When I moved to Los Angeles I had my share of nay-sayers. Some folks in influential or mentor-type roles really questioned my thinking. I was 23 years old and “following a dream”. One in particular asked me “How long do you intend to do this?”
Wanting terms and conditions. A quantifiable plan. Milestones.
I responded “How long is a dream worth chasing?” That shut them up. They had no answer for that, and I don’t think they’d ever even thought of the question.
Now, thirteen years later I don’t have an answer for it either. How long is a dream worth chasing? I find that to be the lingering query of my existence. If forced to answer I would quickly say “as long as I have breath…”
But reality does dawn… even on us dreamers.
I recently watched a great documentary called “Confessions of a Superhero”. Now, I won’t go into the fact that growing to love documentaries is the first sign of old age…. That’s another entry entirely. But during the whole film I just kept hearing my question over and over again.
The film follows four people who dress up as superheros and stand outside the famous Mann’s Chinese Theater on Hollywood Blvd. Wannabe actors in poor fitting costumes who pose for pictures with countless tourists. They work for tips.
Each of them came to Hollywood to be in film. No, that’s not correct… they came to Hollywood to be a Star. Maybe that’s the problem, but they speak out about their dreams, their belief that any day it will happen.
Yet one look at any of them and I want to reach into the TV and shake them: “Go somewhere else… Do Something else… It’s never gonna happen for you…” Of course… How do I know, right?
When did they cross that line? When did they go from person with a dream to odd-ball who can’t face reality? Before the documentary crew showed up, I assume. Sometime in the midst of stockpiling superhero memorabilia and about the moment they thought… “You know what I should do – buy a costume!”
Probably right about there…
Did any of their friends stop them and say: “Ya know, maybe it’s time to pack it in…” And have they ever heard the question “How long you gonna do this?”
So I’m pondering. It’s not the first documentary I’ve seen recently which showed folks in Hollywood hanging on to a “what if” that passed them a decade before. See… I said I was watching Docs…
I still have hope and belief that real opportunities are still ahead of me. I still believe the time invested in contacts, content, and experience are yet to pay off.
But I don’t believe it’s an indefinite thing. I do think you can overstay your welcome and outlive your prime in this town.
Should that happen to me I hope some friend pulls me aside. And if it happens I hope I listen.
Definitely before I put on a costume.