A brief interlude: a more accomplished screenwriter than I gives me some solace

Earlier today, I had a phone conversation with a friend of mine.  He’s a very accomplished screenwriter who spent nearly two decades as a development executive and in-house re-write master at a few of the major studios.  Now he’s on his own and putting together a new company with an A-list screenwriter and a former studio head.

Anyway, so he’s working on this re-write for the screenwriter he’s partnered with, and he’s talking about the difficulty he’s having making everything gel together.

"It’s hard," he tells me, "because the scenario is set at one point in the story and then at a later point in the story, and my job is to fill in the gap between.  I know basically what I need to do, but I am having a devil of a time in the execution.

"I heard a quote–I can’t remember who said it–that just at the point where you’re about to throw your hands up and quit is when the answer comes to you.  I’m about at that point."

I am not happy that my friend is having a difficult go.  Of course, I know and he knows that he’ll find the answer, and everything will work out fine.  This is what he does.

At one point in our commiseration, he asked me, "Do you know what I mean?"

"Do I ever," I replied.

Uh…yeah.  Trawling in the cracks?  Trying to turn those lame "placeholder" scenes into real, full fledged, creative and dramatic ones that jump off the page and suddenly make the whole story work on a whole new level?  Story of my writing life.

I take a measure of comfort tonight knowing that guys like my friend struggle with the same problems as I do.  Makes me feel a little less lame.  And a little more like I belong here on the playing field.

#2–Bill’s top 10 highlights for the 2008 Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference

Over the next 5 days, I am going to post the highlights of this year’s
AFF screenwriters conference.  Well, my highlights, that is.

To continue our journey, here are #s 3 & 4.


– – – – –

3. Had a writing epiphany – About two hours after our run-in with the deer, both Robbye and I were understandably a little shaky.  We’d done our best to soldier on through the night, but the wind was definitely out of our sails.  Even worse, everywhere I looked in front of me I saw deer.  Whether they were real or imagined made no difference.  My freaked out meter was near redline.

We needed to stop.

We pulled off the Interstate in the middle of nowhere.  This tiny oasis of light was the only thing we’d seen for over an hour.  There was a gas station and there was a small café.  Good enough for us.

We went inside the café, The Plainsman, and instantly felt like we’d stepped onto the set of some kitschy indie Americana drama.  As we walked in, we were greeted by—no kidding—a huge stuffed deer head nailed to the paneled wall.  Aside from the waitresses, who wore matching smocks (of course), the only other people in the place were two regulars, Bill and Carl, both of whom were members of the bib overall brigade.

Okay…I realize I need to take a sec to say this.  So hold on the story, please.

A common mistake by many new writers (yours truly included) is to write dialogue where characters are constantly calling or referring to each other by name.  It looks like this:

John: Martha, would you like a martini?

Martha:  If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times, John.  I don’t like martinis.

Now…yes…people do, indeed, call each other by name at times.  What seems to be a universal problem with folks at the starting line of their writerly journey, however, is that they tend to overuse character names in dialogue.  Basically, you can spot a newbie a mile away this way.  And when you become attuned to it, it becomes absolutely glaring.

Because this has been an issue for me in the past, I am very cognizant of how many times I use character names in dialogue.  Of the several passes (i.e., editing reads) I give a script before I call it done, I always do a names once over.  It’s critical.

Okay…now I can return to the story.

Robbye and I are sitting in a booth, bleary-eyed and out-of-whack, sipping the colored water the place was trying to pass of as coffee.  During this time, something was working its way through the veil between my unconscious and conscious minds.  I couldn’t put my finger on it until I heard this exchange:

Kathy: You need more coffee, Bill (customer, not me)?

Bill: No, thanks, Kathy.

Kathy: How ‘bout you, Carl?

Carl:  I dunno.  Hmm…Sure, Kathy.  I’ll take some.

Bill: Well, Kathy, if Carl’s takin’ some, I’ll have one more cup.

Kathy: Sure thang, Bill.

I kid you not.  It sounded exactly like that.  Almost word-for-word.

