Making a list
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Making a list, checking it twice

by Jason Benoit, Esq.

The amazing thing about time is that it moves so slow, yet always too fast.

Here we are again – another year having flown by. Christmas creeping up on us like a freight train without a conductor. It seems every year the holidays come faster and faster – or maybe that’s just fearful thinking from people who still live paycheck to paycheck… That, or the fact that I’ve started witnessing Christmas sales and decorations before Thanksgiving. If I was Thanksgiving, I would totally feel like the bastard middle child. “Yes, of course we love you as much as your brother and sister. Wink-wink.”

With another year passing, I reflect with sheer trepidation on the end of my 20’s. Come February I will turn thirty. I’ve begun to grow a beard just to try and prove to myself that I am actually an adult because nothing else in my life would represent such a fact. I still don’t own a home. I have no kids – that I’m aware of. I still play XBox on the weekends. And the only vacations I’ve taken this year were so I could go out of town to play kickball.

I am a perfectionist and someone who tends to dwell on the have-nots instead of the haves. I tell myself it’s these bursts of defeat that fuel me to do better. In high school it was losing a major journalism competition I clearly assumed I had in the bag. In college, it was the rejection to USC’s film school – despite the numerous acceptance letters to other programs and scholarship offers. As an adult, and aspiring writer, it’s the projects and specs that have gone out… and gone unsold.

In Hollywood we like to make lists. We make them for actors we want to play roles in our movies. We make them for directors we want to direct our projects. We make them for potential buyers of properties we acquire or write. And we make them for screenplays as well. In many ways, it’s a measuring stick – though my manager likes to remind me that it’s mostly just a popularity contest. In which case, he’s quite popular considering his clients have raped both The Black List and The Hit List the past two years.

I did not make either list this year. So, naturally, I dwell on these things… as needless as it is (to be fair, I have been on The Hit List previously, so I can’t really complain). More than anything though, it merely serves to remind me that as I approach year 3-0, it’s time to do better. To write better. To work better, harder and more diligently.

Now I could continue harping on the things that I did not accomplish this year and choose to use that as motivation – and I surely should and will – but doing as much here would just be an exercise in futility.

So, instead, I will attempt to step out of my comfort zone and talk about the things I actually did this year. Which, for me, is actually the more difficult task. I don’t do well with receiving praise. However, I do very well with observing failure. So, without further adieu, these are the positives. My attempt at stopping to smell the roses… if only for a brief few moments:

— I stayed gainfully employed. In this day and age, that’s not something to take for granted. So, I must pat myself on the back for not screwing up so badly that I was given my walking papers and for being at least decently covert in my Facebook trolling while at work. Cat-memes all day long, y’all!!

— I finally moved in with my girlfriend… and if you know me, this is a huge step. I’ve still yet to officially declare our relationship via Facebook but hey baby steps, people. It’ll be a year in our house together come January and we have not yet killed one another in our sleep… but not for a lack of trying. SERIOUSLY, WHO WOULD’VE THOUGHT I’D BE THE ONE WHO ACTUALLY REMEMBERS TO PUT THE TOILET SEAT DOWN IN THIS HOUSEHOLD?!?!

— We adopted our second puppy and despite the fact that she refuses to learn how to shit anywhere but indoors, I kinda like her. Even if she is the bane of my existence. We have a full house – 2 dogs, 1 cat, my girlfriend and the selfish, usually pant-less me. I must praise my girlfriend’s patience for I am not an easy person to live with. Some people become less selfish with age, but I constantly surprise her in my many and diverse ways to become even more selfish. Lord pray for my future child who will surely need much therapy over the years.

— I worked with some very talented people this year on some very passionate projects, even if they didn’t yield significant financial gain. And I’d like to take the moment here to thank them for their work and their passion of me: Peter and Alan Riche, Doug Banker and Alex Garinger, Rachel Israel and Meghan Mathes, Scott Aversano and Will Shapiro, Adam Londy, Chris Licata and Ryan Cunningham. There’s a reason I constantly harass you guys with emails — it’s because I kinda like the work that you do. So, thank you – more so for the calls and emails that had nothing to do with business at all.

— I didn’t need surgery this year. For those that know me, this was actually a big achievement for a guy who has had two disc replacements before the age of 30. I call this the Year of Health. Now if only I’d actually start utilizing my gym membership instead of just letting the auto bill pay raid me every month.

— I wrote a book (I Hope it Doesn’t Burn When I Pee and it’s for sale on Amazon). That was a big life goal checked off for me. Now go read it and leave a review (good or bad, I don’t even really care).

— I didn’t fart in any of my writer work meetings this year. Don’t discount how difficult this is actually to accomplish. It may be #1 on my list of 2013 achievements. My girlfriend, on the other hand, probably would’ve preferred I didn’t bring this work home with me so often. 🙂

I could probably wrack my brain for more achievements, but at this point you’re probably sick and tired of hearing about this guy’s self-entitled drivel. So, I’ll leave you with one final thought:

The amazing thing about time is that it moves so slow, yet always too fast. So, if it’s only to serve purely as personal motivation for myself – work harder, play harder, and love harder in 2014. Time is short and before you know it, you’re a full-fledged adult and you don’t even know it (even if you can grow a real man’s beard).

Happy holidays everyone. May you get drunk on cheap booze and laughter and aggressive puppy slobber kisses.

Jason Benoit, Esq.

About Jason Benoit, Esq.

Jason Benoit is a young screenwriter based in Los Angeles, California. He has developed projects in both film and television with producers around town. He was reared on Cheetos and nightly doses of Tylenol PM and is adamant about attaching the suffix Esquire to his name. We've agreed to humor his request. Follow him on Twitter @jbenoitfilm

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