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On winning the race

I’ve made the analogy before (and will continue to do it ad infinitum until someone shuts me up) that a career in the arts is a marathon and not a sprint. Overnight successes are rare, and most of those are actually years in the making. That overnight sensation you saw in a movie recently actually shot that movie a year ago, or longer, and has other films already finished. The director who won an Oscar for his first film spent the last 20 years directing commercials, music videos, and web series. It takes a while.

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I returned from the Thanksgiving week and, bright and early Monday morning, sat down at my computer to get to work. One of my Monday morning tasks is to check my old, defunct email address in case something important rolls in. Usually it’s just spam or crap from any place that requires an email address, but this time there was something actually addressed to me personally. I got an email from the Artistic Director of a Los Angeles theater company stating that they would like to produce one of my short plays in their upcoming series in March. Of course, I was delighted. But I didn’t remember submitting, although there were hints that it had been a while. For example, it was sent to my old email address. Also, the AD mentioned that even though I lived in New York, he hoped I could come out and see it.

I opened my submission database and began searching. After a few minutes I had tracked it down. Sure enough, I had submitted the script…in July of 2010. Three and a half years ago! So I submitted this script before even moving to L.A. Before I got married. Before so many things happened, just a submission along with a positive thought, and then forgotten.

This is a great reminder that there is no overnight success in show business…especially on the writing end. Just keep your head down and keep doing the work. And someday very far away, a finish line is in sight.

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