Saturday, August 22, 2015

Upcoming La Costa Film Festival in CA

3rd Annual La Costa Film Festival

I'm looking forward to attending (and volunteering) at the upcoming La Costa Film Festival in Carlsbad, California held from Sept. 10-13, 2015.  Volunteering is a great way to help my local film community and to meet new filmmakers.

Actor John McGinley ("Wall Street" and "Scrubs") will be presented with the Legacy Award at the festival. The four-day LCFF — will be held at the Omni La Costa Resort & Spa (see photos below of this gorgeous resort), Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas-La Costa and the Ruby G. Schulman Auditorium at the Carlsbad Dove Library — and screen more than 45 films.
Omni La Costa Resort in CA
There are red carpet galas, after parties and FREE Q and A panels with filmmakers making a difference in the film industry.  Don't miss these if you're in the Carlsbad area (northern San Diego).

Tickets can be purchased ONLINE at tickets@lacostafilmfestival.org and use the 10% off discount code LCFF2015PARTNER.  Here is the film program if you plan to attend.  http://lacostafilmfestival.org/2015-film-program/2015-schedule/

The LCFF is founded by Carlsbad residents Michael and Ruby Callihan in 2013, the festival will open with the dramatic comedy All The Time, starring Lynn Cohen, Sean Modica, Laura Shay and Pritesh Shah and co-written and co-directed by Marina Donahue and Christopher Fetchko.

Hope to see you there.

Until next time -- that's a wrap!

Sunday, August 09, 2015

A Visit to the WGA, West

THE WRITERS GUILD FOUNDATION:
Premier resource for emerging Hollywood writers
by Janet J. Lawler 
Know your writing history
Want a terrific free resource to help you hone your craft as a screenwriter or TV writer? Free is good  since we usually have to dish out cash for contest fees, script coverage, or to take that weekend course with the latest screenwriting guru.

I came across the Writers Guild Foundation Library and Archive this week while in L.A.  It's a treasure trove of classic material. Visit if you can. It's located at 7000 W. 3rd Street.  Their website is www.wgfoundation.org

You might have thought the WGA, West location was a place to register your latest screenplay, but it's way more than that.  The Writers Guild Foundation, within the WGA, is free and open to the public.  You don't need credits on IMDB or to have won an Oscar to peruse this magnificent space. It's like a shrine for Hollywood writers.

First, you'll enter its sleek lobby devoted to writers of television and film.  Watch videos with renowned writers like Vince Gilligan (his pilot 2005 script for Breaking Bad is encased with the first few pages on display -- note the character UNDERPANTS MAN -- that turned out to be Walter White.)

Breaking Bad opening from the Pilot 2005 Draft
 Other writers featured in the lobby include Callie Khouri (one of my fave writers). Her FIRST (yes, her first!) screenplay Thelma & Louise won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Thelma & Louise screenplay
They also have a section dedicated to the Hollywood Blacklist (no, not the screenwriting website) and one about the Writers Strikes.
The Hollywood Blacklist
History of WGA Strikes
I loved reading this letter by studio mogul Jack Warner asking his writers on staff to please be at their desks ready to write at 9am and to put in a full day's work.  That has to make you chuckle. Today, it would probably be "please stop surfing the internet and going on Facebook."
Jack Warner letter to his screenwriters about their tardiness
Then, enter into the library/archive space (the Billy Wilder Reading Room) and sign in at the desk. Backpacks aren't allowed, but cell phones and laptops are permitted (there were writers at tables typing away on their latest script) -- the library staff will even supply you with a free locker if needed (just leave your ID).

These wonderful archived scripts are separated into Television and Film categories.  Peruse books on everything from TV writing, to comedy writing to writing your first draft. 

There is a whole section dedicated to the Mary Tyler Moore Show (and show scripts to read), along with Oscar-winning movie scripts, and just about ANY script you'd want to read -- if you don't see it on the shelves, look in the digital catalog or ask for assistance at the front desk (very friendly staff!)

The WGF gives out collectable glossy postcards to take away, one had Shonda Rhimes's original pitch (written in 2003) for Grey's Anatomy, originally titled "Under the Knife".
Original Pitch for Grey's Anatomy (2003)
The Writers Guild Foundation Library & Archive is a must-stop if you're visiting Los Angeles, or already in L.A.  It's a fun place for pop culture devotees too.

