Don’t ever expect to be fully confident in your work. That day will never come. Powering through your self-doubt is what leads to success.
Betty White rocks not only because she is one of the most successful women in the history of entertainment, having been active and working for more than six decades, but because I always get the impression that she hasn’t taken one moment of her success for granted. She often describes herself as the “luckiest broad on two feet”. She’s smart, classy, and hilarious. She’s an inspiration to me as a Wannabe because she seems so grateful for her success. I think we’ve all heard seemingly clueless, successful people in the biz who seem to think their success is totally deserved and their star will continue to rise indefinitely (one starlet, who shall remain nameless, seems to think starring roles in summer blockbuster grow on trees so she doesn’t have to actually “try” to be good at what she does). There is often a very fine line between great success and nine to five-ing it for the rest of your life, no matter how talented you might be. So cheers to a classy lady who deserves her success and is grateful for every moment oof it. GOOD LUCK ON SNL TONIGHT, BETTY!
I have found that success rarely happens when you want it the most. So often, it happens when you’re not even thinking about it.
I think all of us Wannabes have days where we feel down. We feel like “it” will never happen. I’ll never see my screenplay produced. I’ll never sell a novel. I’ll never get the chance to perform in front of a big audience. Whatever your dream might be. Those days are tough. Those times when you just think “What if it never happens?” What if my dream just doesn’t come true? Those days are hard, but we slog through them and soon we get to better days where, sometimes for no reason at all, we feel better. We feel more optimistic. Right now I have a few nonfiction proposals for the Wannabe book submitted to agents, a novel submitted to a publisher, and a few screenplays under review. Something could happen with any one of those things at any time, right? Right??
I finished a screenplay last summer, a sort of adventure story for 9-12 year olds about an ancient magic cave and the ghost of an Indian boy. The script was called RAIN ON THE WATER. When I finish a script, after I’ve had it reviewed / revised a bunch of times and I feel it’s ready, I send a query letter out to as many producers as I can find – most of them from the Hollywood Creative Directory (HCD). It’s a big directory, but still a finite list. After I’ve exhausted the list, that’s about all I can do with the script. If no one bites, I move on to the next script. If I send out 300 queries, I will get about 30-50 responses. About 45 of them will be NO. Last summer, about 6 companies asked to read the script. One or two wrote back and said they liked the script, but not enough to do anything with it. The others I never heard back from. If you don’t hear back for 3-4 months, it’s a pretty safe bet they’re not interested.
Or so I thought.
Eight months later, in the middle of an ordinary, boring day, I get a phone call from a producer in Los Angeles from Runaway Productions. She wants to option RAIN IN THE WATER to try to get the movie made. Though I wouldn’t call this my Big Break, it’s a big deal. Right now, the producer is trying to get funding to see if we can make this thing happen. The script is now under contract until July 1, unless she extends the option longer.
Sometimes things like that happen when you least expect it. When you’ve all but forgotten about a particular submission or you feel it’s been too long – you should have heard back from that audition by now so you figure you didn’t get it.
You might just get a break when you least expect it.
Don’t Give Up.
The Best is Yet to Come.
Good buzz about my blog and website, or course! Mailing out flyers to professors, etc. is pretty expensive so I have taken to emailing people instead. I will only attach the flyer at their request so as not to trigger the spam alarm. Anyway, I found that emailing works much better and I’m getting a much better response. I am going through all 50 states – choosing a college and finding an individual English professor to email about this website. After all, professors teach an awful lot of Wannabes and I’m hoping they will pass on the information to their students. I would love to see Wannabes use this forum as a place to discuss their experiences and realize they are not alone in their struggles. To me, even the most supportive non-Wannabes never quite understand the pain of rejection and never quite get as excited about the little victories as I would like. Other Wannabes understand that you can work a long time with very little progress, so when you get a nibble, it’s a big deal!
I had a victory already this morning. I sent out about 10 emails yesterday about the site and so far got 2 responses back. One is from professor and mystery author Carolyn Haines who told me that she likes to support Wannabes and she will put the www.wannabepride.com information on her personal facebook as well as a fiction writing website. Score! Win! The other response was from another professor who asked me to send her the flyer as she is a Wannabe herself. Double Score!
Like any project, writing or otherwise, it can take a long time for success. This website and project has been months in the making, and it’s exciting to see it starting to grow, one day at a time.
P.S – Just got word that my FAVORITE comic/ musician is coming to the area in 3 weeks and I just got tickets. Saw him in November and can’t wait to see him again. Wahoo! In preparation for my Wannabe book, I have been collecting success stories from former Wannabes. This is his story: Stephen Lynch worked for years playing his music in small clubs in and around New York City. He was working in a temp agency, making photocopies and getting coffee, when he got a phone call from Comedy Central. They asked him if he wanted his own half hour comedy special. To date, he has released four musical comedy albums and tours internationally to sellout crowds.