Month: April 2013

“One for Love, One for Money”

By Steven Pressfield | 30 Comments

A friend who’s a painter sent me this in an e-mail: When you write, are you coming from your gut/heart, or from a merchandising view? Both? It got me thinking about the old Hollywood axiom, “One for love, one for money.” This is the wisdom proffered in good faith to writers, actors and directors by their agents. It means, “Alternate the projects you work on. Do one that’s commercial, then do the next ‘for art.’” The counselor offering that advice is trying to steer her client’s career between Scylla and Charybdis. Don’t be too precious and work only on artsy-fartsy…

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By Shawn Coyne | 13 Comments

On my very first day in book publishing (way back in the typewriter days), I was forced to confront an age old dilemma. Even though I stupidly claimed that Beowulf was my favorite book at my interview, I’d been hired as editorial assistant to the editor in chief of a big mass market paperback publisher. As luck would have it, my first Monday was also “editorial meeting day” at this house. If you want to know what a publishing company is like, go to the editorial meeting. Everything you need to know will happen there. No matter what is discussed,…

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Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Wants To Be

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

If you wanna get strong, go to the gym. If you wanna get fast, go to the track. If you wanna get rich, go to (I’ve never figured that one out). The point is: where the body goes, the spirit follows. Therefore, move thy butt. Put your ass where your heart wants to be. If you want to paint, don’t agonize, don’t ikonize, don’t self-hypnotize. Shut up and get into the studio. Once your physical envelope is standing before the easel, your heart and mind will follow. If you want to write, plant your backside in front of the typewriter.…

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Things I Wish I’d Known Before Turning Pro

By Callie Oettinger | 7 Comments

Kareem Abdul Jabbar’s “10 Things I Wish I’d Known Before Turning Pro” had me shaking my head in agreement last week. A few from the publishing side: It’s Show Business, Not Show Art. A freelance producer offered me this advice while I was a summer college intern at Mattel’s headquarters in El Segundo, CA. I thought he was another bitter USC film grad who couldn’t hack it in Hollywood . . . so he sold out to “the man” and made toy commercials for a living. Looking back,  he was right and I was judgmental and naïve.

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Stories We Tell Ourselves

By Steven Pressfield | 21 Comments

A couple of years ago I was struggling to finish a novel called The Profession. I was lost. The book was dying. It was a Bad Moment. Enter Shawn. This is when it’s great to have a friend/editor/literary Kahuna who really knows his stuff. Shawn flew out to L.A. from New York and we beat our brains out for a couple of days. I remember vividly what he finally said: “You know what this book is about? It’s about stories. We all have stories that we tell ourselves about what our lives are—and those stories are always wrong.” That was…

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Irreconcilable Goods

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

My last post was about “best bad choice” moments. That’s the picking the lesser of two evils side of life that defines character through action. Having characters make choices and then act on them is what’s meant by “showing” (My mother spilled coffee on the subway car floor. She dug into her purse for a paper towel and some Purell then cleaned it up.) as opposed to “telling” (My mother is fastidious). Don’t forget that you as creator have to make value judgments well in advance of beginning a project.  There is no wishy-washy spiritual cloak you can wear that…

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Good Guy Speeches

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

We were talking last week about Villain Speeches. But there are some great Good Guy speeches too. I’m not even sure what to call these. Here’s one from Ron Shelton’s Bull Durham. In the story, Nuke Laloosh (Tim Robbins), the clueless but athletically gifted pitcher, has just been called up to the major leagues, “the Show.” Crash Davis (Kevin Costner), who has been mentoring Nuke in the minors, has just heard the news. Crash knows that he himself is never going to get that life-changing phone call, even though he’s ten times smarter than Nuke and has worked ten times…

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