Somebody once commented that Michael Jordan couldn't hit a curveball with an ironing board. His .202 batting average during his one year stint in the minor leagues certainly doesn't press a wrinkle into that claim.
The greatest basketball player of all time failed as a professional baseball player. He let something he couldn't do get in the way of what he could do (better than anybody else on the planet).
Or did he?
MJ had conquered the NBA, so who's to blame him for nurturing his inner Bo Jackson and Deion Sanders? He couldn't have known definitively he wouldn't break into the bigs without giving it a try. And, truth be told, hitting .202 in AA ball is better than 99% of the rest of the world could do. But minor league baseball wasn't his goal.
The creative world is no different from the athletic world in that limitation recognition is key to achieving success.
On the other hand, limitation acceptance is a sure way to fall short of your hopes and dreams.
Operate in the present within your limitations with the goal of stretching those limitations in the future.
To paraphrase the late, great John Wooden, don't bog yourself down with your current limitations. They don't have to be limitations forever. Do what you can now; it may be more than what you could do in the past and less than what you'll be able to do in the future. What seems impossible today may be routine tomorrow.
As for those limitations that are here to stay, use them as motivation to excel in other areas.
I struggle. I want to be able to do everything now. As I've written before, there are times I loathe myself for not pursuing acting right out of high school, for not moving to LA when I had the chance, for not quitting this crazy dream years ago when I nabbed my sensible bachelor's degree in elementary education.
But loathing myself is stupidly counterproductive. I'm in a good place with too much for which to be thankful to second guess the path I've followed thus far.
The biggest limitation in my career is simply access. Hollywood is a tough nut to crack and with so many crazy squirrels trying to get through the shell, it's no wonder the industry isn't welcoming outsiders with open arms, especially ones from flyover country.
I mentioned in my last entry that producer Gary W. Goldstein (Pretty Woman, Under Siege, The Mothman Prophecies) is running a Kickstarter campaign for a new guidebook for newbie film producers. The campaign ends early Friday (May 24, 2013), so now is the time to jump in and take advantage of some of the cool rewards he is offering.
I had the opportunity to ask Mr. Goldstein what advice he would give to writers/directors/producers living outside of LA and he said, "Move." He was kidding, but he went on to say, "If you choose to stay where you are to create a career, it is tougher [to break in]. This means you have to take each of your relationships very seriously because you can't simply walk around and make new ones. You must keep in touch with your network and contribute to the relationship authentically and regularly even from a distance.
"Also, on a regular basis, fly to LA with a plan to network, almost like you'll be going on first dates with some and maintaining long distance relationships with others."
Living outside of LA certainly limits one's ability to network to the fullest, but with hard work and directed efforts, geographic limitations can be overcome. It takes disciplined persistence and full commitment in researching and learning about the people you'll be reaching.
And thick skin.
An excerpt from Gary W. Goldstein's upcoming book reminds Hollywood outsiders that the path isn't paved with gumdrops, lollipops, and rainbows:
"My failures or obstacles have been a constant for as many years as I can remember. I've become a black belt at failure, and that's paved the way for my successes. It's up to you how you classify or view any moment or event. Every film I've ever championed was a failure many times before I ultimately got it produced. For every film I've produced, there are another six or ten films I failed to get produced; I invested years of my time, plenty of money, and a big piece of me in those as well. There are films I worked on for years and years before it became absolutely impossible, legally or financially or practically, to get that particular film into production. Until that moment I arrived, I never quit. Never."
And despite my present limitations, neither will I.