Tag Archives: Entrepreneurship

My Dream Office

Me and my husband are moving. And if you’ve ever lived in Los Angeles and had to move, you know how much life is sucking for us right now. The stress of finding a new place has taken its toll but there is one beacon of hope guiding me ever so gently to the peaceful shores of… peace. And that beacon – dear reader- is the promise of my new office.

Right now we live in a two-bedroom with a king sized bed in the master and a full sized bed in the spare. The spare room has a tad bit more room (because the bed is smaller) and in that teensy-weensy corner of space, we managed to connect a shelf to the wall and put a big-ass computer on top of it. We scooch a chair up to this shelf and work on the computer, pretending that it’s a desk. Pretending we have an office. And pretending that we can get work done in this cramped up bit of space.

One day (a few months ago) while prepping the spare room for a video shoot, we had to take down the bed. And while the bed was out of the room, seeing how much space we’d deprived ourselves of, we decided immediately that an office would be in our future. It felt like that scene in Step Brothers where Will Ferrell enthusiastically exclaims “We can get so many activities done!” A new world had opened up for us. And from that point on, the clock was ticking until the moment we could be rid of that bed and replace it with a desk.

And now that day is quickly upon us and here’s how I’m thinking it’s going to change my life.

**Drum roll please**

It will give me the feeling of going to work again. As many of you know, I’ve quit my job. And there’s something about not having to wake up in the morning and be somewhere at a specific time or else you’re going to be fired or yelled at that takes the wind right out of your sails. I mean, at first it was cool and the gang. I’d wake up and stare at the ceiling in bliss. Stretch and roll over, taking my sorry ass right back to the magical world of sleepy-time dream-world land. And while these kinds of mornings will never get old for me, they’re not productive AT ALL. They usually lead to a day of playing catchup. I try to get into work mode, but find myself lounging on the couch with the keyboard on my lap, wearing a t-shirt and panties and fighting every instinct to just turn on the TV and catch up on Empire. And guess what? Lucious’s shady ass always wins.

So with this office space, I’m hoping I can jumpstart myself into “office mode.” Sure, I don’t have a commute anymore but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a nine to five. Yeah, I don’t have supervisors to answer to but that doesn’t mean I don’t have a responsibility to do my job in a thorough and efficient manner. And when I really think about it, I do have a supervisor. Myself. And if I can trick myself into following an unnecessarily stingy grocery budget (which I have for the past few weeks), I can surely create an arbitrary corporate schedule for myself to follow. And so with every waking moment, I plan out my days as if getting ready to start a new job. I anticipate waking up early and doing yoga. Taking my shower and doing my hair and makeup. Putting on my work outfit (nothing too formal) and getting to the “office” at nine A-M on the dot to start my workday. I’ll have my coffee on my desk and sift through emails, before reaching out to people and working on new projects, reading scripts, writing scripts, writing other things (blogs, articles, proposals, etc.), reaching out to new contacts and maintaining old ones.

It’s going to be glorious and I can’t wait to bully myself into submission.

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A List of Boundaries

I’ve been going to a therapist for well over a year now and – at the risk of sounding like a cliche – I think I had a breakthrough. By rambling on and on a few days ago, I came to a conclusion that is also very-much a cliche.

I have boundary issues.

I move the goal post when it comes to how I allow people to treat me. And here’s the thing, I came to this jarring conclusion about myself in the weirdest, most roundabout way. Through budgeting for groceries.

So here’s the thing. Me and my hubby have been handling our money situation all kinds of wrong. We buy food and then let it go to waste because we end up eating out or just not using up our ingredients. After a while, we’d find that we’ve thrown away hundreds of dollars worth of food at the end of the month. This ate me up inside more than it did my hubby who tends to run to the grocery store two, maybe three times a day. If he has a taste for something, he’s off to the store to get it. He will buy things just because we ran out of it, as opposed to because we plan to eat it. So when we saw that we were running into some rough financial patches, the first thing I wanted to change was our terrible grocery habit.

