back here at home.

I think Batman might have a similar period of disconnect, as he drives home to the Batcave after a hard day of fighting super-criminality and starts to realize that he (as Bruce Wayne) has a breakfast meeting with the donors from the foundation, then a 10 AM meeting at the lawyers, a noon date with the architects designing the new Wayne Plaza building, and don't forget that the Batmobile needs an oil change and a front end alignment.

What seems normal today will seem unbelievably alien and strange a week from now, even though it remains every bit as mundane and unremarkable as it was before.

"What the hell am I doing?" That's a question I feel myself asking myself a lot these days. Nobody I deal with in Real Life has an idea or understanding of the crazy screenwriting thing I am working towards, and even if I tried to explain to them what it's all like and about, they'd still look at me like I was a sea bass bubbling at them in Swahili. They all try to seem supportive and excited, but if I told them that I was working to become a bullfighter or a lion tamer or a secret agent I think their response and reactions would be largely the same, as all of those — screenwriter included — are occupations that real people don't actually claim.

And yet I have my ticket, and my hotel, and my rent car, and the laptop is loaded, and the scripts are printed, and I catch myself quietly running through trial run responses to such questions as "so what are you working on these days?" or "so what's it about?"

I am Batman, ironing his cape as he looks out the window and watches the neighbors mow the yard next door.

Somehow... it's deliciously ridiculous.
ready but not B


Anonymous said...

"I'll suddenly switch from Suburban Dad Guy to LA Screenwriter Guy,".. it's all in the choice of sunglasses, good luck out there

aggiebrett said...

If so, then I'm in trouble, as I have a longstanding rule to not wear any sunglasses which did not come as a bonus gift with a bucket of chicken.

I have a sneaking suspicion that I'm going to spend the next few days chuckling to myself at the sights I shall behold.

calvinsroom said...

Just remember this, and you'll do fine:

When they offer the beverage, take it. Always take it. Even if you have to pee, take it.

Regardless of how the meeting goes, at least you'll have gotten something.

And it helps with nervous dry mouth.

Good luck, Brett!

Thomas Crymes said...

Good luck on the left coast (I made that up). May your meetings be fruitful.

Ryan Rasmussen said...

It's true what they say about the seating arrangements in meetings. Sit on the edge of your seat -- but don't look like you're sitting on the edge of your seat. Otherwise you will sink into a quicksand of cushiness.