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an ongoing description of my life, loves, thoughts, fears, work and lustings.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

2020 To-Do List Extravaganza!

It's that time again already?  Sheesh!

As is always the case, let's examine my entire 2019 list -- figure out the high successes and the lowly failures.  Obviously, with my patented tab board, I have a good idea on my progress throughout the year, but as 2019 comes to a close, all will be revealed.

So here are my last year's tasks, followed by a brief explanation as well as a stamp of "FAIL" or "DONE".  Let's do it!

1) "Sid's Apple Rewrite (s)" -- In anticipation of completion of my 10th feature spec script in 2019, I have been toying with the idea of marking that milestone, by returning to my very first screenwriting experiment, the feature spec "Sid's Apple".  It's near and dear to my heart, but I've not revisited it in a long time.  Which means, I've developed significantly as a writer since I first started on that project about 15 years ago.  So I've no doubt it's gonna be rough as hell!  But I do still believe in the story itself.  And I loved the characters.  I'm putting this on my list -- to include on the "tabs board", the usual.  But since it's already past the multiple drafts arena, I'll reckon it needs 3 drafts to bring it up to speed.  This includes one new rewrite, out to readers for notes, one adt'l rewrite (post notes) and then a reading (as well as the planning stages) and then a final rewrite before submissions to festivals.

How did it go?  Yeah.  No.  Nothing.  No need to discuss this one any further.  Stamp it with a big ol' FAIL.  With all of the other projects I see happening in 2020, I think Sid's Apple will remain safely in retirement.

2) "Sid's Apple" to Festivals -- I submitted the script way back when, to one lone festival (it got nowhere).  This will be a fun experiment.  Looking forward to it -- anticipating 5 festival entries for this property.

How did it go?  Well, based on #1's fail, I certainly would not be entering festivals with a script which received no attention, right?  FAIL.

3) Unnamed Project -- This was heavy on my list in 2018, and will hopefully continue to receive attention in the new year.  I've no confirmation on that, and certainly can't discuss details -- but I'm putting it on the "tabs board" for an adt'l 5 vague steps -- listed simply as "Unnamed Project Step 1" and so on, as I obviously don't know exactly how many incarnations (if any) may materialize.  Hopefully this exciting write-for-hire gig will come to full fruition in 2019.

How did it go?  This project saw no action, but not due to me.  The "biz" is a slow one, for sure.  While I am still in contact with the producers, this piece didn't move ahead in 2019.  So will let this one rest, until the time comes for it to explode in great successes!  However, FAIL

4) Passports Renewed -- As in previous years, this has been on the back burner.  This year, it must get done (hopefully because it has to -- see #3 on the to-do list).

How did it go?  Nope.  FAIL.

5) Produce "The Chair" -- This is a short story/monologue I wrote and performed in high school.  I've often looked back on it with great pride.  And I think, with some reworking, it could make a helluva short film.  So with multiple steps (including rewrites, pre-production, production and post -- as well as potential festival entries), this will be a big project in 2019.  I plan to produce and act in the one-man piece (I've a director in mind and have already reached out -- there is interest).  Fingers crossed.  This could be an interesting process.  And goodness knows I need the experience and the reel fodder.

How did it go?  While I chatted with two producer/director friends, even did some rewrites on the piece, it did not come to fruition.  Perhaps in 2020, it'll find its way to done, but for 2019, FAIL.

6) The Costume People -- As this was optioned in 2018, and 3 adt'l rewrites completed (as well as a second table read), I'm hoping this will come to fruition in 2019.  And since there will be dozens and dozens of steps involved, I'll have to figure a smart way to put it up on the "tabs board".  Perhaps several vague "Step 1", and so on.  We'll see.  But I have a feeling The Costume People will be a high priority in the new year!

How did it go?  Sadly, the piece was not re-optioned (that was a possibility) and remains un-produced.  But, if you are interested (my avid readers of 4), it's once again available to option/buy!  :)  FAIL.

7) New Feature Spec Completed -- As is my new smart way to tackle this, I'll not suggest any particular property to be done.  Whatever strikes my fancy... that's the way to go.  And so on the "tabs board", we'll have the usual multiple drafts, out to readers for notes, prep for reading, reading, etc

How did it go?  Rousing success on many fronts.  My 10th feature spec, Mom Died was completed (many drafts) and protected.  I held a reading and the script was done by mid-year.  DONE.

