Tag: screenwriting

Discomfort, and eventually… Growth.

Discomfort, and eventually… Growth.

“Our biggest growth stems from when we are uncomfortable.” Not my words, actually, but I heard them last night while at a nice gathering of various young artists in the entertainment industry. My friend and production manager said these words to me when I told her that I resigned from my job and moved to Los Angeles with a computer and a dream. I feel like that is a saying, isn’t it? A suitcase and a dream…a kid and a dream…something like that. Well, that happened. And now, I sit in a California coffee shop and work on my script. Luckily, I am not alone.

As of today, my writing has begun to serve a new purpose: comfortable discomfort. I know, ridiculous. Allow me to explain. I’m sure we have all received advice at some point to be “risk takers” and “bold believers.” It can become hard to explain to even myself sometimes. A decision to leave all loved ones and all familiarity for something so uncertain. So that is when we have to ask – what is the alternative? The alternative is to remain comfortable. A nice salary, a nice group of friends, a full refrigerator, and probably a paid vacation or two. Writing, however, has become my comfortable discomfort. The thing that I do that is risky, unpredictable, and at times, inexplicable to many. So although I chose the discomfort, it comforts me to know I’m giving it a try.

So in my wordy reflection on this sunny Saturday — what is your comfortable discomfort? What is something that you NEED in your life that also brings out your messy, unscheduled, unraveled side? All of the craziness, all of the uncertainty…it is how we grow. It doesn’t have to be moving across the country or giving up something drastic, but it does have to be something that allows us to fail. We can’t appreciate success without feeling like a disaster at some point on the journey.

So, take a leap. Be fearful, but do it anyway. Be uncomfortable, so that you can find comfort with yourself. All it takes is the decision to start.

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Escapism or comfort? Maybe both.

Escapism or comfort? Maybe both.

On December 17th, 2015, my first year of teaching, I was spat on by a middle school student. Yes, human spit. I tell you this only so that you understand the exact moment that I needed to find another passion. A focus, a goal, an additional aspiration that had zero ties to my career. You know, a dream.

Storytelling through screenwriting became that dream when I decided to sit down that night and “escape” from all the things that had happened to me at work. Teaching is, well, just ask a teacher. But make sure you have some time and a bottle or two. Anyway. I turned on episode 1 of Grey’s Anatomy. Now, we all know that this show has been on for years. 13 seasons, to be exact. Nevertheless, I was told it would help me ESCAPE. “You can watch to take your mind off of the kids,” a colleague said. Hmm, that’s how it started, I suppose. I gave it a try.

ESCAPISM, to me, is a passive approach to television. Television that passes the time, provides a laugh or two, or maybe even a tear. A distraction, a form of relaxation. You might be working on something, but it is on in the background. But don’t you ever have a book that you simply cannot put down? A movie that you can hardly breathe normally through? An episode you’ve been waiting all week for? That, my friends, is comfort. You have become so actively invested in a character, a storyline, or a chapter that you MUST tune in. You MUST. And we are comforted by this journey with these characters. It is inspiration and motivation from a completely fictional realm. It is no longer a distraction or something that you may or may not see that week, it is a NECESSITY. It satisfies your hope for something greater, your need to witness failure, and better yet, your enjoyment in a fictional triumph. It is comforting to have that to look forward to.

So, I’ll leave you with this. What show or movie gives you comfort? Clarity? Motivation? There are characters created by screenwriters worldwide that come from a paper, a pen, and a post-it. But for me, these characters become flawed, wildly imperfect beings trying to figure out what it means to be human. And to love every minute of it. Live television gives us that week-to-week suspense, that necessity in our life to believe that one day we can fight, fail, battle, cry, laugh, and love as tenaciously as these fictional beings do. That hope for a good outcome. The best part? We get even more excited when the outcome is the opposite of what we expected. Like everything in life, right?

Storytelling. Hope. Companionship.

Storytelling. Hope. Companionship.

Well, hello. My name is Jake. I like to call myself a storyteller. In other words, I’m a kindergarten teacher who sings, writes television on his laptop, tells jokes at parties, and learns choreography by pop groups like Fifth Harmony. Oh, and apparently now I am a blogger. This blog is about the power of live, scripted television. The concept that a single human can sit down and concoct a fictional realm that millions emotionally invest in. Not only do they invest, but they do so in the moment, at the scheduled time, with wine or whiskey and friends. One day, one day, my story will join the ranks of Michael Crichton (ER), Shonda Rhimes (Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) , Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) and so many more. Because live television celebrates how a story can create a family – a family of humans that want to know they are not alone.

“The age of Netflix. I’d rather binge.” Hmm, more power to you. But it is my goal to find those that prefer to see it FIRST, to see it LIVE, and to pour more red wine on the second commercial. Sometimes, let’s face it, you refill EVERY commercial. Live, scripted television is necessary. We are family of humans celebrating fictional human that supposedly portray our own problems. It is the thrill of watching them fail, succeed, and fail again that keeps us coming back. The HOPE we feel when a character overcomes something seemingly impossible. The ADRENALINE we feel when a near-disastrous situation keeps our hearts racing so we wait through the commercial with anxiety. We are in this together, right?

So, I want to open the door. The door that celebrates, critiques, and debates the power of a pilot. Of a midseason finale. Of a premiere. Or a miniseries. Who’s with me?