Today’s piece is written by Tim Griffin, Staff Writer on Season 3 of “Entourage.”
Why do I write? It’s a good question. A great question, actually. Because as has been said many times by countless writers, writing is a gut-wrenching, brutal endeavor. If you’re truly doing it right then it takes a toll. After I’ve written something — something I’ve meant — I feel completely depleted. I don’t mind, though, because if I’m feeling that way it’s likely the audience is feeling fuller. The exchange, while lopsided, makes me happy, gives me a sense of accomplishment. On the downside, my cocktail conversation suffers. All the good thoughts, insights, observations and jokes are on the page. Engage me at a shindig and I’m likely to be a real dud. Not that I’m Mr. Gregarious anyway. Still, try explaining to a stranger over cocktail weenies that your banter skills are on empty because you’ve been siphoned out by your day job… Seriously, try. Or cough up this chestnut on a date when your witty repartee isn’t exactly singing ‘Girl Friday’ style.
There are other reasons I write. I like making people laugh. Is there anything better? Sunsets, newborn babies, and Picassos are all great but getting someone to chuckle is a religious experience, one I try to duplicate over and over — and not always in the proper contexts. Honestly, though, would you rather see a sunset or hear a good joke? It’s hands-down the latter for me. And, frankly, who’s forgiven more sins than the individual who can make others laugh? A good message for kids; become a lovable cut-up and people will tend to overlook some of your more glaring character flaws and even better, pay you handsomely for it. Stay in school, kids!
Character flaws… that leads me to another reason I write. Therapy can only make so much sense of one’s internal thicket. Personal demons aren’t easily wrestled into submission. That’s where writing comes in. It’s a pretty tidy little cathartic trick to dump your thoughts and feelings onto the page. Even better, it’s not $200 bucks for 50 minutes. Come to think of it, I’ve had all my major breakthroughs writing, not on the couch – time to make a phone call, do some cost-cutting.
Writing also manages to tell me what I think. A fickle fellow I am, but writing gives me conviction, tells me where I stand on things. This is good information to have, because occasionally people ask my opinion; it’s nice to have one.
Other less substantial reasons I write:
1) It goes good with coffee.
2) When you tell people it’s what you do it simultaneously intrigues and arouses suspicion. There’s a cool factor there.
3) It doesn’t involve digging or operating a fryer.
4) It’s indoors and the outside world frightens me.
5) You don’t have to wear pants.
6) TV jobs generally allow you to wake up late; that alone is enough to justify any vocation.
The better question than ‘why I write’ is ‘how I came to write in this town?’ And the truth is God led me here. That’s right. I was a senior at a Catholic university and had no clue about what I wanted to do with my life. Sales, broadcasting, vagrancy, it all held about the same appeal. Then I took a screenwriting class taught by a nun. Based on the religious romp I wrote about some bumbling horsemen of the apocalypse she encouraged me to pitch tent in this devil town. So with no better ideas and a feeling that I had some kind of divine backing I made the move to LA. All these years later and I’m still here… gutting myself at the computer with God as my wingman — and I’m not even religious. Who’s the joke really on?
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.