Friends In The Business
There are two kinds of people in Hollywood. Those who want their friends to succeed, genuinely. And those who say they want their friends to succeed.
I am definitely the first of the two.
I never quite got people who came to town with goals in mind to be a writer or a producer or a director and developed friendships with their fellow assistants or those in their social circles and then the day that one of their friends got a huge deal slapped in their lap — those “friends” would start talking crap behind their backs. How they didn’t deserve it. How they weren’t talented enough for such merits.
My philosophy has always been that there are thousands upon thousands (maybe) of people each year who are reaching personal goals in Hollywood. People selling screenplays and getting jobs working on TV shows and directing movies and what not. Most of those people are strangers. STRANGERS. The day a friend of yours hooks up one of those gems, how can you not be supportive and proud? Even from a strictly selfish standpoint — these are friends that you KNOW. People that, if they’re your friends, could someday help you out as well. Right? There are too many people who get too overloaded with jealousy and envy to support their friends once they’ve hit a valuable milestone in the Hollywood community.
I’ll never get it.
I have really good friends who are now in positions where they are running film companies, writing feature films, working on TV shows, producing TV shows, acting, managing talent… They are succeeding and if anything, it communicates to me that it’s possible. That the act of succeeding in Hollywood is not nearly as impossible as people think. And it motivates. It always has.
Mind you, there are no overnight sensations in Hollywood. There is the perception of overnight success because if you’ve never heard of the guy whose spent the last seven years working his ass off, only to sell a script yesterday — you just read about the guy in the trades selling his first script (yesterday). Wow, his first script! What an overnight sensation. This guy is going to be huuuuuuge.
The reality is, people work their butts off for years and years and eventually (if they have talent) find their doorway into “the machine”. To everyone else, the perception is that it’s an overnight success. To the person who just spent all those years trying — it’s satisfaction.
I always use a particularly apropros metaphor when talking to my friends about succeeding in Hollywood. That, pretty much, no matter the type of career one was going for — everyone is standing in a line. Side by side. All waiting and trying and hoping. Eventually, people who don’t reach the success they had hoped for start dropping off that line (i.e. moving back home, leaving L.A..). People will come to that line one after another, filling the spaces of those who came before them — but if you have talent and you stand on that line long enough — your turn will eventually come.
It’s requires more stamina than any sport, as far as I’m concerned. Mental stamina that pushes you long enough to try every venue and push your way into every corner of the town. It’s a process that is more about being in the right place at the right time (and having talent to showcase once you’re there) than having talent and being noticed for such talent. It’s a skewed process in a skewered town.
God, I have obviously thought about this way too much.
Bottom line: In a town like this with goals like the ones you have, you need friends. No matter how successful, no matter how jealous you might feel underneath the hood — it’s healthier and more karmic to support them, encourage them, learn from them, and join their entourage as quickly as possible.
Kidding. I’m kidding.