Monthly Archives: January 2012

What a One Figure Writer Gets from Six Figure Advice.


I came across the Scriptnotes podcast hosted by John August and Craig Mazin about two weeks ago.  Since then I have listened to all of their podcasts and have gained something from each one of them.   When sitting down to listen to this week’s podcast, on how to be a six figure screenwriter, I was prepared to tuck all the valuable information away for the day that I might be lucky enough to need it.   Then I was struck by the realization that this applies to my life now.  Not the lessons on incorporating yourself, or on the positives and negatives of having a business manager, those are still far from my experience.  But when Craig said that some people look around and say, ‘did I just waste 15 years of my life in a panic?’ I looked at myself.

The business of screenwriting gives me palpitations.  I’m confident that I am a really good writer, but I spend way too much time thinking how to break into that world.  I worry what those who could give me access to a screenwriting career think or feel about this or that?  I worry if I can even get my scripts read.  When I come in contact with them, are they going to think that I am too loud, too quiet, too happy (yes, someone actually said that) if I’m myself?  I’ve even posted about how social networking makes me nervous because I’m not  in total control over who sees my posts.  What if they dislike something I wrote?   Will it affect my future?  I’m wasting my life worrying about this crap.

From now on, I’ll treat my screenwriting career like I do relationships.  I’m just going to be me.  If I’m not who you want, then I don’t want you.  There is someone else out there that will recognize what a wonderful addition that I would make in their life, and even if I never find that person I’m going to be happy having adventures on my own.

So, even though the one figure in my screenwriting career is a zero, only because I refuse to acknowledge negative numbers, I needed the podcast Six Figure Advice.  Thank you John August and Craig Mazin.  I’ll see you soon…or not.

Big Miracle


Straight from The Trailer Park.  This Big Miracle Trailer is so sweet.  I didn’t know I could sustain an awwww for that long.
Who doesn’t need a feel good family movie every once in a while.  Also, I need to be reminded sometimes that there are more kinds of whales in the world then Orcas and whatever they had in that Star Trek movie.  Finally, I’d like to thank Drew Barrymore for allowing a scientist to look like she’s busy with something other than a stylist 13 hours a day.  Yay, over processed hair!

Oh PC, why don’t you love me?


I have a problem.  I just joined Twitter and every response I think of to other people’s tweets will be viewed as offensive to somebody.  Sometimes even me.  Apparently, I only have the ability to not offend people when writing in greater than 140 characters.  I never noticed how much I flower things to make them palatable to a greater audience.  Now that I think about it, I have never been good at pretending.  That’s one of the reasons I do so poorly in L.A. but so well in NYC.  L.A. is about who you pretend to be and not who you really are whereas, New York doesn’t have time for anything but who you are at your core.

All this is why I have never been attracted to social websites.  I gotta keep my mouth shut.  One should know one’s weaknesses.  Freedom to say, “that guy hasn’t put a decent ending on a movie since 1999,” does not exist.  Short comments must bypass the filter in my brain that says people will think you’re an idiot, or a mean girl, or any number of things that will make them not want to work with me.

Wait, I think I know what my problem is.  Brutal honesty.  That has no place in Hollywood.  That filter my short comments bypass must be a spring shower of white wash.  Look! This post is going through there now.  Ahh.  Erased or softened like a proper post should be.  Bless you long format.

Welcome to My World!


Yes, Billie Jean Van Knight is my real name and I love it.  Whether the first thing you thought of when hearing it was the song Billie Jean by Michael Jackson, the activist tennis player Billie Jean King, or the movie The Legend of Billie Jean, I love it.  I have a hard time remembering names so anything that can help you remember mine is a gift to both of us.

I’ve always been an avid reader and changed from writing prose to screenplays when I moved to L.A.  It took me about seven years before all the screenwriting classes, lectures, and books all blended in my brain to produce a really great screenplay.  I take this moment to apologize to all of you who were kind enough to read those first screenplays.

The name in Sickness and In Faith came to me one day after two of the worst years of my life filled with pain and hurt after the remission ended on my auto immune arthritis.  I hope between the fun and hard work of my screenwriting career and the pain and gratefulness of my chronic illness you’ll get a good idea of who I am.