There’s an old LA cliché that roughly translates to this: walk into any coffee shop in town, and there’s at least two people working on their screenplays. And I wish that that was just a stereotype. One of my last days in Los Angeles, I sat at a Starbucks table, opened a second tab in my browser, and clicked the bookmark leading me to WriterDuet. Yeah.
Writing and completing the first draft of my screenplay was one thing. The next hurdle was getting up the courage to ask the people I’ve been working for all summer to read it. Although I’d been burning to ask them for feedback, I also didn’t want to be that guy that tries to slyly (but a bit presumptuously) drop a hulking manuscript onto someone’s desk. I was afraid of taking advantage of the new connections I was making by asking something from them. So I waited three months to ask. Three months until my exit interview on my last day of work.
So there I was, sitting up as straight as I could on a couch between two other interns who were also on their last day, across from two executives. They told us that they were happy to have us at Red Wagon, and that if there were any questions that we had, just ask. This was it. All I had to do was ask. But I was running through all the worst-case scenarios in my head: They could laugh at me and tell me not to waste their time. They could fire me (I know, why would they bother firing me when it was my last day? I’m telling you, the mind isn’t rational when it’s anxious).
I stumbled through my question: “So, I know you guys are, like, super busy and stuff. And you have a crazy workload. But would you be open to, like, y’know, reading some of our work and giving feedback? Or something?”
One of the execs just looked at me and said, “Absolutely!” and I’m pretty sure I visibly sagged with relief into the couch. He went on to say that Red Wagon would continue to help us with starting our careers and that they’d love to read the pieces that we’ve worked on and that we’re passionate about. I left this meeting, wondering how I’d been so intimidated by my position as an intern that I’d believed that my work outside of this internship might not be valued. I didn’t even realize how much of my own perception was an obstacle until this point. But now, I know better. I know that my creative voice is valued and that this company is hoping for its interns to succeed.