While you're there,  register that new script of yours and pick up the latest WGA signatory agency list.  Keep writing!

Until next time.
Janet
 
Follow The NY Screenwriting Life blog on Facebook.  Creator Janet Lawler's first novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F3CYSU8 and Barnes & Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/from-the-ground-up-janet-j-lawler/1118054396?ean=9781492346623.

 


Tuesday, August 04, 2015

2015 NICHOLL FELLOWSHIP IN SCREENWRITING

WHEN BAD NEWS IS STILL GOOD NEWS
Not Advancing to the Semifinals of the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting
by Janet J. Lawler

I have to say getting today's news that my script The Tenant didn't advance to the semifinals of the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting was like a punch in the gut.

As elated as I was weeks ago about making the Nicholl's quarterfinals, today, it's doldrums city. Yeah, screenwriting competitions crush you. You ride that wave of optimism and hope a judge or reader gets your script all the way to the Finals.  You advance in one category, but have no guarantee to the next. 

Such is life. 

Rejection is what us writers are used to.  We think we're over one mountain, only to find the climb continues.  We can quit or keep pounding the keys. 

Fortunately, also today, before I received the Academy's sad email (see below) I was at work on my NEW screenplay. I have outlined some of my index cards for key scenes and acts. They're all laid out on our dining room table.  It's daunting to take on a whole new project -- from scratch -- to come up with new characters, conflict and dialogue, to play the movie in your head AND to hope someday it connects with a reader out there. A reader that has the power to get it made and on the big screen.
Laying out my new script outline
And there's always the 2016's Nicholl Fellowship.

THANKS to the awesome Greg Beal (Director of the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting) and to all the amazing judges and readers who made the 2015 competition a thrill ride for me. High-five to you  and to all those who have advanced to the semifinals!  Congratulations! 

I look forward to attending the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Awards Ceremony in Beverly Hills on November 4 and meeting my fellow writers.

Until then,
Janet


http://eblast.oscars.org/_images/header/AMPAS_SolidLogo_40x45.png
 
August 4, 2015
 
Dear Janet,
 
Always a difficult time of the year for quarterfinalists (and for us) as, sadly, I have to report that The Tenant did not advance into the Semifinal Round of the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition.
 
In terms of score, the scripts remaining at the Quarterfinal level fell short of the 149 Semifinal screenplays.  Throughout this industry, at studios, production companies and agencies, such judgments are subjective.  The fact that The Tenant was one of 375 scripts selected from the 7,442 entries may bode well for its future.
 
For the contact list to be forwarded in the fall to agents, development executives, managers and producers who request it, we’ll use the contact information you have given us.  Check your information below to ensure it is correct. If you elected not to release either your phone number or email, “Withheld by writer.” will be displayed. If you have chosen not to include your logline, “Logline withheld by writer.” will be displayed.
 
Writer: Janet J. Lawler
Screenplay Title: The Tenant
Genre: Drama, Dark

If you elected to view the comments readers wrote about your script, those will become accessible in your online account by September 1st (simply click tab 7). In October, be on the lookout for an email invitation to the Academy Nicholl Fellowships Awards Ceremony to be held in Beverly Hills on November 4.
In November, we plan to post the lists of Quarterfinalists, Semifinalists, Finalists and Fellows on the Nicholl pages at the Academy’s Web site and on the Nicholl Facebook page.  In January, we'll email you news about the 2016 Academy Nicholl competition, which will include a list of this year's Fellowship winners. 
If past experience means anything, several Quarterfinalists will soon become professional screenwriters. 
 
Best of luck in all your future endeavors.
 
Sincerely,
Greg Beal
Director
Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
 
 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

NEW BBC POLL DISSES SOME OF OSCARS BEST PICTURES AND NOMINATIONS
by Janet Lawler 

This week the BBC conducted a new poll asking what are the 100 greatest American films. You might be surprised and shocked that many Oscar winners for Best Picture and Nominations didn't make the cut. The Deer Hunter?  Nope. Sorry.

Which movies are your favorites?  I've highlighted my picks. These movies impacted my life.  Probably did yours too.  Certain movies stick with you for a lifetime or remind us where we were when we first saw them.  I'm sure your list will be different than mine, but that's because different stories speak to different audiences.  Maybe you're a Billy Wilder fan, or a Alfred Hitchcock aficionado, or a lover of Sci-Fi.
BACK TO THE FUTURE
 But, seriously, how could they leave The Sound of Music off this list?