8) New Feature Spec Script to Festivals -- Whichever script this turns out to be, planning for 5 festival entries.

How did it go?  I submitted to several festivals, and am pleased to say that I placed in five separate festivals/competitions.  Official Selection at FilmQuest, Semi-Finalist at Screamfest, Semi-Finalist at Table Read My Screenplay: Austin, Top 13 Finalist at Nightmares Film Festival -- and I'm thrilled to say that I WON the Horror Genre competition at Creative Screenwriting.  While I've placed in several competitions over the years, I've never actually WON something, so this was another screenwriting milestone.

Also on the Mom Died front, it's out to several interested producers at the moment.  High hopes mixed with realistic expectations -- swirling about right now.  Fingers crossed that Mom Died will make some progress toward a sale and eventual production in 2020.  DONE.

9) 2nd New Feature Spec Completed -- Since I'm taking journalism and film criticism off of my plate, there's absolutely no reason that I can't complete 2 (that's TWO) feature scripts within the one year.  And so #9 here, is an exact replica of #7 above. 

How did it go?  While I worked on two adt'l features (both collaborations), and made some good headway, I did NOT complete a second feature script (see notes below on my progress on those two pieces).  But as far as "completed", that's a FAIL.

10) 2nd New Feature Spec Script to Festivals -- Whichever SECOND script this turns out to be, planning for 5 festival entries.

How did it go?  No completed script, no festivals.  FAIL.

11) Lose another 20 lbs. -- I've done quite well in 2018, including a steady stream of workouts beginning at the year's mid-point.  Of course, travel, sickness and schedules have not allowed me to be perfect all of this half year, but I've done quite well.  At press, I'm down to just below 190, and I think I could use a few more off of the old gut.  If I can get back to my semi-ingrained regiment, I would love to lose those last pounds, and then start building back up with some muscle.  I've so got this.

How did it go?  I didn't lose the pounds, but can't feel bad.  I've been working out practically everyday, since mid-2018.  I'm building muscle as well, which weighs more than flab, right?  So the fact that I didn't LOSE pounds -- well, I'm not gonna worry about it.  As is, I'm hovering right around 190 lbs. at the moment, so I'll take this as a win, although technically, it's a FAIL.

12) New Headshots -- Self-explanatory.  Old ones are now over 2 years old.  Make it so.

How did it go?  While I didn't get a complete session, I did get some lovely new shots from my buddy, Vanessa.  So, DONE.

13) Read 10 Books -- Shouldn't have to put this here, as it should be a given.  But I want to hold myself to it.  And with stress levels high this year (and my inability to handle it properly), I need some way to keep my blood pressure down.  And reading is an obvious escape.  So it finds its way onto this massive to-do list.

How did it go?  At press, I still have one book left to read, but will easily complete it before year's end.  Gonna repeat this one in 2020!  DONE.

14) 3 Acting Gigs -- While I only did one of the three acting gigs I wanted to -- in 2018, it was a feature film role and it was a blast.  So not gonna be too pissy about that.  :)  Three tabs on the board, three acting gigs in 2019 -- feature films, short films or stage plays.  It's all good.

How did it go?  One.  Only one.  And while I loved helping out my friend Katherine, with a small role in her new short, I literally was on set for probably half hour.  Still, it counts.  But, that is only one of three intended acting gigs.  Soooo... FAIL.

15) Watch All Best Picture Winners -- As I won't be reviewing films this year, I'd like to get back to watching movies for the simple pleasure of it.  I've going to attempt to watch every Best Picture Oscar winner (those I've not seen, of course) and fill in those gaps in my movie education.  Goodness knows HOW I'll work out these tasks on my patented tab board. 

How did it go?  All best intentions were laid.  I cut out tabs for each of the 48 films yet to be seen.  And when all was said and done, I watched FOUR of the 48 films.  While I'm thrilled to have seen classics and further educated myself cinematically, this is a giant FAIL.

16) 40k Words on "Scratcher" -- Putting this back on the list.  Would love to really push forward on this first novel.  Perhaps with no journalism on the to-do list, this might be more plausible.

