Monday, February 1, 2010
I spend a lot of time waiting. I didn't really think about it until I saw a picture posted on a friend's Facebook page. She is a writer/director and she was waiting in an office lobby for an appointment to pitch an idea. On her Facebook page, she posted a picture of her view of the slightly open office door, nice French Provincial desk, lots of movie posters everywhere. Just looking at the photo, I could smell the room: new carpet, paper, microwave popcorn, office dust, actor/writer/director sweat and fear. For many years, I've spent a lot of time in those rooms, psyching myself up, calming myself down. Waiting has become such a normal part of my life, I don't really even think about it anymore. Until I saw Jan's post. So this blog is going to be about my job as an actor, a writer and a director. But it's also going to be about the stuff in between. The waiting. The stuff they don't tell you about in college or report on "Entertainment Tonight." The part that separates the girls from the women. The part that can drive you crazy, make you a better artist or force you to move to the suburbs of any state that's not California or New York.
Last year, I finished a 15 year stint on the television show, ER. I've been busy submitting my work to screenplay contests and potential managers, looking for directing gigs. I'm collecting a crew of producers, actors, cinematographers to help me direct my first feature. I'm making a very low budget film of my script, "Model Minority," which was a finalist for the Sundance Feature Film Labs twice. I was waiting for green lights, which came and went and came and went for several of my other scripts. "Perilously close," as my friend Lesli puts it. But I decided to take the advice of a filmmaker I met in London, when my first short film, "The Shangri-la Cafe," played at the very last BBC Short Film Festival. It was late at night in Leicester Square, right outside the cinema that had just shown our films. We didn't have anywhere to go, we were all Americans, all feeling weird and jet-lagged, too excited to sleep, talking about films and filmmaking. I said, "That was fun. Hope somebody lets me make another film." And one of the other filmmakers said, "You don't have to wait for permission, Lily. You're a filmmaker. Go make another one." So here I go.