Entry 1

This entry was written on Thursday, July 15.

So far, I’ve made a pot of coffee, two breakfasts, and a lunch I know my son will like because it included a (bad for the environment) minisized Pringles potato chips. The container’s probably healthier than the contents, but what the hell. Too bad I left the lunch out of his backpack, so I had to beat the camp bus to its second stop with only an inkling of where that was. That entailed a panicky conversation with my husband on my cell phone in the car, which is now illegal in D.C. I usually don’t break the law, but I’m not a morning person. It takes at least one cup of coffee to notify my brain that it’s on call. I’ve wondered if there’s a way to connect a caffeine IV to my arm and the alarm clock.

But at least I’m early for work, something that rarely happened when I lived in L.A. It helps to be three hours ahead of my entire industry. Of course, there are drawbacks to working from D.C. (where I now live). Long before 9/11, movie security had been amping up. Pirated movies were showing up on the Internet, and an unfilmed Star Trek screenplay appeared at a Trekkie convention in Vegas; these kinds of things make studios very nervous about releasing material, let alone shipping it across the country.

Work is picking up after a slow week. Of course, the lag may be my fault. We went on vacation for two weeks and I neglected to change my answering machine message. People in my business rarely take vacations, so I always cringe when I have to let them know I do. How many times can you leave a message that there’s been a death in the family? Feels like I’m just asking for bad luck. I missed eight calls, four jobs. Not good. But after sending off a batch of e-mails and making a few calls, I got lucky with a print job and a TV campaign. FedEx arrived yesterday with a new feature and a screenplay, so I’m back in business.

I watched the movie yesterday. It had opening credits on it, which means it’s likely I got the whole thing, though probably not the final cut. When I first moved here from L.A., my husband was jazzed about watching as-yet-unreleased features with me. But over the years, watching movies that are still missing music, dialogue, and special effects has gotten to him. In one action film we watched, the good guy and his girl get trapped in a car in a cargo plane. The hatch opens and car, guy, and girl fall out and begin to plummet to earth. In the very next shot, they’re kissing in a hotel or something. My husband freaked. He needed to see how it all played out. Not me. In almost all cases, the shorter, the better. There are exceptions. I got to see a three-hour cut of Love, Actually and enjoyed it more than the finished film I saw in a theater months later. (I think they cut down the scene when Hugh Grant dances to the Pointer Sisters. Pity.)

It’s now close to lunchtime, which means my West Coast clients—trailer companies or the studios themselves—are probably in. The trick is to get them on the phone early before they’re inundated with the catastrophes du jour. I need their input before getting to work. Many companies have staff writers, and if work has already been done on my project, it helps to know what it is so I don’t write the same thing. I put in a call to Jane *, my client’s assistant, who tells me Cliff *—the top dog of a very successful trailer company—is out “on a fiber,” which means he’s showing work to a client and may be trapped there for who knows how long. Too bad. I’d like to get started, and he always has good ideas. We go way back and speak the same language.

It’s already 1 p.m. The camp bus gets back around 4:30, after which it’s a lot harder to get anything done that doesn’t involve Legos. I hear my husband rummaging around in the kitchen. One disadvantage of your spouse also having a home office is that leftovers may be gone if you don’t get to the fridge first. I’ve considered labeling things, but that seems rather unsportsmanlike.

The phone just rang. The trailer job I waited for all last week and finally gave up on just came in, which means another movie will show up tomorrow, unless there are thunderstorms and the FedEx gets stuck in Ohio. Yesterday I had no jobs. Today I’ve got three. Two would be a busy week. Oh well. No one has given me a deadline yet, but I’d bet my cat that everything will be due within the next five days. If you are what you eat, I need to scrounge around and come up with a very inspiring lunch. Wonder if there are any more of those Pringles.

* Name has been changed. (Go back.)