Shut up and show up

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I went to a story pitch session this afternoon.

The host sent out the invite to all 41 screenwriters in the program.

Guess how many showed up (apart from the host).

Two. Me and another guy.

Then the host showed me the RSVP list. Quite a lot confirmed. But in the end, they decided to spend those hours doing something more important than talking through the new stories for the new quarter.

I was going to be one of them — Confirmed and bailed out later. I then told my flatmate that I just wanted to be left alone since she was moving out today. My flatmate quipped —

Get yourself out. It’s the only way to meet men.

So I did. It turned out to be two men after all.

The host friend felt a bit hurt. He didn’t do anything wrong. He said he tried not to take things personally. Well, I can’t. That’s why I stopped trying to host events that involve more than four people a long time ago. It’s exhaustive, underappreciated. You beg people to confirm, then you follow up when the date is close. Excuse me, but —

Who is doing whom a favour?

I much admire the friend keep hosting events like this. I myself can’t bear the thought of people not showing up, or promising to show up and bailed out in the end. Then I thought, not showing up is your loss. Today I got some interesting directions which I will use in the actual story pitch tomorrow.

Three brains are better than one.

Days ago, my cohorts had a Spring break barbecue. Quite a few joined. I was not on the invite list. All were the popular kids. Of course, it hurts a little. But I’d rather join stuff like today’s than “hanging out” with cohorts. I hang out with another bunch of people. To me, cohorts are cohorts. If I find interesting cohort that I want to get to know better, I ask him for one-on-one coffee. That is so much more meaningful and worthy of both of our time. I might appear like a lone wolf. But I cultivate deeper friendship over time.

A professor once said, “Take any meetings as you start off your career. They might surprise you.” To me, events like the one my friend held is one of them.

Shut up about all those excuses that you can’t make it. Just get off your ass and show up. Or, don’t bother RSVP.

Well, you never know what would ensue.

Author: Rock Bottom with YZ

YZ is a Shanghai-born LA-trained bilingual storyteller in various spheres.

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