Lyla T. (You wouldn't be the famous Lyla Twarp choreographer in New York City,
would you? Or is that Tyla Larp? I'm sure you know who you are so we can
move on.) I feel for you Lyla (not literally because you could be married or
have a big bruiser of a boyfriend who, even though he dances in tights with you,
may still pose a formidable and physical problem to me if he happens to be the
jealous sort). You have undertaken what I consider to be one of the deadliest
games when it comes to a screenwriting career: The Waiting Game. (Is
that a title of a film? Somebody rush to Imdb.com and send me an e-mail to
let me know. I know it would only take me a second to do that, myself, but
I've clicked enough today. And, if I did, I wouldn't need to send myself
an e-mail, after all). The Waiting Game. I'll "say" it one
more time for dramatic emphasis: The Waiting Game. I say
"deadly" because that's what it is. Deadly. (More
repetition for dramatic impact.)
Well, let's not get too carried away. But it is
just a tad irksome. And gets in your way. And sucks your
EATS YOU ALIVE!!!!!!!
Hey, is that already a film title? Somebody click on
Imdb.com (no, I'm not getting any thing for mentioning the company, IMDB.COM,
even though I've done it twice. Just check with your mouse.
See? No hyperlink.
Oh, this one just takes you to ONE OF THE GREATEST WEBSITES YOU'LL EVER VISIT IN
YOUR ENTIRE WEB EXISTENCE!!!!!!
Not really. Don't click on the blue word or you'll be
"THIS WEB PAGE DOESN'T
But I am thinking of buying the domain name.
Where was I? Oh, yeah. Eats you alive. It
does. Waiting for a producer is very bad for the stomach lining.
Like an acid. Actually, as the font suggests, it does
resemble a horror storyline. (I use the word, "storyline"
instead of "story" so that I appear to be somebody who knows what he
is talking about when he is talking about films. "Plot" is
sooooooooo cliché and five minutes ago (and "five minutes ago" is so
ten minutes ago now). If you want to appear like you know what you're
talking about when it comes to films, you have to use words like "arc"
(but be careful if you're referring to a biblical film because you could confuse
us with "Noah's arc") and "twist" (but, here again, you want to
be prudent if you are mentioning a bio-pic (and "bio-pic" is very
"Hollywood Reporter" and "in" or "dope" now) about
Chubby Checkers. You can imagine the mix-up that could take place:
INT. DANCE HALL - NIGHT (who has a dance in the
Never mind. I'll just tell you. While describing a
moment and trying to appear like you are a Knower Of Films, it could get very bewildering:
"Chubby Checkers jumps up on the dance floor to the enjoyment of all the
rowdy teenagers and starts doing the Twist, which is a great twist that
surprises everybody." Do you see the mayhem you could cause?
So, back to the horror film, "The
Deadly Waiting Game!" You're just moving along in your
screenwriting life, writing, submitting, talking to people in the business,
flowing along, if you will, and what happens? You receive notice that
SOMEBODY WHO CALLS HIMSELF A PRODUCER IS INTERESTED IN ONE OF YOUR
SCRIPTS. Now, it's at this point that, if you're not very careful, you
could fall into:
The Deadly Waiting Game!
Okay, we've got the picture. Enough already with the:
Once you move out of the proactive modality of doing, being,
writing, submitting, talking, meeting, throwing yourself on the Screenwriter's
Killing Floor and having tantrums, whatever you do to move ahead in your
screenwriting career, and shift into the REactive modality of waiting, you've
lost your power (not the kind that keeps your computer on so that you can send
harsh e-mails to producers who tell you that your script is "the one"
and then suddenly stop responding to you after sucking every creative idea they
could eek out of you about your original screenplay. No, not that kind of
power); you've lost your strong and stable position; in a sense, you've lost yourself.
You've now become a waiter (no, not the kind that you have been or may be or may
be again when you serve and suck up to producers at posh restaurants, hoping
they will leave you a big tip or at least a card with an address where you can
send your screenplay, which they can then ignore and cause you to think of
quitting waiting and taking up stalking for a living. No, not that kind of
waiter.) I mean, literally, a WAITer. You're waiting. You've
put your screenwriter's self-esteem (SSE) in the hands of somebody else other
than you. And that's not a good idea.
"So what should I do if I don't wait?" say you.
Glad you asked. Like the sages of antiquity have said time and time again
(and I think John Lennon mentioned it, too), "The answer is in the
question." Your answer is in the question. Your answer is:
I know that's kind of heavy and you think you need thirty years
of Zen training to comprehend it, but stay with me if you can.
Just don't. In fact, take it a step farther:
forget about it
Now, I'm not saying this like some tough mobster from New Jersey
on the "Sopranos." (Oh, they're actors?") I
mean it. Really do your best to forget about it. If something
happens that's positive from a producer who has spoken highly of your work or
even made a promise concerning one of your scripts, fine. If not -- and
here's the challenge -- let that be fine, also. "Fine?!" you
bray in my face. "Fine!!!???" "But, but, but..." I
know you were expecting something from that producer. You've been waiting
for that producer to make good on his word, to put his money where his mouth is
(which, if you think about it, is a pretty unsanitary thing to do). You're
right; you have. Exactly. You've been waiting. And how
does that famous homily go...
"A watched producer never calls"
Or something to that effect. So, even though it's easier
said than done, stop playing that waiting game. Start anew each day with a
song in your heart and put on those dancing shoes and, like we did last
summer, let's twist again (the dance, not the storyline).