If you met met me fifteen years ago, you would see a socially handicapped boy. I grew up homeschooled, with little social interaction until high school. If you see some shadow hanging in the distance, that was probably me in high school. Just hoping the association would grace me enough social points to upgrade personalities. I could barely keep a conversation. I usually kept quiet and watched others. I observed. This is great for a writer, but for a budding writer trying to get friends, not so much.
One of the things I learned quickly was copying behaviors. To mask over my insecurities by putting up the front of another’s. “For example,” if a social group started liking “Young Frankenstein,” every funny punchline, especially Madeline Kahn’s, became my own. I was easily persuaded by the ebb and flow of the social pulse. So when they hated a teacher, I followed right along, even if I knew the teacher was really nice to me. Picture Mean Girl’s Cady, desperate to make friends.
In return, I also learned that no one likes a poser. Sometimes, just trying to keep up with kids who are already socially developed can leave you just as estranged as if you were reading in a corner by yourself. Especially when they catch you just copying their behavior. Single White Female much?
Nowadays, you can barely keep my mouth shut. I now specialize in sarcasm with street smarts. Yes, my friends, there is a way out, and that is finding a path that works best for you. And not by reflecting others’.
It’s funny how so many people in this City of Angels are driven by the complete opposite. We are each trying to be a Trending Subject. We follow after another’s discovery moment. As far as writing is concerned, some get it while writing at some random Starbucks lobby. Others get it by winning a screenplay competition or after their submission on Blacklist. My friend got his start by simply tweeting a showrunner. Their interaction became a coffee date, which became his first chance to be a Writer’s PA. I would follow after many a friend’s paths, hoping I would make the same amount of luck. Only when I returned, did I reflect on my own transformation, of that socially-inept boy who clung to the shadows of the cool people, and I stopped.
My road has never been one to gloat. In fact, it has been a completely off-the-wall path to this world. But I guess this is how most begin, just being yourself and hopes someone notices. My start as a writer in this city began with a script consultation. A man needed script notes from someone able to give a quick turnaround. To this day, I still have his check posted in my office, as well as the script we later wrote together. Yes honey, that same man ended up becoming the man I would partner up for our web-series.
There is some truth to that motherly virtue: be yourself. When it comes to success, remember that no one’s path will ever be the same. Some people are born into this greatness. Others might just happen to know the right people. But whatever works for one person might not be the same to you. Why? Because they were themselves, in their purest form, and someone noticed that. So go out and continue to do EXACTLY what you love, I just wanted to help someone. I wanted to be noticed. Someone out there might be doing, or looking for, the same. And who knows what might happen next. I am excited to see the same happen to you.