After years as a development executive, Manny Fonseca is now on the other side of the table as a full-time writer and Podcaster. Now living the life of a writer, Manny is navigating a whole different side of Hollywood. You can follow him on Twitter: @mannyfonseca
A few of you might remember me from an old column (turned podcast) that I used to have on a now defunct newsletter from a few years ago. (The podcast still exists, but it’s pretty much on hiatus at this point… I’ll get to that story at a later date.)
For the most part though, a majority of you have absolutely no idea who the hell I am, which is awesome because it gives me an opportunity to re-invent myself.
You see, back when I was writing that column, I was navigating Hollywood in the world of script development which means I did all of the things a person working as an executive did: read scripts, attend pitchfests, endure an endless amount of bad writing and see some of the worst writer’s habits I had ever seen.
Needless to say, there was a lot of frustration brewing under my collar.
I used that column to vent said frustration via a “character” I created that we’ll call “Detroit Manny.” Okay, to be fair, that’s not entirely true. He wasn’t so much a character as much as he was simply letting my angry voice fly. You know, give readers a taste of some tough love.
In theory it seemed like a good idea: tell writers what others wouldn’t. Clue them in on what executives, agents and managers said about them behind their back. Give them an inside look in HOPES they would cut out the B.S. They were doing that was hindering their progression in the industry.
Hollywood is hard enough as it is, right? Why shoot yourself in the foot before you even get started?
There was one thing I didn’t consider when I launched myself on that journey… people don’t like to hear the truth. Even when they say they want to hear it, a mass majority of people are WAY happier living in the bubble of self-denial because in there, all of their hopes and dreams are still alive. Pop that bubble and the fear of dying in their cubicle day jobs becomes very, VERY real.
I get it. Tough love doesn’t always work.
So what happened? Instead of being praised for being honest, I was given a bunch of shit for revealing the harsh realities. Not by everyone, but enough that it gave me a great deal of grief.
Yeah, yeah… I know. Let me get down off my cross.
So why tell you this? To pave the way to say this: I’m out of the executive game now. These days, I’m one of you. A full-time writer. Something that took me awhile (and a serious tragedy) to figure out, but we’ll get to all of that later.
That being said, THIS column won’t be like THAT column. Honestly it was like yelling at a brick wall anyway, so what’s the point in keeping down the same path.
Now if you’ll excuse me for a brief moment to talk to those that DO remember and liked the old column: Don’t worry, I promise you, there will be a little bit of the old mixed in with the new.
Let’s face facts, “Detroit Manny” wasn’t just some character I made up. He’s part of me. I AM that guy… Sometimes. It just takes certain situations for him to come out.
Like when a writer spends an exorbitant amount of money to attend a pitchfest only to pitch the “greatest sci-fi movie of all time” that was “given to him in a vision by a cat-like goddess after he was killed in a mudslide only to be resurrected by EMTs several minutes later.” (Yes. I was really pitched this.)
Anyway, there will be bits of “Detroit Manny” sprinkled throughout. Except, this time it will pretty much be directed towards myself as I share some of my personal stories navigating Hollywood as a writer.
We’ll laugh together, cry together and roll our eyes together.
I should also throw in that I’m not here to sell you anything. I don’t do webinars. I have no “secrets to unlocking your potential.” I’m not a consultant (anymore). I’m just here to share my experiences.
Hopefully you’ll learn from my mistakes and celebrate in the successes. Cause if there’s one thing you have to know about this industry, it’s a constant rollercoaster. An endless loop of painstakingly slow ups followed by speedy downward spirals. To add insult to injury, you wasted hours in line under the hot California sun, waiting for that ride.
Oh yeah… AND, the ride doesn’t have any support bars, no seat belts and all you get when it’s over is a goofy picture that they make you pay for yourself.
Depressed yet? Welcome to Hollywood people!
But here’s the good news: if you can juuuuuuuust hang in there long enough, you’ll have such a blast that there’s nothing in this world you can imagine doing other than running around and getting right back in line to do it all over again.
I promise you.
Cool? Cool. Then let’s jump into it, eh? Oh… Wait! One more thing…
Let me leave you with a simple thank you for taking the time to read anything I put to the page. As I’m sure you know, it means a lot when people read your stuff.
- Balls of Steel: Navigating Hollywood – 11 Ways to Develop Your Screenwriting Hustle
- Why Film Executives are Rejecting Your Screenplay
- Writers on Breaking In: Q&A with TV Writer Greta Heinemann