Screenwriting 101 – Dealing With Rejection

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By Brock Cooper (DoddleNEWS)

Anyone that has anything to do with writing, whether it be stories or screenplays, will tell you that rejection is all part of the business. When someone tells you that your screenplay or pitch isn’t good enough, especially through a form letter, it can sting.

It’s something you’ve put your heart and soul in to create and someone is telling you, “Sorry, not interested.” It can be a blow emotionally, and also to your self-esteem, and many writers have thrown in the towel because of it. It’s easier to quit than feel the harsh barbs of rejection. If you’ve been rejected, then take these tips to heart.

Get Educated

If you’re new to screenwriting and pitching, then perhaps you need to refine your craft. You can take a few courses on screenwriting, read a few books and then try again. Screenwriting is all about format and pacing, and when you stray from that format, or if your pacing is off, then the odds of getting picked in a contest, by an agent or script reader goes down dramatically. Learn the basics and even advanced techniques before submitting your screenplay.

The same goes for pitching a story. You may not have the screenplay ready, but you need to have your pitch perfect. Pitching a story is as much an art as anything else. Read examples of successful pitches and make sure what you send is going to catch their eye.

Revise Your Screenplay or Pitch

Many times a rejection comes in the form of a form letter, but sometimes they send some feedback with it. Take this feedback to heart and revise, revise, revise. They are telling you why your screenplay didn’t make the cut, so take that and make sure you fix it.  These are the professionals and if they’re telling you something, then listen.

Even if they only send a form letter, go through your screenplay with a fine-toothed comb and try and figure out where the problem is. If you ignore their advice and keep sending the same screenplay to different places, then odds are it’s going to keep getting rejected.

Don’t Take It Personally

Always keep in mind that the people sending the rejection letter get hundreds of scripts every year, and only a small fraction of those move it up the ladder. They script readers aren’t rejecting you personally. Odds are they have no clue who you are. They’re simply judging the work. It’s easy to think that they’re saying YOU’RE not good enough, but that’s not true.

They’re saying that at this point and time this one piece of work isn’t what they’re looking for right now. It’s not a judgment on you, and you shouldn’t hold it against them either. I’ve known a few writers who decided to throw in the towel because they took these rejection letters as saying that they weren’t good enough. That’s just not true.

Never Give Up, Never Surrender

I can take years to break into the main stream movie business and even then longevity is not guaranteed. They key is to not let rejections get you down and to keep moving forward. If one screenplay doesn’t work, then write a new one. The script readers that rejected your pitch or screenplay don’t want you to quit. You don’t want to quit. It can be depressing to keep getting rejection letters, but all it takes is on acceptance. It may take weeks, months or even years, but when it happens it can change your world.

About doddle 16509 Articles
Doddlenews is the news division of the Digital Production Buzz, a leading online resource for filmmakers, covering news, reviews and tutorials for the video and film industry, along with movie and TV news, and podcasting.

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