Wait a minute…

Did I, perhaps, just get served by my own daughter? Could it be? Surely, my darling, baby girl couldn’t have just shut me down.

Could she..?

I SMS’d her earlier, asking her to call me after her classes got done. It’s a topnotch day here in the Land of Lakes, and absolute perfect drive-in movie weather. Before her evening’s dance card filled up with all sorts of teenaged nonsense, I wanted to scoop in and lay claim to her evening.

So…she just called me. Not five minutes ago. I presented my case to her, the centerpiece of which was simply that I really miss my kids, and I really wanted to spend an evening with just the three of us. It’s been too long.

Well, that part went just fine. I didn’t even have to pull out my secret weapon: grilled BBQ salmon. That always works. It’s a well-known fact that my grilled BBQ salmon is the best in the world. No…I am NOT exaggerating.

Then…I don’t know… Perhaps I was prattling on. Strange as it seems, it is a (remote!) possibility. Okay…I probably was prattling on. ‘Cause now I think of it, I can’t even remember what the hell I was talking about.

But that’s not the point!

In the middle of a sentence, she cuts me off.

“Dad,” she says, a hint of impatience in her voice. “The signal’s not the best. We need to wrap up here.”

All I could muster was a “Uh…yeah. Okay. Umm…see you when I get home, then. Ah…love ya.”

“Love you, too. Gotta go.”

Okay. Now rewind just a titch… Did she just say, “We need to wrap up here”??? No shit, she did!

Oh, my gawd! I just got shut down! I just got served.

It’s really real. My kid’s crossed over. The days of the “magic dad” are a thing of the past. Worse, he’s dead and buried. And the only record he ever existed takes the form of some dusty relics buried in the cellar of some obscure and forgotten museum somewhere.

For today, I have officially become the “dad who’s to be humored”. I am the “prattling dad”! I require shutting down!

When, oh when, did this happen?

I mean, I know when it happened. I saw it. I was just talking to Lisa and Rob Bouta about it Saturday night. It’s the stuff that Normandale College is made of. It was the day of Lynn’s funeral.

I didn’t need anyone to tell me how adult Sydney was as she stood before over 500 people and delivered what is arguably one of the most lucid, touching, and insightful eulogies any person could give another. There she stood, unflappable, as she bore the burden of the family, of the world that Monday morning. Never once faltering. Just moving forward. Better than most grown ups I know.

I sat and watched her, and the tears rolling down my cheeks were only partially for Lynn. The rest were for another death—the death of my little girl. Of my little Peppermint Pattie, as Debi often called her. For what stood before the congregants that day may have chronologically been a teenager, but in stature, in poise, in grace, she was every inch all grown up. There she was, in that moment, transformed.

And this amazing young woman stood before us.

I’ll remember it for the rest of my days.

BUT..! Dammit! That doesn’t mean she has the right to see me for what I really am!!! She’s not supposed to get that I’m really not the cool magic dad she always thought I was, or at very least was still naïve enough—or simply kind enough—to let me believe I was.

She has no right to strip away that veneer! For god’s sake! I’m the dad, right??? I’m not just some other guy. I’m not some equal! I’m the freakin’ DAD!

Alas, I might as well just get used to it. No sense, I suppose, in getting my undies in a bundle. I did it. I created a monster. Now she’s all smart and pithy and clever and sophisticated and…grown up. And from this day on, the only way I’ll get to be the “magic dad” is by silent agreement, by a wink, wink, nudge, nudge between us, when she graces me with a few fleeting moments of nostalgia.

At her whim and fancy, of course.

For now, today, I TRUE-ly realize. There is another woman in my life. And she, like her mother, is a force to be reckoned with.


I looked on the bottom of my little tramp bunny foot, and what did I find?

SEVEN pages down today. SEVEN! Two more than my typical daily goal on a first draft.

Whew! Now I feel better.

And what’s best is I like ’em. Things went in a little different direction than I thought they would. But I think I finally cracked the stubborn nut that is the second movement of the second act. Turns out that what I thought was the second movement is really the third one.

It always felt odd. Even when I was mapping out scenes. Like there was neither enough action, nor was there sufficient conflict to get me into the particular movement in the story.

