Do you remember the first time a girl you asked out said no or the times you were turned down for a raise? It sucks doesn’t it? This is true for all forms of rejection, and a screenwriter – or any writer for that matter – will be rejected many more times than they will be accepted.
Trying to break into the movie industry is about as easy as knocking over Fort Knox with only a toothpick and a smile. The lucky ones have an easy in, such as a personal relationship with an actor, director or producer, or are names themselves, such as the son or daughter of someone in the industry. The old adage goes that it isn’t about what you know, but who you know.
It can take years to make the right contacts, even if you’re lucky enough to be able to visit the various film festivals and conventions out there. For the rest us, it’s about spec scripts and pitch letters. Agents and film companies receive hundreds of unsolicited scripts in a month and most of them won’t even make it out of the package.
These people have professional readers, and if you don’t grab them with the first page, expect a nice form letter. Screenwriters need to have thick skin and trust in their own abilities. Hollywood is a fickle mistress and if you don’t have a script that has elements that are popular at that time, then it may not get made.
The same script two years later may get snatched up in a second because times have changed. If you are getting rejection letter after rejection letter, it might be a good idea to take another look at your script. Is it in the proper format? Is the pitch letter grabbing and attention getting?
You may need to make some revisions to your work or plot to make it more in line with what is popular. That’s only if you are willing to change your work. You can also submit it to screenwriting contests to see how it fairs against other scripts.
The one thing to remember is not to be discouraged. Every writer, no matter how famous and successful, was rejected at one time. If you truly love what you are doing and feel like it’s what you were meant to do, then never give up.
It may take years for a script to finally catch the eye of a director or producer, but when it does, you’ll be on cloud 9. You may not make much money from it. It may never see the inside of a movie theater. But, it will get your name out there and start you on your way to being a player. It’s the beginning of something great.