How did it go?  Years past, this piece saw NO work of any kind.  While I ultimately didn't make this goal, I did put in a lot of work on this in 2019, writing almost 18,000 words over multiple chapters.  I filled out a lot of character histories and am getting a stronger idea of where the story is going, including working on an outline.  So happy to have done some work, but didn't reach 40k words.  So FAIL. But expect to see plenty of goals on this for 2020.

17) Book of Movie Reviews -- Depending on legalities/technicalities, I'd like to put together a physical book of my 400 or so reviews from the past 4 years.  It'd be relatively simple (he says now), since they're all written.  We'll see how this goes.  Not sure how I'd make my tabs for the board, as I don't have any idea of how many actual steps it might take.  And with my retirement from film criticism, this would be a good way to "bookend" this experience.  Ahem.

How did it go? 
Nothing.  Not sure this will ever see the light of day, based on potential legal questions.  No repeat on this for next year's list.  FAIL.

18) Apartment Updates -- We've been in our current apartment for close to a decade.  And there are things we can do to gussy it up a bit.  We're thinking about new tile in the kitchen and bathroom and perhaps some new carpet in the bedroom.  There are plenty of other things we want to do, so this task's presence on the "tabs board" might be wishy-washy.  We'll see how it develops.  Putting up 5 total tabs on my board -- for this arena.

How did it go?  Clocked in 4 of the 5 intended projects (took the tabs down), but missed the fifth and final.  But of course, plenty of other projects happened (one I wouldn't consider as "major").  But if I'm being technical, FAIL.

19) "House Up the Street" Update -- While there was some legit work done on this project in 2018, not near as much as I would have liked.  Putting this back on the list... will determine (down the road) how to handle the tabs.  It's all of my short stories and poetry, etc. from writings dating back to 1984.  I wanna put them all in one place!

How did it go?  Not even the slightest looky-loo at this massive project.  Remains to be seen if it'll find a spot on 2020's list.  FAIL.

20) Move Penelope's Site -- Didn't get to this in 2018, but must still work toward its completion.  I built and manage a website for actress Penelope Sudrow.  But I need to find a way to get it into her control, as I don't feel I have the time to give it the attention it requires.

How did it go?  Nope.  Didn't happen.  FAIL.  But expect to see this on 2020's list.

21) Home / House -- Still holding out hope that we'll be able to leave behind communal living and move into our own single family home.  Perhaps 2019 will be the year this happens.

How did it go?  Still in our same apartment, but the hope always remains that we'll find a more permanent and more separated living situation.  But, as seen above, we did do many improvements to our little corner of the world, so adt'l happiness there.  :)  FAIL.

22) International Travel -- Of course, I need to get the passport in order (see above).  I've never been anywhere, and my other half is a seasoned world traveler.  It's time to expand my world horizons.  Why not make it happen in 2019?

How did it go?  Plenty of travel in 2019, but nothing international.  Perhaps in 2020?  FAIL.

23) De-stress -- This is a bit enigmatic.  But it's become clear that I no longer handle stress well.  So I need to find a way to keep my blood pressure and neurotic worrying to a minimum.  Find a new way to meditate perhaps?  Or a new exercise regiment to include more calming yoga?  This remains to be seen, and certainly will be difficult to quantify come year's end -- whether success was reached or not -- but it's a necessary thing for me to take on in 2019.

How did it go?  I'm gonna mark this as DONE.  Reason being, I finally reached out to a mental health professional, to deal with my (sometimes) crippling anxiety.  While it was toward year's end when I finally began therapy, it's a beginning nonetheless.  While I'm not necessarily less-stressed (a big event happened toward year's end, which did a number on my already heightened anxieties), the fact that I'm trying to handle it and am receiving treatment -- it's a win.


But -- as is the norm for my To-Do List Extravaganzas, there are plenty of other projects (which I did not foresee at the year's start) which will need to be addressed and recognized.  Just because I didn't get some specifics done, doesn't mean I was lazing around (at least not all of the time!)  :)

In August, via a friend of a friend, I got a write-for-hire gig -- crafting a feature screenplay.  This entire process (contract negotiations, drafts, notes, etc.) took about three months.  Ultimately, I'm happy w/ how the script turned out, I was paid and completed three drafts.  Where it goes from here?  Well, we shall see.  Bottom line, I got paid to write an entire feature screenplay.  That's a career milestone for sure.

