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Notes from afar: Tim’s LA farewell

I can only imagine how cold and wet the East Coast must be this time of year. It hit 90 degrees in L.A. this week, and of course it’s been sunny. I’ve been spoiled, but I’d be lying if I said I don’t miss Pennsylvania weather, at least a little bit.

I am writing this exactly one month before I head back home from L.A. There is a lot to do and to learn in the coming month, so it hardly seems like the time to write a retrospective of my semester in L.A.

I think I’ve come to a few conclusions worth mentioning, though. I’m starting to hone in on where I may one day fit in the film industry.

From what I’ve gathered from my classes, my internship and two long days of shooting our group film (with two more days to come), I’m pretty sure I want nothing to do with the production process.

Producers, directors, directors of photography and the other higher-ups in production have an incredible amount of tedious little details to think about, like how to best light the actors and set, what camera angles and lenses to use and how to maintain continuity, etc.

Others on set have tedious little jobs to do, like holding a microphone or operating the clapboard.

Perhaps it would be more accurate to call these tedious BIG details to worry about and tedious BIG jobs to do.

My talents and my patience don’t lend themselves to this kind of work. As much as possible, I want to avoid being on set.

What I’ve realized is this: before I’m a filmmaker, I’m a writer. My tools are my brain, a pen and paper (or a computer). I’m more comfortable working alone in my room than on a busy, crowded set.

As of now, screenwriting is just my preferred medium of writing. I may try my hand at other forms–novels,short stories–but I think my own personal style of writing is most readily effective when used for the screen, where it can be interpreted and made visible by people with talents different from my own.

Today I was given the valuable opportunity to talk with one of the literary managers at my internship. She gave me a lot of pointers on how to become a screenwriter. Basically, there are two things I need to be doing now: writing and living.

I graduate this coming May. My post-graduation plans are not specific yet, but I’m going to try to follow her advice and live and write.

And maybe, if all works as planned, Hollywood has not seen the last of me. In the words of a famous film character and California’s current governor, “I’ll be back.”

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