When I was about 30 years old, I had a script that was getting me a lot of attention in the movie business. There were so many producers interesting in making it, that it seemed inevitable. At the time, I was a deeply unhappy person and my life was a mess, but I was sure that money and success would take care of that. And who wouldn't believe that? Don't well think that winning the lottery will take of all our problems?
But . . . there was a small part of me that had doubts. I would occasionally lay awake at night and have fearful fantasies about success. What were they about? The idea that money would make things worse. That being surrounded by nice things would only underscore how unhappy I was, and that I would spiral downward. What should have been a time of lightness and promise was instead a time of worry and doubt.
Years later I realized that there was a deep truth in these fantasies, and I was grateful that success eluding me - at least at that time. It would've been the worst thing for me. In the years since, I realized that I had it backward. You have to be happy first. And fortunately, I’ve done a pretty good job taking care of that. It’s something I work at every day. And if success and fortune come my way, I have no doubt that I'll enjoy it. And if they don't? Well, I'm happy, anyway.
One last thing. I have a few projects in the works, but there is one that is looking likely to get made soon (my fingers are crossed). This script is a recent one and it came directly from those fearful fantasies I had all those years ago. It's about a man who has everything, but is emotionally lost and spiraling downward. But don't worry - it has a happy ending. And it will be one Hell of an irony if this ends up being my first produced script. Stay tuned!
This is a follow-up of sorts to my post about suffering artists. Paddy Chayevsky once said, "I dislike bullshit, especially my own." In the same interview, he talked about how he approached his writing as a job. He also suggested that you should never trust an artist who talks about their art. In other words, creating art makes you an artist - not being a pretentious ass who talks about art all the time.
Related to this, I recently struck up a friendship with a man who's a bit older than me. If you were to go by the way he speaks and dresses, you'd probably guess that he's a retired truck driver or construction worker. Maybe a guy who owned a bar. But I guarantee that never in a million years would you guess that he's a retired concert pianist - but that's what he is. And because he's a humble man, it's not something he volunteers. I probably talked to him a few dozen times before he mentioned it to me. And since I'm an artist, we were able to have an exciting conversation. But it was all about the work of art - the practice, the approach, art versus commerce, that kind of thing.
So if you're serious about being an artist, take off the fucking beret, put it in your mouth, then get to work! Who knows, maybe you'll create something amazing. At the very least, you won't be an insufferable bore. :)