I found an old meme I used to do on the blog to wrap up the year, and I thought I’d take it up again this year. It’s a long one. Better grab a snack.
The Year in Dave History, 2013
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Well, it’s been a good year for getting out of my comfort zone, I’ll admit that.
2013 was the year I taught an online screenwriting course. Overall I was happy for the experience, but participation was a little on the thin to nonexistent side. It happens with community courses. Seems an astonishing waste of money, though.
This year I had a pilot ordered to production. You might have heard me mention that once or twice on this blog. Looking back to that July when I got the news — I was thrilled, but I really had no idea just how intense the experience would be and what incredible people I would get to meet and work with. My head is still in the clouds.
Producing the pilot brought a whole package of firsts: production rewrites, casting, chemistry reads, table reads, the cast and crew screening, not to mention the actual shoot itself.
With the announcement of the pilot in the trades, reps came calling. This year was the first time I met with potential reps and the first time I signed with one.
This year I had my first general meeting and it went exactly like you hear general meetings go. Which amused me and somehow felt strangely validating, even if it meant whiffing on my pitches and leaving the studio lot with a bit less paint on the right side of my car.
Also new to me — giving interviews to journalists. The Wall Street Journal called. Didn’t see that coming.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I really don’t take my resolutions any more seriously than your average drunk New Year’s reveler. This year, I do have one major project in mind — preparing for success. Failure I can handle, I’m used to that. But this potential success thing has got me rattled. It will mean big change in every facet of my existence. That’s a lot to take in, even when it’s all for the best.
And I’m more of a cling to my comfort zone kind of guy, but aren’t we all? So I can see potential bumps on the horizon — if I’m not actively preparing. My big project is getting Dave prepared for a new life. That’s going to entail getting rid of a lot of accumulated crap and preparing for a move, learning to stick with a routine and work on better sleeping habits, learning a new trick or two as far as finances go and generally cutting back on spending — but most of all I need to get healthy and get in shape.
Speaking of shape, I think for most people, once you reach the size I have, you’ve sort of passed the point of no return. It’s a rare thing for someone to come back from this much weight. Usually you make peace with, say, living in your bed for the rest of your life and your one consolation is that when you die you will briefly achieve notoriety on the local the news because no one can figure out how to move your corpse out of the house without demolishing an exterior wall.
Who knows, maybe I have passed that point, but something in me still wants to fight, and I want to let it. I’ve done it before, I feel like I can do it again. But last year was a complete failure as far as my weight was concerned. And it’s the one thing that interferes with everything I do. It’s a constant punishment. It makes me think if something could be done I would have done it by now. But I do have a few tricks left, a few cards I haven’t played. It’s time for one last hand.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
I’m going to say no, and someone is going to berate me in the comments for forgetting that they had a baby this year.
4. Did anyone close to you die?
No. Everyone I know is stubbornly clinging to life.
5. What countries did you visit?
None. Unless you count the Valley.
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
Sleep. Energy. Money. Better health and wellness. The usual New Year package.
7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Getting the call, almost a year to the day after the pilot was optioned, that we were going into production. Because so many projects die in development, it was a welcome relief to be headed for production.
The day I met with Jake Wagner at Benderspink. I walked into the meeting with no rep, and left with a new manager.
Labor Day, doing the production polish with our director. I had never written with anyone in the room before, but collaborating with Luke turned out to be a blast.
The day I saw the first taped auditions…and was blown away. Moved to tears.
The day of the table reading, and meeting Fionnula Flanagan.
The first day on set! One of the first scenes I watched on the monitor — Drew, take after take, sticking a freezing-cold popsicle down on his bare chest.
The night of the cast and crew screening. Full house, lots of buzz and excitement, so much energy, and I got to see all my friends again. It was a huge celebration. Awesome night. I guess if I had to pick just one thing to remember, it would be that. It was that special. A real gift.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Did I mention the pilot?
9. What was your biggest failure?
Maintaining a dangerously unhealthy weight.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
I did suffer a malady of a rather personal nature that required prescription strength pain medication and kept me off work for a week. I never want to go through that again.
11. What was the best thing you bought?
I don’t know why I didn’t think of this before, but I finally outsourced my laundry to a pick-up and deliver service. It’s the best money I ever spent. Dirty laundry goes out. Nice, clean, folded laundry comes back. Huge time saver. As God as my witness, I will never do laundry again.
As for tangible stuff, I don’t spend much on things. I do buy books which I never seem to have time to read. I’m looking forward to diving into the gigantic omnibus editions of The Sandman. I just recently upgraded the TV, swapping out my old 32″ for a 55″. Not just the size, but the contrast and sharpness are much better. And I used to love my ukulele which I took up this year, but I’ve plateaued. I’ve done this before with instruments. I don’t have the patience to learn, my reach exceeds my grasp, and I get bored easily. I keep finding songs I want to play but it will be full of B♭ chords, for instance, and I don’t know if I’ll ever get the hang of a B♭ chords. So at this point, I don’t know if I’m just hitting a wall I need to push through, or if the ukulele party is over. Other impediments: I can’t sing and I have no rhythm.
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Amazon Studios. Everyone there is completely dedicated to making absolutely fantastic TV and movies. Gortimer could not have found a better home.
