The Risks You Take
In May 2011, I hadn’t taken much risk in my writing career up to that point in time. I had four scripts under my belt and was feeling alright about being a writer, but something was missing. Sure, the storytelling up to that point was honest as it could be and I wrote about what I knew, something wasn’t there. So I took a risk.
What the hell are any of scribbling words on blank pages for if none of us take a chance at something? The chance to grow and expand beyond what already is our growing comfort zone? I work with a couple of different writing partners, and the ones who are worth their salt have done and continue to do things that help their own writing careers, along with cranking out wonderful new things with me. These are the real writers, ones who should be lauded for doing something out the of normal and entirely away from the things that they usually do. You don’t just get a little bit wet when you choose to jump into the deep end of the pool, you deserve to be drenched. Further, you deserve to be wet for as long as you see fit. And when an opportunity is there, why the fuck wouldn’t you take it? What are you, scared?
The risk that I ended the first paragraph with, which yes, makes me a huge dick for writing this way, but fuck me and fuck you anyways, holy shit this is a lot of commas, well, it was a risk I’m glad I took. This guy I never met before plopped an idea up on Craigslist, and I seized upon it. I was dicking around at work that afternoon anyways, definitely not getting any work work done. So in the span of a couple days, this guy with this idea and I met up and we found that we have a few things in common, and got to writing. Twists and turns aside, the script was completed inside of eight months. And hell’s bells, here I go tooting my own horn, but it’s one of the funniest damn feature-length scripts of the decade. It’s relevant, relatable, and organic, decent storytelling. And I wouldn’t be where I am today had I not answered that Craigslist ad.
It’s okay to take risks, I know that now. And I really do think it’s a valuable thing to learn, be it in the field of writing, or anything that a person can do and accomplish well. You could be an engineer, a policeman, a butcher, a baker, or a candlestick maker, and all of these gigs will eventually present a risk that the performer of that gig can take. The engineer with their wild angles and forthcoming presentation: be bold! The policeman who doesn’t think much of a crazy 911 call that came in over the CB radio from Nakatomi Plaza: don’t get back in your car, dummy! The butcher who has a lot of meat to cut up? Well fucking cut that meat up and be good to your patrons. Yes, that’ll do. To the baker who isn’t quite sure if he should actually make that Kim Kardashian-themed birthday cake for the spoiled 12-year-old mini-ho down the street: get crackin’ with the extra icing, Mr. Baker Man. Make me a cake as fast you can. Holy mother of fuck I’m insane. And finally, to the candlestick maker: everyone loves candles, don’t give up your career to venture in your buddy’s horseshit multi-level marketing scam. It’s not worth it!
Now, it’s about doing something risky every week. There’s always a reward, be it small, or be it large. It’s not the reward that a writer should go after, it’s the ride that you’ll take while you’re trying to try that new risk that you set out to accomplish.