Last week I attended the Austin Film Festival Screenwriters Conference. I’m back to normal life now. But I feel different. I feel less anxious about my career path. I feel less anxious about my writing. It could be post-conference afterglow, but I think at least some of it will last.
But why? Nothing has changed since I went to Austin. I didn’t have a magical breakthrough on my script. I didn’t meet any high-level industry insiders. I didn’t discover a guaranteed path to success (because there isn’t one.) What I found at the screenwriters’ conference was bunch of other screenwriters. We met at panels and parties and had meals together. We bonded and commiserated and laughed together. I watched their faces and saw myself in their expressions. It seems like a small thing, but they listened to me and remembered details about our conversations. We talked about our scripts. We gushed over our favorite shows and movies.
What I learned is that my private anxieties and neuroses are not personal flaws, they’re just pretty common characteristics of writers. (I know, a neurotic writer, who would’ve thought?) Turns out I’m not the only “late bloomer” beginning a career in screenwriting. I’m not the only person making a crazy bet on terrible odds–I’m just the only person I know making that bet. Until now. Now I know a whole lot of crazy, hopeful, impassioned and inspired screenwriters.
It just feels damn good to have found my people.