Now, though… Now I think I’m on to something. We’ll see.

Considering the last 2-3 weeks of my screenwriting life, though. I am ecsatatic. I think I might even have a chance to finish this sumbitch in a reasonable length of time now.

Yay Bill!

(Well, more “Yay!” when I really get the thing done. But little “yay” today for getting back on the horse–no pun intended)

Having a “Wheaton” moment…

It occurs to me that in order to TRUE-ly honor and obey the creator (no…not God. No…not James T. Kirk. The Wheaton!), in order to emulate him, as we all (those of us in the blogshpere, at least) should, I should, from time to time, post some commentary about the screewriting craft and about my (mis)adventures in the screen trade. I should also try to, eek, out, a, few, more, commas, in my, senten,ces. Ah..! , , , , , There…

Now, some of you out there might be tempted to make some smart-assed comment like Hey! Bill’s recycling content in the form of a posting he made on a message board on another site. To these few, I would say, with all due respect, “Shut up!”

Seriously, I got done posting it and thought, Wow, it ain’t pretty, but it pretty much sums up where I am at right now with respect to my craft. WWWD? (“What Would Wil Do?)

Obvious. He’d post the thing. F*ck yeah!

Wil Wheaton sez*: Bill’s da bomb! His commentary on the film industry is profound, inspiring, and sexy!

Did he say “sexy”? Wheaton, you’re a married man. And I like chicks. Get a grip, man!


On May 16, Daniel Calvisi asked:


So, to throw out a question just in case you have a minute to discuss craft:

What’s one or two key things you learned from seeing your script produced that you know will strengthen your future writing?


During my recent hermit phase, I’ve had a lot of time to contemplate this question. I wanted to come up with something big and earth shattering. Mostly, though, my head was still so cloudy, and the mere thought of putting something down on “paper” churned my stomach. And though I’ve longed to plug back into the collective, all I could do (as I’ve done in many other compartments of my life in recent months) is to keep my damned plug to myself for awhile…get my self back.

Anyway…that’s not the important thing. What IS important is Daniel’s very good question, and I aim to FINALLY answer it. ‘Cause I realized that, though answering it “big and earth shattering” is fallacy, I have landed on something recently that may be of worth. …And I am interested in the opinions of others like Robert and Mark, et al., who’ve had–if not their BIG break–they’re first break (because there’s a difference).

So…what I learned, Daniel, is this: I learned that my life is not much different than it was before. I learned that it’s still hard–not just businesswise, but creativewise.

For years, in spite of honestly knowing better, I allowed myself to believe that my movie career would parallel that of Kermit and Fozzy. I’d show in in Orson Wells’s office, he’d see my obvious talent, and I’d put my John Hancock on the “Standard Rich and Famous Contract”. After that, there’d be a big musical number. We’d dance around and sing, and suddenly I’d be brilliant forevermore. And this whole writing thing would come a lot easier.

If anything, I find the opposite is true. Post-RUNAWAY, I find writing is harder. I find I must be far more diligent about it because there are more distractions than ever to keep me away from writing.

And the most insidious distraction to date? Worrying about my so-called “screenwriting career.” Worrying about getting an agent. Worrying about what am I going to sell next…not WRITE next, sell. And having that override what, in my heart-of-hearts, I know I SHOULD be writing.

Okay…now I am NOT trying to sound all whiny. AND I am thankful and FULLY aware how fortunate I am to have made it this far. My point is, however, that at least for me, my screenwriting career so far resembles that of Gonzo the Great (“We’re going to Bombay, India to make it big in the movies!” “You don’t go to Bombay, India to make it big in the movies. You go where we’re going…Hollywood!” “Sure…if you want to do it the EASY way.”) than Kermit and Fozzy. And I think most writing careers–most MOVIE careers–are like that.

It’s not movies, but I remember watching Shelby Lynne win her Grammy for best new artist a few years back. She mused about being an “overnight success” tem years in the making. I think that’s the way it works. And at this point–where I am right now–you’re still slugging away in AA or AAA ball. And you need to keep doing that every day because slugging away every day is what a career–not just a break–is made of.

