The Fear of Being Found Out

Dennis Palumbo "From a very young age, when a person says, Gee, I'd like to be a writer or I'd like to be an actor or whatever, it seems so grandiose. It seems so elevated. I mean, if you watch Will Smith on screen and you're a kid who says, Gee, I wanna be a movie star just like him, your fantasy is he or she has something you don't have. You're not enough. I think one of the reasons that people read self-help books and stuff is that they have this idea that there's this perfectible version of themselves in the future. And that person will be happy and successful and very secure. Most creative people, when they begin having some success, get a kind of validation like they're on Oprah or the paparazzi follow them or magazines interview them and want to know their position on the environment, but inside themselves they know they're the same schmuck that grew up in some small town looking up at a movie screen wanting to be an actor. So they see a disconnect between the public approbation and validation and their sense of themselves, which is that they're just this regular, insecure, neurotic slug and so someone will find that out. The fear is that it will be found out that they are much less than we thought."

~ Writer and therapist Dennis Palumbo, from "Hollywood on the Couch," KCRW's The Business (5.12.08). The conversation continues in Part II (5.19.08)