09 December 2008

Entertainment industry inspiration: two men

I was asked recently who my real-life male and female role models were, and I was sad to say I didn't really have a real-life female role model. I know a lot of people say their mother or grandmother, and yes, I am impressed by how strong my mother is-- but I don't want to follow in her footsteps or live her life. It isn't that a role model is only someone whose life you want to live, per se, but I do think that is a part of the equation. The two men who come to mind, and maybe this is because I am writing full-time now, are both in entertainment.

The most recent one happens to be the president of music at a major studio now, but it is his journey that inspires me, not the destination. He graduated from college and started a band in New York. He wrote music, performed music and produced music-- he lived music every day and never gave up. He said he wasn't precious about which assignments he took, which was a great lesson for me, and he thought his creative and musical lives were over when he was writing music for animated singing animals. But, as luck would have it, his talents did not go unnoticed, and he won awards and acclaim for his work, and over the years, has built a solid and esteemed reputation for himself. His advice to me was to simply do what I loved, and he is the reason I am a full-time writer now. Had I been thinking about it before I met him? Of course. Had I even written full-time before? Sure, in spurts between other projects. But this time, I said, 'This is it. This is what I'm doing from now on, and that's it-- come what may.'

The other man who inspires me is a successful screenwriter, and again, it is not his destination but his journey that impresses me. He's a gay, Canadian Jew, and he had to marry his partner in Canada to be a legitimate and legal couple (don't get me started). He financially supported two boys in Latin America and put one through medical school and the other through law school and goes to visit them regularly. I find that many young people are very enthusiastic about community service and love to garnish already impressive CVs with their philanthropic contributions, but not that many working professionals continue to be so generous. I am especially impressed with my screenwriting friend because most people have no idea he has done this-- he will never get any award or recognition for it. He does it because he wants to create more opportunity in the world, because he wants to empower young, talented people and because he is generally a wonderful human being.

I hope that when I lay on my deathbed, I will have taken the lessons of these two men with me: push myself to follow my passion and pursue it professionally to the best of my ability, and never forget to give back to the world that has provided so much.

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