The point is -- I'm going to start phasing out screenwriting.
Now, for the 0 people reading this (not demeaning actual readers, only pointing out that generally there are 0 folks reading my rantings), there's no need to get your panties in a bunch or wonder what on God's green earth is happening right now.
I'll continue to pen screenplays -- for paid gigs, if such things continue to present themselves.
But as far as working on my own scripts -- the ones I write for sheer pleasure because they need to be extracted from my brain (for my own sanity), and then spend oodles of cash and effort and networking to get them in front of festivals and script competitions and producers and eyes/ears -- not so much.
Don't get me wrong, I enjoy them, still do -- but I'm burned out on someone else having a say in what works and what doesn't work. What's commercial? What's appropriate? On and on.
That's how this business is, and I've known that -- so that hasn't changed.
I'm at a point that I know how to defer to producers and the money men/women, and takes notes as needed, make changes as requested and understand how budget must be a consideration and what will play if it needs to be made more palatable for a general audience. I've got a firm grasp on that.
What I can't defer to, is people who question my proven ability to tell a story -- organically and with depth and underlying themes, with characters who live and breathe.
Despite my struggles (since birth) of self-doubt and self-sabotage, I'm a damned good writer. And that's the honest-to-God truth.
And while I don't deny that I've had some successes in the film industry (writing-wise) I'm not where I think I should be. I'm turning 47 next month and while there shouldn't be an "expiration date" on success, I can't help but have that sense -- me personally.
Am I doing something wrong? Is this all on me? Perhaps, but after this many years pushing toward these goals -- to win awards, to be sold, to be produced, to be recognized within the industry -- there comes a point where a shift in priorities and a movement of energy to other endeavors, needs to take place.
I feel as though that time -- regardless of perceived forward motion (not as fast as I'd like -- I'm not getting any younger) hasn't been as fruitful. Again, not complaining about all of the friendships and connections and joy I've found in screenwriting over the past 16 or so years, but it's not "ringing my bell" if you know what I mean -- this "push to success" -- even though we all ask, "What the hell does that exactly mean?"
So I've been working on two separate novels over the past five years or so (perhaps longer, I don't know without looking it all up), and have begun a third (which I believe will end up being my first completed novel).
I'm enjoying that freedom. Both within the writing (no screenplay formatting or structure or length considerations) and also in the knowledge, that if I intend to self publish (which I do), the only person I'll have to answer to, would be a trusted editor -- not bottom line money folks. I'll write whatever the hell I want to, thank you very much.
I've got 13 completed feature scripts -- scripts I've written for myself, not for others. And I'd love to set aside screenwriting (again, not completely and not permanently) after I have written/completed 20 feature scripts (for myself).
That would include the 4 scripts which are already in the process of being written, or well into development (two of which are partnerships).
I intend to continue working on the novel (s) over the next 18 months, but to focus on getting up to that magic milestone of 20 feature length scripts (and all supporting materials -- treatment, pitch, artwork, etc.).
I think with that massive catalog (I think it's massive) I can fully embrace some sort of career detour, and focus on prose for the most part, knowing I've truly made a "go" of it.
I also intend to begin the process of transitioning into more of a filmmaker, rather than a screenwriter. I'll have the product to choose from, so in addition to working on the novels, I'll start figuring out how to produce my own product for the screen (again, avoiding the nonsense insights of folks who can't tell a good character from a pile of shit on the ground).
This is all quite daunting, but also intriguing that -- after 16 years of writing screenplays -- I've decided it's time to try out some other things to fill my time and prime my creative juices.
I mean -- bottom line, I've gotta write -- that's who I am.
So you've read it here first, friends (all 0 of you reading this -- again, no offense): January of 2023, I'm putting screenwriting on the backburner.
I'm going to become a novelist. Neat.