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  • Writer's pictureJosh Pierson

Writer Struggles During the Covid Crisis

I wish I could say that through the last 3 months I’ve been writing screenplay after screenplay and excelling at every artistic thing I do and continuing to push forward, but unfortunately that’s just not the case. Like a lot of artists out there I’ve struggled with depression, anxiety and mood swings as long as I can remember. One might ask, why would I be depressed about anything right now, we just had a beautiful healthy baby girl, a wonderful fiance’ that puts up with my shit, I still have a job I like, I’m working from home, I’m able to live somewhat comfortably in California?

And my answer, I don’t know. Depression is weird and does funny things and creeps up on you in funny ways. Not funny haha, but funny fucked up. In fact, I didn’t even realize I was depressed again until just a few days ago when I noticed I was having strange mood swings, and wanting to be alone, doing a ton of self-reflection, and constantly working on my car (73 Dodge Dart Sport), which is a sign that I’m just trying to keep myself moving and find something positive for myself. These are all signs in my life that I’m going to have a crash very soon, which is a big worry of mine with a new baby because everything is go-go-go all the time right now and I want to make sure I’m there for her and my fiance’ as they need me.

This on top of the current Covid thing has oddly taken shape in my life in a not so productive way. I have tons and tons of ideas for new screenplays running through my head at all times it seems, and all I can think about 24/7 is how bad I want to direct another movie, and step up my game even more with the follow-up to Where Sleeping Dogs Lie, so bad in fact that it keeps me up at night and my anxiety is flying a thousand miles an hour, but I just can’t seem to find the motivation to click that button to open up Final Draft, and when I do click the button, I’ll write:


And then sit there for the next two hours staring at the screen as my anxiety flies around trying to figure out which story that’s been running through my head should I start to write. What’s next?

I close my laptop and turn on the TV.

I can’t find anything worth watching.

I open my laptop and stare at the screen again.

I close my laptop an hour later and turn on the TV.

Then I realize it’s 2am and I’ve been so unproductive it’s ridiculous, so I go lay in bed for the next hour tossing and turning, hoping, trying my hardest not to wake the baby or Courtney as my mind turns and turns into oblivion about all the cool stories I could be writing.

This goes on and on for hours, days and weeks.

This has gone on for almost three months.

When they first told us that we would be working from home for the foreseeable future I got really excited because here I thought, “awesome! I can get a ton of writing done and come out of this thing with some scripts finished up and maybe some new ones in the pipeline.” But instead being home every day, not seeing my friends, not being able to be out at a brewery or a theatre or dinner and analyze people and see how people act or go see art, has completely 100% unequivocally murdered my artistic drive.

I guess on the good side of things is that Where Sleeping Dogs Lie is coming out in just a few weeks on iTunes July 7th, which is amazing to think that four years after writing it and dealing with numerous drama on and off set, while still holding ourselves together, buying a house, renovating a house and shooting the movie all at the same time, it’s the second most amazing, nay, important point of my life.

But then my mind starts reeling again, is it really that important? There’s so much content flooding the market that you feel, how can I possibly stand out in the crowd when you can’t get press to cover you because they don’t know who you are, they don’t care who you are, you don’t have any big names in your movie, and you live in a town that is substantially known for releasing subpar feature films into the market?

Here’s the thing, I’m proud of Sacramento in a very weird way, I’m proud of our team that did this movie more than you can possibly imagine because we defied the fact that nobody would give us a hundred thousand dollars to make it, and instead we banned together and said fuck you all, we’ll make it with our own money and our own connections. We couldn’t get gaffer help, so we lit it ourselves, but we knew we needed good sound, and we ended up having to pay for that, and pay for a lot of food, which thanks to Covid we don’t have to do anymore.

At the end of the day, we overcame all the odds and created something so fucking cool that it’s actually good, and it’s coming out online where the whole world can see it.

So why am I so fucked up right now?

Great question.

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