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NO!! - A TV/FILM WRITER TEACHES YOU HOW TO DEAL WITH THE WORD

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 28/03/2016 David S. Simon
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I am in a war of words and I'm fighting it all by myself, day by day, battle by battle, against an insidious enemy that isn't anywhere but is everywhere I look.
Judging by that opening paragraph it looks like I'm also in the riddle business and in some ways I am.
In this case the riddle is my life that seems to be born out of an incredibly evasive, complex code that requires an Alan Turing to break.
It really comes down to trying to cope with and make sense out of the word "No."
Long ago George Harrison sang that the more he traveled, the less he knew and man can I identify with that.
The fact is here in the deep end of my soul pool, I find myself more prolific than I ever have been in my entire life.
It feels like my input and output have been on gush level. Ideas and stories are endlessly lined up on the Tarmac of my imagination and the hardest part of my life is getting to all of them so I can get my inner tower to clear them for takeoff.
But.
Ah that word.
But is just the facilitating bitch of no.
The thing is, the more I write, the more opportunities I seem to be creating for yet another Trump sized wall to be built to keep me contained, constrained and ultimately defeated.
Now when I teach at the occasional rogue college or university, I always start my day one class by writing the word NOTHING on the board because the THING about NO is it means nothing.
That is theoretically true. In Hollywood a YES is a commitment of epic proportions. If, for example, if an exec buys something from you, both their neck and Marie Antoinette's are basically on the very same chopping block level because someone has to take the fall if a project fails publicly.
Hollywood, which is a city that preens and poses like their symbol of quality Kim Kardashian (who always seems awestruck by her own potential fabulousness) simply does not like to look bad.
Failure is the HIV of Los Angeles.
But here is the reality of the world that I live in:
MOST things fail. Most TV shows, movies, books, albums and plays FAIL often spectacularly.
But Hollywood's way of dealing with all that is to go out an buy an even more expensive outfit so it can rip it off and pose naked as soon as possible so it feels EMPOWERED.
Empowerment is the cheapest gas in LA. It's even more available that legal pot and any monkey knows how to pump it.
I was lucky enough to enjoy success in Hollywood. During y peak TV and film writing years I was able to scam my way into getting a weekly paycheck for over that included six years of exclusive deals at three studios.
I also know that Hollywood and professional sports covet their rookies while attacking the decline of their over the hill at 40 heroes and I am perfectly fine with that because THAT'S THE WAY IT IS.
Unwritten or invisible laws are a lot harder to amend than the visible ones that are, written in actual ink.
The fact that I am still dabbling in LA genuinely amuses me. I'm currently out on the street with a new pilot I wrote with Paul Reiser (my old Mad About You/My Two Dads compadre and I have the rights to the 30 year library of the Johnny Carson Tonight Show and have created a behind the scenes sitcom set in 1972.
Here in NY, I write movies, plays, books and blog on Huffington Post.
But then there is No.
But and no feel like easy to access, widely distributed switchblades of the daily, one on one rumble of Hollywood life.
Add to that mix all the ISIS, BELGIUM, TRUMP, BREAKING NEWS that assaults our senses like an automatic weapon in the hands Gone With The Wind's frantic Butterfly McQueen and is it any wonder that the next but or no that is heading our way feels like an Indiana Jones sized boulder ready to flatten us like an iHop pancake?
The ultimate question then, is: how do we move into the neighborhood of YES?
Answer: You have to first decide that is where you deserve to live.
We have to stop throttling our FEELINGS with copious amounts of Chips Ahoy, stop BUYING the next outfit or pair of shoes or sneakers THAT WE DO NOT NEED, stop hanging out with the WRONG people (even if they are relatives or friends that have been a part of our lives for decades) and worse, we have to stop living in pure fantasy believing to our core that everyone is SECRETLY planning our END.
Fact: no one thinks about you as much as you do. Ever. Not even your dog. Sometimes they have more important things to lick.
We have to go Spartan in our lives. We have to cull the herd of our catalog bought CRAP and take on the world full boar by being OPEN, TRANSPARENT, VULNERABLE instead of road raging and BLAMING the world for your problems.
The more you hang your fears on the clothing line, the fresher and more foldable they will become.
Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent and I know for a fact that she spent much of her life deflecting rejection starting with her Cruela de Ville mother.
So kids, listen to Uncle Hollywood: stop consenting.
Stock your inner jukebox with the basic materials of creativity and just hit "play."
You must never go to Vegas to win because, just like in Hollywood, the house wins 99.99% of the time.
You must go there to play.
As in PLAYwright.
As in ScreenPLAY.
As in TelePLAY.
Because in the end, the play is absolutely the thing.

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