Through the rest of our Plainsman dining experience, I had a hard time focusing on the conversation between Robbye and me because me ear kept drifting back to the conversations of the indigenous peoples.  Every time I tuned into one, it was a virtual replay of the Bill/Kathy/Carl exchange.

By the time we walked out, my writer’s mind was officially blown.  All of a sudden, my hard-and-fast rule wasn’t so hard-and-fast anymore.  I realized that there was at least one small pocket in the world where real-life people spoke like characters in a newbie script.  If there was one place, there were bound to be others.

I’d had an epiphany.  Though I will remain vigilant about my name usage in dialogue, I will relax a little.  Especially if I am writing characters who hail from small towns in the southern part of Kansas.

4. Kicked ass at moderating three panels – I mentioned in an earlier post that I had asked the AFF if I could try my hand at moderating a few panels this year.  I was very excited when they assigned my to three of them over the course of the conference.

I printed off pages of research materials, determined to be the sharpest, most engaging moderator the AFF had ever seen. My plan was to use the drive down to Austin to go through my research and notes and formulate a plan for each panel.  And even though I wasn’t exactly sure what angle of approach I was going to take for the “Know Your Rights” panel, I was feeling pretty damn skippy about the rest of them. 

That is…

Until we hit a deer.


And then I realized that I’d forgotten all my research and notes on my desk.


Luckily, there was a computer and printer at the Driskill Hotel.  Friday was a light day for me, so I had time to squirrel away and re-research.  I was able to re-print most of the stuff I’d left at home.  It was difficult, but also I managed to extract myself from the collective for an hour or so between Friday and Saturday and do my preparation work.

Also, I’d met a really cool guy by the name of Scott Richter on my Competitions panel.  Scott’s not only a writer, but he’s also a lawyer…and he won the 2007 AFF teleplay competition with his GREY’S ANATOMY spec.  He was a great co-panelist, and he and I had a rapport from the very beginning.  Felt very easy and very conversational, and we were able to build on each other’s points in ways that I think made the panel far more valuable for participants than it’s been in other years.  Anyway…he was slated to be one of the panelists on the Rights panel, so I asked him if he would have breakfast with Robbye and me beforehand and help me figure out how to make the most it.

Well, to make a long story er…not quite as long…the all three panels went swimmingly. Robbye had heard people talking about my Competitions panel and the Pitch Competition rounds I’d judged, and apparently the word on the street was that I was a guy whose panels you wanted to catch.  So all three were packed.  Standing room only, actually. 

I got a lot of great compliments from the folks that attended the panels, many of whom (and many of the panelist, too) said they were the best-moderated panels they’d ever seen at the AFF.  In fact, several people who were in attendance at my first Sunday panel showed up at the second one because they enjoyed the first one so much.

It was cool and humbling at the same time.

When all was said and done, I was just glad that I had delivered some value for the participants.  I was glad that I could bring a writer’s perspective—their perspective—the panel topics, and ask the questions they were burning to ask.  And I was glad people had fun.  That there was laughter at the same time as there was learning.

My two favorite moments:

–In the “Online World” panel, Brad Neely got defective instructions and showed up 30 minutes late.  TO make things worse, there was no chair for him.  We tried to get a standard AFF-issue high director’s chair for him, but all the volunteers could rustle up was a plain old chair.  As a result, poor Brad, though he’s kind of a big guy, sat a full 24 inches lower than the rest of us.

The first time I directed a question to him, I said, “Brad, I think you might want to weigh in on this.  What’s the perspective from the Shire?”

The place was in stitches for nearly a minute.  Brad, who was obviously feeling a little discombobulated and not quite sure why he was there in the first place got a big, ole smile on his face.

“That’s a good one.”

The ice was broken for Brad, and the conversation finally kicked into high gear.

–In the “Niche Projects” panel, Turk Pipkin brought in a twelver of Shiner Bock.  Everyone on the panel cracked one open, and we all swilled beer as we tried to talk smart.  During the Q&A, we rewarded the best questions with a beer.  So…okay…as much as I’d like to believe every panel was a favorite because of me, I have to admit that the beer was definitely the star here.

