Rejection / Validation

inally got word that Script #2 is next on Manager’s reading list. It’s taken longer than expected to get to. There’s a legitimate reason. Outside forces. Nothing for me to be concerned about as far as my place in the pecking order. I’m sure I’m still at the bottom.

My sophomore jitters are flaring up again. But there’s more cause for anxiety this time, rational or not.

While I waited for Script #1’s option and Script #2 to get read, I wrote the first draft of Script #3. It was tough going. Unusually slow and hampered. Things just weren’t flowing the way they usually do. It’s this writing on nights and weekends thing. It’s catching up with me. Hard to form a rhythm. It’s chipped away at my confidence a bit.

Before you shed a tear for me, don’t fret. I’m still arrogantly confident. If my confidence were an iceberg, this experience would hardly be an ice pick. But I guess it’s the sound of that ice pick chipping away that bothers me. I know that I’ll get Script #3 to where it needs to be. Whether Script #2 is well received or not. But there wasn’t always a time when I was as certain about my writing.

Before I began querying the US, I queried Canada. It didn’t take long. But it’s a different ballgame altogether. Stateside, executives want to know what you’re pitching so they can sell it. In Canada “executives”* only want to know if the pitch hits enough Department of Canadian Heritage keywords to be worth submitting for government financing.

*I put Canadian “executives” in quotes because they’re not really that. They’re not business people. They’re unaccomplished writers. Have I talked about conflict of interest yet?

Not that novice writers don’t take jobs in US agencies. They do. I just suspect that as a writer, if you get a job in the US film industry – in any capacity – you’re probably gonna be happier in the long run than if you’d tried to make a go of the writing. Whereas in Canada, writers who wind up as bureaucrats aren’t doing any better than they would have as writers. And they know it.

The first time I sent a couple of my synopses to a Canadian production company the pass I got was scathing. She could have just said “pass”, but the company’s creative executive (aka unaccomplished writer – just like me!) weighed in on just how bad my writing was. She told me that not only were my stories underdeveloped and unappealing, my one page synopses were poorly written.

That was tough to hear. Not because I don’t take criticism well. I do. Duck’s back. It was because I didn’t know what she was looking for. I didn’t know what this industry to which I was a newcomer, was expecting of me.

I liked my stories. I liked the way I’d summarized them.  Novice attempts, sure, by my current standard but they weren’t that bad were they? Is there something I don’t fundamentally understand about writing for film?

No. She was just a cranky failed writer. And a stupid face.

Concurrently I’d sent the same synopses to another production company. Heard back from their creative executive a couple days later. She wanted to read everything. Requested all my scripts. She was intrigued by the stories. Even volunteered that the summaries were the best written synopses she’d ever read. These were the same drafts. Her compliments were so diametrically opposed to Cranky’s that for a second I thought they were in on it together. That they were putting me on.

Since then, that creative exec is now a producer herself. She’s read just about everything I’ve written. And one day, I’m sure, something will line up for us to collaborate on further.

Last I heard, Cranky is still a development exec. Trying to polish her own gems. Fending off better writers from getting through the gates of an ailing production company.

I should hear back from Manager about Script #2 next week. We’ll see if I’m running the risk of being a one trick pony. See how much pressure this will put on Script #3.

At the end of the day, it’s all subjectivity. What matters isn’t someone else’s opinion of your work. It’s what they can do with it. What they want to do with it. That’s the sound of worry chipping away at confidence.

Does the sound bother me? It’s there. I’m not going to say it isn’t there.


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