Regardless, ol’ Bobcat’s got a heck of an opinion piece in VICE, of all places, talking about making things which every creator that wants to like what they do should be reading. Key thoughts from same:
Youth is not necessarily an excuse for dumb career decisions, but I’m just trying to put it in some kind of perspective for you. Think about the shit decisions you made at 21. Now imagine that a giant check was involved, and think about how much worse everything would have been….
Quitting is how my life changed. After years of going to auditions and pitching and writing scripts for shit commercial hits, I came to a realization. I realized that I would never watch any of the fucking things I was doing. So I quit….
I wrote a very noncommercial screenplay about honesty, unconditional love, and bestiality. My manager at the time read it and told me that he was not going to send it out because he was afraid of what people would think about my mental health. (I fired that asshole a week later.) … We did it really just for the sake of doing it. It was almost like a dare to see if we could.
My point is this—if you want to be happy in showbiz (or any creative field), listen to that voice inside you. Even if it says “Fuck it” sometimes. Work with your friends. Avoid chasing fame or money. Just do what you want to do, when and how you want to do it. And if it’s not making you happy, quit. Quit hard, and quit often. Eventually you’ll end up somewhere that you never want to leave. [emphasis mine]
In other news, meet Mike Dowden, the greatest, most self-defeating asshole ever created by Randy Milholland, who knows a thing or two about damaged characters. He eventually learned to empathize for others, to mend fences, to become a father. It’s been a struggle, but he’s made himself into someone worth forgiving, someone that doesn’t need to self-aggrandize, and can inspire others to be better. He’s come full circle, and Milholland did it without resetting, rebooting, reimagining, personality-resetting³ or doing anything other that having Mike grow a little at a time in the most plausible of ways.
It’s been a long game that he’s played, our Uncle Randy, more than 10 years from that first strip to the most recent, and to have changed the character like that in any less time would have been cheating because it would have come across as false. I’ve said before that nobody writes redemption like Milholland, but I’m going to expand on that; nobody writes people — in all their messy, flawed, imperfect, struggles — than Randy Milholland does. And he makes it look goddamn easy; well done, sir.
¹ True story: my college buddy John² was more proud of his hometown of Kalamazoo, Michigan because Curtis ‘Booger’ Armstrong was also from there than for any other reason. Also true: John was more fun drunk than any other human being I’ve ever known.
Later, he was entrusted with the care and (non-splody) maintenance of a nuclear reactor by the United States Navy, which surprised the hell out of everybody that had ever seen him throw up on the floor of a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant at two in the morning because there’s not much else to do in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was also once offered the opportunity to buy a dried lizard for the purposes of “man sex power”.
² Also known as ‘Thrice’, for reasons we need not go into here.
³ Presumably in the time-honored Flintstones manner of a bowling ball to the head.