In Every Cloud There’s Always a Silver Linings Playbook

Commenting on the Critics with Simon Columb

Dorothy Pomerantz writes her interview with Silver Linings Playbook author Matthew Quick:

The thing that’s a little frustrating for me is people who aren’t artists look at it like winning the lottery. For me, that’s not what it’s about. There’s an old Vince Lombardi quote, ‘When you get in the end zone, act like you’ve been there before.’ I want to do this for the rest of my life. I’m off to a great start but I’m at the beginning not, the end. That’s the way you have to look at it.

Read the full interview here.

It’s really tricky when you compare yourself to others. I can vividly recall my own father telling me that comparing yourself to others is a misstep – and, of course, he is right. But it truly is fascinating when you read stories from those who have managed to break free from the rat-race to do something they love – and, you consider how it can relate or compare to you and your own goals.

At a time whereby the New Year is approaching, it is always a time to reflect – and set goals and aspirations for the future. I have a list in my own mind and, though I may not reach my goals in 2013, I will reach them in the future.

Matthew Quick wrote for three years before his book was picked up. He was originally a trained teacher. He quit his job to work in the basement of his in-laws to follow his dream. Ricky Gervais was in his late 30s before his career began to move. Michael Morpugo (author of War Horse) and Sting were both qualified teachers before becoming an author and musician respectively. Frank Skinner was unemployed for three years before becoming a lecturer. Alan Rickman of Die Hard and Harry Potter didn’t start acting until he was 28 – and only broke into theatre when he was in his 40s. The Guard star Brendan Gleeson (also a trained teacher) was 34 when he first acted; Stallone was 30 when he wrote and starred in Best Picture Oscar-winner Rocky… The list goes on.

But when you consider the choices we have – as aspiring directors, actors and authors – we have to imagine the tough times. For three years, Matthew Quick had doubters. Three years is the length of an undergraduate degree!  I can only imagine the desire to create, to write, that Matthew Quick had to make such a decision – and defend his passion and choice for the future.

I remember reading a book titled Is There Life After Film School? by Julie MacLuskey, whereby she interviewed young men and women in the film industry. One of the fascinating insights one man explained was how everyone dreams of the “pitch in a lift” scenario where you are sharing an elevator with Steven Spielberg and he asks about your script. The interviewee noted how, if (and when) such an opportunity happens, you need a script. You need a good script – in fact, you need the best script. The point being that you needed to have the skills in the first instance.

Matthew Quick is a testament to that, and alongside the many other actors, filmmakers and screenwriters, he should inspire everyone to aspire to work in a profession they love. That old saying about overnight successes taking years to materialise, once again, is touched upon as Quick explains his frustration with people who believe that to be successful is like winning the lottery.  Rightly so – he has worked hard for his achievements and only a small part of it is luck. And even then, he took advantage of any opportunity that came his way. When he shared a lift, he had a story ready to go.

Simon Columb

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