As an aspiring screenwriter, I have not yet met any celebrities, but there’s a pretty decent chance that if I do become a professional one day, it will happen.
Many of us have different views of celebrities and I certainly can’t speak for anyone but myself. I’m a relatively shy person, so upon meeting a celebrity, chances are, they will be able to tell this. I’m not at all the type to yell, scream, run up to them, or really do a lot of talking to them at all unless they spoke to me first. Celebrities often have tons of fans and not all of them will be this relaxed upon meeting them, however. Many will approach them at ANY time, ask/demand to take a picture with them and a host of other actions that would be uncomfortable to the celebrity, to say the least. While I obviously don’t personally know any celebrity, I can imagine that the bad behavior is what has sort of “ruined” it for people like me. Some celebrities are extremely guarded from their fans upon encountering them in public, despite how much they may actually love us, because of how many of tend to behave. Even on social media, there are a lot of celebrities who will not speak individually to their fans. This is something I very much understand. After all, it is their right.
Recently, a well-known professional actress gave me a huge shock when she gave me permission to send her assistant a comedy-drama pilot script I had been working on. Some fans of hers mentioned to her on social media that it would be great to see her and a good friend of hers, another actress, on a show together. When she essentially agreed, I responded to say that I was working on a script in which I agreed that they would be great as two of the main characters. The shock of my screenwriting life came when she replied that I can send it to her. I asked if she was serious and she replied with a simple, “Yup.” Later, I asked where I can send it and she provided me with her assistant’s e-mail address.
Without mentioning her by name, I did let others know this and mainly that I was excited, but incredibly nervous, because nothing like this has ever happened to me before. Even now I feel like pinching myself, because very seldom does a professional actor allow an unknown writer to send them their work.
Anyway, even though many of my friends have been supportive, one response I’ve received pretty often is, to the effect, “Don’t be so nervous. She’s a normal person just like you are.”
With all due respect to those who have said this to me, let me tell you why that does NOT help.
Don’t get me wrong. I get the concept. I really do understand it and yes, at the end of the day, this actress is a person just like I am. However, it really isn’t that simple.
Life obviously takes us all in different directions. Despite where these different places are, I don’t believe it is the person him or herself that causes these feelings from fans. I know that with me, it isn’t this actress herself who has me as nervous as I am.
It is where these celebrities are and his or her status. In my case, for someone to say, “Oh, she’s just a regular person” is dismissive. This actress is someone I admire, but she is also someone who has been in the business for a lot of years. As a writer, my work may eventually end up in the hands of professional actors and that is something I greatly respect.
I’m not certain as to what caused this actress to say that she was willing to look at my work, but I do not take this lightly. People have likely approached her many times for many reasons, but probably very often to ask her to read scripts. She has a lot of experience and has read MANY scripts, so I can’t even imagine where mine is on the list of how many she has read.
This may shock some of you, but I DO want to impress her with my work. I’m pretty certain that if she is not over the moon about my script, I’ll find out in some way and with her experience, I will appreciate any feedback she would like to provide. It’s sort of like Michael Jordan giving someone tips on how to improve in playing basketball. Kind of a big deal.
However, I can’t even wrap my mind around the possibility that she is impressed with what I’ve sent to her. In that case, I would have no idea where things would go.
But as I said above, it’s not just her as a person who has my thoughts where they are. It’s in her experience as an actress having read a lot of scripts in her career. Along with this being a very rare opportunity that many aspiring screenwriters just never see, I want to show a great deal of respect to what’s in front of me and who she is.
It’s not about being “afraid” or even intimidated of her. But once again, I do want to impress her. I WANT her to like my work. My mind is often on how long she’s been in the business and how wonderful it would be that as a person with no professional experience, I’m able to get her attention in a positive way with what I’ve written. It’s just something I’ve always dreamed of being able to do.
It’s easy for someone who isn’t as big a fan of this actress, doesn’t have the dream of becoming a professional screenwriter, and hasn’t put in the work I have over the last several years to this craft to say to “not worry, because she is just a person like I am.” But the truth is that no matter what she says about my script, whether she loved it or hated it, because of her status as a celebrity and professional actress, what she tells me one way or the other will have a very profound effect on my potential career as a screenwriter.
For that reason, I don’t mind if she is not “just a person like I am.” The bottom line is that because of where we both are in our lives, she really isn’t.
And this dream would not be as amazing as it is if she were.