I was in the lobby of a ridiculously lavish hotel. It was packed with industry people, in town for the festival. The young writer and a couple friends stopped to say hi to Manager with whom I was chatting. They exchanged pleasantries. I smiled accommodatingly.
But my smile was nothing next to the grin on the young writer’s face. I don’t think I’ve ever used the word beaming in my own writing, but this kid was beaming.
Twenties, bearded, round, wearing brand new jeans and a clever t-shirt. The typical writer aesthetic. Except for that smile.
Like I said, it was a lavish lobby, but this guy was looking around like he’d just awakened in El Dorado.
They departed. Manager informed me that the young writer’s movie had just sold in a bidding war the night before. Millions more than it cost to make.
I envied that smile. That uncontrollable beaming.
I envied it for a while. Knew that soon it’d be me waking up in El Dorado.
Regrettably, I didn’t see the young writer’s movie while I was in town for the festival. I have seen it since however. It’s given me time to reflect.
The film will live on much longer than the smile.
I think about my own future. Where this is all headed.
I’m going to sound like an ungrateful prick right now, or someone who’s bitten off more than they can chew but I’m not sure I want anything more than that smile.
I’ve taught myself how to write screenplays. Knocked on doors for years. Finally landed incredible representation. An option on my script. With luck, it will become a film and play at a festival. And… I’m not sure I need the rest of it.
The film release six months later? The career? The politics that I’m already starting to see? The lack of creative control? The who-knows-what-else?
It’s something I’ve thought about recently. Maybe even shared here. I’ve begun to wonder whether or not “breaking in” was all this was ever about. The self satisfaction of knowing that I could do it and then on to other summits. Because I don’t hear a lot of stories about what a pleasant industry this is to work in. So is that something I even want?
Maybe the big beaming smile is the better note to go out on.
I often get ahead of myself.
Because that big smile is still a while off yet. I’ve got some time to decide. Decide whether or not to check this whole thing off my life’s to-do list and just retreat into my forest, where I’m always happy… Or to see if there’s more to El Dorado than just the lobby.