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The Scarlet Pimpernel

Saturday Night Fever

Camille Claudel

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From MAV:
How did you get your big break? Was is that preverbial 'lucky break' or was it hard work and hustling or was it a combination?

Tuesday, 17 July 2001

Dear MAV - please refer to my answer to Susie's question in reference to how I got my "big break." However, I suspect that you are talking more specifically about how I got the job for the "The Scarlet Pimpernel." As you can see from what I told Susie, a lot of getting a break is just plain hard work and preparing yourself so you're ready for the first great opportunity that comes along. I feel I was prepared to take on "SP" in 1989, and more importantly I was confident about that. I think you also have to be ready psychologically to dive into your first "big break." I certainly didn't get the "SP" job through "hustling" because I am the worst hustler in the world. I have always been way too polite and just accepted rejections. I've never been comfortable pushing myself or my work on anyone. The actual event that precipitated my getting the "SP" job was that I had done enough work around town that when Frank Wildhorn was looking for a lyricist, someone suggested my name. Frank was willing to look at anyone's work, whether they were an unknown or not. That is an important part of how this all happened because most artists are reluctant to give a lot of time and energy to total unknowns. Frank asked me for tapes of songs I had written. I completely ignored this because there was nothing I had on tape that I felt was good enough to show him. So I took a chance and just wrote up two lyrics (to tunes in my own head) that were for "The Scarlet Pimpernel" and mailed those lyrics to him, saying that a tape would follow. The tape never followed - Frank just loved my lyrics, thank God! So that's the basic answer. I would stress that I took a risk by sending Frank something other than what he requested, and I think taking that risk was the one single action on my part that got me the job.

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