My father was a self-made businessman and was truly wise. Born in LA during the Great Depression, with immigrant parents and little education, he began with nothing – but by the age of fifty he had built up a successful business with over sixty employees. His approach was simple: work hard, show up on time and always meet your clients and employees face-to-face.
My father taught me everything I know about business and I owe much of my success to him, but this one simple piece of advice has lasted me a lifetime and I am constantly amazed by the benefits.
There is something about sitting across a table from someone or meeting up for a coffee – or even the connection that takes place during the few moments of that first handshake. This is the time when someone will decide whether they like you or not, trust you or not, and most importantly, whether they'll want to work with you or not.
This is not to say that these things will ever take the place of your actual work and what you bring to th...
If I had ten cents for every time someone said to me, “I have a great idea”, well, I’d be rich! Now please know that I don’t mean to put anyone down, and being an ‘ideas person’ myself, I know how exciting it is to come up with a great idea. The kind of idea that you know would be hugely successful if someone would just write it, or read it, or better still, make it!
But here’s what I’ve learned after all these years in the business: an ‘idea’ alone is worthless. I have hundreds of ideas written on napkins and scraps of paper scattered around my house. Some are OK, some are good, and some are even great. But even a great idea is just a fluffy white cloud floating around the cosmos, filled with promise and potential, and hopes and dreams – it has no value until you get off your butt and do something with it.
Your job as a writer is to turn that idea into reality and what that takes is your time, your skills, your sweat and tears – and a lot of hard work.
This may be a strange topic to start off the New Year with, but as I woke up this morning I realised that throughout my career I’ve learned some important lessons that I want to share with you.
If I’m honest, in the early stages of my career I was pretty insecure. As with many new writers, my lack of confidence showed itself in a variety of ways. Sometimes during meetings I was so worried that my inexperience would be ‘found out’, I'd spend the hour talking about myself and my ideas rather than truly listening. Since I believed that each precious new opportunity was simply a matter of ‘luck’ (rather than skill or talent), I thought the only thing I could do was to sell myself.
My first big lesson came when I was invited to attend my first LA writers room. It was for a series on Fox, and out of a group of nine experienced writers, I was the only woman. I remember thinking that the best thing I could do would be to keep my mouth shut and hope that I would walk out with one assigned script....