Monday, September 17, 2012

How to Handle Rejection Letters

So this update I decided to move away from my normal pimping of my projects to talk about something that will happen in any persons life, rejection. As a writer and aspiring film maker I have sent off countless stories and movies to editors and film fests. You get in some, and you don't. How do I handle the rejection e-mails? Well;

First I get super excited about the e-mail... then really scared to open it, because yeah what if it is bad?
Then I open it, if my story/film got into whatever the e-mail is from, then I generally jump around or do a happy dance.  If not then I look at it, read it twice, shrug, and move on, you can't win them all, yeah I am sad, I am human (and it seems I really am not the all powerful super awesome queen of the universe). Often the person sending you that letter will offer feedback, I love getting feedback on my work, it helps you for later projects, sometimes that feedback is good, sometimes it is bad, depending on who is giving it, and if you know that the person giving it is a veteran writer, or filmmaker, then, at least, keep it in your mind. Do not hold a grudge against the group that rejected you, they sometimes hate rejecting stuff as much as you hate getting those emails. Move on, make your craft better and send it somewhere else, or send it to them next year in the case of film fests. This can really be the same for any type of rejection. You learn and move on from it. It is how you grow as a person, not everyone will get a participation award in life, so deal with it, and try harder. I know this is hard to hear that your not the best out of everyone on this planet, but you get used to it and move on. It's what creative people have to do, heck, it is what EVERYONE has to do. You can be sad, but after a day, get over it and send it somewhere else. (Just make sure it fits with where you are sending it, read the stuff that they post on their webpage for guidelines)

I see way too many people just get mad at one small bit of criticism and let it hold them back, if you let it get to you or get uppity at one small critique, then you wont grow as an artist. Now you will have those jerks that want to bring you down in life, however editors and most film fest promoters are not those people. They are running a event, or selecting for a book, and they want to choose the best that they have gotten. That doesn't mean what you sent them wasn't good, it just means that the 20 they picked out of 200+ were better, in the editors opinion for that project/film fest..

Some of the best advice I could give would be, don't get your hopes up before you find out if your story/film was accepted. Already thinking you have it in the bag, and that there is no way they could not take your story/film will set you up just to be even more upset when/if you get that rejection letter. However, it also makes the fact you got into that anthology/film fest even more awesome if you did. Don't let your own ego be your downfall. Yes think highly of yourself, but not to the point where if you get rejection you get your feelings hurt. Make sure you keep realistic expectations going into entering your story/film into something that MANY others are also hoping to get into.

I have gotten some amazingly nice rejection letters for film fests and short story anthologies. I know I would hate to have the job of sending 100+ people a letter saying, "sorry we are not going to use your story/film" But I have seen some editors go above and beyond that and say lots of nice things, or even send you little notes saying "we are still reading stories, sorry for the delay, we had 200 and there are only two of us. Please be patient." Those editors are people too, and they have a job to do.  Sorry your story/film wasn't selected, but take it as a time to grow, not as a deep personal attack. This isn't high school, so leave the drama at the door please.

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