April 14, 2014
People always ask me how to get a job writing for television.
People only ask me this question when I am not currently writing for television.
People are weird.
Almost everyone's path is different. I went from finding a dog on the streets of Santa Barbara (where I was staying with relatives) to volunteering at the animal shelter where I brought the dog to living with rescue's founders at their house and getting a job with their daughter's agent and then being their daughter's assistant and then getting my first writing job when their daughter had a show on the air.
So my advice? Rescue dogs.
When you get that first gig, it feels like you're finally being called out of the crowd to walk beyond the velvet rope. What they don't tell you is that your career is a series of velvet ropes. Because it's not about your first job. It's about the job after that, and the one after that. Your scramble up the mountain and you slide back down. Again and again and again. I choose to look on the bright side: periods of unemployment mean I no longer have to wear pants on a daily basis.
That doesn't mean that I don't look for freelance work between gigs. They usually involve copywriting or editing or proofreading, although one job site had 328 Television Writer Jobs, with the below being the number one match:
Maybe I should keep looking.
April 11, 2014
I open this window, this compose window on a daily basis and I stare at it. I'm used to being confronted by the blank page/blank screen/blank brain but here there's pressure. I have to say something profound and deep and literary but shareable and relatable and SEOizble and viral and not really that last one but blogs are about commodity and monetization and branding or something like that because I don't attend blogging conferences and I'm not a part of blogging networks because I am like Groucho Marx that way.
If I had a kid when I started blogging (1997) it would be GETTING READY TO GO TO COLLEGE.
In 2000 I took multiple meetings about my blog, where people talked about my life as a series and me as a character and what was the throughline and tapes (tapes!) were sent to me with actresses who were blonde and pretty and I met with Executive Producers but no one really knew what the series was and no one really knew what blogging was and I was chugging along at my TV career but the idea of this being a thing sort of fizzled out.
Which is okay. What they don't tell you about Hollywood is that a lot of things fizzle out. You work on a script that everyone's hot on and then they're not. You work on a show that everyone loves until they don't. You work in virtual anonymity and then one day your script wins a contest and Steven Spielberg is producing your pilot which is going straight to series (this guy is the boyfriend of a high school classmate of mine, and it's my favorite Cinderella story this year.)
The promise is that it could always turn around. Good or bad, up or down, it's a seesaw of untold fortunes. You get used to it in that shitty your pants doesn't ever become comfortable but it becomes familiar.
I write shorter stuff on Tumblr, and jokes on Twitter, and dog photos on Instagram and here I wonder if I have any desire to write anything that requires slamming two thoughts together because that seems like work and if it's work shouldn't it, y'know, be work?
But lately I've felt like it's time to dust off the compose new post page and hope back into the fray. Sometimes they'll be short and sometimes they'll be long and sometimes they'll be whining and sometimes they'll link somewhere else because you are not the boss of me unless you are and then that's weird because I haven't been paid.
I started writing for three people on a "personal website" in 1997 and hundreds of thousands of people on the TV screen. I figure right now, my audience is there, somewhere in the middle.
And if not?
"Rejection/ is just an erection/ with an R and a J/ stowing away!" - why I'll never write for Sesame Street— Nina Bargiel (@slackmistress) April 11, 2014
April 10, 2014
There's a new documentary called American Blogger. One would think that American Blogger would be about a cross-section of people and a cross-section of life and a cross-section of blogs.
"I imagine that a lot of these girls will send this movie to their dads, like 'Hey dad, you wonder what I do, you never really understand what I do, or why I love doing it but watch this movie, you're gonna see by the end of the movie why I love blogging,'" Wiegand speculates. "I kinda wanted it to be a mouthpiece for them.
My vagina makes me incapable of explaining things. Thanks to Obamacare that's no longer a preexisting condition.— Nina Bargiel (@slackmistress)April 10, 2014
There are mostly white ladies in the film because, as Wiegand continues:
"I’m a documentarian. I see myself as a journalist. I can’t force something that’s not there," Wiegand explains. "I just film what is presented to me."
Because everyone knows the first rule of journalism is: question nothing.
A big part of blogging is unpacking experiences. We don't report like the omniscient narrator spouting facts, but we draw you into bits and pieces of our world, and in doing so, sometimes figure out a small portion of what we do and how we do it. While microblogging - like Twitter and Instagram - give us the ability to show you what we're doing right now - blogging is still like the dinosaur newspaper (I would read the crap out of the Triceratops Times) where there's space between when it happened and when we're telling you about it.
That space is the reflection. That space is the time to think about what it means, how it fits, what we learned, even if it's about how to be a better Peeping Tom or what happens when your husband farts on a Virgin America flight.
Wiegand could have used the time during the editing process to look back over his footage and ask himself why his cast was so white? He could have asked why does blogging, which has the possibility to open up the world to new experiences and new people, draw us back into a reflection of our own?
The only reflection we get, though, is his own:
"I want to validate these bloggers," he says.
Because in the millions of words typed and blog posts shared on the Internet every day, it doesn't mean anything unless there's a white dude to validate it.
Super disappointed to discover that #AmericanBlogger isn't about bloggers having sex with pie. :(— Nina Bargiel (@slackmistress)April 9, 2014
March 10, 2014
Sunday, 3:17am: my alarm goes off
That alarm was three years in the making.
Will ran the LA Marathon for the first time in 2012. He was injured, and my friend Corrie and I walked up the course to bring him in the last four miles. She had run the marathon before. I hadn't. and I told her that under no circumstances did I ever plan to.
The next year, Will was feeling better. I still wasn't going to run the marathon.
A few months ago, Will and I moved to the West Side. Now I could do a long run without checking Twitter to see if had to change my route because someone was being mugged. Now would be a good time to train for the marathon, I thought.
I still didn't do anything about it.
My friend Chris ran his first marathon last year after training with the LA Leggers, a running group that met early Saturday mornings about seven months before the marathon. I'm not a joiner. I don't like being told when and where I have to be, and I certainly don't like not being in charge. It seemed like a perfect storm of things that should not work.
Four weeks into the Legger's training season, I joined.
I quickly took to the training: the 4 minute run/1 minute walk, the route, the idea that I just needed to follow the person ahead of me. I didn't have to think about anything but showing up and putting one foot in front of the other.
We did 14, 16 mile training runs. We did multiple 18 milers, two 20-miler, and a 22-miler that had me running the last full mile partially uphill (I needed to find a bathroom.)
I was ready for the marathon.
Will and I were up and out of the house by 4:45am. Traffic on the 10 was already backing up, but we managed to park and walk down to the shuttle by 5:25am. We were at Dodger Stadium by 6:15am. We met up with my Leggers pace group and waited.
The sun came up but downtown was still overcast and a little breezy. If the weather held, we'd be great.
SPOILER: The weather did not hold.