One of the odd things about online communication — email, blogs, boards, podcasts, worm attacks, etc. — is the way "hip" cynicism seems the lingua franca of the online world. To be viewed as anything other than a card-carrying Rotarian stick in the mud dullard, one must be cool, which means that one must be disinterested, dispassionate, detached, and above all nihilistic in terms of faith in humanity.
"Everyone else is an idiot, all well-intentioned plans are shit, and a new sucker profile is created every 1.2 nanoseconds."
Fold that notion over upon itself to specifically sub-reference the somehow even more archly hip (read that: cynical) world of movies and screenwriting and frankly it's amazing that the cyberstreets of the online world are not choked with the dead of those felled by terminal cynicism. To listen to the chorus out there, nobody cares about the new guys, you have no hope of success, everyone is out to screw everyone else (and not in the fun or enjoyable way, either...), and at the end of the day nothing matters and what if it did.
But there is a deeper truth out there. One of the truly staggering things I continue to confront is so unsettling, so disturbing, that I have some trouble articulating it here now:
There are a lot of truly decent people out there in the world, and most of them are perfectly willing to give you aid and assistance if you but only ask in a sincere and polite way.
I'm planning an LA trip in a few weeks, the first such trip in which I am actively intentionally focusing upon meeting folks and networking and selling and schmoozing and generally working it. To listen to the standard chorus, you need to live out there for months or years and slowly work your way up the food chain, first palling around with algae and fungi, then moving up to protozoa and rotifers, then to agents, then on to multi-celled organisms.
(See? I lament over-abundant cynicism and what do I do? I bust on agents in a cheesy cynical gag. I'm so ashamed that it might take a good 45 minute nap to fully recover...)
The point is "you don't just show up in Hollywood as a total nobody and score meetings with people."
Except, I'm finding that I'm having no trouble connecting with folks I'm eager or interested to talk to. Producers, managers, fellow writers with whom I have only the most bare-bones minimal familiarity and connection... when I approach them and say "I'll be out there and would really like to meet and say hi, if possible," every single one of them answers with "Wow! That sounds cool! Here's my cell number. Let's meet on (such and such date) at (such and such time)!"
The nasty little secret that I mention in the title? Just this: nothing is as easy or as hard as it looks.
I've said it before: 90% of the people out there claiming to be aspiring screenwriters have no such aspirations in truth. What they do have is some needy desire to be hailed as a talented person, but many want this credit without ever actually doing the work of writing and without ever actually putting themselves at even the trivial risk of being turned down on an email solicitation to have coffee.
As with most things, it boils down to the simple choice described in SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION: "get busy living, or get busy dying."
That's goddamned right.
feeling Farragutian B