The Phil Wells Dot Com

I Got A Big Mouth

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Listen to a Dudesong Excerpt

Want to hear me read an excerpt from the book?  That’s what I did for funny man Sam Dingman’s podcast:

That’s right.  I finished the first draft of Dudesong, my epic poem version of “The Big Lebowski”.  The first draft weighs in at 5200+ handwritten lines of rhyming heroic couplets in iambic pentameter.  I’m in the process of typing it all up into a manuscript.  The process is weird, and definitely different from the way I wrote the thing in the first place.  I’m making little tweaks here and there but largely this is just typing and typing and typing.  Still, when it’s done I’ll be able to hit ‘print’ and have a physical actual manuscript of this thing in my mitts.  My groin parts shift just imagining it.

Then there’s the matter of what to do with the manuscript.  I guess the obvious answer is to mail it to everyone.  Licensing agents, literary agents, publishers, journals, bloggers, Jeff Bridges, and anyone else who’ll receive mail.  God only knows whether I’ll be legally allowed to publish the thing for sale.  To tell you the truth, I’d be pretty crushed if I got ceased and desisted.  I want this to be published and distributed.  Not for the money, though money is nice, but more for getting this thing on bookshelves in the big bookstores and placing it in the hands of as many fans as possible.  If I give away free e-books instead of selling this thing, less people will read it.  That’s just how it goes.  I didn’t take a second job and work 8 months for this thing to be some PDF on Bluehost.

I’m stressing about this now but the good news is still that the important part is done: getting the damn thing written.  I like it so far, and I hope lots of people will get to enjoy it.  Wish me luck or, even better, help me get this distributed.  I need helpful fans!

Scoping Down

When you’ve set a big big goal for yourself and it’s killing you to meet it, often you’ll reassess your tactics.  When I set out on this current path my goal was “to find work as an actor or television writer”.  Like any other project with a goal, this one had three facets:  time, budget, and scope.  Of course the scope is the same as the goal.  That was my mission statement.  If was a business entity, a career in entertainment would ultimately be my product.

Now, I don’t want to crush any dreams, but I have realized that I’m not cut out for that goal.  I might have enough talent to make a reasonable living at it, but my ambition is lacking.  I won’t go on auditions or submit my work around because in the beginning that leads to fairly small potatoes.  In the end that’s all I may end up with because it turns out there are a thousand tall white guys with ukuleles trying to be Steve Martin to the Chuck Palahniuk generation.  My niche is an industry.  And that’s just in New York.

A less wise Phil, perhaps myself two or three years ago, would have looked at the limitations keeping me from this goal and tinkered with the expectations for budget and money.  Namely, he would have said something like “I don’t care how much it costs or how long it takes.  I’m going to rule this town!”  And that’s admirable and a completely rational way of assessing one’s goals.  Honestly, if you want something bad enough, you need to be willing to sacrifice everything you have to get it.  For most of us, all we have is time and money.

But remember that you were the one who set the goal up to begin with.  You’re playing a finite game because you’ve chosen to play it. Indeed, if you really had to be playing the game, you wouldn’t really be playing it.

What the hell am I talking about?  I’m talking about the third facet of your big big goal: the purpose itself.  I honestly believe it is my purpose to bring joy to this world.  I seem to have a knack for it, it makes me happy, and it makes others happy.  I’m just good at making people laugh.

That meshes cozily with life as an actor or comedy writer, but there are other ways to fulfill my purpose and make a living at something else.  Just like a character in a play has tiny little motivations that they seek beat-by-beat all in service of that character’s grand-arc motivation, I’ve come to realize that getting laughs on TV is not my purpose (necessarily).  It is a nice thing that could potentially happen to a guy like me.  But for me, that’s all it is.

Right now I’m still doing improv comedy shows.  I’d like to keep writing and performing in sketch shows.  Let’s be honest; I’d still love to get to write for a television show.  I connect with the universe a little every time someone laughs at my silliness.  But it’s all on my terms.

Relatively soon I’ll stop hitting the stage.  I’ll go back to school and follow some new adventure for a while until the wind blows me elsewhere again.  I’ve got other fish to fry, but I’ll never forget why I’m doing these things.  Why do I do anything?  To make the world smile.

If you want to know the meaning of life, here’s how you find it:

  1. You can only know the meaning of your own life.
  2. Look at your biggest goal and ask yourself why you’ve set it.  The answer may be an even bigger goal than that one.  Keep asking Why until there is no higher purpose.  You’ve found it.

Half a Fast

I’ve taken it upon myself to use Lent as an opportunity to stop drinking for a while.  I call this Fake Lent because I’m not really doing it to please the man upstairs; I’m doing it to save money and drop the 10 pounds I’ve gained since the end of my last dry spell.  It’s been working, too.  So far I’ve dropped about 5 pounds.  Of course, not drinking has been a key factor in this little victory, but another important step has been my decision to stop eating after 6 PM every day.

True, this has only been accomplished on weekdays.  I’m in the office until 6 on these days anyway, and that provides a clear, tangible deadline for me.  Once I leave work, I stop eating.  Done and done.  On weekends it gets a little less distinct and it’s hard for my food-brain to parse.  Still, in the words of the immortal Whitney Houston, it works for me.

I’ve realized that I stay up every night until midnight, and I don’t wake up until 7 or 7:30 on weekdays, so I’m effectively fasting for half my life.  Add to that the fact that when I do eat I try to keep it healthy (sugar is the enemy), and it’s no wonder I’m seeing results. 

Also, I’m doing this again: