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"The Bell Tolls." Part Four

Paul Buscemi's Column for Monday January 7th 2002. Buscemiarts@hotmail.com

Have you ever seen an old movie serial? Well they were these movies in twelve chapters of about thirty minutes in length. Each week a new chapter in the ongoing story would unfold, always concluding with a "cliffhanger" ending, leaving the audience in suspense until next week's chapter. This column's design is somewhat patterned after that movie serial formula. Each week (in addition to some great interviews with really insightful industry pros or reviews of seminars and networking opportunities) this column has set out to detail the progression made by one "everywriter" toward achieving a list of goals for 2001. Here are my goals as set forth in the column for January 22, 2001:

"I had planned my one-year campaign for 2001 (as) ?Launching My Career As A Writer.' This campaign involves four Results for myself; 1) Sell my kids show pilot, 2) Get work from my feature script, 3) Get an agent and 4) complete two more TV spec samples for my portfolio. It's important to note here that my overall objective is launching the career, which may achieve other results. Those results will become clear as the year plays out."

Looking back, I'm glad I included those last two sentences. Things would certainly play out differently than first conceived. I would alter my strategy and modify my goals. Because of that, something wonderful happened. However, the year would end with a script sale still remaining elusive.

First lets talk about the ?wonderful' which happened in 2001.

The list of achievements in last week's column was certainly something I can look at and feel proud of. It's sometimes good to remind one's self of all they have done. I tend to be caught up in the moment. What am I accomplishing (or not accomplishing) this week, today, now? Looking back over the year's statistics can give one piece of mind. Hey, I did work hard this past year after all.

But beyond that list came an important achievement for me. Focus. I honed in on exactly what I would write. Screenplays. I set aside my TV spec writing goals. Attempting to launch a writing career in both those arenas simultaneously is a daunting task. Far too daunting for someone like myself, with a family and a full time production day job. When I interviewed Heidi Wall early last year, she suggested I choose one arena (TV or Features) and put all my efforts there. I didn't listen to that advice for six months and it cost me valuable time. However once I concentrated solely on features my career started rolling. I achieved half of my goals for the year. I found great representation! I finished off two scripts! My work was submitted to some really awesome companies and individuals. I started going out on meetings. I almost optioned a screenplay.

Now for the elusive.

Did you pick up on that word "almost?" Almost is the kind of word that indicates triumph or tragedies, depending on the mood you're in. Yes, the year would close with no option, no sale.

The Future.

You see, I would reach all my goals; I just wouldn't do it in a year. It would be more like a year and a half. Yes, I really see how I wasted six months of last year trying to write for television and movies at the same time. I'm going to take up that slack however and make the next six-career month catch fire. I'll try and keep you up dated through the site if possible. Until then I hope my advice and mistakes have been of benefit to you all.

Oh, and I had quite a lot of fun chronicling the year, conducting interviews and creating a stable of twisted characters for this column. From Little Script to The Brass Fasteners to The Voice from my Carpal Tunnels and everyone in between - they have all been extremely enjoyable to write and develop over the course of the year. Thanks for reading and write on!

- Paul Buscemi
January 6th, 2002


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