Sundance Episodic Story Lab

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 210 (When the multiple adrenaline surges finally wear off...)

I don't know what happened.  It finally hit me this morning.  Here I was all glowy, all OVER not making the final cut.

Maybe the multiple adrenaline surges finally wore off?  First there was seeing:  Episodic Lab!!  blazing in my inbox a full week early.  (without the italics and exclamation points...)  Then, the nicest-ever rejection letter.  And then the tidal wave of love from you.

I'm not generally depressive but woke up this morning in a black mood.  Very Soprano theme song.  Everything was gone.  Fortunately, you sent me links to watch and read, links about how to cope with rejection, about how to deal with an 'upper limit problem' and an Oprah video on surrrender (suggested by Louise Edington) which made me burst into tears and gave me the answer.  I have to let go AGAIN.  (Looking at You, Suzy Soro)  I have to surrender. 

So I hauled out the vacuum cleaner and threw myself into cleaning the house.  At first I was all (mournful) Skeeter Davis: "Don't theyyy know, it's the END of the world..."

This eventually shifted to chanting to a God I don't always believe exists:  "Please show me the way to use my talents."  which changed to:  "Could you just show me how to be happy!"  I felt willing.  I felt truly and totally surrendered.  What am I supposed to do?

Of course nothing happened.  And I didn't even take pleasure in doing a bang-up job of cleaning.  (Not to compare, but Oprah got a call from Spielberg offering her the part in The Color Purple the instant she surrendered.)   

Glum, with heavy feet, I pretended that I wasn't occasionally refreshing the mail on my phone and finished the job (except the bathrooms).  I decided that today is the day: it was almost 90º and I was going swimming.  I NEVER go swimming even though I love to swim.  Last summer I never even went ONCE.

So I put on a bathing suit and my cut-offs, got in the old Volvo and drove to the swimming hole.  I had a delicious swim against the current in a fast-moving river which did exactly NOTHING to change my mood.  I drove home, made a lettuce and tomato sandwich with a ton of Hellman's mayonnaise (protein) and trudged to my studio to write the blog of death. 

Almost immediately, on starting to write, the black mood lifted.  Oh and by the way, look what I found on the way to the studio. 

And look what I found on the way back to the house for a cup of tea.

You may not know that most of my childhood was spent on all-fours, eyes trained on the lawn, looking for 4-leaf clovers.  In decades of looking, I never found two in a day and never even imagined a 5-leaf clover.  Maybe things are looking up. 

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 207 (on The Sundance Episodic Lab decision)

So I got the email from Sundance which included the words "disappointing news" and "regretfully". 

It helps that it was the kindest rejection letter ever.  And it stings less to know that we were apparently *close* to being chosen.


I'm dealing with it by doing something I have total control over - moving my entire office outside so I can vacuum and paint the floor with some kind of sealer (to minimize the concrete dust).  And throwing the switch on Plan B. 

Mr. Green snapped this shot as I write this post. 

Mr. Green snapped this shot as I write this post. 

Woops.  Guess I don't actually have as much control as I thought.  The sky opened up and it started raining on my outdoor office ... which, has since turned into a full-on torrential thunderstorm.   Life is just full of big and little surprises.  And I have to remind myself that I do love a surprise.   

loading into the car.jpg

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 88 (on our win/win situation with the pilot script)

If you've been following me for any time at all, you're probably aware that I've got a little issue with an addiction to work.  But hey, if you have to go crazy with a compulsion, let's agree that 'work' might just be one of the better choices.  At least for me.  (Looking at you, 70% dark chocolate.) 

But today, feeling successful, feeling acknowledged and absolutely buoyed by the loving reaction over on facebook, I'm a changed person.  I'm relaxed.  I love the pilot script Mark and Bill and I pulled together in the past two weeks.  And even those two hard-boiled characters seem to feel really good about it. 

And most exciting of all is that even if we aren't picked to be finalists for Sundance's Episodic Story Lab, we've already grabbed the brass ring.  If things go as planned, by early Fall, whether we're invited to the Lab or not, we'll have a half-hour comedy series to pitch to television or to shoot as six seasons of a comedy web series. 

So today I celebrated. I threw caution to the wind and took the whole day off. 

Go Big or Go Bust: Day 73 (on the Second Round of the Sundance Episodic Story Lab)

I didn’t want to say anything about this because A) I was in shock and B) hey, it’s an interim step.  

But how am I going to carry on and not explain to you why I’m suddenly so busy, why I don't have time to make all the videos I’m chomping at the bit to make, why I’m not pouring my heart out in a long blog every few days--  when you don’t have a clue why I’m, all of a sudden, so darn busy.

Well, so I’ve decided to come clean.  

The Sundance Institute is in the second year of offering an Episodic Story Lab, an incubator for writers new to episodic television.  It’s very competitive, they invite only about ten projects and there are three rounds.  


In the first round, anyone who wants to, submits an overview of a season of ten episodes and the first five pages of a pilot episode.  This year there were so many submissions that they delayed announcing who would be invited to submit to the second round by almost a month.  

To my shock, Monday night, I got an email inviting me (and my co-writers Mordecai Green and William Hoffman, though only two of us are acknowledged by Sundance) to submit a pilot episode.  Here’s the clincher: the pilot is due by April 15th 11:59PM PST.  

So with one email, I’ve gone from sleeping a good eight hours a night and having coffee and even lunch with people to being a prisoner (a very excited, and happy if anxious prisoner) chained to my desk.  I already chewed my nails off yesterday. 

I would love to make it to the third round. 

Please send me good vibes, send me your brilliant good energy and good wishes.  And I thank you in advance.  From my heart!!  I'll keep you posted.