Monday, November 12, 2007

Chronicles 56 - The Time Wasters

Being a writer-producer is a tricky thing and is fraught with danger, and the danger is attachment, subjectivity. I've been dealing with a number of producer/financiers and a casting director over varying lengths of time and the upshot of some of these relationships is that they were a complete waste of time.

Someone once said that experience is what you get when you don't get what you want. Well, what I've learned is that if there is interest in your project and you are writing-producing that project then you need a healthy separation between responding to the interest as a writer and responding as a producer.

If someone is interested in your project then the producer in you really needs to be cautious and sceptical in order to flush out the time wasters from the people who can really deliver. You need to probe further.

The trouble is the writer in you reacts in an emotional, non-objective way and is buzzed up because someone is interested in the baby that you've created. The resulting euphoria and elation muddles the mind with visions and dreams and a feeling that the film is going to finally happen. Suddenly the world looks like a different place, the endomorphins are flowing, the birds are singing and in your mind's eye you're on set watching your movie being shot with the latest star de jour.

The other effect is that you as the writer see the interested party as a long lost friend, an ally, a champion who loves your work (and hence YOU!) so the last thing you want to do is look a gift horse in the mouth and question the person who may realize your dreams. Unfortunately that is exactly what you have to do. Your ego, need for approval/validation, whatever it is needs to take a back seat and you need to say to yourself, 'Okay, great that so and so likes the project but what's their background? Are their sources real? Have they financed other projects? Can they put something down on paper?' The danger is, and this is what also happens with writers who are offered representation, is that they, we, are afraid to ask probing questions lest our champion is offended and decides to 'move on'.

It's hard to be detached about praise or interest especially when you have been waiting so long for a break but somehow all that stuff muddies the waters and one needs to put subjective responses aside and get into a more business-like approach because you can't spend your life pretending those two birds in the bush are in your hand, they're not. It's pipeline business and you can never rely on the pipeline, you can only rely on the deal.

It all boils down to not being afraid to ask questions and not being afraid to say 'no' and to walk away otherwise a so-called opportunity may just be a mirage.

Ciao for now