But you don't want to hear my whiny self enumerate my physical woes. You want to hear about Austin. Always with you, it's Austin. Last week's hallucinatory tone poem about wayfarers wasn't enough. Fine.
So, Saturday night we're all hangin' in the Driskell lounge, and Shane Black is sitting there surrounded by screenwriter groupies (yes, Virginia), and so I decide to trouble Mr. Black with something that's been troubling me. I ask him how he deals with others' negativity towards one's projects that are deemed impossible, risky, or simply foolish. (Just for example: on paper, writing an expensive Norse epic on spec is not the kind of thing one is advised to do by those who tend to do the advising.) And this coming from friends.
And Shane said:
Forget all that stuff. Just write. Just focus on your craft, on creating a compelling narrative filled with characters that embody exactly what you want to say.
Those weren't exactly his words, but they're close enough, and hearing them was everything. And, incidentally, that is what Austin is all about. But wait, there's more.
The next morning, at his Up Close & Personal panel, Shane related how he was talking to this guy the previous night . . . and I thought, "Oh, boy, here we go," and then he said, "I hope he doesn't take this the wrong way," and I thought, "Oh, dear." And then Shane relayed pretty much the same counsel he'd offered me the night before. Only, apparently my carefully considered concerns had come out more like, "Who says I can't writing a Viking movie?"
What a way to cap off the conference. Sometimes the most important thing is to hear the things you know and fear to be true. Sometimes you risk more by not taking the risk. If you say “no” now, up front, then everyone down the line can’t say “yes.” If you can say “yes” to yourself, to your process, to your project, then everyone else has a chance at coming along too.
Yes, that was better than whining. Sick, cold, rain, good advice, affirmation, sun shining, feeling good, happy ending.