The Unglamorous Golden Rat Race

Everyone, except a few unwired mountain hermits, watches TV and movies. This makes aspiring to write for the screen somewhat glamorous. Unfortunately, glamour will only go so far.

The Rat Race

Working towards any aspiration means that sooner or later you have to leave the mountains, slather on the elbow grease, and join the rat race.

All the rats are out to get to the best, most smelly cheese before anyone else. In the world of screenwriting this generally means dealing with Hollywood.

Los Angeles is full of glamour and fame and fortune, a modern day El Dorado for many chasing a dream.

Before you head to Hollywood, everyone looks on you in awe. They see your preparations, the way you pack up the useful bits of knowledge for your grand expedition. For now, you’re one of the few in the rat race, and thus you’re interesting and unique. It’s not uncommon to hear, “Oh you’re going to be a screenwriter, how cool.”

People you hardly know will cheer for you during those training weeks, months, and years. Keep in touch with those people because once you get to El Dorado, you’ll find that the-

Glamour is Gone

Hollywood is a business town. It’s easily forgotten and often hidden in the term “show business”. Everyone loves the show, but few are interested in the business. That’s because business is not glamorous. It doesn’t sparkle like a city of gold or fancy cheese packages.

The business is the real rat race in Hollywood. Everybody wants to be in the business because that’s where you make a living, a career, a paycheck.

But, this rat race is tough and crowded. In Los Angeles, an aspiring screenwriter is no longer one of the few, but one of the many. Suddenly, you’re just like everyone else – baristas, assistants of all kinds, bike messengers, and even the lunch truck guy aspires to be a screenwriter.

This can really suck the wind out of your lungs and slow you down. Seeing all the other people in the race, and how they’ve never made it to the finish line, can make you want to give up. It’s the harsh reality of show business, and few people like it.

That’s when you pick up the phone and call for-

A Fresh Pair of Shoes

You must have the right footwear, if you’re going to make it in the screenwriting race. Getting to El Dorado is only part of the course.

So, you call those people back home who still see you as unique and interesting. They’ll help boost your spirits, and get you through another day.

Then you join a writer’s group. This will make you accountable for each other. It will allow you to boost each other’s spirits and keep you on task with your writing.

And finally, you tie up those perfect shoes and get back into the race. You accept the reality that screenwriting, making movies and television, is a business. Realizing the glamour was never there, that the sparkling gold city was only a mirage, is the best thing that can happen to you.

Now you know what it really takes to finish the race, you can be that consummate professional, the businessman screenwriter.

So, that’s where I’ve been. I’ve been chasing the cheese. My apologies for the long absence, but I can see the finish line in the distance. The odors are filling my nostrils.

From what I can tell, Hollywood’s cheese stinks like vanity, money, sunshine, and little gold statues.

Ah, I love the smell of show business in the morning.


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