I sat across from my literary manager as we ate lunch in the airy, sun-lit dining room of the Los Angeles Tennis Club. We met here every few months to assess the state of my Hollywood writing career. That afternoon, he looked up from his Cobb salad with a bemused smile.
“Where did you get the confidence to direct?” he asked. I knew it wasn’t confidence, so I admitted what it was. “Desperation,” I said.
And it was true. We were discussing a feature film I’d written and planned to direct, though I had never directed more than a couple short films and indie music videos. My first-time directorial project was a journey that had started nearly two years earlier, and it had indeed started with desperation…
For several years, I had been making a living as a writer on hour-long TV dramas, a cable movie-of-the-week, and other miscellaneous gigs (a network TV outline here, a webisode there). In the spring of 2014, I launched myself into that grueling annual gauntlet known to television writers as “staffing season,” wherein scribes take whatever meetings they can get with TV producers, in hopes of getting hired to work on a show.