The 100 greatest American film

100. Ace in the Hole (Billy Wilder, 1951)
99. 12 Years a Slave (Steve McQueen, 2013)
98. Heaven’s Gate (Michael Cimino, 1980)
97. Gone With the Wind (Victor Fleming, 1939)
96. The Dark Knight (Christopher Nolan, 2008)
95. Duck Soup (Leo McCarey, 1933)
94. 25th Hour (Spike Lee, 2002)
93. Mean Streets (Martin Scorsese, 1973)
92. The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955)
91. ET: The Extra-Terrestrial (Steven Spielberg, 1982)
90. Apocalypse Now (Francis Ford Coppola, 1979)
89. In a Lonely Place (Nicholas Ray, 1950)
88. West Side Story (Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins, 1961)
87. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (Michel Gondry, 2004)
86. The Lion King (Roger Allers and Rob Minkoff, 1994)
85. Night of the Living Dead (George A Romero, 1968)  This movie terrified me as a kid!
84. Deliverance (John Boorman, 1972)
83. Bringing Up Baby (Howard Hawks, 1938)
82. Raiders of the Lost Ark (Steven Spielberg, 1981)
81. Thelma & Louise (Ridley Scott, 1991)
80. Meet Me in St Louis (Vincente Minnelli, 1944)
79. The Tree of Life (Terrence Malick, 2011)
78. Schindler’s List (Steven Spielberg, 1993)
77. Stagecoach (John Ford, 1939)
76. The Empire Strikes Back (Irvin Kershner, 1980)
75. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Steven Spielberg, 1977)
74. Forrest Gump (Robert Zemeckis, 1994)
73. Network (Sidney Lumet, 1976)   Sidney Lumet is one of my favorite directors.
72. The Shanghai Gesture (Josef von Sternberg, 1941)
71. Groundhog Day (Harold Ramis, 1993)
70. The Band Wagon (Vincente Minnelli, 1953)
69. Koyaanisqatsi (Godfrey Reggio, 1982)
68. Notorious (Alfred Hitchcock, 1946)
67. Modern Times (Charlie Chaplin, 1936)
66. Red River (Howard Hawks, 1948)
65. The Right Stuff (Philip Kaufman, 1983)
64. Johnny Guitar (Nicholas Ray, 1954)
63. Love Streams (John Cassavetes, 1984)
62. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980)
61. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick, 1999)
60. Blue Velvet (David Lynch, 1986)
59. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (Miloš Forman, 1975)
58. The Shop Around the Corner (Ernst Lubitsch, 1940)
57. Crimes and Misdemeanors (Woody Allen, 1989)
56. Back to the Future (Robert Zemeckis, 1985)
55. The Graduate (Mike Nichols, 1967)   Mrs. Robinson... you know the rest.
54. Sunset Boulevard (Billy Wilder, 1950)
53. Grey Gardens (Albert and David Maysles, Ellen Hovde and Muffie Meyer, 1975)  Can't turn away.
52. The Wild Bunch (Sam Peckinpah, 1969)
51. Touch of Evil (Orson Welles, 1958)
50. His Girl Friday (Howard Hawks, 1940)  LOVE Rosalind Russell!
49. Days of Heaven (Terrence Malick, 1978)
48. A Place in the Sun (George Stevens, 1951)
47. Marnie (Alfred Hitchcock, 1964)
46. It’s a Wonderful Life (Frank Capra, 1946)   Speaks to my soul!
45. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (John Ford, 1962) John Wayne, Jimmy Stewart, and a spectacular Lee Marvin as the meaner than mean Liberty Valance.  Rent it!
44. Sherlock Jr (Buster Keaton, 1924)
43. Letter from an Unknown Woman (Max Ophüls, 1948)
42. Dr Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964)
41. Rio Bravo (Howard Hawks, 1959)
40. Meshes of the Afternoon (Maya Deren and Alexander Hammid, 1943)
39. The Birth of a Nation (DW Griffith, 1915)
38. Jaws (Steven Spielberg, 1975)  Changed the movie business and summer movies. Love it!
37. Imitation of Life (Douglas Sirk, 1959)
36. Star Wars (George Lucas, 1977)   What can be said that hasn't already?  Theme song still gives us chills.
35. Double Indemnity (Billy Wilder, 1944)
34. The Wizard of Oz (Victor Fleming, 1939)  Come here, my pretty!
33. The Conversation (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)  Now that's a thriller.
32. The Lady Eve (Preston Sturges, 1941)
31. A Woman Under the Influence (John Cassavetes, 1974)
30. Some Like It Hot (Billy Wilder, 1959)  "Well, nobody's perfect."  Amen to that!
29. Raging Bull (Martin Scorsese, 1980) 
28. Pulp Fiction (Quentin Tarantino, 1994) Had me scratching my head the first time I saw it, but then I came to admire every aspect of this film.
27. Barry Lyndon (Stanley Kubrick, 1975)
26. Killer of Sheep (Charles Burnett, 1978)
25. Do the Right Thing (Spike Lee, 1989)  Unfortunately, still relevant for our times.
24. The Apartment (Billy Wilder, 1960)  Shirley MacLaine stole hearts.
23. Annie Hall (Woody Allen, 1977)   Ah, New York.
22. Greed (Erich von Stroheim, 1924)
21. Mulholland Drive (David Lynch, 2001)
20. Goodfellas (Martin Scorsese, 1990)    "I'm funny how, I mean funny like I'm a clown, I amuse you? I make you laugh."
19. Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976)  "You talkin' to... " you know the rest.
18. City Lights (Charlie Chaplin, 1931)
17. The Gold Rush (Charlie Chaplin, 1925)
16. McCabe & Mrs Miller (Robert Altman, 1971)
15. The Best Years of Our Lives (William Wyler, 1946)
14. Nashville (Robert Altman, 1975)
13. North by Northwest (Alfred Hitchcock, 1959)
12. Chinatown (Roman Polanski, 1974)  Screenwriter's bible
11. The Magnificent Ambersons (Orson Welles, 1942)
10. The Godfather Part II (Francis Ford Coppola, 1974)   "Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer." Michael Corleone
9. Casablanca (Michael Curtiz, 1942)
8. Psycho (Alfred Hitchcock, 1960)   Still makes me shower with one eye open!
7. Singin’ in the Rain (Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly, 1952)
6. Sunrise (FW Murnau, 1927)
5. The Searchers (John Ford, 1956)
4. 2001: A Space Odyssey (Stanley Kubrick, 1968)
3. Vertigo (Alfred Hitchcock, 1958)
2. The Godfather (Francis Ford Coppola, 1972) "It's not personal, Sonny, it's strictly business."
Don Corleone: Tell me, do you spend time with your family?
Johnny Fontane: Sure I do.
Don Corleone: Good. Because a man who doesn't spend time with his family can never be a real man.
1. Citizen Kane (Orson Welles, 1941)

