By Hassel Velasco
Currently working on: Untitled Beatles Project
Currently Listening to: “Views,” Drake
Currently Reading: Yes Please, Amy Poehler
I've been trying to come up with a good excuse for my absence from my essay series last week but I'd rather be honest and inform the masses that I am now a Level 13 Pokémon trainer. Yes!
It was inevitable. I was a child raised by the card game and Saturday morning cartoon series. If you're not familiar, a Pokémon is a fictional animal-like creature that you train to battle for sport. And yes, now that I put it down on paper, Pokémon training sounds a lot like a mixture of Van Damme's “Bloodsport” and what Michael Vick went to jail for. Lucky for us the "Pokémon Go" battles end in faints and not fatalities.
As you can imagine, Los Angeles is a city filled with shattered dreams and PokeStops. (FYI: PokeStops are places of interest where you can retrieve items or get mugged depending on the neighborhood.) I spent some time around the city chasing these fictional creatures while avoiding real world deadlines. As of this writing, I have a little under a week to finish a half-hour radio play, an hour-long drama, three Web series episodes, and a short bio. But those can wait, right? I've been waiting my entire adult life to catch a fucking Squirtle in the wild, and I'm not about to pass up on the opportunity.
So last weekend a friend and I went out for what we thought would be stroll around her neighborhood and maybe dinner and a movie. But not only is she a nominee for greatest human, she's also just as much into Pokémon as I am. Lucky me. We walked to a couple of PokeStops nearby but after a drink and some coffee, we decided to drive to Malibu and catch some water Pokémon. While in Malibu I got an email to bring me back to reality. It reads, "Don't forget about the deadline to apply to [redacted] writers fellowship." My reply: “Is that a Psyduck?! We're pulling over.”
I realize that maybe Pokémon has steered this "get me on a show" train in the wrong direction recently, but sometimes distractions make things better. They relax you, and let's face it; procrastination is my field of expertise. I do realize there needs to be some context to what I'm preaching. For the sake of being somewhat productive and trying to move you out to Los Angeles and hunt Pokémon with me, I should provide you with some information. Here are the top Writers Programs and Fellowships in the business. Most of these provide a fantastic first step to your future lavish life of Pokémon hunting on your private yacht in Saint-Tropez.
The submission time for many of these differ depending on the one you choose. Before submitting your masterpiece, make sure to register your script with the writer's guild and make sure to follow the submission guidelines to a tee. A misstep by you means your script ends in the shredder.
So with all these deadlines looming I looked at the time on my dashboard, it read 3:30 a.m. I looked up from my phone as she continued to look for Pokémon, I quickly realized we were not in Malibu anymore. We were in Santa Monica. A look on the map showed the amount of Pokémon on the Santa Monica pier far outnumbered the amount of Pokémon trainers (FYI: people playing the game). So what do two adults with day jobs decide to do at this early hour in the morning? We parked the car and headed to the pier to find another 200+ people running around catching Pokémon. In the words of the great 21st century poet Drake, "What A Time To Be Alive."