I spent a good deal of time on two feature screenplay collaborations (as mentioned above) -- throughout the year.  One with my friend Scott, and one with my friend Motown.  The script with Scott has seen a lot of action, but we're not yet close to a first draft.  The script with Motown, we've completed a first draft and are currently working draft two.  We're hoping for completion of this project, by the end of January 2020.  Expect to see BOTH of these projects on my 2020 task list!

Throughout the year, I reviewed a few films for Tom Holland's Terror Time (part of my "soft retirement" from film criticism) and was called back to Horror Freak News in October, to cover Screamfest for my 6th consecutive year.  I watched pretty much everything at the fest and wrote 9 articles to document it all.

I'm at the very bare beginnings of a new feature screenplay (currently titled "Bear") -- based on a story told to me by friend Liz.  This project will be on 2020's list.

I've also begun another feature screenplay called "Trip" (in the beginning of December).  This will also be on the task list for 2020.

I also had inspirations on several other writing projects, including an idea for another novel called Island Hunters (done a bit of writing and brainstorming) and the latest -- another feature script idea, pilfered from a detailed dream.

I was also contacted about another write-for-hire gig.  There have been discussions, but no contract as of yet.  I hope to see this come to fruition in 2020.

And finally, in 2019, I started a new business (creating the website, design, products, etc.) for Klugula Screenplay Consulting.  It's meant to offer feedback and script/story/editing services to writers, working on their feature or short screenplays.  While it's gotten good feedback, it's not exactly taken off.  But I plan to double down in 2020 and absolutely see it thrive.

End of 2019.  Empty pins = DONE.  
With all of this examination, I only came up with 5 "DONE" and the remainder of these tasks landed in the "FAIL" pile.  Wait, didn't I change "Fail" to "Undone" last year?  Hmmm... I'll be sure to make that the norm for 2021's list.  Sounds much nicer.

So with the 2019 recap, let's see what's in store for 2020.  (note: while I went over my usual 20 item quota in 2019, I plan to stick with the usual 20 items for this incarnation).

1) Finish Rope-A-Dope: the feature script I've been working on with my friend Motown.  With a plan to call it "done" by the end of January, 2020, I can anticipate tabs for 2nd, 3rd and 4th drafts.  Currently, there are no plans for a reading or to submit to festivals/competitions.  

2) Finish Trip Having begun another feature script of my own (Trip) late in 2019, I'll put this on 2020's list.  Tabs will include the usual multiple drafts, out to readers, reading/reading prep.

3) Trip to Festivals:  The usual tabs for these tasks.  And as is the norm, I'll plan to submit to at least 5 festivals/competitions.

4) Complete 1st draft of SCRATCHER:  Considering I didn't make my 2019 goal of 40k words on this (my first novel), this goal could prove to be quite a monumental undertaking.  But, I've got a whole damned year to make it happen.  So on the list it goes!  This will require ONE tab on my board.

5) Complete ESP:  This is the feature script collaboration with my buddy Scott.  While we don't yet have a first draft, I've proposed to him that we have the script out to readers by the end of the first quarter in 2020.  Even if that doesn't come to fruition (it's a bold goal), as long as this piece is "done" by year's end, I'll be ecstatic.  Tabs will include the usual multiple drafts, out to readers, reading/reading prep, etc.  Unsure of festival/competitions for this piece, so will not place that on the list or in the tabs.

6) Move Penelope's Site:  Putting this on the goal list again, as it needs to be completed.  Frankly, I believe this will end up being less work than anticipated... meaning, once it's done, I'll wonder why it took so long.  (see explanation from last year's list, above).  One tab needed for this.

7) Passports Renewed:  It seems this next item on the list -- is a recurring one for years.  And seemingly one of the more simple ones to actually complete.  I need to get my passport renewed.  What are the chances of some international travel in 2020?  Who knows, but for heavens' sake, I need to be prepared, right?  So back on the list it goes.  One tab needed for this.

