My father was a great man. He was an early broadcaster who began his career in radio at CBS in New York. Always looking for new frontiers and exciting opportunities he migrated from radio into television as a pioneer in that “new” industry, eventually becoming an Executive Vice President for ABC. In that capacity he gave a lot of speeches and one in particular I have never forgotten. He spoke to an association of film and television critics and he really took them to task. The title of his talk was Where Were You When The Paper Was White? The thrust was: “It’s easy to criticize after the work is done, but who among you has the courage to risk sitting down in front of the white paper?” “Who among you will write first?” He wasn’t criticizing the critics. He was only championing the creative artist.
That talk made an impact on my life. That’s when I realized that it wasn’t enough just to have a dream. A dream is only as good as the passion behind it. The passion helps the dream to unfold until it becomes a realization. It drives us to hone our craft and it pushes away the fear that would allow us to stand in the shadow of another’s’ work. It obviously made an impact on the listeners that evening because two of them went on to write successful screenplays and one became a television series writer.
I am in awe of the writer. It all starts with the writer and the white sheet of paper and an idea. I love seeing a story evolve through its characters as they take life and I love watching the process move from the page to the director, to the actor and to the audience.