I’ve lost count at the number of job applications I’ve written in the last year – mostly for my own sanity, I don’t need to be reminded of the number of times I’ve failed.
For the most part they’ve been the usual, standard, day jobs in admin/marketing/events that you can do with a background in professional theatre. Occasionally you even get the odd big one – a job with a film funding agency (*this close*), a chance to play with the film archives and present them to the public (*stuck behind a recruitment freeze*), an entry level position in a theatre’s literary department (*will never know because I stupidly went with the marketing job because they offered it first and by the time I discovered that they didn’t really want someone with fresh ideas and instead wanted someone who would either a) tell them what they wanted to hear even though to do so was actually damaging the company or b) be a thoughtless desk monkey who would continue to repeat the mistakes of using out-dated marketing methods on a technologically savvy market, it was too late*).
But then there’s the dream one.
The one that haunts your every being, day and night.
The one you try to forget about completely after sending your application in, the one that you’re meant to forget as you sensibly apply for other jobs. I am trying so hard to forget about it. It’s a script writing job with a gaming company. For starters, those roles are hardly ever advertised – as it is in most industries, getting a writing job is about 99.99% who you know. Secondly, I’m pretty sure every screenwriter on the planet has applied for it, so my chances of being short listed are small. Very, very small.
But I want it so badly.
When the inevitable email of “sorry, but” arrives, I know I am going to be crushed and I’m trying to prepare myself for what will happen next and how to move forward, but I can’t stop imagining and torturing myself with the “what if …”. I’m as likely to win the lottery as be short listed and god knows I’ve yet to make a return on any lottery ticket I’ve ever bought.
And still it sits there, gnawing at my waking mind (and my dreaming one – I had a dream where I was in a job interview for something else and the interview asked me “what do you want to do” and I replied “write, I write, it’s what I do, I don’t want to be doing anything else, there is nothing else”). Even on the days when I do manage to swat it away, said gaming company appears in the news somewhere – it feels like the universe is taunting me even though I know right well that because I mostly read trade websites, it’s inevitable that I will read something about a gaming company almost every other day.
I’m driving myself mad with imagined scenarios. Some people mime winning their first Oscar or Bafta, I mime myself in a job interview, rehearsing answers and conversation topics that I may never have the chance to use. I even mime work banter … who does that? Well, ok, me obviously. Setting my expectations so high that when the fall comes, it will probably be a long drop into the darkness.
I don’t think I’ve ever been so batty for a job. In once sense maybe it’s a good sign, I know what I want and will do everything to get there, but as one of my teachers reminds me every year we talk the life of a writer is a long and dusty road. Some people will have success early (bastards, I hate them all … no I don’t … yes I do), some will have it late, and some will be incredibly talented but in the wrong place at the wrong time and will be struggling for ever … I worry so much that I will be one of the unlucky, that I have lost sleep over it.
Am I any good? I think I’m fucking brilliant, perfect for the job – that’s not a persona thing, that’s my real self confidence – don’t care if it sounds arrogant (arrogance and bloody mindedness are the only ways to survive this industry), I really do think/know that I’m that good.
Part of whether that’s true or not (though not necessarily) will be known in a few months when I will hear the result. That’s a long time to torture one’s self. Until then …