During the panel, we were talking a lot of about securing financing, in particular through getting sponsorships from companies.  At the end of the panel, I raised my bottle and said, “I’d like to thank you all for coming to the ‘Niche Projects’ panel, brought to you by Shiner Bock.”

People got a kick out of that.

#1–Bill’s top 10 highlights for the 2008 Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference

Over the next 5 days, I am going to post the highlights of this year’s AFF screenwriters conference.  Well, my highlights, that is.

To kick things off, here are numbers 1 & 2.


– – – – –

1. Hit a deer – Okay…I don’t know whether this qualifies as a “highlight”, per se.  More like a “lowlight”.  But it was a major event associated with this year’s trek to Austin.  A defining one, if fact.  That means it makes the list.  Hell, if anything, to honor the poor deer that gave its life in the name of getting our butts down there to participate in the conference.

First off, any illusions Robbye and I had of this year’s road trip being a replay of last year’s breezy cakewalk were pretty much killed by the time we got to Des Moines.  It started raining 30 miles into Iowa and continued the entire night—through every state—and didn’t stop until we pulled into the hotel parking lot.  The deer, however, was a little “adding insult to injury” the Universe tossed in for good measure.

It was 2:45 AM.  I’d taken over driving duties a few miles outside of said Iowan town, and we were about 10 miles south of Emporia, KS.  Robbye was sound asleep in the backseat.  The choices for the time being were heavy mist or fog.  It was a toss up which one I preferred.  They both sucked.  I had just passed though a patch of fog, when…


Right in front of me, a beefy buck, not more than five feet off the driver’s side front fender.  Saucer-eyed and doing the death-dash across I-35.  Thank god my reflexes were working.  I locked up the brakes for a second, slowing a bit, and turned with the deer.  That, if I say so myself, is what saved us from a much worse situation.  Well, for us, that is.

The deer, I’m sure, went instantly into the next world.  His head bounced off the fender and then took the mirror.  He spun around, I think, and hit the backdoor, where Robbye’s head was resting, and then he was gone.

The humans involved in the incident were, needless to say, a tad shaken.  We stopped a few miles up the road at an all-night gas ‘n sip and called the sheriff’s office.

“Yep.  That kinda thang happens ‘round these parts.”

The car, which was a rental, looked a little crunched, but it worked fine.  We’d bought the damage waiver, so we decided to keep going and call the rental company later when it was open.  See what they said.  They said, “Dang.”  But other than that they said go on with your trip.  So we did.

The good news, if there is any, is that it only added to our celebrity at the conference.  People we didn’t even know were grabbing us in the Driskill lobby and party venues.

“Aren’t you the people who hit a deer?”

“Umm…yes.  Thank you for reminding me.”

2. Chatted up Lawrence Kasdan – For nearly 30 years, Lawrence Kasdan has been one of my heros.  It all started with a little movie he wrote called RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK.  You mighta heard of it.  He was cool.  HE wore a fedora, just like Indy.  And he wrote the coolest, snappiest dialogue I’d ever heard.

Then he wrote the script for a movie called THE EMPIRE STRIKES back (and, I learned later, basically wrote the production draft of STAR WARS…suddenly things made sense).  Stick a fork in me.  I was done—a fan for life.

I don’t think there’s a Lawrence Kasdan movie I haven’t seen.  But more important, as I got older, and my journey to a career in the movies took some unexpected detours, Kasdan’s story gave me hope.  He was a working guy.  He had a family.  He didn’t live in Hollywood.  He came into the game a little later than conventional wisdom suggests.  Yet, he wrote and taught himself the screenwriting craft, and when he thought he was ready, he went for it.

My good friend Carol, whom I met somewhat serendipitously 5-6 years back, turns out is one of Kasdan’s best friends.  She edits nearly all of his movies, and her husband has been DP for many of Kasdan’s films, too.  And every time we would get together, she would tell me, “You have to meet Larry.  The two of you would get along so well.  You come from such similar backgrounds, and your sensibilities are similar, too.”

