"You can't polish poop"

I had the privilege of attending a rough cut screening for Spike Lee's documentary on the 25th anniversary of Michael Jackson's "Bad" album. I bumped into an NYU classmate, the talented Kiel Adrian Scott, and we were discussing current projects that we were working on. I am generally leery of this type of conversation because at times it feels like people are trying to out-do one another. Luckily, that is never the case with Kiel so it was more of a catching up thing than anything else. I mentioned I was working on "The Gunnery" (my feature script for those that are unaware, but will be in the future) and how I am taking a deliberate approach to the screenplay. When I heard those words coming out of my mouth I questioned myself for a minute. Did it make sense to take my time with the script? Should I be trying to hop on the wave inspired by Cary Fukunaga, Dee Rees, Rashaad Ernesto Green and some of my other NYU classmates right this very second? Should I fly through this draft so I can yell to the world I have a semblance of a script in my hand? I walked into the screening doubting a strategy that up until that moment was working well for me. So the screening starts and I find the answer to those questions. The legendary Quincy Jones, when discussing the demos for all of MJ's solo albums, had a saying that goes: "you can't polish poop." I realized the reason I'm being slow in this process is so I don't produce some "poop" that no one wants to waste their time on. Despite the prevailing notion that you should fly through a draft or just get something on to paper, it is important that you have a strong starting point. It only maximizes the potential of the idea. It made me feel much better about how I was approaching a project that I care DEEPLY about. I'm entering that no-poop zone and feeling good about it.