Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Bouncing Back

Rejection is an unavoidable part of being a writer. I know that more than most after being constantly rejected for five years. I have an A4 folder full of No-Thank-Yous. What's most annoying is when people actually like your work but still reject you. I'm at that stage. The work is good but it's not landing on the desk of the right person at the right time. It's very frustrating.

If you want to sell your work you have to send it out and that means that people are going to reject you. Reading other blogs tells me it doesn't get any better when you're an established writer. Rejection is a way of life. Time spent sulking about what might have been is time lost putting yourself in a position to be accepted. Read it. Take on board what you need to. Accept it. Forget about it. It's the only way to go.

So how did I bounce back from the disappointment of last week?

Easy, I got back in the game as quick as I could. I sent a script off to Production Company C when they requested to read it, after reading the treatment. It's not a script I'm particularly happy with, but I've sent it out anyway because the more work I have out there the more chance I have of something being picked up. I can't afford to be afraid of sending stuff out, convinced it will be rejected even before it's been read. Just because I'm not happy with it doesn't mean someone else won't be.

I have also sent the same script to a reader for some page by page notes. It's always good to brush up on your skills now and then. It stops you going rusty and keeps you at the top of your game. Even top athletes need to go back to the basics sometimes.

Write it. Rewrite it. Rewrite it again. Proof it. Send it out. It's the only way to go.


Lucy V said...

Personally, I think it's best to be 100% happy with stuff you send out, else when it comes back you're instantly not happy with your attempt 'cos they raise something about something that YOU knew anyway...Don't give 'em more ammunition I reckon.

Dan said...

Yep, nail on the head. Right place right time. Just had a call from the Beeb to say my 'Untold' project pitch was the best and strongest of all. They just can't see how they can film it this time of year. Balls!

Piers said...

Got to agree with Lucy on this one. If there are things that you know need fixing, don't send it out.

It could be that problem you already know about is what causes them to reject it. And that would be a kick in the head.

Dan said...

Mystic - Didn't argue but should've. But it turned out for the best because they've offered to do something similar with me next year around spring/summer.

Phill Barron said...

Congratulations Dan. Lucy, I've never met a writer who was a 100% happy with a script.; I know I'm not with any of mine. It can always be better, even after the film's finished you can find bits which could have been better.

I think the trick is to find a happy medium, you can't re-write forever; but you can start sending it out when it's nearly there.

It also depends on whether the production company in question has put out a script call for a particular type of script.

If they're looking for a romantic comedy and you send them one you're 85% happy with they might buy it and ask for re-writes. If you wait until you're a 100% happy, they'll probably have found something else.

If it's a cold submission, then I would agree; get it as close to perfect as you can. Mind you, I'm hardly a successful writer, so I'm probably very, very wrong.

Lucy V said...

Philip, my idea of 100% happy should probably read more like "AS happy as you can get within accepted perimeters and likelihood of getting interest in it even though privately one always thinks more can be done on it." But it's kinda a mouthful ; )

Certainly I would never send a script out when I still think it needs work - chances are, other people will also think it needs work.

Phill Barron said...

Lucy, I enjoyed your last post on your blog. I tried to leave a comment there, but it wouldn't let me. I thought I'd just mention it here. Sorry, Dom.

I agree with you in principle about not sending stuff out until you're happy; but I have sold a script I wasn't totally happy with, then fixed the bad bits during the requested re-writes. If I hadn't taken the chance on a less than perfect script, I may not have sold it.

On the other hand, I may have sold it for more to the next person. Who knows?

I wouldn't send out something I didn't like, but I do send out stuff I think is nearly there, just in need of a few tweaks. However, I only send those out to people/companies who have already requested that specific genre. They are looking for something like my script which they can develop; a few flaws won't bother them as long as it's better than everyone elses'.

I would never cold send a less than perfect (or as near as I can get) script to a big production company; that's a whole different ball game, where I absolutely agree with you. In this case you already have an uphill struggle to try and blow them away - why make life harder?

Lucy V said...

Thanks Phil - glad you liked it. And totally agree with this point on here. Cold sending - no way, forget it. But absolutely when you have a relationship with the people already: they're pre-disposed to you and therefore your work, so will want to work through and issues/problem areas with you. I guess it's a "a screenwriter in the hand is worth two in the pub" scenario. Or something like that anyway!