Uh…let’s see.  Meet my screenwriting hero.  Okay…sign me up.

Unfortunately, schedules and the like never quite lined up.  And then…

It’s Friday night at the AFF, and Robbye and I are waiting for the bus to take us to the Texas Film Commission BBQ.  Who do you think is standing five feet away?  Yep.

Robbye was nudging me.

“Say hi to him.”


“If you don’t, I will.”

That worked.  I hate it when she calls my bluff.

I’d sat in on a panel he’d done earlier in the day, so I opened up the conversation on that…seemed like a decent opening.

“I enjoyed your panel.”

Sheer genius, in fact.

Well, maybe not, but it got the ball rolling.

I got to tell him about our mutual friend, and he perked up immediately.  And that’s how I got to talk to Lawrence Kasdan the entire bus ride.  He asked me about what I was doing there, and I got to tell him about winning the AFF in ’05 with RUNAWAY.  And he congratulated me.

Lawrence Kasdan.  Congratulating me.

When I said good-bye to him, we were talking about possibly making the get-together Carol had been talking about happen sometime when we were all in LA.

And as I walked off the bus, my only concern was whether or not I’d wet myself.  After our very pleasant conversation, that woulda been…you know…awkward.

I suck as a friend (or “Watch this movie!”)

I can’t believe I waited so long to see this movie.  Geeze!

My friend, Greg Lessans, is a stellar guy and a helluva producer.  He runs a production company in Hollywood called Terra Firma Films with Adam Herz of AMERICAN PIE (and AMERICAN EVERYTHING) fame.

Terra Firma’s first movie , MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL (on which Greg is one of the producers), came out on September 19.


Greg and I met nearly five years ago at Sundance, when I tried to pawn a script for what at that time was called MICHAEL’S LETTERS on him.  In the end, that script got sold, got re-titled, and became RUNAWAY.  Anyway, he took my card, and I thought that was the last time I’d hear from him.  But Greg is not Hollywood as usual.  Within a week, I’d gotten an email from his assistant saying that he’d like to meet me sometime.

A month later, I was on the Universal lot and spending an hour or so visiting with him.  I had a great time, if you don’t consider that I was also suffering from a minor bout of food poisoning (bad egg salad sandwich from earlier in the day–lunch meeting with a guy from WMA…appropos, no?).  We’ve kind of kept in touch after that, and have gotten together a few times when I’ve been in LA for meetings and such.

We’ve been in a perennial search for a project we can work on together.  Truth be told, the person getting in the way of that lately has been your truly.  This past spring, we were discussing an idea, and it’s been in my corner to make the next volley.  With all the work (and subsequent progress) on INCARNATION and the springing up of this new project, UNDONE–not to mention my SagePresence responsibilities–I simply haven’t had the time to noodle any more on the idea to flesh it out.  But Greg is a very patient guy…thank God.

That’s one of the things I really appreciate about Greg, by the way.  He’s been such a stalwart supporter of my work.  He consistently reinforces the stance that it’s not "if" we work together, but "when".  I am hoping that day comes sooner than later because I think he’d be a gas to work with and I’ve learned tons from him already just by hanging out with him and talking on the phone–he has this uncanny ability to dissect ideas and concepts and test their marketability and "movie-ness" immediately and in the moment.  It’s an amazing thing to see in action.  Frustrating, if you’re a writer trying to get him to say yes to a project, but secretly you’re thankful for it later because you know he really just wants you to succeed.

But I digress from the point of this post…

I had every intention of seeing the movie that day and sending Greg a bottle of champagne or something.  I ended up being in Chicago at the time, and my plans got kinda torpedoed.  I told myself that I would see the movie as soon as I got home, but life had other plans.

FINALLY!  Last night I told Robbye we had to go see it.  I plied her with the promise of a 55-gallon barrel of Cherry Coke and a tub of butter with popcorn sprinkles.  And so we went.

