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A Syllabus of Tough Love
Posted in My Journey as a Screenwriter 4 min read
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To my Mama Bird,

A mama bird is understood to be the prime example of all the positively attributes of what a good parent is perceived to be; protective, supportive and nurturing, but sometimes the best thing a mama bird can do is offer tough love. Did you know mama birds push her young out of the nest?! In short to the reason why is simply due to the natural cycle of nature… and it’s exactly what my mother did to me back in 2017. Now, let me be clear. I don’t mean to use the nest as the common symbolic gesture for the ‘home’ (that is another story), but wish to instead resemble the nest as a the ‘comfort zone’ in this post. So, here’s how my mama bird kicked me out of the comfort zone.

Vora Davenport (left) & C. Neil Davenport (right) – 2015
Photo by: Dan Davenport

It was year one of now longer being an undergrad film student at Augusta University and was I conquering the world by making a blockbuster movies? Hell, no! I was sleeping on my parent’s couch in Nowhere, Oklahoma without a clue of what to do next. In fact at this point in time, I was incredibly depressed. I was 24 years old, had just graduated and wasn’t accepted to grad school. I knew no one in the entertainment industry and believed I was unfit for a 9 to 5 job – Insert mama bird to the rescue.

Take note: the thing about my family is that they’re a group of people who take action. My brother is a mechanical engineer, my mother was a corporate headhunter and my father is a corporate strategist. So, it’s easy to pinpoint where my hunger for accomplishment, my frustration of patience and my forthright need to get things done comes from, but I unfortunately was not born with grit. After graduation, it’s almost unnecessary to say that my mother became very impatient with me, but loved me through it the only way she knew how. After numerous arguments, she gave a particular perspective about life. She said,

Vora Davenport – 2015
Photo by: Ben Davenport

“I know you had your heart set on grad school, but it didn’t happen. Besides, even it you were accepted, it would only last for two years, you will incur an insane amount of debt and there’s no guarantee of employment. You’re 24 years old and in five years from now, you’ll still be considered young. Take these following three years, do whatever you can do to get into the industry and if by the end you’re not able to pay your bills by doing what you want love, find a desk job.”

She was right. I had to get up and get to work. I had to take an evaluated risk. Spending all day working on something which could simply fail is better than not doing anything at all.  Here’s my mama bird’s syllabus:

  • Make $! – (Get a day job and leave your ego at the door)
  • Build your Network – (You don’t know anyone, you say? Bullsh*t! You know a distant friend of a relative who knows a guy whose cousin’s wife works as a PA on that one set)
  • Crack open your textbooks – (You need to be sharp when someone calls you for a gig)
  • Go pro bono – (Get real world experience and do whatever you can to be on a fim set)
Vora Davenport (left) & Dan Davenport (right) – 2015
Photo by: C. Neil Davenport

All in all, you need a supportive team in your life whether the pursuit of purpose is sought after and that team needs to generate from the home. Sure, you can have mentors and professors and whatnot, but if the person you have coffee with every morning is skeptical about your ability to achieve what you want in life… it’s going to be a difficult endeavor. Life promises to be unfair. Don’t make it harder than it has to be. Accept it and take in tough love because it’s a form of praise. All the earnest directional entities in life derive from reality and have an intensive purpose of challenging you to graduate your past self. Find someone who will be real with you when you won’t be and next time you’re stuck in a bind, call out to your mama bird.


blog published in 2018


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