Thursday, March 30, 2006

Koffee Klatch

I'd like to emphasize, again, the importance of finding like-minded peers. In this business, you only make it as far as your circle of friends. For good or for ill, it's imperative that you reach out to writers, directors, actors, aspiring producers, agents and executives of all ages, who share an interest in the films you like.

I posted a while ago about making contacts and keeping up with them, so I won't repeat myself here on that topic, but please do go out and make friends. They are the people who will keep you sane on long lonely unemployed stretches of the hustle. The ones who will call you and invite you to their fabulous vacation homes and even give you frequent flier miles to get there. They are also the ones you make a standing date with every week for Sunday brunch at the Four Seasons or Thursday night meals at El Coyote to dish, bitch, sympathize, drown your sorrows and toast your successes with.

I like to call it the Koffee Klatch. I'm a small town girl, so all this Hollywood shit overwhelms me sometimes. I like meeting up, sharing recipes for cake or romantic comedies. Over the last year, my klatch has changed from one that was almost all managers, producers and executives to one that is filled with screenwriters, directors and novelists. We don't meet as often as the Type-A group I surrounded myself with in years past, and I think we suffer for it. We are, however, each deeply committed to our careers and to helping one another fulfill our dreams for them. We share books on craft, or just books that we think exemplify an aspect of craft in the work. We email one another articles, read rough drafts (sometimes so rough your eyes get scraped, but that's what friends are for...), offer condolences when ideas prove unworkable and share our analyses and insights on films we've each seen.

I feel blessed to have had this group coalesce around me, and I encourage each of you (all 7 of my regular readers!) to fan out and find a klatch of your own.

Of course, the flip side of this is that you need to make sure these folks are as talented, if not more talented, than you are. I know, it sucks to judge your friends, but I did start out the post telling you to go looking for your peers. People whose work you don't like, don't get, don't value are not your peers. Also, don't comb the Earth looking for someone who also wants to write what you write, make what you make, find people who have mastered the craft in ways that you haven't, but that are complementary to your skills, find people whose comments, notes and opinions make sense to you, who you "get" and who "get" you.

Then, find a likely coffeehouse and meet there, at least once a month, but if the group is about 9-12 folks you can swing a weekly meeting time that at least 3-5 folks will reliably show up for, and voila! Instant kofee klatch.

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