The Truth vs Blowing Smoke

Finally, I thought, finally, my sitcom pilot is ready to send out.  After working on it for two years, I read and reread it, showed it to two other writing groups and edited over and over, I decided, ‘hey, this is pretty good’.  I brought my pilot, Daddy Issues, to my Sunday night writing group.  I listened as the guy next to me responded to the very honest comments on his script and watched as he got upset and argue about the comments made.  I thought, ‘just listen and take the comments into consideration, don’t argue’.  Then my turn came.  We read the script in its entirety.  No one laughed.  That was the first sign of trouble.  Then the comments came.  It’s not long enough.  It’s not over the top enough.  It dragged.  Not enough happening.  The stakes need to be heightened.  There’s not enough mileage from the concept.  And the comments just went on and on for twenty minutes.  It would have been one thing if I expected this kind of reaction but I had this same script reviewed by two other groups and they loved it.  My biggest fear since I’ve been in L.A. is that the people that review my work in writing groups are just blowing smoke about how good of a writer I am or how funny I am.  Now I’m sitting here, reviewing the extensive notes on my script from last night and I’m feeling deflated but more upsetting is the fact that the two other groups told me it was not good but great and very funny.  I’ve wasted two years thinking the jokes are funny and the formatting is right and the length meets the standard.  I’m irritated that the world has come to this.  That we can’t be 100% honest because we fear hurting feelings or consequences of saying negative things.  There is a way to say ‘this is wrong’ or ‘this isn’t good enough’ without making someone want to jump off a bridge but people avoid that and just say ‘yes, it’s good, you should keep going’. 

It’s like when I self-published my book.  No one has yet to tell me how bad it was and I know it was not great.  I look back at it and realized I made quite a few errors but no one will sit me down and say ‘a,b, and c are wrong’ for fear of hurting my feelings but what they are really doing is lulling me into this false sense of security in my writing.  I hate that.  Be real, people.  Tell me, ‘hey, that joke does not work,’ or ‘grammatically, that is wrong’.  The truth will do more for everyone in the long run than the insincere kind words.


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