We met some time ago back in April of this year. You came to Boulder and were kind enough to come and speak to a group of aspiring writers. I was the one in the front who asked the question about the character Ronna (if she was meant to be black).

I wanted to find out if this Get A Mentor program is worthwhile. I’d like to be a director, but I’d like to obtain some practical experience beforehand. Any advice?

–Rayna
Denver

Rayna’s referring to the character Sarah Polley played in GO. In an early script, I had written that she was “eighteen, black and bleeding.” When we were casting the film, we met with black, white and Latina actresses for the part, and ultimately picked Sarah, who was sublime. Over the years, a few people have written to ask if I was forced to change Ronna’s ethnicity, or if I felt it changed the movie in any way. No, and no. Her race was never a story point, so all that mattered to me was finding the actress who could nail the part.

I’m assuming the program you’re writing about is this one, but I’m not familiar with it beyond what I’ve just read on its website. It seems legit, up until the point you’re paying a couple thousand dollars for privilege of being mentored. Call me old-fashioned, but I consider mentoring to be a pro-bono thing. And I don’t know what value you’d get talking to this mentor on the phone.

As an avid snoop, I’ve been trying to figure out more about this program. Based on its Better Business Bureau profile, it’s located at 7095 Hollywood Blvd. #325. That may be a rented mailbox. There’s a “Mail and More” at that address, and the guy who answered the phone said #325 was probably one of their mailboxes.

Now, a lot of legit businesses use rented mailboxes. But I always get a little nervous sending money to strangers, especially if I couldn’t track them down if I had to. None of this is meant to scare you off, or say that this organization is in any way shady. Its mission is certainly laudable, so I’d love to say that it’s as helpful as it claims. If any readers have experience with it, please write in.