Tuesday, June 15, 2010

My Mama Said...

June 15th, 2010

"Get an education, or face elimination."

Ok, so maybe that wasn't my mom. Her version was probably more along the lines of 'get your ass to school.'

In case you haven't done your research on me yet, I wrote my first screenplay at the age of 19. It sucked- I didn't know what I was doing yet, and I sure as hell didn't understand anything about characters, plot or any of that other 'mumbo jumbo' they shove down your throat during the creative process. The only thing I knew at the time was that I had a story in my head and needed to get it on paper.

Well, that, and I wasn't cut out to be a novelist. They're so much more sophisticated than I am.

Long story short- I cracked open a book and started reading. Then I read another. And another. I looked up my favorite movies on those script websites, made some notes, and boom- I thought I had it. So I tried again- and the second version probably sucked too, but I kept reading and, more importantly, I kept writing.

Before I knew it I was hired to write a treatment for one of the most well known directors in the biz, I was about six screenplays deep into my career, and I was frequently sought out as a creative advisor on numerous films and television shows being done in South Florida. By the age of 22, I was on a Hollywood fast track.

Was it luck?
Was it because I'm a genius?
What it because I slept with someone?

None of the above. Contrary to popular belief most people in the industry make it on two things, and two things alone: talent and hard work.

(Though I can't speak for actors. We all know the rumors and know them well... damn you, TMZ!)

With that being said- even if you have the talent, and you're willing to work hard- you're more than likely missing an important element, the one my mom shoved down my throat from day one: 


Not you, not me, not even Michael Bay, can do what we do without an education. I'm not saying run out tomorrow and enroll at UCLA's film school, or pay thousands of dollars to sit through a Syd Field seminar- all I'm saying is that winging it isn't going to cut it.

Don't be lazy. Read, write, learn- do what it takes to succeed in your craft. Whether you're an actor, a filmmaker, a screenwriter- you have to educate yourself to make it. Going in blind is the worst thing you can do.

If you're like I was in the beginning, you're probably low on cash and high on dreams. So buy a book. Make it three. If you're a screenwriter, buy the essentials- Robert McKee, Syd Field, Save the Cat. Read as many screenplays as possible. If you're a filmmaker, invest in a camera. Your own. Something that you can play with. If you can afford to go to a couple of classes- do it.

And more importantly understand that you won't know everything going in. Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you this much: you'll learn something new everyday, a script isn't finished until it hits the cutting room floor, and your movie isn't ready until some critic says 'it sucks.'

It really is simple- EDUCATE YOURSELF. Any way you can. Hell, I didn't even finish college- but I made sure to do my homework.

The reality is not everyone is going to make it. If it were easy, everyone would do it. Even the family dog. So now is the time to set yourself above the rest. Don't just believe that you're the best. Prove it. And don't be one of those lazy shits that believe you'll get what's coming to you- because that's all you'll get. Shit.

Peace, Love and Heartbreak ♥


Anonymous said...

so which shows and films were you a creative advisor for?? just curious.

Andi said...

Mostly independent films. Nothing mainstream- hard to do when you're young. Took me awhile to get to where I am. :) One of which is SMALL WORLD, currently in the pre-production stages. It's a film similar to CRASH- only set in Miami. I also served as co-writer on the project.

Anonymous said...

thanks for replying so promptly. where is your office, I live in south Florida and would love to stop by your office and meet you. I think I need a more agressive manager. Sounds like your it...

Andi said...

Drop me an email and we can chat more. We're located in Palm Beach Gardens...