I’m working with a local film entrepreneur, Octavius Johnson, who wants to be “the black Walt Disney”. Octavius dreams big, but really—-should there be any other kinds of dreams. Little do he know that he entered the Big Dream Capital when he crossed my doorstep. He and I collaborated on a screenplay called “Latch Key Kids,” and he’s doing a web series based around the same characters. Here’s the Video from the series. That’s his son doing the singing.
When I first met Octavius I didn’t give him the time of day. But our paths crossed later on, and I was more inclined to listen. The reason I didn’t initially? As a writer, I’ve had my share of people who need an idea expressed, written, conveyed, put down, drawn out, created—-and while all that sounds fine n’ dandy, there’s never any back-up moola behind the request. Or, somebody just moves on. There’s only so much free-lance you wanna do. I’ve never done alot, but I’ve had my share of working on somebody’s project that dragged on, only to have it go bust, and leave Alonzo without a dime. I feel positive about Octavius because he’s been trying this for awhile, and I can see he’s talented and has the drive. I’m not saying any of this LIGHTLY. Sometimes, (MOST TIMES) one of those equations is missing. We’ll see how it all plays out. But why can’t Octavius be the black Walt Disney? The position’s open s’far as I can see.
So there I was the other day atop the Empire State Building, and the Demons that haunt all Playwrights came outta nowhere. I won’t list them all (it reads like the Dead Sea Scrolls). I can’t say I fought my way back to the Optimistic World. That doesn’t always happen. But sometimes, your mind breaks out the Comparision Handbook To Playwrights More Successful Than You. Never a good move. What triggers it? You saw somebody mentioned somewhere. You saw somebody get a grant somewhere. Or somebody got a production somewhere. Did I mention the list goes on…….and it’s not a pretty thing. It’s like Spaulding Gray’s monlogue about John Malkovich. Spaulding’s on a cruise. Malkovich’s on the same cruise. Spaulding riffs on Malkovich getting a message about a movie part being offered to him. Spaulding wonders how the backstory machinery that brought Malkovich to this opportunistic moment, didn’t do the same for him. It’s quite hysterical.
Such is the dirty darkside of Playwritting. You want your ego to be out there on somebody’s lips. You want your plays to be somewhere in transit, somewhere on some money-man’s desk, some Artistic Director’s personal gadget—-you want your ideas in their curious little-get-me-Alonzo!!—HANDS. And when you feel as if that place doesn’t exist, those people don’t exist, or that that the galaxy of opportunity is barren……..well, there you are fighting off airplanes on top of tall buildings. So no, this isn’t some grand medical catharsis, or even some overcoming struggle to regain lost identity. No, this is the insidious, creepy fantasia of you and your own damn mind. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t live in that place. But I visit enough to know all the players on a first name basis.