For the second year in a row I attended a Tribeca Film Festival panel discussion. Last year it was Nia Vardalos at the Apple SoHo store. This year, Edward Burns at Barnes & Noble. While both of these events have been truly inspirational and enlightening for me, there has also been an aspect that is equally frustrating:
Wannabe somebodies begging the stars for help. Desperate much?
Last year a woman baked “yiayia’s” (Grandma’s) Greek cookies for Nia. In the bag was also a treatment for a screenplay. I kid you not! This year I heard 3 people ask Edward for his email address or contact information, and about 5 others ask for advice/help in breaking into the industry.
#1- if you need to attend an event and beg for help, you are NOT “networking,” you are being a desperate fool
#2- if you need advice on writing, on how to get ideas or break out of a writer’s block- you are NOT a writer and therefore shouldn’t be wasting everyone’s time with your silly questions.
Now that that’s off my chest I’d like to refocus back on yesterday’s Pen to Paper discussion. Edward Burns was joined by fellow screenwriters and authors David Baddiel, Carmel Winters, and Susan Orlean, which made for a fantastic discussion on everything writing. While I could sit here and praise them all for their accomplishments, I’d like to quote them instead.
EB: “At what cost do you give up your dreams?”
DB: “Writing isn’t about identifying yourself as a writer or screenwriter. If you can write, you can write.”
CW: “If you can write a novel, go ahead and do it.”
Wise words of wisdom that were greatly appreciated by this writer. I’d also like to say that Edward Burns is extremely nice. He stayed after to talk to people, sign, and pose for pictures. I might have walked away feeling internal joy and inspiration but this will live on forever.