Movies don’t owe anybody a living

Scott Myers applies a quote about music he heard while working as a musician in Aspen to the high stakes game of Hollywood screenwriting.

This is actually a lesson I learned before I became a screenwriter. After I graduated with an M.Div. from Yale and turned my back on an academic career — although I didn’t know it at the time, only thought I was taking a year off before I went on to a doctoral program — I played music professionally for 7 years, then did stand-up comedy for 2. So before I wrote and sold the spec script K-9, I worked in the entertainment business for nearly a decade.

During that time, I learned a lot about writing, knowing your audience, working a room, comic timing, and how to entertain people. I also found out a great deal about life itself.

One thing that stuck with me was a quote. I attribute it to Levon Helm, formerly the drummer of The Band, but I’ve never been able to find a source online to confirm that. The quote as I remember it is this: “Music don’t owe anybody a living.”

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