It’s a first meeting/date. Most likely a blind date set up between someone who knows you both. You are super nervous. You’ve heard great things about this person and know it could lead to amazing things. If you are smart, you do a little cyber stalking to be studied up on them, which, if they are awesome, only makes you more nervous.
When you are dating someone you really want to impress and who holds the keys to your future happiness in their hands and they tell you that you are amazing, beautiful and everything they are looking for, it is the best feeling ever. And then they don’t call. They say they will but they don’t. You play it cool. You “check in” with them, and they respond with more flattery and assurances. You get giddy again and then you wait. And wait.
Sometimes, there is a second date. And sometimes it leads to a beautiful future together making sweet, sweet magic. However, the odds are not in your favor. They are not in anyone’s favor. I mean this is movie making we are talking about and the chances of having a happily ever after in this relationship are smaller than finding Prince Charming on a white horse. I mean that literally. It’s easier to find a Prince named Charming that rides a white horse than have a secure future in the movie industry.
“So you’re telling me there’s a chance. YEEEEEEAAAAAH!”
And there is STILL a chance so we soldier on. We keep taking those meetings with investors, casting directors, production companies, studios and other people that have the power to make our dreams or break our hearts.
Welcome to Hollywood, What’s your Dream?
Last year I had met an investor for my feature. He liked the script. He liked my director’s reel, what I had to say about the movie, and the out of the box way we were making the movie. He let us know a couple weeks later that he was in. We were ESTATIC! Then radio silence. We checked in. He was still in, just needs the contract with us. We said “Great! Send it over.” Time passed, we checked in again. He sends it over to us telling us we can make changes if we need. We make a few minor changes and send it back. Radio Silence for another month. We check in. He’s on it will get back to us. Another month…and so this continues. Every time we talk, he says just the right thing. He is smart, gets it and gets us. And then he’s gone again. And after 6 months of this it hits me, I wouldn’t put up with a man I was dating treating me this way. Why on earth was I doing it now? Yes, I wanted to work with this charming, smart man with money and make “movie babies” with him. Yes, I loved everything he had to say and suggest. Yes, his company and knowledge would be amazing for us. Except, it wasn’t amazing until it actually happened. It was the promise of my Prince Charming but no concrete action of him and definitely no sign of a white horse. I had no idea if he really didn’t like the project but didn’t want to hurt our feelings or if he really didn’t have the money but was too embarrassed to say so or what was really going on. But we needed an answer. So I drew a very pleasant line in the sand and never heard from him again. I wish I had done that sooner and saved us months of limbo.
Limbo. So much worse than “no”. I used to think NO was the worst thing that could happen. But now I see NO just means “next option”. The dream isn’t dead, it just needs a different approach. People always say that you need to be able to take rejection. You don’t. I mean, you do but that’s not the hard part. You need to be able to take constantly-holding-your-breath-with-hopeful-anticipation-of-your-dreams-actually-possibly-coming-true-maybe. Limbo. SO much more exhausting that rejection.
I really do think someone could limbo you to death. (Limbo: the act of keeping you hopefully waiting not the act of making you backbend under a pole to musical accompaniment. Although, I can see that being rather life threatening as well if you don’t stretch properly.)
So now I approach this charming, sweet-talking, dream-making person that we call The Industry, as I would anyone I was dating or friends with. Actions speak louder than words. If they really mean it, they will act on it. If they really want it, they will “put a ring on it.” (Thank you Beyonce.) I know that what I have to offer is valuable and it they can’t see that (yet), no hard feelings. I move on to one with the foresight who does. And just like most people without vision, they will see you in a happy relationship and THEN realize what they missed.
In the meantime, do what you can to see your self worth, empower yourself and stay out of limbo.
Death by Limbo is an awful way to go.