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Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

2017 was a big, crushing disappointment for me.

With my one notable achievement of graduating college after 7 years of schooling (I’m never, ever going back to school, by the way) out of the way in April, I found myself jobless, money-less, and living with my parents at the start of summer.

I started off ready to hit the ground running, applying for every corporate video production job that was available. I wanted to use my experience in Film School and my degree to land me some steady work while I created a screenplay for a feature-length movie the Immanuel’s Song team would make sometime in August or September. I wouldn’t have wanted something full-time just yet since I wanted to work solely on the movie, but in order to work on anything movie-related (be it for myself or someone else), I needed a car. 2016 was the year of the slow death of my trusted Hyundai Accent that had been my companion throughout college; living in Utah, when one loses their car, one loses their freedom entirely. I wouldn’t be able to drive to any sets, and would be at my parent’s mercy when it came to when and where I could work. So I had to get a full-time gig in order to pay for that car, which I wanted to buy with cash, since I planned to quit whatever job I got in order to work on the movie.

Here’s how my days went in the summer months:

  • 7:00: get up and walk the dog
  • 7:45: eat breakfast/take shower
  • 8:00-12:00: write
  • 12:00: Have Lunch
  • 12:00-4:00: Work on getting a job
  • 4:00-6:00: Play games for the podcasts
  • 6:00: Eat Dinner
  • 7:00-11:00: Free time

I had initially hoped that I would be able to land a job in those first two months, and that’s how long I gave myself to look for film industry adjacent work before moving onto more mundane things. After those two months were up, I only ever got one interview (at Fox 13), and didn’t get a call back when they said they would contact me.

I was crushed.

I knew it was gonna be difficult given the bottleneck of the entry-level film jobs, but despite tweaking my Resumes and Cover Letters to perfection for weeks on end, I wan’t even getting the chance to interview. That, and I had always prided myself on getting every job I ever interviewed for, and it looked like Fox 13 was there to end my streak.

On the writing side of things, everything seemed to be going well… I thought. At the very least I was getting pages written for a script I called “The Lazy Boy”, which I planned to vomit out and let a friend of mine re-write, hoping that two eyes would improve what I knew was gonna be messy after my rough draft, and attempting the back-and-forth process I heard the Nolan brothers did when working on their screenplays. Right around the time I gave up on industry adjacent jobs, I handed off the script and took a break from writing.

Unfortunately, I didn’t have any more luck with the non-industry jobs for a very long time. I was working my way from top to bottom in terms of pay and quality of life, looking for something I thought I’d land easily given the college degree, a job I wouldn’t feel guilty about dropping at any moment for film-related stuff. Many weeks went by before I got a job interview at Winco for a meat-cutter position. A freaking meat-cutter position.

Believe it or not, I didn’t get the job.

I was mad. I complained about my job search on Nude Clan and got a tweet from one of our listeners who manages a Little Caesars. Turns out that for “crappy jobs” as I called them (aka, jobs that don’t require a degree or much experience), the best thing to do was to leave off the Bachelor’s Degree, since managers would see that I wasn’t gonna be there for the long run. In this case, they would be right. My intention was to work enough to buy a $3000 car and get the hell out of there to work on what I was passionate about.

Sometime in August, after 4 months of job searching, I finally had some luck. I was called in for two interviews on the same day and was offered both positions. One was at a local gas station for 9 dollars an hour, part time, and the other was working for FedEx full time as a driver, where I was told I could make up to $700 a week. It was an easy choice. I went with FedEx.

What I didn’t understand about FedEx was the time commitment and the physical exertion involved. Since I was a contractor, I’d only be paid for what I delivered, which could vary from 90 to 135 stops. The difference between 90 and 135 stops is the difference between coming home after 7 1/2 hours of work and 12 1/2 hours of work. Sure, I’d get paid more, but suddenly my life went from having no job at all to working roughly 60 hours a week (including the long commute from the station to my work area).

Now everything was piling up on me. I was having trouble keeping up on the games required to do my shows, and I wasn’t writing; my entire day consisted of work, and not wanting to do anything when I got back home due to how exhausted I was. Then the script came back from my friend in even worse shape then when I had sent it. Apparently, my experiment failed, and I would be the one doing the real second draft. At that moment though, I didn’t have time. The job was (and is) all that filled my day. What made all of this worse was getting feedback from friends on the script, two of whom found a major plot hole that I couldn’t figure out how to fill. Frustrated, I put “The Lazy Boy” away, and tried to come up with other ideas for new stories.

