I believe in luck, but not in the way people usually mean it.
I don’t believe luck determines whether or not you’ll be successful. I think talent, hard work, and generally being nice to work with makes you successful.
It’s in timing where the luck comes in.
I knew a kid fresh out of film school (media studies school, actually, not even a real film school like UCLA or AFI), with no experience, none whatsoever, and his first job upon moving to Los Angeles was a writers’ PA.
A writers’ PA! I’ve been trying to get that job for years. I know dozens of people who would kill for that position. And here’s the thing– he wasn’t even a good PA. Like most film students, he didn’t know shit about shit. Which is fine, really; I didn’t know anything either. But I didn’t start as a writers’ PA.
Later, I applied for a writers’ PA job. Upon following up, they told me they’d filled the position with someone who had more experience. The next day, this PA quit, because he was the one they’d hired.
Obviously, there’s a certain amount of luck in getting that first job. Usually it takes a few years, but for every guy who gets the job right out of non-film school, there’s a guy who has to wait even longer, just to even out the bell curve.
If I had gotten the position, it might have lead to something, and to something else, and so on, and that would’ve been great, but it didn’t happen. It’s a coin toss; it came up tails this time, but it can’t keep landing on tails forever.
I’ll get the next writers’ PA gig (or the one after that), and then I’ll be a writers’ assistant, then a writer, then a producer, then a show runner, then Lord High Master of All He Surveys, and, eventually, a director.