Big Hollywood Call In the Sky

My cousin's kid, a college freshman back east, wrote me that he hoped to make it to Hollywood some day and maybe even have a future in showbiz. I told him what I tell my own students who share that unfortunate yearning. "You can do or be anything you want to be," I offered up in all its American Girl doll-of-the-year theme song simplicity.

I left off the second half of the sentence"That is, as long as you are willing to pay the price"as I often do in cases of extreme fresh-faced youthful optimism. Part of me thinks this little hitch is so obvious it's not worthy of a reminder. The other part doesn't want to be the first to offer up the gory details.

All these many years into my own Hollywood journey, the price to which I refer has not so much been the sting of rejection, as one would expect, but rather the endless, relentless, unyielding anguish of waiting.You learn to live life riding the hold button like an electronic bull, not sure why you're hanging on when being thrown off would be just as sweet a relief. Something, anything to break the monotony of anticipationeven a no would do once it becomes so painfully clear just how rare and delicious a yes will be.

Worse yet, in a town where anything can happen at any moment and hardly ever does, the self-imposed sentence to life in limbo as time marches ontoward your inevitable irrelevance either wayapplies to all levels of success. I once heard, for example, that the Oscars after party for Saving Private Ryan felt downright funereal after Steven Spielberg spent the entire awards season waiting for his name to be called, only to lose in a last minute upset to Shakespeare in Love.

I can only imagine his camp's more recent state of embitterment after Lincoln fell victim to the same waiting game all year, only to lose to that scrappy little Argo bunch. Still, you can't help but envy the Dreamworks crew for knowing, at long last, whether the next morning would hold firings or promotions and a fleet of new Priuses peppering the lot, courtesy of the boss.

For my money, some news, any newsgood, bad or, yes, even indifferentis always going to offer up some peace, however bittersweet. Another thing about Hollywood, though, is nobody wants to be the one to tell you no. They don't even want to tell you yes for fear of taking the heat should you and your little project fail, against all odds, to hand Spielberg his ass in the underdog story of the century. 

I did not share any of this with my cousin, most especially not that last thing. You don't come to Hollywood to get good at waiting. You come here to happen, and then it turns out there's no such thing. For my part, there is always blogging. I figure you can't get any more proactive then hitting "publish" at will between steady gigs such as mine, most recently, writing theme songs for American Girl.  "You can do and be whatever you want to be." Oh, come on. Did you really think I just pull that kind of gold out of the sky?


  1. Chris Allister9:11 AM

    Ah yes, the waiting game. Such a wonderfully painful exercise in patience. I feel your agony of the unknown. Hopefully it won't be too much longer now.

  2. Back atcha Chris!!! And TY for weighing in, it gets lonely here. But that is another blogpost. Lol

  3. Anonymous10:39 AM

    What was your cousin's kid's response to your words of wisdom?

  4. I think he was kind of surprised, as though this had never occurred to him. I, too, was surprised, that I had the power to issue such a proclamation. I guess you take it where you can get it. :-)