This week's Answer:
to the arena known as “show business.”
In your case, you’ve done a lot of “show.”
You’ve actually finished scripts and managed to
get some read!)
But haven’t done any business.
I’m no Pollyanna, but you could say that you’re
already half the way there.
I know that may not seem like much, especially if
you’re sitting with a pile of scripts that haven’t
sold and a pile of bills that won’t pay themselves. (I
could never understand why that is.)
seems to part of the game, an aspect that must be mastered
(Grasshopper) if one is to survive as a career
that you say? You
don’t have a career to survive in?
That may be true now.
But did you ever notice that now’s have a way of
sometimes quickly. Think
of it: All it
takes is for one producer out of a zillion
(I think I counted that many in the latest
Hollywood Creative Directory) to decide to film your
script and you’re in... after he puts together the
millions he needs, finds and secures the main actors, and
sets up a thousand other little things... On second
thought... forget it.
(Did I mention I wasn’t a Pollyanna?).
Now where was I?
Oh, yeah: encouragement. Or was it discouragement?
Well, both words have the root word “courage.”
So what can we glean from that fact?
Could it be that, when you allow yourself to be
discouraged, you’re “disin’” your own courage?
way to look at it is to stop that internal battle that
wages between the “light you” who tries to bravely
keep on truckin’ against all odds and the “dark you”
who is continually undermining that effort and working
overtime to convince you that your chances of selling a
script are as good as you growing wings and flying over
the “Hollywood” sign.
(Hey, that’s a good image.
Anyone who uses it in their Hollywood-in-house
screenplay, be sure to send me a royalty.)
Why not step off that battlefield altogether, put
the sword down (keep the pen; you’ll need it) and just
keep writing? Think
of all the time and energy you’ll save that you can
channel into sitting in front of your computer or paper
trying to come up with a winning idea that will finally
catapult you into that echelon of Screenwriters Who Have
Sold Only One Script.
Do you see where I’m going here?
It’s not the destination; it’s the... the...
Oh, right. Thank
you, Grasshopper. Journey.
And, Grasshopper... speak up a little, will you?
What I’m trying to get across to you, Mister D.
and dear reader, is that you never arrive.
Oh, sure, it’s nice to visit stops along the way
(FirstOptionton, InitialSalesville, Sixfigureburg,
ThreePictureDealdelphia, AcademyAwardia, etc.) and I’m
not saying that isn’t an exciting travelogue.
But would you really want all that glamour and
prestige without the satisfaction of having put forth the
creative labor each and every step of the way?
(Okay, even if I hadn’t written a word, I’d be
hard pressed not to walk to the Academy Awards stage to
accept the Oscar for best screenplay. I need a heavy paperweight.
I mean it’s only a statue.
All right, I admit it:
I would display Oscar on my mantle... bathed by
track lighting... and a spotlight... and every time you
touch it, “We Are The Champions” would blare from
Marshall speakers spaced throughout the room.
But still...) Think how empty it would be to just
find yourself with your laurels without ever having
embarked on that thrilling odyssey known as screenwriting
for half your life, never knowing if anybody will ever see
your work on screen.
Now, isn’t that an exciting prospect?
not saying you couldn’t ride the Wheel of Fortune to
gold the first time.
But, just in case that doesn’t happen, why not
choose to do your best to enjoy the ride?
For a ride, or rather, a roller coaster, it
probably will be. Just
try not to get carried away by the highs and lows of it.
Instead, stay true to your Creative Self, express
what must be expressed, don’t take anything too
personally (what do agents, producers, critics, your
mother know, anyway?).
And one more thing:
Don’t try to do a screenwriting career alone.
There are plenty of discouraged writers you can
team up with. Why
not start a support group?
Screenwriters Anonymous. (Most of them are
anonymous, so that works well.) Or how about just SWA?
Hi, I’m Mr. D. and I’m a screenwriter.
Hi, Mr. D. Welcome!