Just Show Up – Magic Can Happen

Mar 15

Marc and Guillermo del Toro

Wondercon, the little cousin of San Diego Comic-Con, is happening this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and on the eve of that I wanted to address an issue rarely mentioned:

The strong urge to avoid going to events where people more successful than you will be.

An example of this is an actress I know who had enjoyed some success years ago, but was struggling now to break through to the next level.  Many of those she’d come up the ladder with back then were now movie stars.  The noise in her head around that was so loud that she wouldn’t go to Industry events where she might run into those folks, wouldn’t even go to movies because of the comparisons she was making between herself and those on the screen.

Fortunately, she got mentoring, worked hard on this issue, and now is past that paralyzing behavior.

But it’s only human nature.  We tend to compare ourselves with others to gauge how we’re doing, and envy and depression are the twin dogs nipping at our heels.

So if you’ve been wondering if you should go to Wondercon or any other similar event, here’s my advice:


As to the noise in your head, all those negative, condemning voices, envision a big volume knob (mine is red) and just turn the volume DOWN.

Then take the action.  You’ll  find that amazing things can come of this.  Just by showing up.

For one thing, I’ll be there.  You can talk to me.

More than that, there will hundreds, perhaps thousands of Industry movers and shakers, from TV, film, comics, books and more.  Sir Ridley Scott, Damon Lindelof, Jane Espenson, you name it.

The reason I choose to write about this now, is that not long ago I looked back on my own career and realized how much work I’d gotten out of conventions and trade shows I’d attended, and how many friends I’d made.  I didn’t have to be perfect, I didn’t have to be all I might want to be in a given moment — I just had to go there and open my mouth.

This of course requires taking action and being gentle with yourself, forgiving of your limitations or momentary failings.  Which is why one of my favorite quotes is from Somerset Maugham:  “Only the mediocre are always at their best.”

So show up, talk to people, be visible, be present, be playful, risk showing your passions, your enthusiasms, your heart.  And remember that a conversation consists of two people talking.  (In other words, don’t make it a monologue.)

Finally, you may wonder why there’s a photo of me and Guillermo up top.  Here’s why — I made it a point to seek out Guillermo at Comic-Con and introduce myself some years back.  Which is why, when his publisher approached him suggesting I collaborate on a book with him, he’d met me previously and knew I was reasonably presentable and sane.  Which is why I’m doing a book with him now, and why he appears in the documentary about my Roundtable talking about me.

So do yourself a favor — go where you can learn, where you can meet people.  Where magic can happen.

All good thoughts your way,


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