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Making My Case

This is why Hollywood should hire me: studies have shown that open systems are more successful overall than closed ones.

By which I mean production companies and studios that keep using the same pool of writers, directors and so forth over and over again will eventually run out of ideas and ways to be innovative. By keeping young talent out—and/or making it difficult for us to “break in” (why should we have to “break” anything?)—these systems are actually doing themselves a great disfavor.

Jonah Lehrer uses the example of pro athletes in his book Imagine. America produces a great number of good athletes. How? Not by narrowing the margins, but by throwing a wide net. Would-be athletes get many, many opportunities to play and perfect their games, their techniques. From the time they are young, they are encouraged to keep trying and repeatedly rewarded for their efforts. When they get scouted in high school and college, they still may be a bit rough, but potential is what counts. Being a pro athlete is like a very long apprenticeship. Scouts and teams are willing to take a few risks on players who may not be quite there yet, but with a little more work have the chance to be stellar.

Another example (also from Lehrer): medical and/or technical research and innovation. Labs and companies that are willing to take more risks have records of having more success. This makes sense; throw a wider net and you’re more likely to catch something worthwhile.

Meanwhile, Hollywood continues to be an insular enclave in which the same actors and directors make the same few movies again and again. Writers and producers borrow from themselves and each other, but it’s all the same stuff. (Steven Moffat ended both Doctor Who and Sherlock with faked deaths, which doesn’t show much fresh thinking on his part; granted, the Sherlock story line was a given due to the source material, but to do it on his other show, too? Really?)

Time to try something new.

So why not with someone like me, who has the education and a smattering of experience but could really use an apprenticeship of some kind to boost my abilities and talents? A mentor, if you will. I’m willing to keep learning, so long as someone will teach me. As far as risks go, I’m not even a long shot. Hollywood needs fresh blood and new ideas, and here I am—me and thousands of others like me—ready and willing, able to serve. If only the system would lay a little money on the table and take a few risks.

After all, the best and brightest know how to make good use of all their resources.

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M

Writer/Screenwriter

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