Mbfgside It was a fun movie.  Perfect for date night.  It’s kinda sweet and kinda caustic all at the same time, and Dane Cook is hilarious.  Not to mention Alec Baldwin, who has, it seems, found a whole new career as the wise-cracking curmudgeon and delivers here in spades.

Last time I checked, it’s still playing in over 1,700 screens around the country.  If you’ve got a couple of hours on your hands this weekend, head on over to your local cineplex and check it out.  I think you’ll enjoy it.

And support my friend, Greg!  Way to go, man.  I am quite proud.

P.S. Also, props out to my other friend, Josh Alexander, who has a great cameo as a prissy salon manager in the flick.  There’s a funny moment with him, Cook, and Jason Biggs (and the gal who plays Roxy in ARMY WIVES…yeah, I watch it.  What’s it to ya?).  I had forgotten that he was in it, and it was a little embarrassing when I noticed him and said way-too-out loud, "Oh, my god!  I know him!"

The skinny on Austin

Man!  Tempus really does fugit, don’t it?

I can’t believe it’s just a week till the start of the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference.  It seems like the last one was, like, a month ago.

I am truly looking forward to this year’s conference.  When the AFF contacted me about being a panelist this year, I told them that I would love to and that I would also be happy (and in some respects more happy) moderating some panels.  They really took that message to heart, and I am involved in some really cool panel discussions.

I think it’s a really good idea, having actual screenwriters moderating some of the panels.  Being that the participants are, you know, screenwriters, guys like me know the questions they’re burning to get answered.  Because they’re same same one I want answered.

I notice there are a number of other screenwriters moderating panels this year (one of them being my good friend, Karl Williams, who is one of the most intelligent, articulate, AND funny guys I know.  And the guy can write, too).  It’s a good thing.  I believe it will make for a fuller, more engaging, and educational experience for the participants.

Okay…enough babbling.  Here’s the lowdown on the panels I’m on during the conference:

THURS. 10/16, 1:00 PMGETTING THE MOST OUT OF COMPETITIONS: What can competitions do for writers? Attending the Austin Film
Festival is only the first step in having your work progress in the
industry. Learn how to make your work stand out from the rest and get
the best experience possible from the festival.

This is the third year I have served on this panel, and I have to say I absolutely love it.  For one thing, the room is always packed, and the energy and excitement from the audience is palpable.  It’s great being in a room with so many passionate people, and it’s an honor to be a part of their writerly journey.  Another cool aspect is, though we do talk about competitions, we can’t help but speak to the whole picture–the entire spectrum of things serious amateurs should do to help make their first break.

And it’s always a pleasure to serve on a panel with Greg Beal of the Nicholl Fellowship.  That guy…he’s not only very bright and always has some entertaining and pertinent story that perfectly models the point we’re trying to make, but I swear he remembers every script that funnels through the competition.  In a contest, by the way, that receives upward of 6,000 entries each year.  It’s uncanny.

SAT. 10/18, 3:45 PMKNOW YOUR RIGHTS: POST PRODUCTION: You have the right to know if you are getting a fair deal on your
screenplay or film. From distribution and financial responsibilities to
maintaining the rights to your own work, How do you get your film seen
by its audience while protecting your own future? Come hear from
lawyers and filmmakers in the know about how to preserve your own
intellectual property.

Funny…I was checking this one out because I thought it sounded kinda interesting.  As a guy who’s been there AND who’s also been dipping his toes into the producing pond, I wanted to hear what the Hollywood brain trust had to say on the subject.  Then I noticed my name in the moderator spot.  Cool!  I guess it’s a lock, then.  I’m goin’!

Seriously, especially considering the current state of the industry, understanding the rights game and distinguishing fact from fiction is of paramount importance to fledgling writers.  It’s the first step to avoiding being the main character in a cautionary tale people talk about at future screenwriting conferences.

SUN. 10/19, 11:30 AMTHE ONLINE WORLD: Writing, creating and exploring content for the web. The interweb
provides infinite options for reaching new audiences. How does that
access translate into making a living from producing content for the

One needs to look any further than this very articulate and more-than-slightly disturbing commentary by Mark Gill in IndieWire to know at the very least the Internets are THE (to use a little Presidential campaignspeak) game-changer in out industry.  It’s the new talkies, the new color, new TV, the new cable, the new VHS, and the new DVD.  In some respects, it’s all of those all rolled up in one.

