British Comedy Guide

How do you deal with rejection?

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ell

  • Wednesday 15th January 2020, 8:33pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 27 posts

And what makes you continue?

It looks like I'm about to be rejected from yet another scriptwriting competition. I want to smash my head against a wall. I am really struggling to feel any sense of hope. How do you pick yourself up and carry on? Are you guys doing anything other than entering competitions? Is there a better way to make inroads? Did you go the agent route and did that help?

Thanks.

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 10:18am
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,647 posts

Do you enjoy the process of writing?
If you do, then that just might have to be enough.
If you don't - give up.
Statistically, failure is the default position.
An agent won't touch you until there's something in it for them.
Strokes of luck apart, you're probably doing all you can.
But, if sitting down and writing isn't the best part of your day, you might want to think on.

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beaky

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 10:47am [Edited]
  • Malaga and Brighton, United Kingdom
  • 2,703 posts

Ell,
All writers have to overcome rejection - but then, you already know that. Luck plays a large part - the right person seeing your work at the right time. Agents are for the most part only interested in people who've already had some success or considerable interest shown in their work. It's a hard road you've chosen, and if you're not resilient enough to carry on regardless, then stop writing. If you continue, then you're on the path to be a recognised writer. It's as simple as that. Good luck!

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chipolata

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 11:50am
  • England
  • 30,067 posts

Don't take rejection personally. It happens a lot, to every writer. Try to learn something from each project that's rejected and then move on to the next one. And, as Lazzard said, make sure you enjoy the process of writing otherwise there's no point.

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 12:24pm [Edited]
  • England
  • 3,852 posts

A rejected script is not necessarily a bad script or even an imperfect script (if one allows that the perfect script can exist).

Consider very carefully the reasons why your script was rejected, if any are given, and then ask yourself to what extent you think they are valid. Try and be realistic and (preferably) sober when you do this.

As Beaky has already suggested, if you write a great script and it lands on the desk of a very important commissioning person who absolutely loves it but who, unfortunately, has just commissioned a very similar script/idea from someone else, it just isn't your lucky day and you're going to have to write something else.

Always remember, the Beatles were rejected and so were many other artists and writers whose genius wasn't detected by the person deciding whether to accept or reject them.

Write on!

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ell

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 1:55pm
  • London, United Kingdom
  • 27 posts

Thanks very much for the responses. I really appreciate it.

Yes I love writing more than anything. It's the thing that gets me up at 3am because I cannot get an idea/dialogue/scene/character out of my head. It's definitely draining when it comes to editing - like i've given birth (don't shoot me down for saying that) - but I don't care. Much like giving birth, I forget the pain when it comes to creating the next one.

I'm glad i'm not the only person who has experienced this. It feels as if everyone is somewhat successful or has been knocked back once then gets a shot the next time. I know rejection is part and parcel of this path but it sort of makes me feel like i've had a cannonball shot through my stomach every time (yes, i'm sensitive). It's fine if there is feedback because I can see where I can improve but where there is none it's a strange experience like diving headfirst into the pointlessness of existence. Like 'what was all that for?'

I think getting my hopes up is actually a terrible thing and I should carry on in life as if there were a 99% chance that nothing will ever happen for me.

Have you ever paid people to look at your work and give you feedback? How do you know if you're improving without feedback?

Thanks.

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Lazzard

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 2:40pm [Edited]
  • Ludlow, England
  • 4,647 posts

Stick some of your work up on here for feedback.
The inconsistency of quality is more than made up for the lack of cost!

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Rood Eye

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 3:37pm
  • England
  • 3,852 posts
Quote: Lazzard @ 16th January 2020, 2:40 PM

The inconsistency of quality is more than made up for the lack of cost!

I absolutely love that line.

A glorious example of "What oft was thought but ne'er so well expressed". Laughing out loud

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Bonzo

  • Thursday 16th January 2020, 4:05pm
  • London, England
  • 823 posts
Quote: ell @ 16th January 2020, 1:55 PM

Thanks very much for the responses. I really appreciate it.

Yes I love writing more than anything. It's the thing that gets me up at 3am because I cannot get an idea/dialogue/scene/character out of my head. It's definitely draining when it comes to editing - like i've given birth (don't shoot me down for saying that) - but I don't care. Much like giving birth, I forget the pain when it comes to creating the next one.

I'm glad i'm not the only person who has experienced this. It feels as if everyone is somewhat successful or has been knocked back once then gets a shot the next time. I know rejection is part and parcel of this path but it sort of makes me feel like i've had a cannonball shot through my stomach every time (yes, i'm sensitive). It's fine if there is feedback because I can see where I can improve but where there is none it's a strange experience like diving headfirst into the pointlessness of existence. Like 'what was all that for?'

