This is Rob Long with Martini Shot on KCRW.
Here's what I believe: I believe that if you're a writer in Hollywood and you want to have any degree of control over your career, you can't wait around for someone to hand you a writing assignment. You can't wait around to get a studio deal. You're a writer: write yourself into the business. Write yourself into a new genre, a new form, a new career. Sit down at the computer and write. No excuses. No dithering. Just sit down, focus, and do it. That's really the only way to succeed.
That's what I believe. But, honestly, I believe a lot of things. I believe that men shouldn't wear black jeans. I believe that you should always be able to stick your toes out from under the covers at the end of the bed. I believe that all sandwiches should be served on toast. I have a lot of beliefs, okay?
Now, here's what I actually do, as opposed to what I believe:
I have a couple of projects I'm working on that require real work. Actual writing of action and dialogue in a sustained way. So I sit down and turn on the computer. I'm a writer, so I'm supposed to write.
Fire up the computer. Listen to the Apple sound. Open up the files. Check email. Check it again. Check it again. Open up browser. Click on Defamer. Click on TechCrunch. Click on Defamer again, in case something just got posted. Click on Drudge. Click on something. Check email. Check email. Respond to email. Respond to the responses that come from people who, like me, check their email every ten seconds. Buckle down. Scroll through script. Correct some typos. Fix some dialogue. Think about next scene. Begin writing next scene. Interior. Metropolitan Museum of Art. Check email. Check email. Respond to email. Respond to responses.
Now, really get focused. Turn on iTunes. Hook up earphones. Open up Last FM. The guys walk slowly though the main gallery, following her like terrified puppies. She slows, turns to them and points. Ethan. That? She smiles. Lou. That. Or, you know. They nod. They know. Cut to. Exterior. Fifth Avenue, day. The guys walk, downcast. Check email. Check email again. Click on Defamer. Click on Drudge. Click on something. Suddenly remember a friend's blog. Click on that. Wonder if anyone has ever commented on your pictures from Algeria. Click on Flickr. Check email.
Ethan fingers the gun. Ethan. He's in there? Lou. He's in there. I'm telling you. Trust me. You do this thing, it will set you free. I wouldn't lie to you. Ethan. You've lied to me a lot. Lou. I only lie about money. I wouldn't lie to you about something like this. Ethan thinks about this. Open up iTunes. The music is wrong. Set it to "party shuffle," and select 'Writing 12' playlist. But that's wrong. Create new playlist. 'Writing 13' playlist. Suddenly realize that you haven't seen the new Fountains of Wayne video for "Someone to Love." Click on YouTube. Check email. Check email. Exterior. City street. Night. Just outside an ATM booth, Stubby slips on the mask, and struggles with the latex gloves. They squeak and he only gets them half on, leaving huge empty fingertips at the ends. He slides the card into the machine. Waits. He checks the paper and punches in the password. It works. He selects "Get Cash." Check email. Click on Drudge. Go get lunch. Return phone calls. Check email. Return emails. Check email. Check email. Click on Defamer.
That's what I do. That's not what I believe. That's not what I want. What I want is to be one of those writers who gets up early and puts on a shaggy sweater and sits with a cup of coffee and bangs it out, then has a tuna sandwich and a cup of tomato soup and works a bit more, until three or so, when it's time to write wry, revealing letters to his friends who will save them for his biographer. But what I am is one of those writer who clicks on Defamer a lot and checks his emails ninety times a day and spends every afternoon telling himself that mornings, really, are best for working and tomorrow morning, really, is going to be a power day. Check email. Check email.
That's it for this week. Next week, we'll have a drink. At lunch. For KCRW, this is Rob Long with Martini Shot.