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Mark Allen
Director , Screenwriter , Composer
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Rejection

Rejection is a tough thing for any reason. 

There seems to be a handful of common responses:

1.  Running away from it, hiding and getting out of sight.  Perhaps thinking you're being gracious, but possibly simply running away.

2.  Arguing with the point of view.  Not accepting the rejection.

3.  Accepting the rejection as an event, but not accepting that there might be a justification for it.

4.  Giving in to it entirely and letting it own you and conforming to every single complaint.

I realize these almost sound like the Kubler-Ross model of the stages of Grief - but what is the case here is that these are not stages - they tend to sustain.  I'm sure I've been guilty of all of them at one point or another.

I think the most common one in the arts industry is number 2.  Arguing with the point of view. "They don't like it because they're brainwashed idiots who have no sense of drama."  "They don't like it because TV sucks and they only know TV."  "They don't like it because they dont' know anything about drama, they're just mail clerks with a promotion." ...and so on....  Also - it can come in the form of justification.... "That 's there because of _________ and that has to be there because _________ so nothing can change."

Personally if someone ever asks for my thoughts on something and I begin to tell them and they start arguing with what I think, I just say "well, that was all I thought."  Because there is no point in fighting with them.   On the flip side... if I were giving someone thoughts on something, I would hope that their response would be the one reaction I've not listed.

5.  Acknowledging and understanding the problem while remaining present with your own work.

I think the key to managing rejection for any reason - work or personal is that you must still remain present with your work or yourself and - at the same time - be able to listen to what the conflict is that leads to the rejection.  One of the reasons why this is so important is that people rarely ever tell you the truth or they are incapable of articulating what their response was.  This is true for personal or professional relationships.

So - giving yourself entirely over to it is not a good idea because it could be just some random thing they locked onto in order to just make the rejection smoother.  They might be afraid to tell you what they really think - but, most likely, they don't know.

My favorite rejection letter I got from an agent when I was pretty new to the industry was regarding a scrīpt I'd submitted and it simply said "It was not for me."

That was a perfect way for someone to simply state the truth about something without feeling the need to make up some reason which might therefore get lodged into the subconscious. 

I had several other people reject the scrīpt with some very specific comments which I didn't necessarily agree with as well.  Interestingly enough - three years later - two studios were fighting for it for a brief moment.  I had representation at that point and so the context was different.  And we did have a few development discussions and not once did any of the specific comments come up. In fact, I liked the comments that were coming up.  I thought they'd improve the film... well, 75% of them would have at least.

The point here is that in any situation - you should neither run and hide, nor fight rejection.  You should face it and hear it and stay true and present the whole while.  Rejection can be an opportunity.

almost 15 years ago 0 likes  7 comments  0 shares

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english
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Los Angeles, United States
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male
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April 13, 2007