Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Looking Forward

It's that time of year again where everyone reflects on the past and looks ahead by making New Years Resolutions. I've written the year in review type of blogs plenty of times and this year, I'd like to do something different.
I don't want to write out a list of resolutions for the 2011 year; but I know that I have a few in mind that I'd like to mention.
This year I resolve to continue the journey I've started. I moved to Charlotte in the summer of 2010 with a game plan; I'm seeing the light and I'd like to get closer.
There are a few things that I need to work on that will help me reach my goals; for starters, I need to find consistency in my schedule and not waste so much time doing meaningless things like read everyone's tweets or status updates (for extended periods of time that is).
I like to be a productive person and I plan to continue to be that way.
I'm looking for a new place to work out. In October of 2010, I ran my first 5K; I'd like to run more and on Christmas day, I heard about a few marathons coming up in 2011. I love to stay active in a gym; weight lifting is my favorite sport but I also love yoga, it's so relaxing. I'm a fan of swimming, dancing and I like to take a few cardio classes as well as play sports from time to time.
I do miss my healthy lifestyle and I resolve to return to my old habits.

Personally, I resolve to stop feeling scared and nervous; I need to cure my shy streak. As an upcoming writer, especially one who wants to be more involved in NASCAR and Charlotte Lifestyles, I need to talk to strangers; the past few events that I attended I had the chance to meet some of my favorite drivers but because I'm shy I got as far as saying 'hello.' The next event I attend, I resolve to step up to the plate and offer more than a smile.
I resolve to not hang out with negative people and to not allow their negativity get the best of me.
I resolve to finish my script and to spend more time writing my story. There's a writers conference this February, there really isn't a reason for me to not attend.

In 2009, I named my blog, "In the Drivers Seat" because I had decided to sit in the drivers seat in the car of my life. I took a right turn last summer and I'm on a good road and even though there may be tough times ahead, as long as I stay focused and stay clear of the negative people in life, I'll be fine. I got through two tough years, it's in the past and behind me. No need to drive backwards.

So there you have it, I resolve to continue to be the best that I can be; to work on the shyness and to focus on accomplishing my goals.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Are you ready for your gifts?

