Tuesday, February 23, 2010

"Precious Mettle"

So many of us have had that "If I get close one more time and it doesn't happen, I quit," or ..."WTF, I've been doing this for years and I'm not even close." Or ....We start the inevitable slide into "just." i.e. You used to want to win the gold, now you "just" want to be able to pay the rent doing something you love.

If you've ever been there, and I know my a** has, this article was a ray of hope. It's from this month's Written By - the monthly WGA publication - and was written by Louise Farr about Geoffrey Fletcher (Precious). I'm just going to give you the highlights, but the highlights alone were pretty inspiring.

"Just before Lee Daniels snapped him up in the summer of 2006" to turn the cult book Push into a screenplay, Fletcher was suffering moments of despair. At 34, he wondered if life was passing him by while he chased his long shot dream.

"Seeing his friends, who had families and stable, traditional careers, he thought he might have blundered. New York temp jobs had granted him time to write thousands of pages of original material and shoot short films, but nothing opened the door to the movie industry success he wanted.

"I wondered if I could some how bury or ignore this creative impulse," says Fletcher now 39. "And I thought that I would be much happier if I could. But whenever I thought about pretneding it didn't exist, I found myself even less comfortable, so there was no way around it."

"He has blocked whatever job he was working on that summer when an assistant from his brother's investment firm called asking if he'd like to handle a meeting with Lee Daniels, producer of Monster's Ball... Daniels was seeking financing for a movie Tennessee to star Mariah Carey.

Fletcher rushed to the office, knowing it was unlikely that his brother's company, which built its reputation on minimizing risk, would put money into the producer's project. But at this stage in his life, he decided, he had nothing to lose by approaching Daniels to watch Magic Markers, which he had written, directed, shot and edited.

"I was convinced to utter certainty nothing would come of this meeting," says Fletcher..."I only wanted to show the film to him because I tried to wall off the side of me that was losing faith. I said to myself, 'It's important to try everything. It doesn't matter that you've heard "no" everywhere for years... What's another "no?"

...long story short, he did, Daniels loved it, hired him almost immediately to adapt Precious, now they're both Oscar nominees.

The caption under Fletcher's name on the magazine's cover is "Can't Touch This." It's always annoying when there's some black slogan that has nothing to do with anything because it's a black writer. But I'll at least give them a better one they could have used, and if you're a struggling artist, or no longer struggling, just not "there" yet, it's for you too: "Keep hope alive!"


  1. OK! I so love this posting. I was writing my treatment that is long overdue to be submitted to an agent, and I was starting to get that nagging feeling that the despair was about to set in...so I was like let me check out Nzingha's blog and see what she has up there, how perfect! Thank you a million times for the inspiration. I'm going back to my other window now to do some more writing and i'm going to pass this on to a friend with the same name who I think needs to see this too!

  2. There's nothing like right on time good news that emboldens. Thanks for the real talk Nzingha and thanks tchaiko for putting link on twitter where I caught it. Real Talk... now catch a fire!

  3. AND HE WON THE OSCAR!!! I love stories like these... Amazing.