I find I have more time to relax and unwind when I’m actually working on a show. At least, when I’m working and I have addressed any production-related outstanding issues, I feel comfortable making use of the downtime to read or watch something. When I’m not in production, it’s technically all downtime but, really, time I should be spending setting up my next show. So, unless it’s work-related, I feel guilty reading or watching something when I should be writing another script or developing another series or going out taking meetings. The really frustrating part is you can’t just work on a single project and take comfort in a job well done because you have to have several projects on the go in order to give yourself even odds at landing something. And, more often than not, it’s never the project you love most or think is actually going to go. It’s a strange industry and makes me reflect fondly back on the Stargate days when we knew early we were going to be working on another season so I could actually carve out weeks of stress and guilt-free R&R. Back then, we would get the pick-up well before wrap, then spend a good month after wrap breaking stories for next season. We’d have 2-3 months off to write and, otherwise, unwind before the machine would start again. It was great being able to travel or simply take the day off to read without feeling like I should really be working on projects A through J. And A through J is conservative because, in this line of work, projects never really die. They’re either shelved indefinitely or simply never referred to again, like some embarrassing cousin who no one likes to talk about at family functions.
In situations like these, it really helps to have a supportive partner, like Akemi who declares all of my writing “Great!” despite never having actually read any of it (although she watched and loved both Stargate: Universe and Dark Matter), or wholly backs the prospect of moving to L.A. for work despite the fact that, the last time we went, she was accosted by a homeless man and ended up spending the greater part of our stay, while I was at my meetings, sequestered in our hotel room surfing the internet.
Okay, off to revise a pitch, rewrite an outline, do a pass on a horror script, plot an 8-10 page series overview, get another project, and agonize over the lack of response on another three!