When Someone Else Says It
In the charming and underrated “Hearts of the West” (1975), veteran motion picture actor and scribe Howard Pike (Andy Griffith) lays it on the line to tenderfoot writer Lewis Tater (Jeff Bridges):
“If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country’d be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn’t that easy. In short, when someone says you’re a writer, that’s when you’re a writer…not before.”
Good advice. But where do you find some “someones” who count?
Lately I’ve been entering my first (and only) feature-length screenplay into some reputable contests. By all accounts, it has fared well. A couple of “Top Ten Percents” and a Quarter-Finalist finish (to date) give me the inalienable right to, um, well, pretty much do what I just did.
No studio deal, no sack of cash flung toward my front door from a passing stretch limo…just some very limited bragging rights. Limited, until something better comes along, to this blog.
One plus for a contest entrant is none of the script readers know you from Adam. Sure, some may have a hidden agenda or be horror fans when the only knife in your script is used to spread Camembert sensuously across French bread, but so what? They just may balance out the often biased input from family and friends who suggest that walking on water would be a snap for someone of your obvious giftedness.
So until the studios come calling (or emailing, or whatever studios do when they like stuff), I’ll be satisfied with the judgement of the astute contest readers who — by virtue of their reaction to my work — consider me a writer.
Who knows? One of them may turn out to be someone.