Monday, May 24, 2010
Rant level: High
I can't go into details, but the last few weeks regarding work have been beyond terrible. The words, "no", "impossible" and "too difficult" keep coming up time and time again.
I had several long conference calls with my lawyer and a few good friends who work in the "industry".
To all this negativity I have one thing to say, FUCK YOU!
Really. I've busted my ass (at no money) for twelve years in this business. I'm well aware of the statistics regarding successful screenwriters, especially for black women. I'm not stupid. That I went ahead to pursue this career in the face of such discouraging stats either means I'm crazy or passionate. Or both.
I got up at 4:00 a.m. back in L.A. to write before I went to my intense job. Obviously I'm passionate about writing. I take it seriously. I love writing. I love movies. This is what I want to do. There's no plan B.
My industry friends don't understand why there's all this negativity AFTER I've sold a script. It's fucking bullshit. Throughout my film career I've had to deal with people constantly (mostly men) underestimating me.
Why does this happen? Is it because I'm short? Too nice?
All of this caused a minor set back. A complete lack of confidence. I was having a hard time writing and was staying up all night stressed out about my finances/future.
Yesterday was gorgeous out. I went on a three hour walk to Via Appia Antica. My mind was racing (as usual) and was I thinking about the past few weeks. I started to get angry. Why was I internalizing everything? I have a choice, I can accept the negativity, pack my bags and give up or I can keep writing, pitching ideas and working hard.
I chose the latter. My parents used to say I was "hard headed". When people tell me I can't do something that's an attainable goal, I love to prove them wrong. Another American expat told me it would be impossible for me to get my Italian license (she failed three times). Her comments pushed me to study harder. I passed the exams and got my license.
I'm reading "Tales From The Script". Fifty top screenwriters share their stories about the craft, breaking in, sustaining a career and the overall insanity of the business. It's inspiring. All these writers have written scripts that never sold, been fired off projects, been re-written etc. None of the stories of their success are the same. However, they do have a few things in common; discipline, love of the craft, love of movies, thick skin, sense of humor, an ability to see the big picture, etc.
Something clicked this weekend. I woke up today at 5:30 a.m. motivated like a mofo. I started working on my latest script immediately and had a very productive morning.
I need to listen to my gut more and negative nonsense less.
Soon my money will run out. Until that point I'm not going to think or worry about it. I'm putting on my blinders and focusing on the work. Stressing out about money is not going to make it suddenly appear in my life.
TRAITOR, the movie I was a producer on, has been playing on SKY Cinema lately. Working on the movie in Toronto was an incredible experience. I was surrounded by very talented people who clearly love what they do and do it well. It was on that movie I decided to leave L.A., move to Rome and pursue screenwriting full-time.
I'm going to make some changes that I'm excited about. Sometimes a negative can turn into a positive. I'm so focused now, it's a little scary.