Today’s piece is written by Jessica Kane, an aspiring writer.
Growing up, I dreamt of having an amazing career as many things: A veterinarian, a pro tennis player, an acclaimed artist, or a Ghostbuster, among other jobs. As I got older, however, I came to the conclusion that I couldn’t make a career out of any of these things, simply because I get dizzy around needles and blood, I possess a limited amount of athletic ability, I reached the peak of my artistic career when I drew my first stick figure, and, well…to be honest, there’s nothing really restricting me from being a Ghostbuster except for the distinct lack of ghosts around my neighborhood. As a matter of fact, the very thing that prompted me to become a writer was the film Ghostbusters (if I ever win an award for writing, I’m dedicating it to Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd). You see, I started my first script at the age of nine years old during my first visit to California. Why did I start it? Well, as corny as this sounds, I had a dream. This dream was about Ghostbusters 3 (for I have spent the majority of my life praying for this film to be made in any way, shape, or form). Who knows if I had had too much sugar before going to sleep, or if that newfound California sunshine sent sparks of enlightenment into my subconscious? The only thing that I do know is that the morning after I had this dream, it occurred to me that I could write about it. I happened to have brought a notebook with me, so I cracked it open and began writing an action sequence for the damsel in distress Dana and her now fourteen-year-old son, Oscar.
Once I started this story, I became infected. I lugged that little notebook with me all around California, writing while in the car, at the pool, and in our hotel room. I have never taken drugs, but as far as I can tell, the way I felt about my first screenplay during those days in California must be how an addict feels about his narcotic of choice. Once we flew back home, a bit of the magic that I had felt while in California left me, and I was left with a severe case of writer’s block. My only solution to this problem was to set Ghostbusters 3 aside once September came in order to focus on schoolwork and sports. I figured that writing, like my other aspirations, would soon become a slightly memorable hobby that I’d once had. However, it didn’t, if only for the reason that writing gave me my first taste of what that emotion called passion was all about. Once the fourth grade ended and summer came around again, I added more to my script; this pattern continued every summer until I was about to enter the eighth grade. It had taken me four excruciating years, but I finally finished Ghostbusters 3 (the first draft – who knows if I’ll go back and clean up all of the completely horrible, embarrassing jokes that I thought were funny between the ages of nine and thirteen?). Anyways, it was an accomplishment, and I had never felt so proud of anything in my entire life.
Finishing Ghostbusters 3 opened my eyes up to other mediums that needed writing, such as television and theater. I wrote a spec script of The Office my freshman year of high school and have another one that is halfway finished. I’ve discovered other brilliant minds that have made TV so much more than I ever possibly thought it could be (Joss Whedon and Mitch Hurwitz, I’m looking at you guys). It also destroyed my social life, seeing as, at the age of 13, I began demanding to be near a television set at 11:29 P.M. every time a new episode of Saturday Night Live aired (I kind of study them – I’m a loser…it’s okay, I know you’re all thinking it). During my sophomore year of high school, I co-wrote a play for a theater festival that my school runs. Seeing words that I had written being performed and receive laughs from an audience was so wonderful that I can’t properly put it into words (okay, if I had to try, I would say that it was like eating a chocolate lava cake with a chocolate milk shake while simultaneously receiving a backrub and having your feet rubbed – but that’s still not even remotely close).
So, why do I write? I want my voice to be heard, but I’m too shy to speak out (isn’t that what writing’s all about?); I want to procrastinate studying for tests (like the one that I have on Macbeth tomorrow); I want to escape the torture chamber that is high school (without actually dropping out); and I truly love it (for now, until I get older and cynical and have a family that needs to be fed based off of a writer’s salary, assuming someone will actually hire me). Oh, and I still can’t be a Ghostbuster.
WHY WE WRITE is a series of essays by prominent – and not so prominent – TV and Film writers. Conceived by Charlie Craig and Thania St. John, the campaign hopes to inspire and inform all writers. If you’d like to comment, or tell us why you write, visit the Why We Write WordPress site or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.