Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Let's Work Together: Part Five

This is a very long blog entry, in six parts, about how indie writers, musicians, and film people need to work together and support each other. (Scroll down to see Parts One though Four.)

Part Five: Don’t Be a “Flame Pisser”

Perhaps because the Powers in the film industry are even more monolithic and foreboding than those in the book industry, the Indie option has been available and successful for much longer than other anti-paternalistic choices.

So there’s less room for change. But I include the film industry here because I see so many screenwriters on Twitter who are working with and encouraging each other, through vehicles such as Twitter’s #Scriptchat.

That’s great, and it brings me to what #Scriptchat co-founder Jeanne Veillette Bowerman calls “flame pissers.”

Last week in a Script Magazine column, Bowman said the following: “Above all, do not ever allow someone to piss on your flame. . . . If someone in your life drains your energy, causes you to doubt yourself, or takes too much of your time from your work and passion, [don’t allow the flame pisser] to sabotage you. This is your journey. Own it. Take control of it. Don’t let someone else drive your career (Jeanne Veillette Bowerman, “Balls of Steel: How to Grow a Set,” Script, April 29, 2011,

When I went to leave a comment on YouTube for the first rap/hiphop video I was asked to look at, I saw a lot of really nasty remarks. REALLY nasty. The people making them seemed totally invested in destroying the artists who had made the video.

You see these people everywhere there’s a “comment space” on the Internet. “Flame pissers.”

I try not to let the flame pissers into my life. But sometimes it’s unavoidable.

Just last week I received an unnecessarily nasty email from a literary agent to whom I’d pitched something. It was a brutal rejection and I cried for two days.

Now, this person might simply have said, “This is not what I’m looking for, but I wish you luck elsewhere”—a response that might be tepid and unoriginal and discouraging, but that at least is civil.

But instead, this person went into “flame pisser” mode—and seemed to enjoy doing so, just like the YouTube commenters.

The flame pissers are out there, lurking.

And we need to support each other against them.

Next: A Call to Action


  1. thank you for such a thought-provoking article. i am in love (at least momentarily) with the expression: "flame pissers"; superb.
    i follow you on twitter, and i am now following your blog also.
    i hope you get the chance to drop by my blog and interact:

  2. Thank YOU for your nice comment, and thanks for following me. I'm following you, too, on Twitter and at your blog. Thanks again. --TG


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