I don’t expect this entry to move mountains, but I do expect it to squeak a bit.
One of the biggest challenges a new writer faces is perception. How are you perceived as a person? Do people want to work with you? Skill keeps you employed, but attitude and perception nails the job.
You have probably read or heard famous writers or celebrities mouthing off to their heart’s content. They spew their opinions into the public without consequence and perhaps you think that’s okay.
It is okay… because they’re famous. You are not. Yet.
The bottom line is, if you’re famous, your opinion is not necessarily connected to your monetary value. Case in point: Rainn Wilson. The man is a card and he isn’t afraid of expressing himself. Maybe he has a few less followers on Twitter after a brief interlude of insane posts, but in the end, the products that rely on his abilities (The Office, films, etc) aren’t going to suffer as a result of his dark sense of humor.*
You on the other hand are a budding new writer/talent. You may have opinions, but those thoughts and ideas can CRUSH potential networking opportunities. If you slam a film or a director, or a producer (have mercy) and then find yourself in a financial position that screws you out of a job as a result of that opinion, it was your fault.
Until you’re famous and raking in the cash, keep your pie hole zipped.
“Don’t tell me what to do, lady.”
I’m not giving orders, I’m saving your butt. I’ve met a lot of bitter mean writers (and filmmakers) along my travels to success and they may get work but from what I’ve seen, they don’t get repeat business. No one wants to work with an ass. If you want the big bucks you have to act like a professional to become one. I am a perfect example of a person who needed a positive attitude adjustment. I’m a nice person, people have always met me and been happy with my work, but my faults use to lay in wearing my heart on my sleeve. Once someone pointed out to me that I was overly emotional about insignificant issues, I realized my mistake and manned up. I’m not a softy anymore and my outlook and perception has been exceptionally positive ever since.
You may be different. Maybe you’ve had too many ‘thanks but no thanks’ in your career and it grinds you up to no end. So what. Chin up, eyes forward, keep typing. There’s no whining in screenwriting.
I’m not telling you to stifle creativity or to not write opinionated material, but I am saying that success will come faster if you the person are perceived as creative, open-minded, smart, professional, and positive.
Save the people bashing for when you’re established….or better yet, rise above it.
* Celebrities do face consequences occasionally. Rascist commentary is a full proof method of getting your ass smoked over the coals. There’s no room for those kind of idiots in the biz.
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