Can’t Be Done

“You can’t be an assistant and a writer,” Teddy said.


“None of the assistants at the agency want to be actors or writers,” Teddy said. “They wouldn’t have time to do both. It’s just not done.”

He forgot. That every day in Los Angeles was another day someone back home said wouldn’t be done. He forgot how many friends wished us good luck (zippo,) how many thought this was a pipe dream we’d never execute (∞.)

Leaving home, leaving behind the foundation of a career, family and friends to live in a city with no home, no job, and no contacts, that’s “not done,” either. But we did it.  What we’re doing here – trying to make it in Hollywood – is something most people consider can’t be done. It’s something, for the great majority of people, won’t ever happen.

Yet those people still arrive in droves every year.

Us included. Here we are.

He lost sight of this.

Intern for any company or agency. You see the number of scripts in this game. You realize why it’s so difficult for any good script – any great script – to get noticed. As Eric says, “All the bad scripts are clogging up the system.” The WGA registers tens of thousands of scripts a year – and around 500 films are released a year in the states.

It’s completely improbable for anyone to write one of those 500 movies. That doesn’t stop them from getting up every morning and chugging out word counts, editing, and studying scripts. Relative to this long shot (they’re all long shots) juggling an assistant position and writing doesn’t seem too difficult.

Why can’t it be done? Why can’t you be an assistant and make it as a writer? Not enough time? Means you wouldn’t have enough time. You wouldn’t make the necessary sacrifices.

If it costs a studio $50 million to produce a picture, they’d say it’s impossible to do it for any less. Yet someone like Avi Lerner comes around and makes the same film for $20 film.

Saying something is impossible means they themselves can’t do it. Can and can’t are relative terms.

Teddy said isn’t how it’s done — making it as a creative artist by first being an assistant. That it doesn’t fit the model – what model? There is no model, no guaranteed path, that’s what makes this particular hustle, making it in Hollywood, so hard and so beautiful and so demanding. There are no guarantees, no right or wrong ways.

There are only the people doing it. And the people telling them why they can’t.

Photo Credit: pankie18

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