This morning, after many failed attempts these past Sunday’s, I made it to church. Not my sister’s church, but, the one near my home. I felt a little uncomfortable at first. I’m a Catholic and although I’ve attended many Lutheran services here and in New York, I’m still feeling the whole Catholic Church service is more for me. However, the pastor (or is it minister?) said something in his sermon that stuck with me.
He was talking about ‘gifts’ in life and asked, are you ready for your gifts? In his life, he was talking about getting free tickets to a game on Saturday but having to turn them down because he wasn’t ready for Sunday’s service. He also mentioned parenting and other gifts we get in life.
As he talked, I thought about it and I asked myself, “What gifts has life given me that I was or was not ready for?”
In the summer of 2009, I was accepted at New York Film Academy (NYFA) and was awarded a $10,000 scholarship to attend class’s full time. Unfortunately, that scholarship was not to be used for housing. I missed a chance to move to the city to take in person classes there and had to settle with online writing classes. True, I learned a lot but I question, was I really truly prepared to be a student in NYC? In all honestly, I wasn’t really 100% ready for that gift. As much as I learned online, I still kick myself for not having had that chance to take film classes in person at that Academy in Union Square, NYC.
This past year has been amazing. So much has changed since January. What started off as a fun project for my screen writing class at NYFA turned into a year long fun journey that I didn’t expect.
When I started to write my movie script for class, I wrote it out of inspiration about a sport I knew something about; but the more I discovered, the more I learned the more I fell in love with the sport and I became this fan and suddenly I found myself wanting to get involved with NASCAR journalism. I didn’t expect that.
In April, I started my job as a script writer researching her topic. I called New Hampshire Motor Speedway to speak to people in the communications department. I got some questions answered and got some journalists names…but I missed some names, like the guy I was talking to. I made a few more phone calls and I tried my best to score media passes for myself for the weekend race of June 2010. Those were not too easy to come by. I reminded myself, I was just beginning my journey. I also reminded myself that I wasn’t a journalist but a fiction writer and convincing them I was a legit writer that deserved my pass was going to be a bit harder. So I kept making phone calls.
The weekend of the NH race of June ’10 had arrived and I did my best to be a part of every activity I could think of. NHMS hadn’t granted me the tickets I wanted but I had a pair for Sunday’s race. My father wanted to sit in the best seats and I didn’t mind but they were expensive, so, I didn’t buy the pit passes that would’ve allowed me to get closer to the scenes. Was that my error? Should I have made some deal with dad and bought us two tickets to the infield and asked him to split the cost of our grand stand seats?
The Thursday before the race, I had my bag filled with notebooks, pens and my script. I was ready to make my moves and try to meet some people. Rumor had it that there would be NASCAR people at the local restaurant. I went in but was I really ready? I met Richard Petty but when he and I crossed paths, I was a bit shy and a little bit timid. I said hello, called him Mr. King instead of Mr. Petty and I had my picture taken with him. We parted ways with goodbyes and when I left I was excited but a little disappointed in myself, should I have acted a little bit more professional?
The next day, I woke up early, dressed nicely and went to the track. I tried to convince them to give me the tickets. I told them I had called and called before but no one ever responded. I had done what they told me to do; I had emailed the people they told me to email and made the phone calls I was supposed to make and I had started to do so 3 months before the June race, yet, I still hit a brick wall and didn’t get my passes. I could have bought the $25 tickets to get into the grandstands but instead, I walked around to where the Sprint Experience was set up as well as all the other events were. I met a lot of fans as well as Miss Sprint Cup Monica Plumbo. It turned out to be a fun day and I took notes, knowing that that I had useful information.
That night, at that very same restaurant I met Mr. Petty; Kurt Busch, driver or the #2 Miller Lite car was scheduled to make an appearance. I was ready to go but I was with family, so sometimes getting everyone ready to go out isn’t as easy as it sounds. I had finally convinced them to go out for a drink at the bar and when we arrived, Kurt Busch had left five minutes earlier.
I could have been upset with myself for sitting back and waiting for others to join me; but instead, I shrugged it off.
All I could say about that entire weekend was that it was my first chance to introduce myself to them and I had to learn a lot.
The summer was filled with many unexpected events and experiences and I started to become a little more involved in the sport of racing. I’ve been learning a lot about the Sprint Cup guys and other divisions. I’m starting to like the entire sport as a whole and not just Sprint Cup. I even started to write for the online site Skirts and Scuffs.
I’ve made my moves and each time I try to get myself out there, I’m short on something.
I’ve learned that people in general really do not understand the difference between a script writer and a journalist. I’ve been told over and over again that I need to start my media journey at the bottom. That’s awesome advice for someone who wants to be in the media.
The best that comes from that advice for me is that my fiction story has changed.
Financially, I’m strapped. My journey as a writer is struggling because I have to work a long week at a day job that’ll get me nowhere in life. At best, it’ll pay some bills, food, a social life, my car, some writing seminars and for tickets to a few races next season.
In October, I was out at a bar. I had the chance to meet the driver of the #33 car, Clint Bowyer. I told him I was a writer; he obviously assumed I was media. I tried to explain to him I wasn’t; he misunderstood me I’m sure; but that could have been because I lack the experience as a script writer/novelist when it comes to meeting important people. I do what I can. I learned something at that very moment that I put in my notes and I realized that my story was unfolding.
A few days later, I went up north to an event that Dale Earnhardt Junior would be attending. It was at Victory Junction Gang Camp for the open house to the amphitheater and corral that was built because of his financial donation. It was an amazing opportunity and he and I stood within feet of each other, only saying hello to one another. I missed my chance to introduce myself and to talk to him. I didn’t want to meet him as a fan; I wanted to meet him as a writer, a script writer; a novelist; a fiction story teller that is taking his sport; his story and writing something fun and entertaining about it. After meeting Clint Bowyer however, I took a step back and realized, I really wasn’t ready for that ‘gift.’
The gift to meet Dale Junior. I didn’t get to tell him that his biography, ‘Driver #8’ inspired me as a writer.
What else could I have done to prepare myself to meet him that day?
I kick myself to this day for not biting the bullet and meeting him as a fan.I should have given him my copy of his biography to autograph and told him he’s inspiring and left it at that.
I think that I may have missed my one and only chance to meet him personally.
After today’s sermon though, I’ve been reminding myself that I’m new at this and this is only the beginning. I do live in Cornelius, North Carolina; a whole 15 minutes from Moorseville and Charlotte. It’s not like I’m in NH anymore.
I know what I want. I know what I’m doing but because of the journey, a lot changed and a lot needs to be done for this project of mine to be completed.
I wouldn’t turn down a chance to be a NASCAR journalist/media person; or a job to work in communications or public relations; that’s not a foreign field to me. However, I need to stick to my guns and continue doing what I was doing.
This past weekend, I had intended on spending it alone so I could write my story; the first four drafts of that story are cool for me and friends but I’m not so sure it’s believable enough to sell.
I also realized that I lost my fiction writers voice. All because of the research and writing I’ve been doing for blogs and articles for me and Skirts and Scuffs.
NASCAR season is over. There are no more races until February. I am going to write an article or two for Skirts and Scuffs but I promise myself to continue to write my fiction. I’m better at that anyway.
I’m also prepared for next season.
If I continue this story, it’ll be different than the original. I must scratch it all out and start from the beginning; and anyone who knows anything about fiction story writing, whether it’s a novel or movie script knows there’s a lot of work involved when starting a new story.