As Fall came in, I wasn’t any further along than where I was when I graduated in terms of the film project, and I decided to start waking up 2 hours before work to write. Eventually I landed another screenplay idea and took a few weeks to draft up an outline and start on my new, badly titled project called “Son of Canaan”. After sending out my first 30 pages to my friends, it was clear that the response was much better for the new project than the old, and all ideas of possibly salvaging Lazy Boy were thrown away.

…And now Christmas has come, and I’ve had to put down the script once again. Last week I worked 68 hours, the week before I worked 72. I haven’t been able to put any energy into my shows, and all of my projects have been put off again. Working for FedEx during Christmas when everyone is ordering their shit is a living, breathing hell.

But here is my ray of hope: after all this time I’ve finally solidified a plan that I think will make 2018 the year I get to work on my projects.

Real quick though, here’s a recap of all the things I wanted to accomplish in 2017:

  1. Make a Movie – Didn’t happen. The script I finished wasn’t ready and we chose not to settle on crap just to make something.
  2. Get under 200 pounds – Didn’t happen. My weight peaked in May 2016 at 295 pounds of pure fat ass. I’ve managed to get down to 225, but those next 25 pounds will have to wait until next year, I’m afraid, the holidays aren’t helping.
  3. Read/Listen to 52 books – I’m on track to finish this one, driving a FedEx truck gives you lots of time to listen to audiobooks.
  4. Watch 100 Movies – It looks like I’m gonna hit this one too, I may be too tired to write or work on games for pod-casting, but I’m rarely too tired to watch a movie.
  5. Save up $5000 – First, this was gonna be for my teaching job in Japan I hoped to get, and then it turned into $3000 for a car, and then when I landed a job that paid well it became $5000. I should hit this next paycheck.

As you can see, my biggest and most important goal was sacrificed due to the need for transportation, and when I should’ve just kept writing the next script while my friend took a jab at “Lazy Boy”, I chose to work and play video games. Other disappointments for 2017 included the realization that my degree was basically worthless in the job market, Immanuel’s Song only got into 1 of the 10 festivals I submitted it to (and that one was an online competition, not an in-person festival, though it did win an award), all the money I had saved dwindled away as I was unemployed, and finally, THE FACT THAT FOX CALLED ME MONTHS AFTER MY INTERVIEW, DURING MY FIRST WEEK AT FEDEX, AND OFFERED ME THE JOB, BUT I DIDN’T TAKE IT BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO BE AN ASSHOLE TO MY NEW EMPLOYERS.

Anyway, with the car thing soon to be out of the way, I’ve got some new goals for 2018:

  1. Make a Movie – If “Son of Canaan doesn’t work, I will write up to two more scripts before I just pick one of the 5 I’ve written to make. We’re doing this thing come hell or high water.
  2. Write 8 Screenplays – I want to focus more on writing, and given the advice of Brandon Sanderson, “Your first 1,000,000 words are always crap”, I figure it’s time to get through those words. Although, I hope it’s less bulk for screenwriters than it is for novelists.
  3. Make an Album – For prosperity’s sake I want to record Sugar Stone’s old songs. My old drummer just got in touch with me and it looks like this is gonna happen.
  4. Save up $2400 – This is for an eventual $5000 needed in order to move to L.A. in 2019 and cover 3 months worth of expenses, and I want half of it paid for in 2018 by putting away $200 a month.
  5. Finish most of the Godzilla Podcast – 24 episodes will be done before 2018 so I can lighten my podcast load without disappointing my listeners.
  6. Finish 17 Final Fantasy games – Same reasons as Godzilla. That’s a game every 3 weeks.

Think this is crazy? Think I can’t possibly do this while holding a full time job?

Well, you’re right. My next post is gonna be all about how I’m gonna accomplish all of this, with every step and penny accounted for, just you wait….

One thought on “Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

  1. Rishab says:

    Nicely written article. Good luck for 2018 and even though you didn’t achieve all your goals, don’t beat yourself over it. I mean… You may beat something else knowing it’s you…
    Anyways good luck, merry Christmas and a happy new year. You guys are the most chilled, relaxed guys on any of the podcasts I listen to and it’s refreshing to hear your normal day to day ranting and weird ass stories. Looking forward to a great 2018 from nude clan and UFF.

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