Ambition is a funny thing.
I’ve never seen myself as a particularly ambitious guy. I remember sports, games and competitions as a young person being easily outclassed by my peers (I’ve never been the fastest or the strongest kid on the playground). Rugby was a constant disappointment as, much as I wanted to keep pace with others my age, asthma kept me well and truly stuck in the weakest school teams. Hockey I loved for a long time, but breathing is still important and I could never quite manage to last a full 70 minutes on the pitch. It came to the point where I rarely competed and would often accept defeat as a given before I even stepped onto the field of play. I Fenced for a while, which was perhaps my most successful outing in any sport: I competed in the Nationals a few times to moderate success but never finding myself in podium position. It was niche and often the subject of scorn from Rugby louts who had no idea the strength, speed and dedication it takes to become an athlete in such a discipline. Naturally, in the intervening years, I’ve met many more rugby players with whom I have become firm friends, but in my formative years they made an awful impression.
Similarly, in academic pursuits, there has always been someone cleverer. I don’t think I’ve ever found myself at the top of any list and an inferiority complex infected most things I did at secondary school/college. I became frustrated with Maths, disinterested with English, confused by Languages and bored by the rest, scraping through exams by natural talent and an intuitive gift for lucking into the correct answer.
I’m no natural scholar, nor sportsman, so how am I going to succeed in this industry so competitive that everyone has heard one joke or another derogatory comment about actors, writers and creatives trying to break into film?
Willpower, that’s how.
Sheer bloody minded, pig-headed, stubbornness and determination. If there’s one thing I achieve in my life it will be writing for screen. I’ve set my mind upon it and although I’ve never achieved anything comparable before, I refuse to give myself the option of failing. I’ve had conversations with friends where, being quite pragmatic, I’ve accepted the reality that I don’t know anything about the competing personalities trying to get into this film school course and any one of them could be prodigious enough to beat my efforts out of hand.
But what if they’re not?
What if by luck and some measure of judgement I trip and tumble into something I’ve never realised I wanted? (Never realised prior to this past year when I made the decision to enter my name in the metaphorical NFTS sorting hat). It’s something I’ve been since encouraging my friends to do: overcome the doubting little voice in our heads and fucking shoot for the moon. Even if we burn out on reentry, at least we saw the stars…