That first sale doesn’t represent the end of the continuum. It represents the beginning. And once you truly begin, it requires a much greater investment in terms of patience and discipline than ever before. Because people ARE taking your calls, people ARE interested in you, but they’re not quite ready to sign on the dotted line just yet. And it’s then you realize that you need to KEEP dazzling people. But how?

Well, that’s the trick, isn’t it? Because the answer is, “with YOU.” You need to figure out how to bracket the business of screenwriting with that creative space–the artist in you. Because THAT’S what people are interested in…the product of your creative wanking and your ability to put it together in some cohesive manner as a result of your mastery of this screenwriting craft.

And you better figure out how to balance those two. And you REALLY better figure out how to protect your creative time and space.

And you better just keep the hell writing.

So…Daniel. Here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve learned that my first break isn’t my BIG break. That’s still (cross your fingers) coming. And on the business side, I gotta keep writing and I gotta keep wowing folks because, though they’re intrigued, they’re not ready to back the truck up to my bank yet.

I’ve learned that, as much fun as it is to be a produced screenwriter with a well-received movie, it doesn’t get that next screenplay written. AND neither does worrying about the next phase in my so-called career. Every time I do that, the ideas that fly out of my mouth are absolute shit. Pablum.

So…what I need to do is stop worrying about it. I need, just like I did when it all began, to put all that aside and just let myself flow. And then I need to write. Every day.

There’s plenty of time for hustle later.

The magic is there’s no magic. I still get up every day. I still need to get my kids off to school. I still fret about money. I still struggle to get my dishes done. And I still need to write like I always did.

THAT is what strengthens my writing. That and now that I’ve seen a movie made outta my own script, I see how to better structure the thing in a more “cinematic” sense. But I can’t write a lot about that ’cause it’s something you just get when you see it happen.

All that said…yes! It will be kick ass to be in Toronto with my movie, thankyouverymuch.

*Okay…Wheaton didn’t really say this. It’s all in fun, Wil. It’s all those damned monkeys tapping. Please don’t sue me.

Rickin’, Frackin’, Stupid Weblogs!

I can’t tell you what the hell I did to mess up comments on this stupid blog. Going through the redesign was like feeling my way blindly through Tiffany’s. Oh! There’s a-


Oops… Guess not.

I don’t know what the hell to do. TypePad’s user manual says (and I quote):

So that’s it. Apparently, I no longer have a weblog. I’m paying for one. I’m also paying for the luxury of that slick domain handle, billtrue.net, but I don’t have a weblog. I screwed up. I screwed myself. TRUE LIFE, it seems, is no longer worth living. Good-bye, cruel cyberworld.

All that jabbering aside, I must apologize to one and all (or “both of you”, as it were) for the lack of comment ability here. It’s a tough nut, and I just can’t crack it. Then again, I never was the brightest bulb on the tree when it came to crap like this. Or much of any crap, for that matter. Or for crapping, now that I think of it. But that’s another matter. Maybe I’ll blog on it sometime.

Oh, wait. I no longer HAVE a blog. And who wants to read about my crapping. Never mind.

I must now seek professional help. No…not that kind, though some people might agree with you. Okay…most people. But I need to get some real techno-geek (as opposed to the faux techno-geek that is me) crankin’ around inside of there to see what’s up.

As usual, I am certain it’s something small. Jes’ gotta turn the screw a quarter-turn, righ’ der. Ye see? And then…Hummmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. Like hot snot off a butter knife.

We’ll see what happens. Meanwhile, I hope you are posting your TRUE LIFE comments on other weblogs, like we suggested. It’ll keep those other assholes who, I suppose one could say, still have “real” weblogs on their toes.

Go ahead. Click over to whilwheaton.net, for example, and do it. See what he says.

No? Geeze. Chicken.

Meanwhile, while you’re being wussies, I will keep prattling on this…well, I can’t call it a weblog, now can I? This…non-interactive piece of shit that used to be a blog and now’s just some stupid old regular website that ain’t good for nothing without my precious my comments ohhhhh they make it sooooo special ’cause the dumbheads at TypePad says so and everyone believes everthing they say because you know they’re TypePad and they know everything.

What? I’m not bitter. Be quiet. Did I ask for your comments?

Oh yeah…I guess I did.