In fact, when I talk about its impact on the movies, I equate its significance to the invention of movies, themselves, and how that impacted legit theatre.  I believe it’s going to fundamentally change the way people look at entertainment.  And, oh yeah…it already has.

Sun. 10/19, 2:30 PMNICHE PROJECTS — With an ever-expanding landscape of independent film, how you get your
film seen by its demographic? Learn from independent filmmakers who
have successfully found their audience and had an impact.

First off, what I just said about Mark Gill’s commentary in IndieWire.

Second, this is such an intriguing concept for a panel.  I have to admit, at first blush I would’ve been tempted to pass over it.  I didn’t really get it until I read the description.  But think about it.  In today’s world, the distribution channels are favoring movies that can find a niche–over mainstream ones, even. 

In reality, this is probably one of the most important panels that anyone could attend at this year’s conference, and I feel quite fortunate to be trusted to moderate it.  As evidence of its importance, I will refer to Peter Broderick’s excellent article in the 9/15/08 issue of IndieWire, titled "Welcome to the New World of Distribution".  In it, he outlined 10 things filmmakers and distributors need to realize in today’s movie marketplace.  Here are the two that I think apply here:

"4. CORE AUDIENCES – Filmmakers target core audiences. Their
priority is to reach them effectively, and then hopefully cross over to
a wider public. They reach core audiences directly both online and
offline, through websites, mailing lists, organizations, and
publications. In the OW, many distributors market to a general
audience, which is highly inefficient and more and more expensive."


"10. TRUE FANS – Filmmakers connect with viewers online and at
screenings, establish direct relationships with them, and build core
personal audiences. They ask for their support, making it clear that
DVD purchases from the website will help them break even and make more
movies. Every filmmaker with a website has the chance to turn visitors
into subscribers, subscribers into purchasers, and purchasers into true
fans who can contribute to new productions. In the OW, filmmakers do
not have direct access to viewers."

Okay…  So there you have it.  Very exciting.  I am happy that they’re using me so much this year and that I am going to be quite the busy boy next week.

I am also, by the way, going to be judging the pitch competition again this year.  That’s always a blast and a real highlight for me.

Not certain what’s going to happen with the Filmcatcher commentary.  The project kind of fell through, which was a bummer.  The Filmcatcher folks really wanted to do it, but they have tons of festivals they’re trying to cover this year.  In the end, they felt like they simply couldn’t put the resources into covering the AFF they would need to in order to do it justice.  They’re hoping next year…We’ll see what happens.

I may still do some blogging for Filmcatcher on the AFF.  With the lack of a laptop, I am not certain how feasible that will be.  I am trying to figure that out this week.

Meanwhile, I am also excited because Robbye and I will be road-tripping it down there like we did last year.  We had such a blast.  I’m quite psyched for the sequel.  Sans our car getting towed, that is.

Just Breathe

note: if you wanna skip all this commentary crap and cut straight to the song, scroll down.

– – – – – – – – –

Last winter, I decided it was time to say good bye to my old M-Audio keyboard.  The bright idea to sell the thing was predicated on the proposition that I would soon be in a position to upgrade my computer system in its entirety and enter the world of utter Garageband kick-assedness.

Said upgrade was not in the cards, and I found myself standing at the brink of fall still muddling through with flagging technology and sorely missing the keyboard I so prematurely sent into the craigslist ether.

I was a bit amazed and perplexed.  I didn’t think that I would miss noodling around in Garageband as much as I did.  I guess that’s why I thought it would be no biggie to hawk the keyboard.  I hadn’t realized just how much I’ve come to rely on it.  To calm me.  To help me work through things.  To inspire me.

It’s a strange life, this living into one’s dream.  One side-effect is that my fun is also my work.  That means I get to do it all the time.  The other edge of the sword, however, is I never quite get away from it, either.  What was my "hobby" has become my vocation.  Which begs the question, "What do I now do ‘just for fun?’"

