Thursday, September 07, 2006

Best of the Mediocre

Another day, another dink.

I'm officially out of the running in the Austin Film Festival. Probably won't go to the AFF anyway due to job related chaos until November. Weird though. I really thought I'd be a second rounder this year. I didn't expect to win. But, I did think I would advance.

Stupid intuition. Wrong cookies.

This time last year, so great was my discouragement that I quit screenwriting for a month. I was defeated and convinced that I rated at the very bottom of the crap-o-meter. I probably won't sink that low this year because (1) I'm never at the very bottom of anything -- I'm always in the middle and (2) I've got a Greg Beal note that says I was in the Nicholl top ten percent so to my eyes, it reads, "you do NOT suck!"

Of course I don't suck. I never suck at anything. In everything I do, I'm always the very, very best of the mediocre.

That's right.

Cut a slice out of the middle and I'll be floating at the top. Cut a slice off the top and I'm clinging to the bottom. That's how it works with me and most of the time, I'm okay with it because being the best of the mediocre means a great many people think I'm an amazing singer, brilliant writer, creative graphic artist, excellent seamstress, superior administrator, cool mom or great housekeeper. A much smaller number of people think I'm not.

I'm never the star and never in the peanut gallery.

However, there's something to be said for stepping away from any task for awhile. It empties the cache in my brain, deletes temporary files and makes the brain run faster after I reboot. Maybe I could do a cerebral defrag, cranio upgrade or look into the latest encephalic memory stick for writers with Swiss cheese in their heads.

Then again, maybe I just need to keep writing and come up with a better screenplay. First, I want to pout a few days. Why? Because like everything else I do, I'm very good at it -- the very best of the mediocre. But, not the best. So, I'll be back at my keyboard shortly.


wcdixon said...

That was a great post. Sad but not.

Know the feeling, as I said on my profile: he's a little independent always aspiring to be the summer blockbuster... and ending up somewhere in the middle.

And I've often thought I'd rather be brilliant at one thing as opposed to just good at a lot of things. But just good is what I am...and that's okay. I hope its okay for you as well.

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Well, yes and no, WC. It's okay because I don't suck and I've only been screenwriting three years. It NOT okay because mediocre doesn't cut it in screenwriting. Good screenplays and medioccre screenplays and even very, very good screenplays are a dime a dozen. I want to write a great one.

mernitman said...

Cheez whiz, just as I was feeling all warm and fuzzy about Austin.

Heathens! Philistines all!

You are so much more than medicore that it's silly.

Of course you have every right to pout. But do try to remember that the world's better for you being in it...

and that in the screenwriting competition game (as it is in the screenwriting business) TALENT and QUALITY are so often not the decisive factors. who wins places and shows ain't necessarily so much about how great or near-great or not your screenplay is, but about a myriad of other people's considerations that often don't have a lot to do with the worth of it nor the worth of YOU.

three years?!

hang the hell in there, will ya?

mernitman said...

and don't you love that i mistyped mediocre? (you're so much not medicore, either)

Chesher Cat said...

Contest results are not the barometer for great, good or bad screenwriting. Not even worth the depression time.

And I believe your cerebral defrag was taken care of by that nasty migraine.

Keep writing, but only if you have to...or want to...or absolutely love it.

Unknown Screenwriter said...

If your screenplays are anything like your posts, success is coming.



Unknown Screenwriter said...

I was gone about ten minutes when I realized I should have added to the above post...

And if they're not anything like your posts... They ought to be.



Moviequill said...

I didn't even get honourable mention in the Nicholl, but I only drank myself into a stupor the following day. After that, I fired up the software and typed FADE In: again, and voila!, here I am still at it. Pouting is good but don't do it for longer than 48 consecutive hours... or I'll have to drive down there in my new Beetle and buy you tequila shooters

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Deb, Billy, Todd, Unk -- You guys totally rock!

Deb, You're right! That migraine was the defrag! That means...? I'm ready to reboot!

Billy, don't you get tired of those "just got off the roller coaster and nothing to show for it" days? But there's just something about hanging on for dear life and puking your guts out that makes us come back for more.

Todd, Dude, we drink glasses here! It's Texas! Shots are for sneaking a drink under your desk.

Unk, yeah, they're pretty much the same thing.

Matt Miller said...

Dear Maryan,

I found your blog by doing a search on "Mediocre is not OK." The reason for this is that I believe that the US has come to accept mediocrity across the board, and that we convince ourselves that "Mediocre is OK." It isn't.

I am a scientist and businessman, not a screenwriter. But my sister was Julia Phillips, who produced "The Sting," "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," and "Taxi Driver," and who wrote, "You'll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again." So I have had indirect experience of the triumph of the mediocre in Hollywood. Julia used to say, "Hollywood is where art and commerce meet. Art went home about 1981."

Stick with it. Whatever you are, you are not mediocre.

Matt Miller

MaryAn Batchellor said...

Matt. I needed your comment today. Funny how that worked on a thirteen month old post but it did. Thank you. I'm in your debt.