Until next time. 

You can follow The NY Screenwriting Life on Facebook.  Janet Lawler's debut novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00F3CYSU8

Saturday, July 18, 2015

GIDDY WITH GRATITUDE

I often ask myself, "Self, what ever made you want to become a screenwriter?"

Self only has one good answer -- you love movies!

Today, the Academy of Motion Pictures moved me a tad closer to my life-long dream with this e-mail about my script placing in the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting:

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

July 17, 2015

Dear Janet,

Congratulations!  You have advanced to the Quarterfinal Round of the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.  By doing so, yours is one of only 375 entries to escape the First Round.

With 7,442 scripts entered, the initial round was extremely competitive and made the selection of quarterfinalists a difficult task.  You may already have an inkling of the quality of this year’s screenplays if you’ve been following the reader comment excerpts posted on the Academy Nicholl Facebook page.  

To give you an idea of the selection process, The Tenant was evaluated by three judges drawn from a diverse group of film professionals.  After the top three scores were tallied, the highest scoring scripts advanced to the Quarterfinals.

During the Quarterfinal Round, your script will be read by at least two additional judges.  As was the case in the First Round, these judges will read the scripts without seeing application forms, log lines or prior scores and comments; they will know nothing about you and your script other than what is on your script’s pages.  We expect that about 150 of the Quarterfinalist screenplays will advance to the Semifinal Round.

If earnings greater than $25,000 have recently made you ineligible, please let us know as soon as possible via email to nicholl@oscars.org.

Watch for a follow-up email regarding Quarterfinalist Contact List information and your log line. That will be sent in about a week or so.
Good luck through the remainder of the competition.
Sincerely,

Greg Beal
Director
Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
www.oscars.org/nicholl
www.facebook.com/nichollfellowships

BREAK OUT THE CHAMPAGNE!  Congratulations to ALL the Quarter Finalists. This is a great honor.  I'd like to thank the Academy... oh, and of course, my mother. Now fingers crossed for the semifinals round.

