Relative Success in Hollywood

On defining what success means to you in this town.

On Other People’s Success

As I write this, the sun has just reached the point in its morning arc where it can cut through the loose foliage of the trees around our house and ignite the window in front of me, creating a pattern of sunlight and shadow that sweeps across the top of my desk. I have a candle burning, it’s quiet and my dog, Hadley, is laying at my feet. I have been writing this since 9am with my plan to publish at 10am and move on to one of the two screenplays I’m currently writing. From my office I can look out on the four acres around my property.

On Success in its Many Forms

I feel like my peer group is reaching that point in their time in Hollywood where they’re having to shit or get off the pot. They’ve been in LA for 10 years, haven’t reached whatever their definition of success is (this isn’t a judgement) and are realizing maybe they should do something else. But that doesn’t mean they have to move back home and become an insurance agent. I know a number of people that have made changes (mostly away from writing, oddly enough) and found something in Hollywood that they really enjoy doing.

A Possible Definition of Success (In Any Field)

In ‘Tribe’ Sebastian Junger writes about the self-determination theory, “which holds that human beings need three basic things in order to be content: they need to feel competent at what they do; they need to feel authentic in their lives; and they need to feel connected to others. These values are considered “intrinsic” to human happiness and far outweigh “extrinsic” values such as beauty, money and status. Bluntly put, modern society seems to emphasize extrinsic values over intrinsic ones, and as a result, mental health issues refuse to decline with growing wealth.” Hollywood emphasizes these as well, doesn’t it? With award shows, million dollar spec sales, houses and cars and expensive offices. We buy into it but don’t seem to feel successful and happy when we get those things, when we have money in the bank, when we buy our beauty and achieve our status.



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Joshua Caldwell

Director, Producer, Writer, MENDING THE LINE, INFAMOUS, NEGATIVE, LAYOVER. MTV Movie Award Winner. Reel: