The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Friday, July 07, 2006

It's not who you know...


Yesterday I had a major, major pitch meeting that seemed to go well…we’ll see about that.  Also heard that a major actor-director who is co-producing another project of mine has finished negotiations with the studio, and they’re presently just chasing him down in Mexico to get his signature.  Sigh.  It’s taken over a YEAR to get that deal in place, and talk about frustrating!
But perhaps all is well after all…
The more important thing at the moment is a writer’s meeting I attended yesterday.  Actually, there were writers, producers, directors and actors there, all invited by an incredibly generous writer named Marc Scott Zicree, whose name will be familiar to anyone in the television or science fiction field.  This was important for me, because I’m now in my second career.  Ten years ago I was writing all over Hollywood, then went North to raise my daughter.  When I got back, it was as if I’d never written at all—couldn’t even get a meeting!  Wow, now THAT was a bummer.

The point is that the old expression “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” has a great deal of truth to it.  In Hollywood, most deals seem to be done while socializing.  Parties, dinners, galas, informal meetings, etc.  People meet you, they like you, they give you work.  Just as important, the new people you meet can critique your writing, give you advice, and teach  you the things you don’t know.  If you’re like most people, some aspects of the writing game come more easily than others…and what you don’t know can absolutely kill your career.

THIS is another reason to start or join a writer’s group.  You simply can’t get there alone.  Your allies need to include people who understand business better than you…networking better than you…writing better than you.  Bring what you can to these meetings, and listen with an open mind and heart.  You won’t be disappointed with the results.

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