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
So. Many. Nearly all of humanity it seems sometimes. Anyone basically who leaves comments on news articles. Worst of humanity right there. There’s the NRA and all the irrational, fear-mongering gun nuts who support them. I’m not saying everyone who owns a gun is a nut, but we certainly need a lot more rational gun owners to join in the conversation about reasonable gun legislation. Let’s see who else — everyone gloating over the ACA health care website debacle should be ashamed of themselves. Racists and homophobes and all the other relics of a time coming to an end, you are becoming history but not fast enough. Let’s not forget the wonderful shut-down-the-government and hold-the-nation-hostage Congress. I’m just going to stop here.
14. Where did most of your money go?
The basic necessities. Groceries. Bills. Books. Vacation. The big TV was my one splurge from my writing income this year, most of which went into savings and to pay off credit cards.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
- The Pilot shoot.
- Teaching screenwriting.
- My vacation at Crystal Cove.
- My photography being used at my day job’s donor campaign.
- Having some downtime for winter break!
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
“You Are My Sunshine” I always hated that song, mostly because it reminds me of a mustard commercial from my youth. But it’s one of the few songs I picked up right away on my ukulele, and for whatever reason, it’s one the kids in my preschool class love, so it has gained new meaning for me.
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
- i. happier or sadder? – SO MUCH HAPPIER!
- ii. thinner or fatter? – Fatter. sigh
- iii. richer or poorer? – About the same.
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
I wish I had gotten more sleep. I wish I had done more to get healthy. I wish I had made reading more of a priority. I wish I had made more time to be social. I wish I had kept in contact more with friends and done more things that were social.
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
I wish I spent less time on grumbling, worrying, hand-wringing, fretting, feeling afraid, indulging anxiety. I wish I let things go and argued less. I wish I ate less crap and spent less time sitting on my ass.
20. How will you be spending New Year’s?
Probably alone with a bottle of sparkling apple cider, some junk food and a DVD of When Harry Met Sally.
Did I say that out loud?
22. Did you fall in love in 2013?
Trying not to. Too busy, and also it doesn’t seem fair to subject anyone to, well, me.
23. How many one-night stands?As if.
24. What was your favorite TV program?
Game of Thrones.
Guilty pleasure: Teen Wolf.
25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?
I only hate humanity in general and on occasion, I rarely waste my energy hating any one particular individual.
26. What was the best book you read?
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman.
27. What was your greatest musical (re)discovery?
The big rediscovery for me was Peter Gabriel, particularly Peter Gabriel 3 and 4. Those albums were perfect soundtracks for an SF drama pilot I was working on (before Gortimer got the greenlight).
28. What did you want and get?
29. What did you want and not get?
I put a lot of time and effort into a pitch for a rewrite assignment I’m still waiting to hear back on. Also have an original script getting a read. We’ll have to wait until after the new year to see what happens.
30. What was your favorite film of this year?
It’s surprising how few films I see. Current releases anyway. I just don’t go to theaters any more. Not worth the ticket price, the crappy sound, dim picture, and jerks in the seat next to you. I hear the ArcLight is nice, but I don’t live close enough for that to be a regular thing.
31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 45, which is obsolete old man in TV writer years. I have no recollection of what I did on my birthday. I didn’t black out, it was just unremarkable. I probably will remedy that next year.
32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
Having a little more discipline and being a little more fit.
33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
Anything that fits, and some things that don’t.
34. What kept you sane?
Friends and mentors, old and new.
35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
No celebrity crushes this year, folks.
36. What political issue stirred you the most?
Gun violence. Women’s rights. Health Care. Budget cuts. Obstructionism. Freedom from religion. Basically anything the Tea Party sets their sights on to destroy.
37. Who did you miss?
The cast and crew of Gortimer. I miss everyone terribly. I’ve heard before that a production is like a family, I’ve heard actors say their favorite thing is working with their castmates, but I never suspected how true that was, how strong a bond can be formed in such a short time. It felt like home, like being among old friends, and I want it back so very much.
38. Who was the best new person you met?
So many! See my Thankful post. I couldn’t possible choose one “best” new person — everyone is special to me for their own particular reasons.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013
Stay humble and grateful. Everything is a gift. You aren’t entitled to anything. If you don’t have your health, you don’t have anything. Life can turn on a dime, for better or worse. Celebrate every success no matter how minor. Remember to treat everyone gently and kindly and assume the best of people.
And this: remember that you are loved. People don’t always tell you, but sometimes they do and they surprise you. I’ve been overwhelmed and humbled by the outpouring of love from so many people who have taken the time to shake my hand and tell me how much they appreciate my writing and how much they loved the pilot script. Sometimes it hard to accept all of that, sometimes it’s hard to believe you are worthy of it, or that you could possibly have that kind of impact on people. I try. I try to be worthy of everything I’ve been given. I hope one day truly to be.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year
Sloane picked this one for Gortimer’s playlist, and why not? This year felt exactly like being shot into space and rocket is still burning:
Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world it’s turning inside out Yeah!
I’m floating around in ecstasy
So don’t stop me now don’t stop me
‘Cause I’m having a good time having a good time
I’m a shooting star leaping through the skies
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go go go
There’s no stopping me
“Don’t Stop Me Now” – Queen
Featured Image: Panorama of the village on the Gortimer Gibbon’s Life on Normal Street set