I created a tight budget and I mean, super tight. We plan our meals for the entire week according to this budget and buy all of the food we will need in one trip to the grocery store. There’s no “I have a taste for this or that” going on. We only do fully planned meals. If there’s a luxury food item it needs to fall within the budget or be made from scratch using ingredients we already have. And surprisingly, this budget has been working really well for us. Why? Because the hubby and I are competitive. So this has turned into a kind of game. How much lower than the budget can we get? How many different recipes can we derive from the ingredients on the list? What foods can we make based on what’s on sale? All of the excuses and strong cravings for eating out have even taken a backseat because the limits we put on ourselves are practically iron-clad. I never knew exhibiting this kind of discipline and self control could be so exhilarating. Also, real-talk, me and the hubster have never eaten so good.

Alright, so back to my boundary issues. I recently jumped off of a feature film project not too long ago. The project was great, but the person I would have been working with was exhibiting some red-flag behaviors and I decided to jump out while we were still in the early stages to avoid bigger issues in the future. This experience was unfortunate but not a big deal for me because… well… shit happens. Life goes on. What stood out for me, though, was everything about this project was something that I promised myself I would never produce in the first place. It pretty much checked every box on my “nope, not gonna happen” lists. But I was willing to forego all of the boundaries that I’d made because the script was really good, and it was a friend that pitched it to me, and it seemed doable, and why not? I’m not doing anything else these days and I can find a way to make it work and and and… It wasn’t that I was afraid to say “no.” It’s just that I wasn’t as firm in my convictions as I thought I was. I had no discipline. No self-control.

And so while relaying this experience to my therapist the other day, I mentioned how happy I was to have ‘dodged a bullet’ but then I had to ask myself how I’d gotten to that point in the first place. Why was I always going back on my word? Why did it seem that I was always biting off more than I could chew when it came to various aspects of my life? Thinking about this question lead me to grasping for areas of my life that were under control. And the first thing that sprang to mind was my super exclusive grocery list. This was the one area of my life where I was as firm as a bouncer at the hottest club in L.A. If it’s not on the list, it’s not happening. Oreo cookies? Nope, not on the list. No ifs, ands or buts. After this breakthrough, I realized that the list had become a healthy obsession. Writing down our restrictive budget made it so real to us that going outside of it was unthinkable.

With all of this in mind, I decided that I would make a list, a budget (if you will) that lays out my personal boundaries. Since having unspoken professional and social boundaries doesn’t seem to be working (similar to how my unspoken grocery boundaries were practically nonexistent) perhaps, writing them down and committing to them obsessively will lead me toward a reasonable social and professional life where I don’t have to waste energy questioning if I did the right or wrong thing. There is no right or wrong thing… only “the list.” Also, I’d like to refer to this list so that I can commit it to memory and possibly even send it out to those who need to know what I’m about.

Here’s what I have so far. It’s broken down into categories…

PROFESSIONAL

I don’t produce other people’s short films or TV pilots for free. I will only work on a short film or pilot that has financing in place and a budget set aside for my fee.

I don’t do crowdfunding.

I will produce a feature ONLY under these conditions…

  • The project must be under $1mil. to produce
  • I produce it alone or with additional producers of my choosing.
  • All above-the-line crew members must be proven professionals. No first-timers in terms of never having had experience doing this job in any capacity.
  • Film must include women of color as leads or in substantial roles.

I don’t read scripts that are not referred from a friend.

If I don’t like your script, I will not meet up with you to talk about it.

If I don’t like your script or concept, I will not produce your movie.

If I don’t like you, I will not produce your movie.

If you don’t take constructive notes or feedback, I will not produce your movie.

If I am directing or producing a film and you refuse to take orders from me, you’re fired.

 

SOCIAL

If you are not as attentive to what I have to say as I am to what you have to say, then we are not friends. I am your therapist and my fee is $33/hour. You only get one time for this to happen before I charge.

I will tell you when you’re being rude and/or inappropriate. If you don’t address it immediately, then our interaction is over regardless of the situation.

I won’t pretend I didn’t notice something you said or did. I will give words to what I feel.

I don’t get into loud arguments or fights in public places. But if I you ever force me into a situation where I must do this, our relationship is over.

MENTAL

I will focus my energy toward being positive and productive. Any changes in mood will be a choice.

 

That’s all I got for now. I’m going to start reading this list and reciting it every day like Arya Stark. Also, I’m sure I’m missing some things so I look forward to adding to this list as much as possible in the future.

