How to overcome the slips and falls on a screenwriter’s journey…
March 26, 2012 § 1 Comment
It was a rainy Sunday night another lifetime ago, when I was doing many an odd job to pay the bills, looking for my three picture deal, and working as a delivery driver on the night The Golden Globes. My friend co-created a TV series that was on for a season, the show was hot, and garnered a lot of attention. Nominated for several Golden Globe awards, he was at the ceremony, and I was rooting for him. How was my night shaping up? It was going to be crazy busy, as people order more delivery food during the awards shows. Adding insult to injury, it started to rain and weather always makes for difficult driving conditions in Los Angeles. I really had to mentally buckle up because it was going to be a bumpy ride—just how bumpy I was yet to find out.
It was early in the evening and the Globes had started live, but were not yet being televised on TV. I took my first delivery to an apartment building on the border of Century City. The place was on an elevated part of the city and I could actually see the Beverly Hilton where the awards ceremony was taking place. Alas, my fate this night was to deliver food and hope for tips to pay my rent.
I pulled up at the address to make my delivery and knew this place, as I had been to this building before. I paused when I got out of the car and glanced over at the Beverly Hilton in the distance and thought of my friend as his crew just a mile away, warm and drinking champagne at their awards table—and me out in the rain schlepping two delivery bags of pasta to a customer. I chucked at the irony and soldiered on to the front of the building, as this was my fate tonight.
A light rain had fallen and the ground was wet and slippery. When I approached the front walkway, I didn’t notice the tile was slick from the rain and when I took my second step, it was like being on ice—my foot went out from under me and I fell backwards with nothing to catch me except the hard concrete. I landed flat on my back and my head snapped backwards and hit the sidewalk. Stunned and overwhelmed, it took a second for my brain to catch up with my situation. Time froze and everything went silent. As the light rain gently fell like snowflakes upon my face, my eyes focused on the gray and unforgiving sky as I thought of the irony—me flat on my back in the rain and my friend not a mile away at the awards ceremony. I didn’t know if the water on my face was rain or tears, probably a mixture of both.
I was in a dreamlike state for a second, my thoughts drifted to an outer-body experience—I visualized an overhead shot of me on my back, my arms outstretched with bags of pasta clutched in each hand, almost a Christ-like image of me being crucified for believing I too could end up at the Golden Globes someday around that big table… the visual image boomed up into the heavens as the rain continued to fall… the view would pull back farther and farther… above Los Angeles, above California, above the United States, into outer space and finally above the Earth. Suddenly, I heard the familiar voice of Humphrey Bogart proclaiming, “The problems of one little screenwriter don’t amount to a hill of beans in this crazy business!”
My throbbing head quickly snapped me back to reality… I rolled over, I was wet and felt like a kid who just fell on the playground in front of the entire school. I snapped a quick glance around the area and fortunately or unfortunately, I was alone—and I truly felt alone. I stumbled to my feet and headed up the steps to the building where the customer buzzed me in.
After I delivered the food, I returned to my car and started to feel a bit queasy. I knew one of the major symptoms of a concussion is feeling nauseous, and I panicked because I was going to have one hell of a night ahead of me—it was rainy and busy because of The Golden Globes. I drove back to the restaurant to pick up more deliveries, my nauseous stomach passed, and I soldiered on and completed my shift.
It was just another night in Hollywood.
There will be times during your Hero’s Journey as a screenwriter where you’ll have your own Golden Globes story, but hopefully it’s the one where you’re actually at the awards sipping champagne. Eventually rain falls in everyone’s life, but if we keep the faith and believe in our dreams, we can soldier on. If you’re feeling down and out, scraping the bottom of the barrel, and feeling alone in your struggle as your dreams shrink before your eyes—stay on target. Everything in life happens for a reason and at the exact necessary time for all us. Success usually doesn’t happen overnight. Establishing a career as a screenwriter might be a long slog, you’ll experience many pitfalls, you’ll slip and fall too, but always pick yourself up and get back in the race—and never stop writing. Keep the faith and don’t give up.
Copyright 2017 by Mark Sanderson on MY BLANK PAGE.
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“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.”—Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Fall down seven times, get up eight.” — Japanese Proverb
“Don’t fear failure. — Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious even to fail.” —Bruce Lee
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.“— Thomas Edison