I had the good fortune to connect with another local writer a few weeks ago. We met for a casual chat over drinks and discussed the usual stuff: our writing backgrounds and experiences, what we like to write, and so on.
I love this kind of stuff (both the networking and the discussion) and genuinely enjoy hearing the stories of others writers.
As we started to wrap things up, she commented on how nice it was to meet me and how inspiring and motivational my attitude was, which totally caught me off-guard.
I was just being nice (as is my way), and, like a lot of people, tend to get excited and a little animated when I talk about screenwriting.
Apparently that’s a good thing.
But why be anything but nice? I always marvel at when another writer recounts how somebody they met with did not portray themselves in a positive light, bragging about themselves or their “accomplishments”.
One of those constantly-repeated pieces of advice for when you’re starting out is that when you meet someone working in the industry, you should present yourself as someone who would be pleasant to work with (followed up by actually acting that way, of course).
This also applies to when you meet somebody else in a face-to-face scenario. Amazingly, not a lot of people are going to be interested if your favorite subject is you.
A lot of this business is built on relationships. “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know,” right?
If you found about a project where someone’s looking for a certain kind of writer, and you know two who fit the bill exactly, but one’s kind of a jerk, wouldn’t you be more likely to recommend the other one?
You’re going to meet all kinds of people along the way of developing your career. You want to make a good first impression and have people think of you in the best possible light.
Think of it this way: Would you rather be remembered because people liked what they saw in you, or because they didn’t?