We blogging writers know one thing more than any other:
What we are doing doesn’t matter for shit.
It is with this comfortable lack of responsibility that we write our hearts out about whatever interests us at this very second—and screw it if no one else wants to read it.
I recently got a phone call from a friend of mine who owns a video production company here in the Bay Area. He asked me if I would be willing to write a script for a company with a technologically impressive product. A chill ran up my spine as I realized what he was asking me to do:
Write for Money.
The paradigm of everything shifts when money is involved.
And if someone is paying me (or you) to write something, a whole new weight is dropped upon our creative shoulders.
The video script revolves around this product and its usefulness in society. The job of the script writer is to use parameters given (there are three sets) and produce a script that is clever, funny, touching, sentimental and sticks in the viewer’s head. Oh yeah, and relate and integrate any and all suggestions from execs, lawyers and other imputers.
Knowing that I have already guided the director/producer to this blogsite (big mistake?), I also let him know about my other blogs and work at NPR. Why any of that matters, I don’t really know because if the script sucks it doesn’t matter if I have ten Screenwriting Oscars.
It still sucks.
Writing what you want when you want to write it is a privilege and a luxury, one that I’ve seen in the envious eyes of published writers dogged by deadlines and the wistful memory of what it was like trying to get their first book published under the glorious cloak of anonymity. Writing for fun is, well, fun. And writing for money is work.
My good friend and business partner Joe Mielke quotes the adage:
“If you do what you love for a living you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Then he adjusts it to the reality:
“If you do what you love for a living, you’ll learn to hate it.”
I am brainstorming ideas for the upcoming script, challenged and thankful for the opportunity for a shot at something that could help my writing career. I hope I can enjoy the process along the way.
Because I love writing.
And I want this motherfu*king job.