2012 year in review, goals for 2013
2012 was, without exaggeration, the most difficult year of my life. it started with a root canal caused by grinding my teeth, the pressure which killed the nerve. grinding my teeth came from the stress of finishing the nick fellowship in oct 2011 and having nothing tangible to show for it. i had had no writing job, no agent, nothing. although i never regretted leaving my stable job as an art director for the nick fellowship, life after nick was definitely filled with anxiety.
so 2012, january to august – horrible! massive depression. financial pain. unexpected betrayal. loss of hope. doubt. lots of doubt. i made a chart.
in my depression, i started 2 writers groups for comedy pilots. i went through a pretty selective screening process to find people, and got 2 great groups of people together. i’m really happy i got to meet these wonderful writers who are now my friends. i recommend a writers group both for feedback on your work, and for therapy and moral support.
SPEC WRITING WORKSHOP
i’m not sure if it’s because of my blog or because i was in nickelodeon and wotv, but a lot of random people email me and ask if i could give them notes on their scripts. i really don’t have time to give feedback for total strangers. i have to work on my own writing, and give notes for the people in my writers groups. i did like the idea of helping people with their scripts, though, so i decided to start an online sitcom spec writing class. that’s the only thing i’m good at! dramas ain’t my thing, and i’m still learning how to write pilots, but i think i know how to write a good comedy spec. i have 9 students in my first class, and it’s been going great! i’ll probably start another session in feb.
the first three quarters of the year were awful, then on the last day of august, i got a call from nbc, and i had made it to the next round for the writers on the verge program. a few weeks later, after a couple rounds of interviews, i had made it into the program! getting into writers on the verge was my salvation. it was obviously the most important thing that happened that year, and the repercussions will probably affect the rest of any future writing career i have. i’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in the program and meet everyone that i did.
here were my top 3 goals for 2012:
- be a working writer, and get staffed on a show.
NO, this didn’t happen, BUT i got into nbc writers on the verge, which i hope will lead to me getting an agent and becoming a working writer.
- write at least 2 new scripts, either 2 pilots, or a pilot and a spec.
YES, i wrote a spec of happy endings and a pilot in wotv.
- make a short film or web series.
YES, i wrote and directed a short film, with the help of friends who funded me through indiegogo. i still haven’t finished editing it, because once wotv happened, i had zero time for anything else, but now that wotv is over, i’ll be switching gears soon from final draft to final cut pro. i also shot a quick web series pilot with some friends from my writers group.
so overall, not too shabby of a year, but the journey was difficult. there were far more downs than ups, but the ups were much bigger than the downs.
after being unemployed for over a year, at the very end of 2012 i got a day job doing design. i’m now a sr. digital designer at shazam. if you see tv commercials with the shazam logo on it, i may have worked on it.
here are my top 3 goals for 2013. they’re mostly the same as last year:
- get staffed as a writer on a show. after nickelodeon and wotv, i’m hoping it happens this year. i don’t want to have to apply to another fellowship program.
- write at least 2 pilots. i want to apply what i’ve learned in wotv and write some new pilots. one will be a multi cam for sure.
- instead of shooting a short like last year, i want to write a feature script. i have to decide between a high concept idea to use as a writing sample or a low budget idea that i can actually direct myself.
i’m hoping 2013 continues with the momentum i had at the tail end of 2012!
Good luck, Kiyong!
I think you’re doing a fantastic job. Your endurance and honesty always astounds me. Given your design, illustration, and writing skills, I’m always curious to know if you’ll combine your forces and develop an animated spec?
thanks belinda! i was actually planning to work on an animated pitch when i got into wotv. it’s definitely something i want to do, but ideally, i’d like to work on a show first before pitching my own show.
Kiyong, the fact that you’ve accomplished all this while dealing with depression–a rhymes-with-witch and a half, and I speak from personal experience here (though ADD may have been more my trouble)–is very impressive. If you want any tips on how I’ve been managing my own mental stuff, let me know, but i find walking quite helpful. A good way to get exercise that helps the brain, and it’s pleasant, so the brain doesn’t whine about it before you do it (like mine does when I try to jog). Anyway, dude, I’m rooting for you, and am looking forward to seeing your short. I’m waiting on edits for many episodes of the webseries I shot. See you tomorrow night!
Thanks for sharing Kiyong. Our own demons are sometimes the toughest to fight but you’re doing a fantastic job. And as a participant of the workshop you lead, I highly recommend it to others!
hey, your going to make it this year. you changed gears. i did the same with less of a pool of actors in English but did it anyway for 12 weeks or so. and as commercials came in for acting it was switching gears that helped. your on the right track with creating while your writing.
2013 is going to be a great year!!
Thanks for sharing your journey, Kiyong – throughout everything, you’ve kept writing and focused on honing your skills as a storyteller. I’m so enjoying your sitcom spec class – highly, highly recommended!
Reading this post is inspiring, Kiyong. You’re a prime example of the adage, “hard work pays off.”