I have worked in the entertainment industry in one way or another my entire life-literally since I was super young and the biggest no-no that I still see people doing is making excuses. I understand this is something that happens out of fear, but don’t do it-EVER.
In animation working as an artist has it’s ups and downs and we are always told to fix this or that, or change this or that-it is part of the job-writing is no different.
So when I started in animation and was showing my portfolio around I made the fatal mistake that kept me at the Cheesecake Factory and broke for an extra year. I was giving reasons for why what was in there wasn’t good-thus showing that I wasn’t ready, even though I was. I opened my book and when the guy reviewing it was looking at it and not saying how great it was, I started getting nervous. My hands got sweaty, my heart started beating-“he hates it, I suck, I can’t draw, omg!” -so I immediately started explaining it. “Well on this day, I was sick, and here the girl moved before I could draw her leg properly, and oh, don’t look at that, and this well it was 105 outside.” He closed the book and told me to NEVER do that again. He then lectured me, and rightly so, about how he was liking everything until I started pointing out all my mistakes.
As Homer Simpson would say, “Doh!”
I took that advice and never did it again, and this has translated to writing. I never ever send out a script and say, “Oh it’s my first draft, I wrote this all last night, it’s rough, it’s not developed, I have to fix this character, etc, etc.” I just send it out.
Recently I have started reading scripts and helping people with their queries etc, and I get excuses all the time.
Yesterday a girl sent me a pilot for a TV show and then 8 emails telling me why it wasn’t quite ready and it was a first draft and more. So when I opened the PDF I was thinking, “UGH, I don’t want to read this, it’s going to be awful.” And it wasn’t. This girl is a great writer and her script, drama pilot, is fresh, new, very dramatic and just all around good.
Of course with my notes back I told her to never do that again. She is strong enough to be confident about her work. Hell I am confident about stuff that sucks and people think it’s better.
I don’t intentionally write things that aren’t good, but come on, we all write duds, boring shit sometimes, but I am telling you being confident will sway the way someone reads your script. So my advice, don’t ever make excuses or apologize or send disclaimers-just send your work out at whatever stage you are in, just get it read.