You know, I enjoy this freelance entertainment journalist gig, but it’s very difficult to maintain with my day job. On one hand I have the eight hours that I spend working to pay the bills. On the other hand I have the night gig, running out to LA to screen a movie or attend a Press junket or go to some industry party. Somewhere juggled in the air is time to sleep, eat, clean my apartment and write. When you’re pressed for time it’s amazing how the little things start piling up around you. In my case, the piles are quite literal. I have mounds of dirty laundry on the floor. Empty fast food bags and unread mail litter my countertops. My dinner table has assorted detritus, ranging from review material to computer parts. I’ve turned my couch into a coat check. Hilariously, I still try to cook once in a while or take some leftovers home. Yeah, like I have the time to eat the next day! The result is some gruesome science project in my refrigerator. It’s actually gotten to the point where I’m afraid to open the lids to dump the “food” down the disposal. Now that I have a bit of free time maybe I can muster the courage to attend to some life-maintenance.
When I’m stuck in traffic – either to or from an event – I always think about how much more convenient it would be to be a full-time journalist. Then I wouldn’t have to waste so much time, cutting back and forth across Southern California’s arteries. But then I think: I don’t really want to be a full-time journalist though – especially with how many journalists are being laid off. Apparently the job market is flooded with out-of-work professional movie critics, which is a position that every entertainment journalist strives for, because it’s so cushy. Ultimately, I’d like to be able to quit both gigs and make the screenwriter thing happen. Then I could just live a single, happy life, doing something I truly enjoyed and that I felt had purpose.
On a side note, one script that I doctored is apparently going to filmed soon and my “big” screenplay is being read by a literary agent, which I should hear back from by end of next week. I’ll keep you posted.
That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy either of my jobs. My day job is swell for several reasons. It’s easy. The environment is pretty lax. My manager isn’t too demanding. I also like my night job for several reasons. I get into exclusive places. I interview celebrities. I get to watch movies before they’re released. There are a few things about the night job that grate on my nerves sometimes, though. Most recently it’s been the other journalists.
I was at the Press junket for The Yellow Handkerchief and there was a European journalist there. I’d like to say he was German based on his accent, but he later engaged William Hurt at length in the doorway in French. On a side note, William Hurt is a very big guy. Anyway, before the junket started we all had to find seats in the cramped room. One journo set his pack down on a chair to claim it while he went to grab something, which is common practice. Generally, we like to pick our seats before running off to the hospitality suite to get some water or nibbles. Anyway, when the journo got back, the European dude had tossed his bag aside and claimed the seat. When the journo tried to explain that that was his seat Euro-dude exclaimed loudly, “Too late! Too late!” and waved off Journo. Journo just stood there, stunned, mouth agape, muttering something about “not being an asshole.”
Then today, in a much bigger Press conference, I had to sit and listen to people pretend to have conversation. Imagine a room with 100 people whose jobs are to give opinion. Now imagine these people all trying to talk to each other about very subject they give opinions on. They aren’t actually listening to what the other person is saying. They’re just waiting for the opportunity to give their opinion. Listen to your own conversations with your friends and family. The natural order of conversation is to explore thought, give listening sounds and pause once in a while. Not so in a room full of entertainment journalists. Instead, they assault each other with brilliant-sounding sound bites of passages that they can remember from something they wrote about the topic at hand. Fake laughter punctuates the cacophony to perpetuate the illusion of listening. It’s enough to make me want to crawl inside myself.
I’ve done the freelance thing long enough now that my friends and family are no longer wowed by my experiences or even really care to hear about them. It’s also starting to feel like a job. All I’m saying is that I’m ready to be on the other side of the microphone.
Hopefully I’ll have time to catch everyone up on my Alice in Wonderland experiences. Stay tuned!