Humble Pie

“If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants.” – Sir Isaac Newton

I had an epiphany tonight. After having taken a couple weeks off from writing to let feedback simmer and to take the family on a vacation, I was extremely humbled by a single tweet that shared this blog along with a few nice words. And just like that, presto…renewed motivation.

Then came the weekly Sunday night @scriptchat on Twitter. Tonight’s guest was Eric Koenig (@EricKoenig123), a dentist whom this past year sold his first feature, Matriarch to Paramount. You can read more about Eric and his incredible story here. Back to the epiphany…

I realized that the incredible network of writers that I have come to know on Twitter range from the produced, bought, optioned Hollywood insiders, to experienced and knowledgeable writers on the verge, to writers like myself who have a few projects under their belts but are still learning, to writers just starting out.  And it doesn’t matter where each one of us is at in our dream chasing journeys, as long as you’re respectful, courteous, and genuine, there are writers around you that WANT to help you succeed.

We read each other’s scripts and give usable notes and honest feedback. We favorite, like, retweet, repost, and share each other’s tweets and pictures. We answer each other’s questions. We lend a hand, an ear, or the right verb when needed. We pick each other up when one of us falls.

We do this because we all want nothing more than to see one of us succeed. To make that sale, to sign with an agent, to have our movie made. We want this SO BADLY for each other because we can say we knew you when…

We can say, “Hey, I gave that writer some notes on that script!” to our friends when it opens in theaters everywhere on Friday night. We hold the belief that you’ll pay it forward, that you’ll reach back down and do what you can to pull others forward who have put in the time, sweat and tears to write a great script. But most importantly, we all root for each other because if you make it, that means we can too.

Every writer who BREAKS IN keeps the dream alive for the rest of us. We look on and think, if I work just as hard, and I continue to learn and get better from every draft, I too can be a screenwriter.

When I make that first sale, I will not have done it on my own, because I will be standing on the shoulders of Giants.


Am I Doing It Right?

Today is the day I’m supposed to get feedback for both my feature entry and my short entry to the BlueCat Screenplay Competition. While I’ve been anxiously waiting to hear what they think, I forge on with other projects.  I’ve started writing a rom-com spec and have outlined another spec, a spy thriller.  My game plan hasn’t really changed. Get the BlueCat feedback, re-write/polish, and then I’m going to try the Blacklist with it.  I’ll give it a month, then after that I’ll probably put that one on the back burner.  It’s gotten some read requests but no real traction as they like to say.  And that’s ok. It was a passion piece and it has helped me take several positive steps forward on my journey towards reaching my goals of being a professional (paid) writer.  I have learned a tremendous amount.

One of the more positive experiences having come from writing and trying to sell a spec screenplay is that it has given me a context in which to engage in conversations with some pretty well-connected people in the industry via social media.  Twitter has become the go to medium for connecting with industry people.  So far, I like to believe that I’m doing it right and yes, there is a wrong way to do it.

I try to just be me. I’m honest and forthcoming in my online interactions. I ask questions about people’s projects and interests.  I congratulate them when they share their successes.  I try to do this for everyone, not just the famous people or the bought, sold, or produced people.  I don’t have to “know” them to shoot a quick “congrats, great job!” tweet their way.  Trust me, it means the world to some one to get that little notification that says you’ve been mentioned in a tweet.  Every Friday the Twitter population participates in a great practice of sharing user’s handles with all of their followers, encouraging them to go and follow these individuals themselves.  It’s called Follow Friday, denoted with #FF.  If you get a mention in a #FF from me, it signals that I interacted with you that week in way that was educational, inspirational, or encouraging to me. I use #FF as a means of saying thank you for making me a better screenwriter.  There is a small collection of people on Twitter that I have referred to as the “Cool kids.”  These are established industry people who have been beyond kind in answering my questions, entertaining my little anecdotes, or whom have shared an article or blog post that was both inspiring and educational.  Again, my way of telling them thanks.  It’s silly, childish, and cheesy…but man it would be cool to get a #FF from one of the Cool Kids.

I believe I’m doing it right.  I do my best everyday to pay it forward; to share something or to mention some one in some way that helps them or moves them along on their own journey.  These are invaluable connections we make here in cyberspace.  I very much hope to meet some of these people someday. I’m going to leave you with some thoughts on hope. But as always, please leave me a note in the comments and let me know your thoughts.  And of course, follow me at @mcorcoran15 and feel free to give a retweet. 😉