Until next time,
JANET



Thursday, July 16, 2015

THE 2015 EMMY NOMINATIONS:  EMPIRE SNUBBED; TRANSPARENT GETS A NOD

Lucious and Cookie

The TV Academy won't have to deal with Cookie Lyon's wrath.  Although they snubbed her hit TV show EMPIRE for an Emmy nom, the actress Taraji P. Henson received one for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series.  

Taraji delivers the heat and the best lines on the FOX show every week.  Unfortunately, Terrence Howard (EMPIRE) was overlooked for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series.  The TV Academy may not want to diss Lucious Lyon next year.

Other Noms for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series include: Jon Hamm (Mad Men), Kyle Chandler (Bloodline), Kevin Spacey (House of Cards), Jeff Daniels (Newsroom), Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan and Better Call Saul's Bob Odenkirk as Jimmy McGill.  Pretty tough competition.

Outstanding Drama Series include: HOMELAND, HOUSE OF CARDS, ORANGE IS THE NEW BLACK, DOWNTON ABBEY, BETTER CALL SAUL and GAME OF THRONES. 

There are the usual suspects for Outstanding Comedy Series: PARKS AND RECREATION, VEEP and MODERN FAMILY (that show gets funnier each year).  The fabulous Amazon show TRANSPARENT received a nod, as well as LOUIE, SILICON VALLEY and UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT.
Creator Jill Solloway and Cast of Transparent
  Outstanding Lead Actresses besides Taraji P. Henson in EMPIRE include Claire Danes in HOMELAND, Robin Wright in HOUSE OF CARDS, the amazing Tatiana Maslany in ORPHAN BLACK (who plays six characters on the show); MAD MEN's Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson and Viola Davis for HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER.

The Emmy Awards air on the FOX on Sept. 20th.  More categories below.   

Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series
black-ish • ABC • ABC Studios
Anthony Anderson as Andre Johnson

Episodes • Showtime • SHOWTIME Presents, Hat Trick Productions, Crane Klarik Productions
Matt LeBlanc as Matt LeBlanc

House Of Lies • Showtime • SHOWTIME Presents, Crescendo Productions, Refugee Productions, Matthew Carnahan Circus Products
Don Cheadle as Marty Kaan

The Last Man On Earth • FOX • 20th Century Fox Television
Will Forte as Phil Miller

Louie • FX Networks • Pig Newton, Inc. and FX Productions
Louis C.K. as Louie

Shameless • Showtime • SHOWTIME Presents, John Wells Productions, Warner Bros. Television
William H. Macy as Frank Gallagher

Transparent • Amazon Instant Video • Amazon Studios
Jeffrey Tambor as Maura Pfefferman


Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series
The Comeback • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Michael Patrick King Productions, Is or Isn’t Entertainment and Warner Bros. Television
Lisa Kudrow as Valerie Cherish

Grace And Frankie • Netflix • Skydance Productions for Netflix
Lily Tomlin as Frankie

Inside Amy Schumer • Comedy Central • Jax Media
Amy Schumer as Amy

Nurse Jackie • Showtime • SHOWTIME Presents, Lionsgate Television, Jackson Group Entertainment, A Caryn Mandabach Production, Clyde Phillips Productions
Edie Falco as Jackie Peyton

Parks And Recreation • NBC • Deedle-Dee Productions, Fremulon, 3 Arts Entertainment and Universal Television
Amy Poehler as Leslie Knope

Veep • HBO • HBO Entertainment in association with Dundee Productions
Julia Louis-Dreyfus as President Selina Meyer


Until next time.



Monday, May 04, 2015

MOVING FROM NYC to CA
by Janet Lawler
Posted May 4, 2015

Recently, I did something I thought I'd never do.

I left New York.

Yes, I broke up with the greatest city on earth.  My city.  I didn't just leave it; I left it for another state. California. That sunny, palm-tree swaying, movie crazed, West Coast state.
 I took this photo in Central Park last fall
Why leave New York? In my opinion, there is a time to come to NYC and a time to leave it.  It was a hard decision. So, how do I feel now having left it? 

