Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Hutch the Intern

It feels very weird to be an intern again. I know that 26 isn't technically that old, but having been out of college for almost five years (JESUS CHRIST!), it seems like I should have outgrown the internship phase of my life. I have a full-time job with "manager" in my title, a 401K, and a benefits package (starting January 1st, so fingers crossed nothing happens in the next month or so. Crap. Totally jinxed it. Please don't slap me with a critical illness or horribly expensive accident, Universe!). These are not things normally associated with an intern. But they came with the territory of settling for a job that would actually pay for my exorbitant college film degree that I have no chance of actually getting paid to use. It's not that I don't love my job. On some days, it's damn near inspirational. Especially now that I'm not being harangued by angry crazies every day or having to run an entire 347 unit property with virtually no support from my colleagues.

What I picture Parallel Universe Hutch to look like.
But there are days when I see my peers following their dreams and actually achieving moderate success, that I think about Parallel Universe Hutch. What would have happened if I had found that one job that lead down the path I originally saw myself taking after college? Would I be an assistant to a quirky but lovable television writer, a ruthless but brilliant acquisitions executive's right hand, a slovenly, scatterbrained creative development head's Girl Friday? (Yes, I'm some type of assistant in all of these scenarios. Even in fantasy, I tend to be very realistic). Who knows. I'd probably be very poor though and living in a three-bedroom crap shack in Koreatown with six other broke post-grads. You have to pay your dues somehow. But the thought of unemployment and never-ending ramen scared me into taking something a little more lucrative.

True story, a resident really did give me a bottle of vodka once.
It wasn't really a gift though. He got it from someone else and didn't like vodka.
His loss!
Almost everyone who works in property management wound up there by accident but stayed because it's stable and can be pretty awesome. A lot of residents are really nice and sometimes they bring you treats. And vodka. (Which of course you don't drink in the office…You take it home and mix it with some cranberry juice like a lady.) It's satisfying helping someone find their perfect new home and opening the door to the next chapter in their lives. But other than some inventive sales pitches and techniques, there isn't a whole lot of creativity involved. I had almost resigned myself to this road, first Assistant Manger, then Community Manager, then Regional Manager or other corporate gig where I actually get the Friday after Thanksgiving off in addition to Thursday. And I probably would/will be.

I looked a lot cooler when I did this in China town.
Probably because I had a college degree.
Yesterday, out of nowhere, I got an e-mail. A small production company, which I will not name because I don't like to identify where I work, and also because the name is just too much of a cheesy coincidence, came across a resume that I had sent in literally years ago. Probably some time in 2010, which I spent the bulk of job-hunting, census-taking, and sign-twirling. Since then I've had three different jobs with three different companies, and lived in three different apartments. It seems like a lifetime ago that I sent that resume off into what I assumed would be oblivion. They were looking for an unpaid reader/development intern. Someone to read 3-4 scripts a week from home and discuss them maybe once a month. Something I could easily do in my spare time. How freaking awesome is that? The perfect side job just landed in my lap.

Why, yes. I am the Gatekeeper.

Not only did it come to me, but the entire process of finding out about it, responding that I was interested, doing an informal phone interview with the producer, and receiving my first batch of scripts due the next week, all happened in about eighteen hours. Kind of the opposite of every job hunting experience anyone has ever had. Sure, it's not paid. And if a script is bad, it can be almost torture to read it and have to summarize and make comments. But it's a toe dip back in the pool of the film industry. And I can do it without having to sacrifice my cushy day job and discounted luxury apartment! SCORE!

Oh Rexy, you're so sexy!

This will be my third official reading internship, though I was a judge for two script competitions during which I basically did the same exact thing. It's been a while since I've written coverage, but it's all coming back to me. What makes a script great, what could be improved, and the ultimate power trip: getting to determine whether it's a Pass, a Consider, or a Recommend. I am the Gatekeeper, you must pass through me mwa ha ha! Of course it takes a lot more effort to create something original from scratch than to critique something already in existence. But I am a firm believer that reading scripts makes you a better screenwriter. So hopefully this will motivate me to actually finish something and perhaps Recommend my own screenplay to the producer (who has a very thick New York accent and wrote a movie once starring Maxwell Caulfield. He's done other more impressive things, but mostly I'm just hoping he can introduce me to Rex Manning!)

Ok, I'll give you one hint...

PS, while I obviously can't disclose details about the scripts I read, I just finished the first one and it was surprisingly kickass in an Evil Dead 2 sort of way.

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