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September 23, 2005

The Bitter Taste of Rejection

I was rejected today. I applied for a writing fellowship with Art Within , a Christian screenwriting group. And I didn't make it. I got an email that congratulated me for being a great writer, but not right for the program.

Ah, how I hate rejection. I have such a hard time dealing with it sometimes.

The Look Machine has gotten rejected a number of times. We didn't make it into the Dewey Music Festival. Goodness! We couldn't even imagine that we wouldn't make it into that. . . but we didn't. We've sent demos places and not gotten any response. And we're gearing up to send out a lot more promo kits so I'm sure we could probably paper the walls with the rejections we're going to be getting soon.

I know, on a rational level, that everyone gets rejected sometimes, that it's a right of passage, that it's paying your dues. I know, and I try to live this way, that what you have to do is just start trying again. And that the moment after the rejection is the most important time. You going to keep going, or just pack it up?

Anything worth doing is worth getting rejected over. I know this. And yet. . .

I wrote my first feature screenplay 2 years ago, and sent it off to Project Greenlight. I didn't make it out of the opening round. To my shame, I didn't write another full length until this year. I wrote some shorts, and had a good time with them, but I got bucked off that horse, didn't get back on, and didn't ride for a very long time.

Because even though I know that rejection is part of the game, part of the struggle of art, part of life. . . I hear this tiny voice that say, "Actually, if what you did was any good you'd have made it. . . so really what you did probably isn't so good."

And I want to shout out that voice, scream for it to shut up, that it's not helping matters, that really it's just lying to me. In a band, it's easier to do - because we can all silence the voice for each other.

When it's just you and a empty piece of paper and the words in your head that you have to fill that page with. . . it's harder.

But I'm not going to give up. Art Within. . . we just aren't a good fit. I'm glad you noticed that, spared us some anguish. But you missed out on a good writer. And you just kind of missed out on me. Because I'm going to keep coming, and I'm going to be one of those guys that people will kick themselves for overlooking.

New Lines' Lord of the Rings, U2, Harry Potter, the Sopranos, Lost, the Sixth Sense, Desperate Housewives, etc etc.

All of them were passed over numerous times by "the tastemakers," And of course, they are all awesome.

Rejection, I reject you.

Posted by jason on September 23, 2005 10:05 PM

Comments

I know what you mean! Trying to prove to someone else--who gives you a whopping eight bars to sing or thirty-two counts to dance (with at least three hundred other people vying for the same role, mind you) that you are worth hiring, producing, paying, etc., is rather trying. Because, inevitably, you get passed up from time to time. However, Woody Allen said something memorable that I think of everytime I don't feel like getting up early for another audition in New York: "The best thing you can do in this business is to just keep showing up." Eventually, something will come of it...If you don't even show up--send your stuff out--then definitely NOTHING will come of it. So, keep showing up. It'll work out, I know it.

Posted by: Jessica on September 24, 2005 03:45 AM

Shake it off man. Your screenplay rocks.

I honestly don't think that your rejection had to do with the quality of your writing or the originality of your ideas, I think that you are probably just a bit too edgy for a Christian screenwriting group. That is a good thing. This rejection should be worn as a badge of honor. They just aren't ready for you yet.

I know that you'll have success one of these days and your movie will be the next White Light.

Posted by: Collin - Band Member on September 24, 2005 09:14 AM

Before you reject me, I reject YOU!!!!!

Posted by: B.T. on September 24, 2005 09:17 AM

About Art Within. . .

Yes, you're right, it really could have been I was too edgy. One of the writing samples I included was as first person account of a person who went insane and committed suicide. So that might not have been what they were looking for. . . It was kind of a test to see how open they were to accepting "outside the Christian norm" work. Really, the work was Christian in my mind in that it showed that a logical progression of a life without a center is a life that destroys itself. . . but I can't really see Family Christian Books selling it.

Plus, I don't want to get pigeonholed as "that Christian writer," and only get the Left Behind Part 4: Left Behind Again writing assignments.

But still, it just stinks. But it actually doesn't.

Thanks.

Posted by: Jason – Band Member [TypeKey Profile Page] on September 24, 2005 09:48 AM

"Before you reject me, I reject YOU"

But hopefully my writing is not just a dime a dozen.

Posted by: Jason – Band Member [TypeKey Profile Page] on September 24, 2005 09:49 AM

Sounds like you are going to pull through without any mortal hurt to your self esteem.

Posted by: Ian on September 25, 2005 01:23 AM

Not only is it a dime a dozen, but it is half ass'd and and so simple that film studios cannot possibly produce it.

Love in Christ

Posted by: B.T. on September 25, 2005 10:16 PM

rejection is of course horrible, but we never know the reasons for them. could be anything. could be you are too good and the writers were intimitadated and didn't want some punk showing them up.
but rejection can be used as fuel for positive movement. we were rejected by every label we cared about and used that frustration to put out our first record that now people buy and sell for hundreds of dollars. now we dont even talk to those labels (too small!)
i guess what i am saying is maybe you should write a script with a small budget in mind, cast it, film it, then take it to a couple of film festivals and see your vision through. i am sure you could get people to donate time, talents, music, and all that. es posible, you know.

Posted by: joshua Latshaw on September 26, 2005 05:38 PM

the script I'm now working could be shot for a small budget, so yeah that's the thought. thanks.

Posted by: jason - band member on September 26, 2005 09:17 PM

When would the first one be underway (the filming part of the process)?

Posted by: Collin - band member on September 27, 2005 01:46 PM

Hey i saw Rebecca's (aka poncho's) poster and it was amzing. You should see! I LOVE YOU GUYS!

Posted by: Caitlin on October 5, 2005 08:23 PM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 25, 2005 07:44 PM

I agree with you the way you view the issue. I remember Jack London once said everything positive has a negative side; everything negative has positive side. It is also interesting to see different viewpoints & learn useful things in the discussion.

Posted by: Anonymous on October 25, 2005 07:44 PM

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