Like one feels after any breakup, even the inevitable one: guilty, relieved, sad and yet excited for the new challenges and changes. 
Moving Day - after 10 years in Astoria
I'll forever be a native New Yorker. My childhood and adult roots remain in that glorious, harsh, frantic, dazzling, loud, edgy, concrete jungle. 

My most memorable moments from living in NYC?

Oh. So many. Getting married at City Hall; watching the ball drop in Times Square on New Year's Eve, Broadway shows, MSG concerts (Madonna and Fleetwood Mac), having my first play performed in the Big Apple, attending the World Series in 2001 at Yankee Stadium, just a month after 9/11. Game 5 against the AZ Diamondbacks. The Yankees won that game at home.  NYPD cops and baseball fans hugged and cried at the end of that World Series game as the song "New York, New York" bellowed at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.

I'll especially miss all the fabulous friends I made living and working in Queens and Manhattan. From my coworkers, to my neighbors, to family and friends.  New Yorkers are a tough, loyal and witty group.  So are those I love in CT and NJ.
 
In March, we packed up the car and drove for 3,000 plus miles across the United States heading west.

It was a SPECTACULAR experience driving across so many states (NY, NJ, PA, OH, IN, IL, MO, OK, TX, AZ and CA) seeing how the "middle" of the country lives -- tasting new foods, meeting new people, staying in roadside hotels and cruising the interstates with truckers. We took our time and visited friends and family we hadn't seen in years.  (Sometimes Facebook or emails just don't cut it anymore. You have to make time to SEE people you care about.)
A great day in Chicago
Sunset on the Interstate. God bless all the truckers keeping America moving.

Great Texas chow
My random road observations: New York is still the charmer with its skyscrapers and Hudson River, but there is a vast, vibrant, diverse country in America.  It's not only the East and West Coasters that matter or power this great nation.  There are millions of people in between NY and LA that also make a difference. Their pace is slower .  There is lots of open land.  Gas and restaurants are much cheaper.  And, America is also a faithful country, filled with lovely small towns and back roads.
Sweet Austin, Texas

Superstition Mountains in AZ
 We loved Columbus, Ohio for it's quaint town and parks; Pennsylvania for it's Amish countryside and family-style restaurants; Indiana for its  Midwest easiness and universities; Missouri for its Gateway Arch; Texas for it's great steak, BBQ, wineries and Austin flare; Chicago for it's skyline and downtown sites; Oklahoma for its land; Arizona for it's breathtaking mountains, desert and southwestern fare.  And, finally, California, well, what can you say?  The Pacific Coast glistens. The sunshine lifts your soul.  The surfers. The fish tacos. It's a place where you can be whatever you want to be, however you want to be it, and do a little surfing too.

So, again you ask -- no seriously, why did you leave New York?

Well, life is about change.  It's about growing.  We stayed in the same apartment for over a decade (a 5 story walk up, old apartment).  The winters are getting tougher.  New York City is a costly place to live short-term and especially long-term.  You get more for your buck elsewhere (simple things like a free parking space in your driveway, washer and dryer in your unit, roomier bedrooms, kitchen and living room, stores close by and quality of life.)  Now, I wouldn't trade a second of my years in NYC, but it was time to say farewell, for now.  We may come back someday; we may not.  Who knows?

My other big reason for moving to California is because I love the movies and writing (especially screenplays). So what better place to be than in southern California?  It's a kick in the pants here.  I always wanted to move to southern California -- now I have. Dreams come true on their own timeline. 
Surfer in La Jolla, CA
So, now my dilemma is with this blog you're reading. The NY Screenwriting Life started in 2005.  That's right, over ten years ago!  It has over 30,000 hits, thanks to you!  So, should I rename it?  And if so, to what?  Or should I close up shop and start a new blog in CA.  I'd welcome any ideas or suggestions.

Well, that's it. I hope my cross country move inspires you to examine your own life.  Are you living where you want to live?  Working where you want to work?  If not, take a risk.  Maybe change jobs. Write that screenplay.  Make that short film, finally. Drive or fly to a state you've always wanted to visit but haven't found time to do. You'll meet some cool folks along the way.

Black Beach in La Jolla
It's a gorgeous day here in CA. Think I'll go for a walk on the beach.
Until next time.

Follow The NY Screenwriting Life on Facebook.  Janet J. Lawler is also a published author and playwright.  Her first novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online.  http://www.amazon.com/From-Ground-Up-Janet-Lawler-ebook/dp/B00F3CYSU8