John August is the screenwriter behind movies like Corpse Bride, Go and Big Fish. (And Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle, but, hey, they can’t all be great.) He keeps a regular blog that covers what he’s working on and the more technical angles of writing movies. He had one post that I wanted to pass on. How Do You Become Successful. While he is talking specifically about the film industry, his answers apply to any endeavor where art and industry meet. Here are two of his five lessons:
1. You’re not entitled to anything. A film degree is basically worthless. You won’t get recruited, and no one will ever ask to see it. An MBA from USC gets you a $100,000 starting salary. A film degree from USC might get you an unpaid internship. All you get out of it is the education, so make sure you’re learning every second of the day.
5. Make your own luck. Sometimes, magic happens and Spielberg likes your wacky short film. But that can’t happen if you didn’t make it in the first place, and the seven others no one saw. You never know which script, which lunch, which random idea is going to be important. So treat them all as important.
John August’s Blog