Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Fear Mongering

"However young,
The seeker who sets out upon the way
Shines bright over the world."

I touched on this subject once before in my Confessions of an Asshole entry, but I wanted to elaborate on the topic a bit. It's something that I've been witnessing first-hand over the past few weeks, and I feel the need to address it some more.

Before I get into the bad, though - let's talk about the good.

The online screenwriting community, without fail, has got to be the most helpful group of people I've ever come across in my life. From the working screenwriter who has penned a dozen blockbusters, down to the amateur working on her first script - it's a community of genuine people looking out for one another.

Every single working screenwriter I've had the honor to chat with has been open and honest with his advice - going out of the way to offer bits of wisdom from personal experience. And I've never had a fellow amateur decline to take time out of their day to read something and give feedback on it.

Without getting too gay on you - I just want to say I'm truly impressed by everyone I've met so far.

Now let's get to the bad.

There's one major difference, that I've found, between the working screenwriter and the amateur - and that's fear. Fear of failure. Fear of rejection. And a perpetuation of this fear.

A professional will tell you not to be scared. To put your balls out there. To give it a shot.

A fellow non-professional will tell you to tread carefully. To not lose your "one chance."

Now say what you will about me, but I've never been one to not take chances. I've never been the type of guy who is afraid to hit on the prettiest girl at the bar, I've never been afraid to just pick up the phone and cold call a potential client, and I've sure as shit never been afraid to take risks.

"All glory comes from daring to begin."

So why is everyone so afraid to fail? I've seen it so often now that I've become baffled by it. This cycle of fear that goes from one new screenwriter to the next, like a plague. It's as if no one is willing to take a chance until they achieve some sort of perfection.

Perfection is a myth.

For every person that likes your screenplay, two people will dislike it. It's the same anywhere else in life. Except this is the only world where people are so afraid of rejection and failure, that they're not willing to take that extra step forward. To make a leap of faith - that yes, I might fail, but I'm going to try.

"Simplicity before understanding is simplistic; simplicity after understanding is simple."

Don't buy into the fear mongering. Understand that it's a tough business to break into - and understand that you very well might fail - but don't let that stop you from trying. Go into it knowing the risks, but go into it anyway.

Failure will only help you improve. Rejection will make you stronger.

Put your fucking balls out there.


Anonymous said...

can only gain experience by making mistakes and by making mistakes is how we learn

Matt Hader said...

Can't win if you don't play...

Christian M. Howell said...

Great sentiment. I was afraid before. I noticed as I'm building up my project library, I became afraid that I am doing this for the money.

I realized I'm not when I asked myself what if you stopped? Could you go back to a happy life asa SW programmer.

The answer is no. That's whyI try to read every blog I can find and I agree that screnwriters ar the most helpful group of people with developers a close second.

I als have not ben afraid. Recently I cold called UTA about a client and was actually able to get all the way to the person's publicist.

It didn't go quite the way I had planned but it gave me cofidence that I sound professional enough to be taken seriously in such a case.

As far as "perfect" I don't think you can find out if it's ever even good enough if you don't get it out there.

For me I plan on entering every thing I finish by Oct in the ASA contest.

I good pretty positive feedback on the beginnings of my "best" project(read:hardest to make interesting) and the rewrite actually impressed me.

It's like full speed ahead now though I am scrutinizing every line as I write it, reciting it, picturing it, etc.

I figure the worst that could happen is that none of them win, but a lot of times, just a read may get a reader interested in the writer if not the project in question.

I just want to say that I wrote a lne that people take to heart, for good, bad or indifferent.

At this point, I can't even see myself anywhere else. As soon as I get some stuff on InkTip I'll probably start up a blog.

It's just a little difficult as I do have a fulltime job and more projects than I care to think about.

I guess my ability to multi-task is helping me there as I am building four "sequence maps" for treatments as I type.

I'm just hoping I'm good enough that people would care what I have to say.

Sure I'd like to grab that little golden guy and light cigars with $20 bills, but I would be even more happy if a good dramatic actor wanted to do a role I wrote.

Amy said...

Here here. I was suffering with a bit of self doubt recently, and your pep talk has helped revive me. And I hate that, Make sure you wait until things are perfect before you send out for the first time because you don't want to ruin your first impression - um, hello, there are so many unsolicited submissions that they'll never remember you from the first to the second if it's that blaise. Anyway, thanks for the reminder. : )

Evie (who found you through Emily, because I also obsessively read screenwriters blogs like Christian)

IQCrash said...

Good to have you Christian & Evie/Amy :) I can't promise everything I say will be as meaningful, if I do occasionally spin a nice boob tale.

Christian M. Howell said...

To all who enter:

Keep writing as writing is the revealing of the soul.

Christina Shaver said...

First, I read this and thought of you:

Second, here, here!

IQCrash said...

Great link, Christina - muchos gracias ;)