Saturday, September 23, 2006

Competing in Film School...

By my very nature, I'm a VERY competitive person. I like to test myself, prepare myself, and then compete in order to see if I can win at various competitions. If we're playing dominoes, I'm going to whomp you up, talk about you as I do it, and then psychological f* with you to the point where I'll have YOU pick the domino out of my hand that will continue your demise. I'm that good.

But one of the more unfortunate things about this thing called Hollywood is that we compete against our friends. We send out scripts, folks judge them, and some get hired for the job, scripts get sold, while others don't. Then suddenly, things can quickly turn on their head. The people who got hired get fired, the folks with sold scripts never sell anything else and end up selling insurance, and the person who was overlooked at the beginning is now thanking the Academy. You just never know.

I bring this up because I was picked to be one of the screenwriters on this Kevin Smith project. On one hand, I'm excited because I'm sacrificing time with the family, my financials, etc. in order to get and exploit opportunities like this. This is an opportunity to work on a real production that will be seen by thousands of students on the college network MTVu. But on the other hand, I feel absolutely terrible for my buddies who didn't get selected. Actually, I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. I'm the type of guy who wants every good person I know to have success, mainly because I believe that if you help, inspire, encourage, and give of yourself to others, you get paid in spades. I think I learned that when I was a high school student at Loyola High in LA. Men for Others was our motto and I never forgot it.

Competition in this biz is a way of life, and you can't avoid it. But I really wish there was a better way. I sure would sleep a lot better if there was.


RageyOne said...

I would say that good thing is that you recognize that working in that environment is about competition. You have feelings for those you are competing against and it is not done in a malicious manner. It is about business and you are doing what it takes to succeed.

Perspective, I think, is the key. As long as you have it and are able to use it in a positive manner, then you are okay.

Unruly Brown said...

*Making mental note: "Do not EVER play dominoes with L." hehehe! Shoot, I don't like losing either, and I ain't that good at dominoes. Now, at Scrabble or Boggle, I'd beat you like it was my sole purpose in life. lol

I know what you mean about feeling bad about the competition factor. That's how I USED to feel about the publishing industry, which is why I formed the organization and did everything I could back then to empower Black writers with the tools and knowledge they needed to put more quality Black lit in print. But when the industry kicked quality and standards out the window, the whole scene went so far down the drain that the playing field scale broke slap off. I don't think there's enough tape and glue in the world to fix it either. Needs a demolition crew first.

But after all this time, despite the conference I just produced, I'm STILL at a place where I want little to do with any of it. I see certain books on the shelves and think about all the real talent and powerful, meaningful stories and messages out there that're being overshadowed and replaced by you know what, and I feel kicked in the stomach as well. I don't even READ Black lit anymore with the exception of a handful of authors I'm close to personally. But while we both believe in helping, inspiring, encouraging and actively supporting others, there comes a point when we have to either get into a position where we can do more to change things or simply commiserate and keep our thing moving. I used to think my mission was to get to the former point, but then I realized I have far bigger fish to fry and that the other was a fight I was no longer interested in winning. I feel bad about that on one hand because I do kind of miss it, but, on the other, it would be impossible without the passion for it that I used to have, that's for sure.

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