What Is Success?

Mike, the Hollywood Juicer, sent me an interesting blog post written by Gorman Bechard. You should read it. Seriously, click on that link, then come on back. I’ll wait.

I'm only this patient when I'm talking to a hypothetical reader and not actually waiting at my computer at all.
I can wait a long time.

You’re back? Great!

Some of you, I’m sure, cheated, expecting that I would quote the relevant parts to explain the point I’m getting at. Well, I won’t give you the satisfaction.1

Suffice it to say that the post is a combination of good advice (“PAY ATTENTION“)2 and an alarming tone that betrays his true, rather unsavory personality.3

Naturally, I checked Bechard out on IMDb.4 If you’re a recent graduate of, or still enrolled in, film school, you’ll probably laugh at his credits. You’ve never heard of any of these movies, they’re all super-low budget with no-name actors. You might think this guy is a nobody himself.

You might even be thinking, who’s this guy to tell me how to behave on a set?

But here’s the thing– he’s had more success as a director than 99% of film school graduates ever will. He’s made not one, but several movies. And I guarantee you that IMDb is not listing every one of his credits. He’s been making movies for longer than most of you have been alive.

And if this guy is pompous and impatient, imagine what James Cameron is like.

You can probably name a couple dozen directors off the top of your head; maybe a few dozen more if you sat and thought about it. But well over six hundred movies were released theatrically last year. That doesn’t count all the straight-to-DVD-or-streaming movies.

Then add in television. Not just the shows on the major networks, not even all the shows on cable; think about all of the commercials. Every channel plays 24 hours of video every single day. Yes, a lot of it’s repeated, but every single minute of it had to be written, shot, and edited.

There are literally thousands of directors you have never, and will never, hear of. Which would seem to imply everyone gets to direct something at some point, but remember that there are over 1,200 film schools in the world, each one releasing another gaggle of film students5 onto an unsuspecting populace every spring.

So, again, yours odds are 100 to 1 against becoming a working director, and even then, you’re far more likely to have a career like Bechard than Cameron.

I’m not telling you to set your sights low. Shoot for the moon, land among the stars, as they say. But try to realize that “success” does not necessarily mean “wild, unmitigated triumph, the likes of which the world has never seen.”

* * *

Speaking of Mike, the Hollywood Juicer, his weekday-on-a-Sunday post mentioned Zach Braff’s interview on KCRW.6 I pretty much disagree with everything Mike says on the subject (Scrubs is a brilliant show, but Braff still comes across as a douche nozzle), but Mike and me are buds, so I can say that.

I am also trying to raise money for a feature, but since I’m not a famous celebrity, I can’t get millions of dollars from strangers; I can’t even raise the $150,000 I’d like to have, which is pretty cheap for a movie, I have to say.

At this point, I’m not even Gorman Bechard. I’m just a guy with a cool script and no money.7

Footnotes    (↩ returns to text)

  1. Just read the damn thing, will you?
  2. Okay, one quote.
  3. I considered being a little rougher than that, but the man’s advice is solid. Seriously, you should read it.
  4. Yes, I know IMDb sucks, and yes, I use it anyway.
  5. I was going to call them a “murder,” but I wasn’t sure how many readers would get that.
  6. Speaking of KCRW, have you heard my interview? It’s pretty good.
  7. Had enough of these footnotes, yet?
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5 Responses

  1. Disagree with the thing about cell phones. It’s now an indispensable tool PA’s are expected to have. I have to always be ready to whip it out and source expendables, hardware stores, and restaurants at the drop of a hat. My APOC prefers texting even when she’s 10 feet from me and we have walkies. It’s the norm. Sorry, Gorm. Agree with everything else.

  2. It was an interesting read, he does have a point even if he does sound a bit pompous. And I do think he does make a good point, Thanks for sharing!

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