Everywhere I look on LinkedIN, I find messages about scams trying to get money from writers and filmmakers. I learned a long time ago to not trust any "producer" with big ideas about my projects if I just shell out a few dollars here and there. I always knew they were full of it. If I'm going to spend my money, I'm going to make sure I'm in charge of it.
But there is another kind of user that is just as destructive. These are people who use up your time and energy. They want to "work together" on a project. Or they want to read your scripts, because they have "some ideas". They "know some people." That's my favorite. Ooh...people? What kind of people?
These users are not malicious. They're not trying to game you. They don't even know they're users because most of the time they're driven by their own desires to be in the business. They view themselves as writers and directors. They're not seeking your money. They're looking for your drive. They want to siphon your dreams as their own, so they can be part of something. But they don't have the money, time and connections to get it done on their own.
I'm coming off harsh, I know. But it's important to understand that if you want to succeed in your line of work, you need to surround yourself with people who are supportive. Not minions to do your bidding, but people who will help you if they can because they genuinely want you to succeed. You have to beware of the users who are looking to leech from your energy while providing nothing in return.
These users are dangerous, because they'll build you up and when you realize there's nothing at the end of their promises and excitement, they'll disappear and you'll crash in a heap of depression. If you're not sure who around you is a user - (but I would guess you've figured it out by now) - take stock of those who are "in the business". Are they working on stuff? Are they developing projects? Have you seen productivity from them?
Are they always wanting to get together for a talk? Your conversations permeate with phrases like: "if only we had money" or "wouldn't it be great if we could..." or "we just need a chance to do..." - Another favorite of mine.
Find people who are productive. Find people who are working. Find these people and ask them how they do it. Shit, ask them if they need help. Because they do. They always need help. Build relationships with people who are working towards a goal and not just talking about it.