Saturday, March 13, 2010

Comedy of Errors

I have met many writers, at various stages of their careers. I was trained by writers. I work with them, and I also meet aspiring ones.

One of the things I do is, screen through new writers, pair them up with various projects, organisations and individuals.

I met most of them, during my short stint doing TV. I was helping managing content for a major production company, and was always on the lookout for new writers. I also did it as a favour to some friends looking for writers. Some were amazing. While others, were not quite sure what they wanted, or where they were.

Me: So you want to be a writer?

Writer1: No. I want to be a model.

Me: Oh? What kind of model?

W1: I do catalogues, but I want to do high fashion.

Me: You are... applying to be a writer?

W1: I want to make some money as I approach the major modelling companies.

Well, at least she was honest.

Me: So. You want to be a writer? What kind of writing do you do?

Writer 2: Oh, I just give ideas. I hope that you can turn them into something.

Me: What... kind of ideas?

W2: I have many ideas. I watched a lot of movies and TV, and I think if you follow my ideas, you'll be rich.

Me: How... much experience do you have writing?

W2: I write in my notebook, which I kept since primary school.

Me: Wow that's - that's how many years ago?

W2: I started when I was eight. So, 15 years.

Me: And in 15 years, all of your writing fits in a notebook? I take it, it's a large notebook?

W2: No. It's right here. It fits in my hand!

I know of people whose job it is simply to give ideas. Sit around, give ideas, and other people execute them. And get paid hansomely for it.

These people are usually really, really great writers whose ideas are sound, well-thought of, and in most cases invaluable.

Similarities between people who mainly give ideas for a living is that they have more than 15 years of experience actually working on ideas. They have tried, and failed, and at some point, would succeed more than they have failed.

There is no entry-level job where all you do is sit around and give ideas. I know. I looked for that first. Cause if that's the case, no one would do menial jobs. The tea-lady has lots of ideas. The garbage man has lots of ideas.

The amount of ideas is not a question. Not a concern. It is executing it well - that's a skill almost everyone looks for in a prospective employee or business partner.

Ah, but there are exceptions. If you hang around some politicians, you may be able to get some money for your ideas. I do not know exactly how or for how much, because I have never considered politics to be a viable, sustainable or even ethical area.

When you go out there and get interviews with prospective employers, and I don't care what area it is, here are some things to keep in mind:

1. Individuals and companies find employees or partners to solve one problem or to execute certain tasks. In short, you must come in as a solution to something. If you potentially bring in more problems, then what's the point?

2. You must WANT to be there. There is nothing sadder and more desperate than someone who does not want to be where they are. Trust me. I've been there. I have been at places I did not want to be, and until I made a decision to leave, I was miserable. Look, the world is huge, while it is also very small. You can find a place where you want to be. You don't have to stay anywhere forever.