Step Light on Old Toes…

first-dateThis blog entry is a bit of a departure from previous ones, as it is not part of the “Debunking Screenwriting Myths” or my “Annual Contest Tips and Suggestion” series. This has to do with something that is not only relevant, but ongoing as we speak. It has to do, not only with FIRST impressions, but with those important LASTING impressions.

Recently, in a writer’s forum group, someone took the time to comment on a response I had on a post about a new website making the rounds, My response was directed at a woman who slammed the site and the owners of that site (Jason Scoggins) after admitting to never using it. Her position was that since they charged $149 for whatever service they provide, they are “shysters” (her word, not mine). My only comment to that was that I felt it was uncalled for to express such a harsh opinion on a site they’ve never seen or used before, and against people she didn’t know and had never done business with. This is typical internet “troll” behavior; some people just enjoy insulting people from the perceived safety of their desk behind their keyboard. Anyway, I took exception to that, and said so, in what can only be described as a diplomatic manner. This WAS over a month ago, btw.

Fast-forward to yesterday, when I received an alert regarding a new comment (actually two) on this forum, that included my name. Another forum member questioned my “outcry”, opening speculating that I was somehow affliated with the website (I wish) and therefore, was only coming to their defense to protect and defend myself. This poster went on to make other claims, and have some not-so-nice opinions of me, based solely on that single posting.

What this person FAILED to remember was that a month or two ago, I reached out to respond to his plea for assistance in getting a literary manager or an agent. He posted a claim that he was a “two-time Nicholls Fellowship winner” who needed a break. I have some contacts, and I reached out to him. I did some research and discovered that he had never actually won any Nicholls, which he explained as a mistake perpetrated by his “assistant” (ah, yes, that elusive assistant). Despite this red flag, I still went through the trouble of passing on his information to my contact, and his work was in the process of being reviewed.

I responded to him, on the forum thread, that he must have forgotten who I was and reminded him of his original plea, my contact, and his false claims (of which there have been many) regarding his writing accomplishments. He quickly forwarded a sincere apology and retraction, but offered no real explanation to his actions, simply stating that he didn’t mean to insult or impugn. My lit manager has since been contacted, and needless to say, he is no longer being considered for representation.

This has now been followed by a similar incident that took place this morning, where someone responded to my post about a producer looking for scripts. This information was gleaned through a Twitter exchange I followed on line. I took this information and shared it with my vast network, and someone within that network questioned whether or not it was a “scam”. Not sure who she thought was perpetrating the scam- the producer or myself- but either way, I thought it quite odd.

Come on, folks, geta frickin’ grip. Be careful about whose toes you’re stepping on if you’re going to step on old toes. Don’t question someone’s intent on an open forum, unless you really want to burn that contact. Be proactive. Do the research, and make an educated decision.

Sorry for the rant…


One thought on “Step Light on Old Toes…

  1. Marc Johnson

    I feel what you speak to is proper “Business” etiquette. Through my vast career (not in writing) I have had my share of those you speak of, and I have always smiled, nodded my head, and politely let them have their opinion. With that said, to have someone, that doesn’t know you, question your integrity and attack you on a personal level, that speaks volumes to the way they do business, and you really have no choice but defend yourself on the matter of which the attack came.

    Like it or not writing is a business, and you must put away your ‘personal’ thoughts and ideas until a relationship is built. Hopefully, as the foundation is set, each will come to know the other. To burst out of the gate with an ‘attitude’ or ‘false’ claims, immediately brings up ones defenses. After all we are human, and the basic human need to make connections is hard wired in us. No one is an island. No one has succeeded on their own, whether in business, or otherwise. It’s just a fact.

    I was once given two pieces of advice. 1 – follow your gut, if doesn’t feel right, chances are it isn’t, and 2 – never say anything bad about someone because you never know what may come of it, The first is harder in the world today, where most communication is electronic, it’s hard to get a “feel” for a person, but when someone blatantly comes out and bashes something they have not researched, or know something about, they could be having a bad day, but more than likely their true colors are leaking through. This, of course, is just my opinion, but that is not only a red flag, but a lit stick of ACME dynamite, and I would personally refer to number 1.

    If I am to be completely honest here, those 2 things haven’t always served me well, but the overall percentage is pretty darn good!, and will stick with what works for me.


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