Sunday, August 31, 2008

Keeping the Joy

In 1986, I had my first Hollywood Internship. Administered by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (The Emmy People), it was an 8-week internship in Series Development at Universal Studios. I met some great people that summer, some of whom are still friends and valued colleagues. I still remember a thought I had as I parked my rented car (as a New York City native, I had only recently learned to drive, for the express purpose of moving to LA) in the old A Lot, next to the Technicolor Building. "If I ever stop being thrilled to drive onto the lot," I thought, "It's time to leave."

I was reminded of this over the weekend as I slogged through a mountain of financial and logistical paperwork that has accumulated on my dining room table during recent busy times. There were WGA dues forms in the pile. An offer to join the WGA Film Society for the season. And the first of what will be many announcements for free Award Consideration screenings for WGA members between now and the end of January.

Slitting open yellow quarterly income report envelopes from the WGA with a practiced flick, I was forcibly reminded of the day I qualified to join the Guild, when I sold my first script to Quantum Leap. How thrilled I was to write the check for my initiation fee and become Part Of It All. What a kick I got out of getting the WGA Journal in the mail, and the screening invitations. (Even though most years, my busiest months were right around the holidays, and I hardly ever got to take advantage of all those free screening. As Gary Trudeau says, Bravo for life's little ironies.)

Do we go into this business for the Guild card or the screenings? No. But don't forget to enjoy those things. When you have the things in your hand that you used to dream of, when you're on your tenth year of paying WGA dues or slogging through dailies, don't forget to look back and realize, you have what you always wanted.

Who could ask for anything more?

With Dad and the Datsun ZX I wanted then, May 1985.

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