I think getting my hopes up is actually a terrible thing and I should carry on in life as if there were a 99% chance that nothing will ever happen for me.

Have you ever paid people to look at your work and give you feedback? How do you know if you're improving without feedback?

Thanks.

Hi Ell
Writing as a pair definitely eases the pain of rejection for me.
Good luck.

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Joe Oakes

  • Friday 17th January 2020, 2:40am
  • United Kingdom
  • 28 posts

Going for a long, long walk always seems to help. Assuming I find a homeless person to kick to death.

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chipolata

  • Friday 17th January 2020, 6:36am
  • England
  • 30,067 posts

Write other stuff as well. Too many people get obsessed with sitcom at the expense of everything else, which is a bit limiting considering how few people actually manage to make a living out of it. Write articles, essays, short stories, poems, flash fiction and anything else that gets your creative juices flowing and hones your skills as a writer.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Friday 17th January 2020, 2:55pm [Edited]
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,094 posts
Quote: Bonzo @ 16th January 2020, 4:05 PM

Writing as a pair definitely eases the pain of rejection for me.

Is that because you can blame it on your partner?

Quote: chipolata @ 17th January 2020, 6:36 AM

Write other stuff as well. Too many people get obsessed with sitcom at the expense of everything else, which is a bit limiting considering how few people actually manage to make a living out of it. Write articles, essays, short stories, poems, flash fiction and anything else that gets your creative juices flowing and hones your skills as a writer.

True but don't expect any greater luck here, it's arguably even harder getting prose published as there is so much competition. And that can be distracting from the discipline you are most involved in as I've found out to my cost. If that's sitcom writing then focus on all aspects of it would be my advice. If you're having no luck with single camera non laugh track scripts then try studio laugh track script writing.

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playfull

  • Friday 17th January 2020, 2:58pm [Edited]
  • Nottingham, England
  • 1,705 posts

I think you have to be realistic, rejection is not a personal thing - it just feels like it. Put yourself in the other persons shoes. Even the most successful producers or commissioners will spend the majority of their working life reading and then rejecting peoples lovingly crafted, high quality, production worthy work. So imagine the poor old low paid or no paid intern, given the wonderful task of sorting trough the deluge of unsolicited crap that arrives daily. The first sort is probably done using an actual shovel where any that are written on grease proof paper or in crayon are fed to the recycling wheely bin of doom. Next they will be weighed to get rid of the long and the short. Any bound wrong, spaced wrong, spelt wrong will all be binned. The intern is not trying to be cruel, they are just looking for any excuse not to have read another fleabag rip off or 20 something flat share shite, or god forbid a fly on the wall mockumentary. The good news for them is that they might have a lot of scripts left, but they only have to read the first 10 pages, or quite often just the first 10 lines and in some cases just the first 10 words to decide to bin the hopes and dreams of so many who have toiled for so long. So just three scripts remain. Imagine one of these might be the one. That amazing script that launches a career, starts a franchise, wins all the awards, turns a lowly intern into a star producer...which one might it be? There is only one thing to do, the intern very carefully places the three scripts into the wheely bin and then slides a dog eared script out of their bag and into the producers in tray...

In truth we live in a remarkable age, an ideas hungry expanding universe of programming driven by netflix and amazon and yet i bet the odds of getting a script green lit have hardly changed. It has always been the lucky few who make it and i suspect it always will be!

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Friday 17th January 2020, 2:58pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,094 posts
Quote: Joe Oakes @ 17th January 2020, 2:40 AM

Going for a long, long walk always seems to help. Assuming I find a homeless person to kick to death.

Yes that seems to work for me too. Luckily there's no shortage of them these days.

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Alfred J Kipper

  • Friday 17th January 2020, 3:24pm
  • Aldershot, England
  • 6,094 posts
Quote: playfull @ 17th January 2020, 2:58 PM

The intern is not trying to be cruel, they are just looking for any excuse not to have read another fleabag rip off or 20 something flat share shite, or god forbid a fly on the wall mockumentary.

That's exactly why you should write something different in the first place. If you are 'cashing in' on a recent trend you will be rejected. There is no point in encouraging rejection, you should be very selective in what you choose to write, imo.

Unless you pay for feedback which is becoming the current trend in competitions surprise surprise you won't know why you are rejected and if it's funny and well written this could be a more damaging rejection, you not knowing this was not why it was rejected but because it's been done too recently.