New Year Review

Personal, Podcasts, TV, Work

photo-1439556838232-994e4c0d3b7c

New Year’s has never been my favorite holiday, though I admit I like it more as I get older. It’s refreshing to eat healthier and clean out your closets, even if the spell only lasts a few weeks. However, as December waned, I took no joy in all the year end round-ups and “best of” lists. I had a gnawing irritation in my gut. I felt like a failure for not meeting my goals, for not getting any closer to the career and life I want. And that feeling was stealing my joy.

Christmas was busy enough to keep me distracted, but the feeling of failure was still lurking around. After Christmas, I was driving and feeling dejected, listening to a rebroadcast of one of my favorite podcasts, Dinner Party Download. The episode contained an interview with Jason Segel, from back when he was promoting his critically-acclaimed movie, The End of the Tour. I listen to DPDL every week, so I had most certainly heard the interview before. Maybe I missed it last time, or maybe I forgot, but Segel dropped some wisdom that was so simple and clear that it lifted me out of my anxiety fog.

“If you are being nice to the people around you, and are trying to take care of yourself and do a little exercise, and are working as hard as you can at what you do, then you’re entitled to have a little bit of peace.”

-Jason Segel

Yes! Yes, Jason, I am entitled to some peace. You know, it’s not as if all this anxiety has propelled me forward in my “career.” It’s not some renewable energy source that I can use to fuel my life. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. Anxiety kills creativity and sucks the fun out of everything. So remind me of this in a few months, when I’m still plugging away at writing, with no success, still a 32 year-old barista, still not sure what to do with myself. Just remind me that none of those things should get between me and my enjoyment of life.

A list of things that I did in 2015

  • Wrote a screenplay.
  • Signed my first option agreement. (That one kind of fell in my lap, but I’m counting it because it’s a big milestone for me.)
  • Changed jobs. Out of retail hell, hopefully for good.
  • Grappled with screenplay structure and seem to have come to terms with it. For this I have the Scriptnotes podcast to thank, as well as Craig Mazin‘s talk on structure at the Austin Screenwriter’s Conference.
  • Speaking of which, I attended the aforementioned Austin Screenwriter’s Conference and found my tribe.
  • Oddly, I finally began using two social media sites that have been ubiquitous for years: Pinterest and Instagram.

A list of things I’d like to do in 2016

  • Read more books. (I created a Books board on Pinterest (which is pretty heavily influence by NPR’s Book Concierge) to keep track of my must-read list.)
  • Make a list of classic movies and watch them.
  • Spend less time mindlessly scrolling the internet.
  • Have better posture. (Continuing the trend of “discovering” things everyone already loves, I think I may like yoga…)
  • Cook from my cookbooks more. (I have whole cookbooks from which I’ve cooked nary a recipe.)
  • Submit my work to screenplay festivals.

There. Nothing on that list is unachievable. Some of those things are actually fun.

The Year’s Best

As my New Year’s gift to you, I’m listing some of what I’ve watched, read, or listened to this year.

I’d love to hear about your favorites of 2015 and what you’re looking forward to in 2016. Happy New Year!

 

Advertisements

Leap In The Dark

Movies, Personal, Podcasts, Video, Web

Leap-in-the-dark

As someone with more than her fair share of existential hang ups, I’ve always envied artists who seem to blithely glide through life, creative energy flowing freely, uninhibited by anxiety or uncertainty.

But I’m not that person and it does my angsty little heart good to see how other artists work and to hear about their struggles. Here’s a few things from around the internet that have soothed my soul this week.

Emma Thompson’s Screenwriter’s Lecture at BAFTA (in which she recites the beautiful Agnes de Mille quote I’ve illustrated above.)

LA Times’ article on Ethan Hawke’s new documentary, Seymour: An Introduction. (See also Hawke’s interview on the Dinner Party Download and this video on Indiewire.)

Vanity Fair’s Tribute to Nora Ephron

Serial

Podcasts

Are you listening to Serial? No? Let me tell you about it.

serial-itunes-logo

Serial is a spinoff of This American Life. It’s a podcast, which means you can get it for free. Instead of doing self-contained episodes each week, Serial is taking an episodic approach, with 12 (I think?) hour long episodes in the season. The story is an investigation of a cold murder case, one that took place in Baltimore in the late 90s.

Sarah Koening, whose voice you’ve most likely heard on This American Life, guides you through the ins and outs and fascinating minutiae of a case that is murky at best. Her opinion of the case seems to change episode by episode, and you get to hear her go through the same feelings of second guessing and self doubt that you are having. I look forward to this podcast every Thursday. I think about it during the week. If you like mysteries, or procedurals, this is definitely in your wheelhouse. If you just love brilliant storytelling and appreciate smart and creative editing, you also will love it.

Download and binge it ASAP so we can talk about it.