I always burn before I tan... it's just one of those things I've learned to live with.
It's also sort of been the unofficial credo of my life.
I tend to take the hard road.
This sort of goes back to what I was saying earlier about that whole 'slow steady march' but adds in the bit about 'oh, yeah, you're probably going to have to dig and/or march through a few trenches of shit on your way there'.
Like the boy who traded his way from a cellphone to a porche (or that one red paperclip dude) at first we often find ourselves looking at what we have in our hands and going 'who the hell would ever want this?' -- or, conversely (if you're not battling bouts of self-loathing and other various neuroses), 'how the hell can I turn this into that'?
'That', usually, being a thriving career where people call you to work on their projects. Or, you know, fat stacks of cash.
The inevitable truth of it all is that, unless you're one of the few incredibly lucky folks -- or are skilled enough to recognize an opportunity as it happens (and know how to guide those troubled waters) -- it all comes down to diligence, patience and incredible amounts of hard work.
And luck -- 'cause there are a ton of hard working, diligent, patient people who, for whatever reason, will never 'make it'...
But mostly hard work, patience and that other thing.
'Cause, hell yeah, it's easy to dream; even easier to sit around and wait for your dream to drop at your doorstep with a large red bow and stack of 50s.
But that's just not how it (usually) works.
Funny thing is, even once you're 'in' -- as I've learned from the pros who've been so kind to answer my questions over the years -- you still have to fight to stay 'in'. 'Cause there's a whole whack of other people who're also 'in' who want that same job as you.
Basically, it really is a 'long-haul' sort of thing.
A life-time effort where 'long-haul' equals however long you can bear to keep up with it all (or until 'they' decide you're no longer money-making material and stop hiring you).
But I digress.
My point here is this:
If you've got one script under your belt, make it two. If you have two, make it four. And so on.
Challenge yourself to write faster and better -- to find that unexpected twist or 'true' line of dialogue for your characters.
Force yourself to dig the trenches now so that, should you get that big shot, maybe, just maybe it won't be so hard to swim with the big fish.
And, if worst comes to worst, even if it takes you years of slogging your way through spec scripts and side-jobs, when you finally get there... at least you'll know that you earned it.
Chin up folks, and keep on keepin' on.