Great post I discovered in my inbox from Script magazine, “Balls of Steel: What Makes Writers Fail.” Plenty of articles on writing good scripts but no one can claim on knowing how to break in. Here, the author doesn’t even try. And, of course, I read it to see if there was anything I was doing!
After reading it, I think it’s a list to keep yourself happy as a writer, no matter what your definition of success. If your definition of “success” changes — as it must in an industry which often overlooks the original, fresh and energetic for the reboot, sequel or remake — so must your definition of “failure.” An alternative title for this article could be “What If…You Believed in Yourself.” Love that! The author’s comments are the true reflections of the kind of generous spirit she reflects in the article.
I’m not at all cynical so I think the energetic youth she refers to — the youth embodying the blissful ignorance and all-encompassing passion we all had — from the lates Go Forth generation (great Levis campaign) will go forth and change all that with digital media. For sure it will as it must. In the meantime, enjoy:
BALLS OF STEEL: What Makes a Writer Fail
Jeanne Veillette Bowerman
Writers connect with films, scripts and their characters, but we often forget to connect with each other. Isolation is one guarantee answer to what makes a writer fail, but there are many more.
We are placed on this earth to experience life in a way only human beings can. Unlike animals, we laugh, cry, hate, love, fill our hearts with envy, jealousy and anxiety. We don’t just project those emotions onto other people; we torture ourselves with self-loathing, insecurities and disappointment.
Let’s play a game of “what if?”
Many writers, myself included, set a character up in a situation and ask, “What if… I made her talk to that person in this scene? What if… I had her plane nosedive? What if… her ex-husband walked in and pointed a gun at her?
We’re all familiar with asking that question in our writing, but what if we asked it in our lives?
What if… you believed in yourself?
Sit with that thought for a moment. Close your eyes and visualize experiencing life fully committed to believing in yourself and your ability to succeed. That is a powerful intention. One I wish I had when I was in college, full of insecurities and pushing away my writing professor who begged me to leave Cornell’s Hotel School and major in Creative Writing.
This week, I got to go back to college and crawl into the mind of my 19-year-old self.
Hendrix College’s Filmmakers Club generously invited me to lecture on Navigating the Industry Outside of Hollywood. As I flew into Little Rock, Arkansas, I prepared myself to answer all of their aspiring filmmaker questions. I told tales of my adventures, gave tips on building relationships by paying it forward, and shared mysocial media addiction prowess, proving how I have crafted a legitimate career from my country home in New York State. As I wrapped up, I asked if they at least got one helpful nugget of advice and what that golden bit was.
One student enthusiastically said, “Hope,” to which many voices echoed with heads nodding in agreement.
After my talk, several students joined us to continue the discussion, their hungry minds picking my brain. Talking shop with these bright students made me envious of them. At their young age, they knew what their passion was and were going after it.
They gave me hope.
But it also made me wonder how many students of Hendrix secretly wanted to be filmmakers but didn’t come to the event or stay after to have a deeper conversation with me?
How many people are sidestepping their dreams because they don’t believe in themselves?