Success always occurs in private, and failure in full view. (Anonymous)
If you’ve seen my Twitter feed, you know that it’s been a rough few weeks for me with the premature conclusion to The Player. To put it bluntly, I suck at dealing with cancellations. I wear my heart on my sleeve and I also throw it into every project that I work on, so when something goes wrong, I take it badly. In the case of this particular series, given my closeness to the people involved in it and how much effort I had put into it, I took it really badly. Tears were shed. Angry columns written. And then I sort of fled to Canada.
You have to see it from my perspective: I had been working non-stop on the show since it was greenlit back in July, throwing literally everything I had at it. I was writing a minimum of four articles a week on every single episode, even if it meant overtaxing my already jacked-up wrist or missing out on sleep or having to bend over backwards to make sure I was in the right place at the right time. There were literally amounts of blood, sweat and tears involved in this, so if I could do all that and the show still got canned, what the hell was I good for? Especially on a project involving Philip Winchester and Damon Gupton, two good friends of mine that I adore. I felt as if I had let them down, and I had let myself down.
So when the opportunity came to take another set visit in Toronto, I took it – mostly just to get the hell away and try to deal with the guilt and sadness I was feeling.
That’s an interesting aspect that I don’t know if we’ve discussed enough on this blog: the moments of self-doubt. I have a lot of those. They are the unfortunate side effect of putting my heart out there and committing to my work and committing to the people I work with. I usually struggle when something goes wrong, but this time I took it much harder than I expected to. Maybe I should’ve expected it; we’re talking about a show with two of my favorite people in Philip Winchester and Damon Gupton. And I got to know Charity Wakefield and Wesley Snipes. And it was a show that was so good, I was taking notes on it. So yeah, I was blaming myself and apologizing, even though I didn’t know what else I could’ve done.
And then I ran away. I was really doubting the quality of my work and my ability to make an impact, and I needed to step back and regroup.
Luckily for me, I was in Toronto with the right group of people to help me get a grip. I’ve spoken previously about the folks on Suits and how much I’ve enjoyed working with them. Cue the hugs and hellos from Patrick J. Adams, Gabriel Macht and Sarah Rafferty. And then, in the middle of the night, something I never expected: the note from series creator Aaron Korsh, telling me that he meant to say hello to me because he wanted to tell me how much he enjoys my work. I kind of stared stupidly at my phone for a minute. The guy who created one of my favorite shows just told me he enjoys my work.
This didn’t make the pain of losing The Player go away; it was still there. I don’t think I got into coping until I actually talked to Philip and then got everything else off my chest in a twelve-page thesis about all the show’s unresolved plot. But it helped, and it assuaged that doubt to get me back behind my keyboard and back to the next project, because there’s always a next project that still needs attention.
It’s interesting where those emotions come from, at least for me. I’ve just accepted that things are going to hurt sometimes, because the way I choose to go about my career is to get emotionally involved. That means opening myself up for the gut punches as much as the celebrations. It’s probably weird to some people that I care so much, and that I take these down moments personally, but when you spend months throwing yourself into a show for naught then it does sometimes get hard to look at yourself in the mirror.
I can take solace in the fact that The Player gave me a fantastic handful of months. It reunited me with Philip on multiple occasions, for which I’ll always be grateful; working with him is always a pleasure. I got to sit and have drinks with Damon. I met Charity and Wesley. I saw myself quoted more than I ever have before. That’s on top of just watching and enjoying a great show that got me excited about TV again. I know that what I did for the show was appreciated and did something to help, even if the end result wasn’t what any of us wanted.
It’s certainly been an emotional summer into fall, saying goodbye to Strike Back and The Player and then I also have to mention the cancellation of Rookie Blue and ABC dropping Motive, two other shows I covered on a weekly basis. But the alternative would be to not be involved at all, and I wouldn’t give up the memories I’ve made for anything. To think of not getting to hang with Philip and Damon, well, that would break my heart even more. So we hang in there. As they say, it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.
I loved The Player, and I know it loved me back, and that will have to be enough.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of NBC