 

Exodus into the Job Abyss

I’m leaving my place of employment and here’s the dealio. I’m feeling good about this decision but I don’t know that I’ve ever given y’all the details.

So here’s some things concerning my premature ejaculation…

from my job:

 

WHEN?

My last day is this Friday.

WHY?

I’m leaving this gig because I’m overqualified. That’s prettymuch what it all boils down to. I could break down all of the little things that make me want to leave but every grievance, complaint, annoyance, mistake and/or confusion within my workplace experiences centers on the fact that I am overqualified to be doing what I’m doing.

WHAT EXACTLY AM I DOING?

My job is to help someone else to do their job. Again, I could break down my position and give you my official title and every single requirement but this is really another ‘bottom line’ element which everything else boils down to. There is not one thing that I do on any given day that is independent of my helping another person to achieve their professional (and many times personal) goals.

Which is totally fine…

…but that’s not what I want to do. And more importantly, I’m not gaining skills that could help me to get a better job.

WHAT DO I PLAN ON DOING?

Well, I’m glad you asked! You’re so considerate… we should really do coffee sometime.

I’m leaving this job so that I can pursue personal projects. My goal is to produce short films, feature films, web series, hell… maybe even a TV series. I want to do my own thing.

And that is where ish gets scary.

Because despite the fact that I followed my dreams up to this point, I’ve always done what I’d like to call “asking-for-permission-ass” jobs. (An asking-for-permission-ass job is pretty explanatory, I think. Just imagine a grownup version of the game “Mother May I.”) Anyway, I’ve spent 10 years ‘paying my dues’ and asking Mother if I could take a few bunny hops forward only to be told, “nah Peggy… but you can stay your ass where you at tho”. The shit is old. And I can’t imagine spending another year not having a job where I can work from home. Or take a client to lunch. Or fire someone.

So here I am.

HOW TO DO WHAT I’M DOING

First of all, I ain’t doing shit yet. I could fail miserably and come crawling back to my current job, begging for a chance to be in the building again.

Just as – you know –  a janitor.

I don’t need my old job back, Marie, I swear. I just need a job. Any job ya got!

**Picks up mop**

See, look at this. I’m mopping the floor. Ain’t too proud for this, Marie. I know it’s a carpet… just… come on! Work with me here.

So don’t copy offa me because I have no idea what I’m doing. Anywho, it really helps that my hubby is working again. Otherwise, my other go-to would be to live in my car. I think about living in my car quite a bit, actually, dunno why.

But my hubby is taking on the brunt of our bills because he knows that I got the goods and will probably be a pretty decent Producer. We’re going to rely on his paycheck and thank God he’s been able to find more freelance work recently because, I planned on quitting no matter what.

So I’m ready to give this entrepreneurial life a try because I’ve done everything else and can’t fathom spending another day wondering “what if?”

The Suite Life of Working Fo’ Yo Self

I remember one day when I worked in retail selling eyeglasses, one of my coworkers was clocking in and I asked him how he was doing. I didn’t expect anything out of the norm but he stopped and turned toward me. Looked me dead in the eye and said this…

“I just finished sitting in my car for twenty minutes. I stared at this building and asked myself, ‘do I reeeally want to do this? Today?'”

This man’s words from three years ago still resonate with me because I think everyone who’s ever had a job has asked themselves this question at some point.

And with the title of my blog, I think it’s clear that I ask myself this question every single day.

This year, however, I will finally have a chance to actually work toward my dream of entrepreneurship. I’ve graduated with a masters in entertainment from a prestigious institution that has given me a ton of connections. My husband is working and will be able to support us soon. I don’t have any children. And there’s really no time like the present.

My goal is to start my own production company – producing my first feature film OR TV show (whichever comes first) – while branding myself through my writing and videos. I’m currently gathering projects and seeking talent in order to work toward these things.

Not sure if this will work but crazier things have happened and I refuse… REFUSE to waste another year of my life helping someone else to live their dream. And that’s basically what every corporate job is.

It’s just not an option for me anymore.

Every day is filled with research and preparation for this move. And while I’m sure it will be filled with many failures and mistakes, it’s going to be successful.

…and I’m excited.

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