8) 30k Words on ISLAND HUNTERS: Mentioned above, my second idea for a novel, tentatively titled "Island Hunters" saw an initial inspiration and some beginning work (a bit of writing and brainstorming) in 2019.  My hope is to have a completed first draft of the other novel idea in my head, so for Island Hunters, I'm going to shoot for 30k words written in 2020.  Do-able, but with so many other projects, we'll simply have to see how it goes.  One tab needed for this.

9) Read 12 Books:  Made my goal of 10 books read, in 2019.  So gonna up the ante and make it ONE book per MONTH.  How ever will I achieve this?  Tee hee.  Obviously 12 tabs on the board for this task.

10) Movie Franchise Screenings:  Since my "see every Oscar Best Picture winner, yet unseen" task failed so miserably in 2019, I figured I'd try something else, seemingly more prone to find completion by year's end.  I'm tasking myself to update my education in several well known movie franchises.  Many of these, I've seen a good chunk.  Some I've seen only one.  Bottom line, fill in the gaps on these series.  I'm going to put 10 different series on the board.  The goal is to revisit those I know or have seen, and move into all of the sequels/prequels, etc. which (til now) are foreign to me.  10 tabs, 10 franchises.  Franchises on the list:  The Terminator, The Matrix, Alien, Predator, James Bond (a frigging massive undertaking), Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Pirates of the Caribbean, Rocky.

11) First Draft of Screenwriter:  A brand new feature script idea, which came to me at the tail-end of the year.  I am hoping to get at least a first draft in on this baby.  One tab.

12) Three Acting Gigs:  While I've not been pursuing much in the acting world as of late, I'll put this back up there, in the hopes that some fun opportunities will arise.  Three tabs for this goal.

13) 5 Projects for KSC:  My script consulting business (Klugula Screenplay Consulting - as mentioned above), created in the first half of last year.  I'm going to get back into promoting it and will plan to complete at least 5 editing/consulting gigs within 2020.  Five tabs.

14) Physical/Mental Health:  While not easy to quantify success, I believe if I continue in my current therapy, continue my daily exercise, and potentially introduce some smarter eating habits in 2020, that'd be a success.  I'm not getting any younger, and with "the diabeetus" ever-present in my life and my body, continued steps toward healthier living, can only benefit me.  Let's do it!

15) Complete Bear:  Inspired by an in-person visit with an old friend and former co-worker, this supernatural thriller (a feature screenplay idea) should be a hoot to tackle.  The usual tabs here: multiple drafts, register with WGA, reading/reading prep, out to readers, etc.

16) Bear to Festivals:  As usual, plan for 5 festival/competition entries for Bear, so five tabs on the board.

17) South Dakota Trip:  It's been discussed, that we'll return to my homeland for my eldest niece's high school graduation in the summer of 2020.  Hoping for another epic road-trip to SD (36 days), as we did in 2017.  Lots of planning to be done here (if the stars align for it to come to fruition).  One tab.

18) Produce The Chair:  See notes above.  I don't think this will be such a massive undertaking, that it'll elude me for the second year in a row.  Many tabs for this one (pre-production, production, post, etc.), but putting it out into the universe to find completion.  And since I plan to act in this piece, that could be an adt'l tab off the board from the "Three Acting Gigs" task above!  Bonus!

19) Completed Unknown Screenplay: Since there were some write-for-hire screenwriting gigs in 2019, and since I always find other script ideas to pursue, I'll make this group of tasks as generic as possible.  I'm going to put in for five tabs -- for five drafts of ANY script (not already specifically listed above).  This could be one of my own, or one which I will (note "WILL") be hired to write in 2020. 

20) Mom Died Rewrites/Steps:  While there is no promise that this project will move ahead in 2020, by placing this here, I'm telling the universe that I'm ready, willing and able to do adt'l work on this piece.  So I'll put "Mom Died Project #1" and so on on the tabs.  This could include rewrites, but any potential steps for this script, will warrant taking a tab down.  I'll do five total, and hope against hope that Mom Died moves up the ladder in the new year.

And there you have it, folks.  My laundry list of tasks on my annual To-Do List Extravaganza!  Hold me to it, and we'll check things out in just over 52 weeks!  Let's tear some tabs!

Have a safe, productive and fun 2020!

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