I am sitting in the middle of a Starbucks on Queen Street E. My first coffee shop blog article of 2014!
The ‘Toronto Mission’ is back on in full swing. Researching, itemizing, and reaching out to production companies across a wide swath of the industry here, is something that I set out to do when I first moved to TO, two years ago. I keep beating myself up for losing track of the mission, only to reclaim it over the passed few months, but I think it’s worth a closer look at what really happened over that journey.
I started off with unrealistic expectations for how easy it would be to break in as a writer. When I was advised to focus solely on writing because Toronto likes its ‘specialists’, I stopped developing my own projects, and I stopped ‘being’ a producer.
When I was informed that the single greatest way to launch my career as a writer was through the CFC, I gave up on reaching out to production companies. I stopped showing my work, and I blindly placed my future into the hands of perfect strangers, whom I’ve never met, and have yet to meet.
I made a point of focusing on gigs with short term, low commitment, and low expectations, so that I could drop everything at a moment’s notice, when something with greater potential came along. Unfortunately, since I wasn’t putting myself out there, nothing with greater potential was going to come along.
To be clear, I am NOT blaming this 18-month lapse in my career on others. It’s always up to me to take advice, or not take it. It’s always up to me to reach out, or hide away. It’s up to me to pick up the phone, or wallow in anonymity.
The world doesn’t come to anyone. We must go out to the world.
So here I am. I’ve reached out to a couple dozen production companies thus far, and lined up (or have already taken) a dozen meetings. My sense of how the industry works out here continues to evolve.
It turns out that very few people are ‘specialists’ in this business. Most everyone is happy to sit down for a coffee and offer advice. Sometimes the advice jives with the advice of others. Othertimes, not so much. It’s up to me to sort the wheat from the chaff.
People have agreed to read my stuff, with no promise of taking it further. I am grateful to simply be read. There also seems to be opportunities to work with others on their own projects down the road.
More than anything, I feel like I’m heading towards a good place in a hurry. Who can ask for anything more?