The music had become that for me.  It was the thing that I did just for me, with no preconceived notions of fame and fortune behind it.  And that made it even more–I don’t know what the word is…special?  No…compelling?  Unique?  No…  I’ll have to get back to you on that one–than even my writing.  Regardless, it’s something upon which I had started to rely.  And it’s something that filled me up.

And it’s something that I feel like it was something at which I was improving.  Although I would, by no means, qualify myself as very good, much less great at it, I would say that I was starting to get a feel for it.  For what it was, I could live with the results.  It was the process, though, that made it all worth it for me.  Getting lost in it provided me immense satisfaction.

Strange…the thought that just occurred to me is that the process is a lot like screenwriting.  Hmmm…I won’t go there.  Pretend I didn’t say that.

Anyway, I found I was missing it.  I found that there was a hole in my life where it had been, and I was worse off for it.

Then…a few weeks ago, Dean, Pete, and I were at Dean’s house.  We were rehearsing for shooting our upcoming streaming video series for SagePresence, and what did I spy gathering dust in the corner of his family room?  The same type of M-Audio keyboard that I had gotten rid of last winter.

I asked him if he was using it.  The answer was (no pun intended) music to my ears.

"Using what?  Oh…that?  No…not really.  Well, never."

Next thing I know I was heading home with the thing ticked under my arm and on indefinite loan.

The difference it made was virtually instantaneous.  As soon as I got home, I launched GarageBand and started futzing around.  There it was, that stirring.  The smile on my face.  The warm glow in my chest.

In honor of this homecoming of sorts, I decided to write and record a song.  Of course, it’s inspired by my muse.  One day, I am certain I will write a song about pencils or world hunger or something, but for now it seems appropriate to wander around in this space.  After all, if music is the language of the heart…

I am pretty happy overall with this little ditty, which I call "Just Breathe".  I believe it demonstrates another big step forward in my understanding of both the craft of songwriting and the tools I am using.  I know that I am still at the starting line on both, but I feel like I am learning and that it shows.

The only thing I am really dissatisfied with is the vocals.  When I hear them, I cringe.  My next purchase will be a better microphone and interface for my computer, so I can record vocals without having them either sound like crap or over-modulating.  The vocals on this version are the second draft scratch track, but I got frustrated trying to make them work to my liking.  Subsequent takes sounded even worse, so I decided to screw it and leave it as is till the day I could do it right.

So here it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed putting it together.

Another one for my baby.

Just Breathe

Hey, darlin’
Don’t fret
This ain’t over yet
Hey, baby
It’s all right   
Even if it takes us all night

We’re gonna close the distance
Between me and you
We’re gonna come together
We’re gonna learn to live what’s true

Just breathe
Trust me
Trust you
We can make it through
More walk
Less talk
Less push and shove
More makin’ love

Hey, darlin’
What gives?
We cannot change the things we did
But, baby
Why say
Our better days are miles away?

Could it be, baby
We’re already there?
Could it be, maybe
All we need is some air?

Just breathe
Trust me
Trust you
We can see this through
More walk
Less talk
Less push and shove
More makin’ love

Where does the love go?
How does a heart know
When the sun will rise?
The night is dark
There’s no end or relief in sight
Along the way
It’s everything we can do sometimes
To keep our faith
We stumble to the light
And hope we make it right

Hey, baby
Don’t cry
This isn’t about good-bye
So, darlin’
Just smile
And come and sit with me awhile

We’re gonna close the distance
Between me and you
We’re gonna come together
We’re gonna learn
to live what’s true

Just breathe
Trust me
Trust you
We can make it through
More walk
Less talk
Less push and shove
More makin’ love

Could it be, baby
We’re already there?
Could it be, maybe
All we need is some air?

Just breathe
Trust me
Trust you
We will make it through
More walk
Less talk
More makin’ love
Less push and shove

Just breathe
Trust me
Trust you
We can make it through
More walk
Less talk
Less push and shove
More makin’ love