I just finished watching season two of Barry on HBO (which I highly recommend). So when I saw that Bill Hader was touring around some major podcasts, I made it a point to listen.
Bill started his career on SNL (he’s the guy who does a lot of voices and plays Stefon) and became close friends with John Mulaney while on the show. Conan, who was a writer himself for SNL for a while, interviewed Bill and they talked a bit about writing.
At one point in the episode, Bill mentions offhand that “he and Mulaney were writing a movie together and it was not good.” Then they went on talking about some other work that the two had done together.
They spent all of about 15 seconds talking about this movie that was written but never made, and presumably will never be made.
I really look up to guys like Bill Hader, John Mulaney, and Conan. They have created a giant body of work from writing, acting directing, producing…
And that’s just the stuff that we see.
Offhand comments like this shed a light into just how many ideas and projects are started, and ultimately abandoned or never receive much attention. Writing a movie is no small time commitment!
I’ve had this thought before, but it always hits me hard.
It’s easy to put a ton of emotional investment in the success of whatever you’re working on, and the fear of failing can often slow you down from putting something into the world.
Worse, it may even prevent starting or finishing a project entirely.
But the reality is, you need shots on goal. I often hear musicians talk about how surprising and unpredictable it is when certain songs really hit.
I don’t have enough of those failed or discarded projects.
With the added pressure of being an entrepreneur and needing to maintain what’s already working and paying the bills, it can easily limit the velocity of new ideas.
But true overnight success doesn’t happen — it’s just as much an anomaly and being struck by lightning. And you probably don’t expect that to happen to you, do you?
Starting things, throwing them aside, or seeing the response from putting them out into the world forces us to learn the process. To learn what we like and to thicken our skin.
If you have the space, try more ideas. If you don’t like them, put them aside.
Don’t expect everything you try to work, or to hit immediately. Trust the process, and keep following your curiosity.