A TV/Film Writer’s Lament

The wit and wisdom of David S. Simon (MAD ABOUT YOU, THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR, THE WAYANS BROTHERS, etc).

Did that sound snarky? It wasn’t intended that way. How can TVWriter™ help but love the man responsible for this spot on description of showbiz achievement: “Failure is just ‘sucksess.'”


by David S. Simon

Here’s the plain, simple truth: most of us fail like unbroken clockwork most of the time. In fact you could say that the only thing that we succeed at with any regularity is failure.

Being a veteran TV/film writer I am often asked to lecture or adjunct teach at various colleges and here’s what I always tell my kids: think of the word nothing. The thing… about no… is it means nothing. And you know what? I think what I’m actually telling them is quite the opposite.

“No” usually arrives with the full impact of the worst possible insult and there is no Iron Dome to protect us from it. Trust me, that little rocket is going to find its target, which is always the soft, white underbelly of you.

It is often unexpected and for a while anyway, it is the stabbing knife that keeps on giving. It’s like living in the throes of an eviscerated romantic relationship: every minute, every second is a loud, resounding declaration that all of your existence just plain sucks. It is painful and cannot be eliminated by drugs or alcohol or food, no matter how hard we try.

In other words: we just have to live with it, like the worst kind of in-law possible, until one day it finally decides that it has annoyed you enough and it’s time to move on to the next target.

But what have we experienced? Here’s the thing kids: for the entire duration of it’s occupancy in our lives, we have joined forces with it and made things much, much worse for ourselves. We go way beyond the Stockholm syndrome until we in fact become the evil itself.

We usually fail at failure.

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Um, is showbiz failure in the air or something? Web seems to be full of it this week.