When I was 22 years old I moved to NYC to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up and one day as I was wandering down those busy streets the answer came to me in a flash: I was going to make movies.
I saw the whole thing in my head. My first film was going to be a comedy about a daughter who outs her closet writer mother. Goldie Hawn would play the mother, Meg Ryan would play the crazy Aunt, Alfre Woodard would play the mom’s best friend, Jack Nicholson would play her mom’s unrequited lover and I would play the daughter.
Never mind that I had never written a script in my life, nor had any contacts in the entertainment business, nor any experience Producing, I had passion and creativity on my side and I was going to go ahead and write this script, and then co-produce it with whichever studio picked it up (so that I could still have some control creatively) and cast myself. I gave myself about a 2 year time frame.
Go ahead and laugh. Seriously, have a hearty laugh because this, my friends, is a delusion of epic proportions. A 22 year old unknown back in 1992, with literally zero experience in anything and not a single connection in the business thinks she is going to get Hollywood to produce her largely all female comedy and that they are going to happily let her co-produce it with them and cast it, giving herself one of the starring roles? It’s hilarious! But at the time, I really believed it and I am so glad I did.
See here’s the thing, that delusion was my rocket fuel. It was my carrot keeping me running around the track. I would never have spent the nearly countless hours I have spent over the last 20 years disciplining myself to hone my writing skills and complete scripts if it hadn’t been for the hope that delusion would become real. I would never have gone after and landed all the jobs I did if I hadn’t thought I needed those experiences in order to service that delusion and I am certain I never would have been able to shield myself from all the well meaning dream doubters along the way if it hadn’t been for the warm embrace of that delusion. I would have given up long ago.
My lovely little delusion served me quite well. As the years went by and pure dreaming slowly got replaced by actual skills and real connections that initial delusion slowly changed, morphed, in fact I became completely aware that it was a delusion, I just didn’t care. It had lead me down a path I wanted to be on. I created more of them.
Eventually the delusions no longer served me, in fact they started to get in the way. They became the thing in the way of realizing that my dreams are no longer “dreams” but simply my here and now and that if I didn’t start seeing it in that context, and speaking of it in that context, and being in the very real moments that were happening to me right here in the now, then I was going to unintentionally push them away. This leads me to…
Industry Tip #8
Allow yourself to dream big audacious dreams, but don’t let it stand in the way of you realizing and fully participating in the successes you already have.
And without further ado I will share the final Episode of our very first season of Feathers and Toast. The one where our lovely Tallulah first develops her own delusions of grandeur. She saves a life and now thinks this cooking show might just be her mission in life, that she’s meant to “Save The World One Sandwich at a Time” (Apparently Mhairi, who created that storyline, appreciates the power of a juicy delusion as well)
What delusions have served you well?