November 11th, 2005

Arrivaderci, filma...

What with the release of both a new album by Kate Bush and the recent Tsui Hark epic Seven Swords, I've been thinking a lot lately about why I'm attracted to certain artists (whom I admittedly obsess over), and what those artists have in common. One thing that often seems to be a symptom of genius (this, by the way, is hugely true of my special effects friend Tom Burman, who absolutely IS in the "genius" category) is that the artist does not look back fondly on their older works. Tsui Hark thinks Once Upon a Time in China is not great. Kate Bush calls some of her old work "a load of bollocks". Tom Burman never wanted to create a display in his studio because he can't stand to look at his old work (he did finally relent slightly - there is a small display now in the front office at the Burman Studio).

This, of course, got me thinking of my own early work. And I realized, with some disappointment, that I did not hate my early short stories. Sure, there were some that never sold that I can now see remain justifiably unpublished, but I can truthfully say I'm not embarrassed by any of my published stories.

Then I thought about the movies. Oh Christ.

I hate 'em all. I mean, there are parts of Meet the Hollowheads that are tolerable, and Tornado Warning's not horrible...but I'll never watch any of them again.

Unfortunately, there's one big difference between my dislike of my previous work when compared to Tsui, Kate and Tom: My work didn't make me rich. Sure, the film money got me through some lean times, but after six produced feature films and a dozen cartoon shows, my partner and I still share a small apartment, drive ancient cars, and have to seriously debate every fucking DVD or book or CD or clothing purchase. I'm frankly sick of it.

On top of it all, I'm having more fun writing this silly novel-in-a-month than I've had with any screenplay in years.

So, here's the deal: No more screenplays. Stick me with a fork, 'cause I'm done. If Kate Bush can reinvent her career at the age of 47, so can I. I'm going to write - and sell, dammit - novels.

Which is not to say, mind you, that I'll turn down film work. If my agents magically receive a visit from Timmy the Work Elf and get me a film gig, I'll take it. If one of those producers in the past who talked about how much they liked something or other actually decides to live up to their word and cough up some dough, great. But no more spec scripts (the ones I have are good, dammit). No more rounds of query letters to agents who I'll never hear from. No more "hey, how ya doin'?" feel-out phone calls. All done. If I'm not making money at this crap, it's not fun, and it's embarrassing to look back on, then fuck it.

Meanwhile, the novel is up to 25,183 words.