Dispatch from The Quest: Jordan Earls

January 11th, 2013 by

This marks Jordan’s final Dispatch from The Quest:

I don’t think I’m alone when I say 2012 was a damn crazy year. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest status insane. At the end of each year, I like to reflect on what I learned. Honestly, though, 2012 felt like five years compacted into one. If life was trying to teach me lessons, it gave me a whole bachelor’s degree worth of them. I started 2012 confused, lost and miserable. I knew I wanted to pursue screenwriting as a career, but really had no idea how to go about that in Seattle at a school that offered no such program.

I left the University of Washington in March, realizing it could potentially be the stupidest decision I ever made (and thank God for that bachelor’s degree of life lessons). I then gave myself a timeframe to “figure my shit out,” as they say. In March I set up a few goals for my writing that included “brainstorm more loglines,” “read a screenwriting book,” “write at least two scripts before December” and “maybe enter a competition or… something.” May came along, I sent around a dozen loglines to Scott and then I continued writing. I hoped I had the golden ticket that would lock my spot in the Quest, but never imagined that hope would actualize. However, come June 26th, I got an email from Scott.

I don’t know how the other Questers reacted following that email, but, personally, I recall some dancing, some shouting of profanities and a phone to my grandma. Not all at the same time, of course. The next six months flew by–and not by plane, those six months hopped on a freaking space shuttle. With the Quest, I picked my idea apart and put it back together again in the form of an outline. I then struggled rewriting the outline, but ended up at a point where I was comfortable with typing “FADE IN.” However, there were times I doubted I would make it that far. I have to say, doubt was the biggest monster I conquered with the Quest. I believe all of us Questers and all of you following along experienced it at some point–the little voice in the back of your head telling you your idea sucks, the story is a joke, you’ll never get it finished and, if you do, it will never be good. Eventually, I gave that little voice a good pimp slap and it shut up.

With the Quest my understanding of the craft doubled. I’m now confident I could take any logline, tear it apart, produce solid character treatments, fix up a thick outline and blast through the pages. I never would have said that with such conviction before the Quest. But the Quest didn’t teach me about the craft of screenwriting alone. I learned a lot about myself through the Quest. It may seem strange, but just twelve months ago I was in a place where I knew what I wanted to do but never would have believed in myself enough to imagine that I could actually do it for a living. Now, I can safely say I will be a screenwriter.

I once read, “What we seek without, we must first find within.” This can apply to so many things. In order for someone to genuinely be and feel beautiful, they must first find the beauty in their soul. At the beginning of 2012, I was confused, lost and miserable. I wanted direction and bliss but I kept looking outward. I thought college would give it to me and ended up confused because it didn’t. At the time, I didn’t understand that I could find direction and bliss by looking inward to what makes me most happy. Writing has always been that to me. If I knew the world were to end in 24 hours, I would spend half that writing and the rest of the time laughing and drinking with my loved ones.

What the Quest gave me is the confidence to follow my bliss. It was grueling getting there, I’ll be honest. There were definitely times of struggle, but we all struggled together. This has been one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life and I’m so thankful to have gone on this trek with fellow Questers Ben, Brandon, Emma, Rob and Scott R. They’re an incredibly talented group. They’re hilarious, have great instincts and anyone would be lucky to work with them, including myself again. Finally, Scott Myers—thank you so much for this journey. You’ve been an amazing mentor. Any writer should dream of working with you and I’m so grateful to have been so lucky. I’m looking forward to this coming year and working with you more. From the bottom of my heart, I hope everyone who’s followed along with GOYOQ has also found their bliss in writing and, in 2013, I wish all of you to continue going into the story.

About Jordan: Portland based writer. Connoisseur of film with an affinity for Nolan, Boyle and Jackson. Twitter: @jordanpaige00.

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