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Screenwriting Help E-Mail (Previous)

Updated every Monday, one selected e-mail will be posted and answered here each week. With many years of experience in the film and television business, I look forward to providing answers to your questions (often with a humorous eye) about screenwriting or the entertainment industry in general.  Please send your e-mailed questions to: Script Advisor.  You may also wish to visit our Screenwriting Help E-Mails - The Archives.

This week's question: 

Dch, how do I deal with all the rejection in this business?

Frayed in Ohio

This week's answer: 

"Sank" You, Sanctuary

Frayed, thank you for contacting me.  I went to college for several years in Ohio and I sympathize with you:  My friends and I got frayed every Friday and Saturday night we could.  Oh.  Not that kind of frayed.  I’m “afrayed” I had the wrong idea.  Regarding your question...

Rejection is difficult to endure.  Nobody likes to be rejected.  We’d probably even choose to be injected or dejected or objected over being rejected.  And the “re” in “rejected” means “again”!  So there’s a built-in repetitive feeling to the word.  And nobody wants to be “jected” again.  And again.  So how do you deal with this apparent mainstay of the screenwriting world?  That, Frayed, is an excellent question.  Here’s what I have discovered:

There is a place in you who is all creative, all positive.  Call it your “Serene Screenwriter’s Sanctuary.”  It’s the very center of you.  (Not your bellybutton.)  When you’re in that “zone” when you’re writing, you’re writing from that creative, imaginative, child-like, artistic being of you who is being that center that is you.  (Cut the last ten words if you want to maintain a semblance of sanity or you don’t want to end up in an ashram staring at your bellybutton (or “center”) all day.)  It is paramount that you PROTECT that center that is you that is being....   Sorry.  (I get carried away.  Especially when I listen to sitar music.)  Where was I?  Oh, yes.  Protect.  Keep that part of your precious self apart from the rejection e-mails or the lack of responses (That’s kind of zen-ish if you think about it:  Does one feel rejection about a response letter that never arrives?)  When agents, producers, readers, even well-intentioned friends who just must read your next screenplay appear (not brilliant script consultants such as myself who know about that center and would never trespass on it – as long as you have a “No Trespassing” sign posted.  That’s it!  We need to do that:  post “No Trespassing” signs at the portals to our creative centers.  I AM brilliant!), listen, learn, absorb what will help you (taking what you need and leaving the rest, as the twelve-steppers so wisely advise – although dyslexic members have been known to make the mistake of taking the rest and leaving what they need, which causes them to have to come back to meetings), but always leave a part of you out of the equation, that vulnerable, giving, artist that you are.  Keep that part safe.  Observe from that place, but don’t engage it with the “outer world.”  Buffer that part of you from any and all possible attack.  Take your protection of this aspect of you very seriously.  One result will be that you’ll be and feel freer to interact with those who could consciously or unconsciously damage your talent.  Because it’s safe.  Ahhhhhhh.  Isn’t that and doesn’t that feel better?  I hope I’ve done my part and helped you access your Serene Screenwriter’s Sanctuary.

  I’ve got to go now and write some rejection letters.

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