Home and just about human again (that 15 hour haul over the pacific is INSANE) I am appreciating the simple joy of not having to get dressed and face the world just to get some breakfast, though, for that, I can heartily recommend a lovely little psuedo-french cafe called “Champagne” on Santa Monica near San Vicente. And of course I must not forget the travelling Melbourner’s traditional returning cry of “Sooo good to have decent coffee again!” Though, again, I can report that genuinely good coffee with well-frothed milk (which is as much of a problem as finding decent beans) can be found on Little Santa Monica a few doors down from Rodeo at the “Euro Cafe” (where they also have RAI on the television which added to the whole Homesickness remedy for this Melbourner who lives between Lygon Street and Sydney Road!)

The number one question I am being asked, by those I love well enough to be willing to be seen in a half-human state, is “So, was it worth it?” The answer is a resounding YES! I can understand why they are asking – I haven’t been able to return, beaming from ear to ear, and say “Pete Jackson’s directing The Shadowkeeper!” or some such cry which smacks of obvious success, and it seems some people were genuinely thinking that was possible – but, as I tried to make it clear before I left – I was not expecting that.
What I was hoping for was to achieve what is the first MAJOR hurdle for any aspiring screenwriter in Hollywood TO BE READ AT ALL. An estimate of 50-70,000 scripts are sent to Hollywood each year so everyone is looking for the slightest reason not to have to read another script so you can imagine how many good scripts will end up in slush piles. SO, that was my goal – and it was (and is being) achieved. Shadowkeeper is still being read (or waiting in the ‘recommended’ piles) at various high profile companies and I have had requests for my next scripts (both pitches I took with me hit a mark) on the strength of my writing style. Sure, this is all still on a spec basis but just having the doors open is a HUGE step of which I am very proud.

I have had some great feedback from people who read it while I was there and who had read it before I arrived (competiton judges and the like) my favourite of which was that it is reminiscent of the work of Miyazaki Hayao – at first I thought someone must have told this guy that Miyazaki was one of my heroes but he named a couple of his films (Spirited Away, Howl’s Moving Castle) in case I didn’t know who he was so I accepted the compliment and beamed from ear to ear! Unfortunately the comparison was followed by a comment that he feared that it is “over the head of we silly Americans” and that their company couldn’t produce it – I considered offering to dumb it down but wasn’t quite sure how to put that – or how I would do it – it’s just a plain ol’ quest narrative, for goodness sake LOL!

The most important thing I have returned with is a lot more confidence in my potential as a writer and my ability to handle the Hollywood ‘thang’ if that is where my stories will take me. In fact, I found LA as a city completely un-frightening and really quite friendly (except for the occasional communication problem which was, essentially, funny and the whole, uncomfortably sad servant-class thing which really wasn’t funny at all but I won’t go into that here) so, should I need to go back on overwhelmingly exciting business I will be on solid ground!

So, what’s next? Well – writing the scripts people are waiting for while I wait upon the other readings of The Shadowkeeper. I’ve also decided to really put some work into seeing if maybe there might be someone interested in producing it from here because this is where I want to be based in the long term (at the very least I don’t want to have spend any Summers in LA – too hot for too many days in a row!) I will also, at some point, write reviews of the three books I bought in LA (there were sooo many other I could have bought given unlimited funds): “Breakfast with Sharks”; “The Script is Finished, Now What Do I Do?” and; “Writing Treatments the Sell” – the latter has the distinction of being the first source I’ve found which actually outlines exactly what is expected in a Bible for a TV show . Oh, yes – and find a job, any job, because boy do I need money now!!!