This post was written on April 21, 2011. Take it for what it’s worth. Nothing? Something? Pumpkin pie?
I’m in a hotel. It doesn’t matter the name. It doesn’t matter the city. The streets here, they follow the alpahabet. A Street, B Street, etc.
I’m sitting in the middle of it all. Doing nothing.
There is a film festival going on this weekend but you wouldn’t know it. The magazines in the hotel show off the restaurants, bars, and upcoming music festival, but the film festival that I’m in town for has no buzz. No buzz in the city that gives the festival its name.
I confess: I’m in ‘competition.’ Two of my scripts are finalists this year. I don’t know what that means, really, but I did receive emails letting me know of this status and then a few follow up emails telling me, “Come on down! Attend the festival! Discounted badges for all in competition!”
I came. I did not buy a badge.
I get the feeling I’m being messed with here. I was told in these emails that twenty-six scripts are finalists in the screenplay competition and I am two of those. I would need to know the numbers of those that entered to truly care that I am two out of twenty-six. What if there were only thirty entrants? Or exactly twenty-six? I’m skeptical by nature and this is going right up my alley. A festival no one knows about? An unnamed amount of entrants? Everything I enter is a finalist? This is fodder for my cynicism. It’s about to birth itself a monster that eats what’s left of my self-esteem.
I’m skeptical of anything that feeds off the passion of another. For an amateur writer there are books, seminars, one-on-one script consultants, and ‘story gurus’ that have failed in their own special way, now on the attack for your wallet.
Truth: an amateur’s inbox can and will be flooded with the offers of these experts, gurus, and consultants. I know this because I get them daily. There’s always some writer’s seminar or exclusive class or workshop that tells me they can get my work to a place that no publisher, agent, or producer can possibly turn it down.
These emails get erased because like I said, I am a cynic. A skeptic. Anyone who thinks you are talented without every having witnessed your talent is delusional or a total black-souled hell beast at the least.
Everyone wants your money. If you put yourself out there as someone with a ‘passion’ or ‘talent’ for something your email inbox will flow costly with spam and the fabric of your being will be tested – can they get you to a convention hall in Los Angeles? Will you travel to an Elk’s Lodge in Pasadena to meet a former studio executive who worked on ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ or ‘Columbo’ who is there to offer their advice for a for measly $900?
This is where I am at. A self-assessed loser. No! A proven loser! I actually have proof that I have failed in the world of writing. I can forward along letters that start off by saying, “this year we received so many amazing entries it was difficult to choose. Unfortunately your work is not one of those chosen.” I have, perhaps not hundreds, but at least seventy to ninety of these and I keep doing this to myself because, why not?
Why not? What a horrible yet simple question.
I have a question for anyone trying to accomplish anything: If you knew there was no chance of success would you keep trying?
I can’t sing. I can’t draw. I can’t write. Yet I try to do them all and there’s a world full of me out there. Trying.
Yet I keep trying. Why? It comes down to one simple thing: I can’t do anything else.