A Writer’s Diary: What’s in the Hopper this September

Hi. It’s been awhile, hasn’t it?

By my count, it’s been about four years since I was blogging here (or anywhere) even semi-regularly. Like many folks who got started in the early 2000s, there came a point when taking a good break was the best thing to do. Then, I was writing a lot for a job. And then, happily, more life kept happening, but it didn’t lend itself to this format. Those were great for different reasons – they’ve led to my current job, among other things – but as time went by, I kept coming back to my folders and notebooks of screenplay and TV series ideas that were sitting, languishing in cabinets and boxes. And one day, I decided it was high time to do something about that.

So I started working on scripts in earnest. I took a couple of workshops and courses, wrote every night and weekend, edited every day to and from work on the train, and lo and behold, I’m now networking and pitching my first TV pilot concept and script. Even more exciting? I’m working on my next script, and incubating the idea for the one after that, even more eager to keep learning and growing as an artist. It’s the most creatively satisfying work I’ve done in recent memory, perhaps even ever.

And that’s the short version of what I’ve been doing for the past year and a half or so. That’s the creative turn that I plan to write more about here as it unfolds.

You can see my first pilot script, PIRATE QUEEN, a period drama about Grace O’Malley, on The Blacklist (if you’re a member) and via Stage 32. If all goes well, we’ll all get to see it on the air. Sooner rather than later would be great.

In the meantime, I’m working on my next pilot script. Until I’ve copyrighted it, I’m keeping the concept under wraps, but it’s a very different show. The story is a provocative contemporary drama about community and family. I’m looking forward to writing it, which should take until early October. And as I said, I’m incubating the idea for the third series, this one a workplace drama. I’m awash in random notes and scribbled names for that one as we speak.

And what else is up next here on Ginsberg’s House?

My two most recent posts are a hint. They’re an episode recap of episode 8 of Manhattan, WGN America’s series about the Manhattan Project, and a season one overview post to bring people up to speed on the show and who’s who on the show.

Here’s the deal with those. I love MANHATTAN, but I wrote the recaps to capitalize on a lot of work I did on a spec script for the show that I wrote last year. (Spec scripts are scripts for shows that are already on the air you do as a writing sample or for educational purposes, not your own original pilot.) I learned a lot while doing so, and I figured this was a good way to make use of that work. I’m throwing some good karma to a show I feel deserves some love, in the hopes that someday, someone else helps do the same for PIRATE QUEEN or another creation o’mine.

To that end, I’m planning to recap season two here, starting in October.

In the meantime, I also have a guest blog post on The Philadelphia Story for Go Into the Story (The Blacklist’s blog).

Happy writing, all!


deja vu

I know I allude to Big Changes Afoot in my life this summer, and I am not kidding. Let’s make a (partial) list of the mostly happy events, shall we?

  1. Graduated from master’s program. Booya!
  2. Finished intense consulting gig amidst graduation and ongoing work. Yes, I owe some “hi how are you?” emails.
  3. Completed student job. Shot into ether known as “unemployment”.
  4. Moved from NJ to Queens.
  5. Searching for Ginsberg’s next house for us to move again, oh, August 1.
  6. Career plans/long-term employment search underway, in earnest, but I did push pause during July for the…
  7. Short-term, “survival” employment search. Hello, tri-state area! You’ve probably heard from me recently. Yes, you can still hire me part-time. Ginsberg’s catnip is not going to pay for itself!
  8. [Happy stressors, personal life]. Which make 1-7 as enjoyable as possible and life overall a lighter and happier thing. Still, adjustments abound!

Go big or go home, amirite??

I’ve been through similar transitory summers and feeling as though everyone else is on some fabulous vacation while I’m…not. It’s why I felt that this summer was going to be a blip, and I was not going to actually experience it in a restorative or enjoyable sense. No, this was destined to be another of the lean hot stretches during which I could only imagine the fall and relief in the form of cool nights and a more stable (or “known”) routine.

I do try to stay in the present when I can, but sometimes I need to perk up. Part of my daydreams involve incorporating a more relaxed and confident mindset as the “new” normal. I imagine waking up and knowing just where I am, after Ginsberg and I sleep easily through the night with familiar and comforting background noises. I can take the longer mornings I’ve discovered I enjoy–with time for exercise, organizing, and a more gentle start to the day–then going into work where I am engaged, challenged, and able to contribute valuably to my team. I imagine rushing to get to a yoga class and then home, where I can write a little if I like. I see a bright, warm, living space where I welcome friends and cook, and we relax by doing not much of anything. Or going out to eat and walking home at leisure. Most of these events are precluded just by being in grad school, so you see where #1 alone is a boon!

Fall. I know for others living in the moment and continuing to enjoy a fantastic summer is ongoing, as it should be, but some days, I hope the universe forgives me for needing to daydream about a not-too-distant future instead.


[sappy haiku redacted for fear of ruined rep]

I think life is getting more fun.  It sure is more scary, more lively, more vivid than it was for a long time.  I also think of myself that, as Rosie O’Donnell once put it in a favorite film of mine, “You don’t want to be in love. You want to be in love in a MOVIE.”

That is correct.

I’m not nursing a heartbreak or anything, just musing that certain things are more complicated than I thought.  I have this safety-blanket love for listmaking which consumes those small spiral-top memo books that come five to a pack at Staples.  They’re my real diaries, I sometimes think.  Everything from grocery lists to items for a trip, cryptic abbreviations indicating a bar where I’m to meet someone, and then a name, and each time I open a door my stomach flutters and my fingers twitch, wondering when I’ll get to someday pull out a notebook and point to a name, saying, “See? This is where we met.  And then I picked up cat litter and tomatoes.”

Soon, maybe.