From Phil Cooke via Fox News:
Jiminy Cricket (“When you wish upon a star…”) would not be happy with me, but the truth is, I’m getting tired of people wasting their lives following dreams they’ll never achieve. I have screenplays on my desk from writers who “have a dream” about writing a Hollywood screenplay, but aren’t interested in actually attending a writing class. I met an actor recently who left his wife and young son to pursue his dream of an acting career. The problem is, he has absolutely no talent. I received a self-published book in the mail a few days ago, with a letter asking me if I’d help the writer market the book. But the book is simply awful (not to mention riddled with misspellings.)
I know — some of you will push back about me being too harsh. “Who is Phil Cooke to dash someone’s dream?” “How arrogant to tell someone they don’t have talent or they’re pursuing the wrong dream for their life?”
. . . .
But Hollywood, the self-help industry, the esteem movement and well intentioned friends have led us down a far more romantic, but ultimately destructive path. We’ve been taught that all it takes is a dream, and you can accomplish whatever your heart desires.
As a result, we have a flood of would-be filmmakers descending on Hollywood every year. Publishers are deluged with poorly written manuscripts from wannabe writers with no talent, and auditions for shows like “American Idol” have long lines of singers who can’t hold a tune in a bucket. (Admit it — you love watching.)
High school drama teachers, parents, and well meaning friends have encouraged them for years. But at what cost? How many years have been robbed from potentially finding the one thing where they could actually be extraordinary?
Don’t get me wrong. Pursuing a dream is fine. But unless you have the talent, skill, ability, a commitment to achieve that dream, you’re simply wasting your life. But how do you figure it out? How can you avoid spending years pursuing a delusion?
. . . .
What are you fanatical about? I’m not talking obsession in the same sense as a psychological disorder. (Well, maybe.) In other words, what are you constantly thinking about? What type of books do you buy or television programs do you watch? What’s the first thing you think about when you wake up in the morning and the last thing you think about when you go to bed at night?
. . . .
Finally – have you done the time? I’m not talking about prison, but a question of commitment. Professional writers write. Musicians practice. Designers design. You may not have a job, a business card, or a buyer, but if you have a dream, what foundation are you laying today for success tomorrow? What classes are you taking? Have you found a mentor or coach?
I wrote and threw away thousands of pages before I published my first book. A college friend of mine who’s a concert pianist practices 5-6 hours per day. One successful producer in Hollywood won’t even consider reading your script until you can prove you’ve already written at least ten screenplays. (No wonder he’s successful.)
Link to the rest at Fox News and thanks to Joshua for the tip.