Writer Pattern Baldness

January 16, 1998

  Pardon me while I pull my hair out.

That may sound innocuous enough, but if you knew me and my losing battle with traitorous, rapidly deserting follicles, you'd realize that I must be upset if I'm pulling out what little hair I have left.

The problem is I'm getting really frustrated by my inability to come up with an idea I'm happy with for the Frasier spec I want to write. I've come up with dozens of stories, but none of them are right for a spec. When you're writing a spec there is a veritable giant slalom course of requirements you have to get around that leave you with a very narrow path to follow. Especially when you're trying to write a show that's in its fourth (fifth?) season. You can't write chestnuts like jury duty or trapped-in-the-elevator-with-a-pregnant-woman or city-wide blackouts. You can't introduce new characters. You can't introduce new sets. You can't change the direction of the show or its characters. Basically, you can't do the things the show itself is doing because they're running out of home-grown stories after four (or five) years. So all these ideas I've come up with that would make for great episodes won't make for a great spec and I've had to reject them. I'm sure I'm being too hard on myself, but I want this script to be my best yet and I want a story that thrills me. I haven't found it yet. Frustrating.

Adding to the frustration is the fact that the clock is ticking. I want to -- have to -- finish writing it soon. Staffing season starts gearing up in February and I need to have a new spec ready to send out. But I need to have it ready sooner than that because I not only need it for the staffing Olympics, I also have to use it to find a new agent to send it out.

I haven't talked to my agent since August, when he seemed more engrossed in deciding what to fix for dinner than in how to start my career. He said he'd call me "next week" to set up meetings for me with development and network execs. Since then, not a peep out of him and, more importantly, no meetings. This kind of representation I can do myself. So he's out...but I have to find a new agent first. Agents are like dating: always have your next one lined up before you dump the current one. I have someone in mind, but I want to have a Frasier ready before I call him. And the clock keeps ticking and I don't have an idea I can use.

Whups, there goes another handful of dwindling hair...





Copyright © 1998
Chuck Atkins