Every once in a while, one of these trending hashtags will catch my eye and I’ll think: “Oh, yeah. I can add to this conversation.” Like, say, yesterday’s #ShareYourRejections hashtag.
I mean, are you kidding? The life of a writer is filled with rejection. When I first started off, I remember being fortified by a story about Stephen King who purportedly wallpapered a room with all of the rejection letters he received before his first story was accepted. In time, I’ve come to doubt the veracity of that particular tale, but I believe in its message. You’re going to be knocked down a hell of a lot more times than you’re going to rewarded in this business. It’s all a matter of how quickly you get back up again.
Yep. This was my contribution. Back in the late 1990’s, Paul and I had just finished up work on a couple of one hour action adventure shows and were looking to land a new gig. Our agent put us up for an upcoming sci-fi series, forwarding the production our writing samples – and forwarding us the series pilot. I recall Paul and I sitting in my apartment in Montreal, watching the episode and, honestly, being left somewhat bewildered. The show was…certainly unique. When I followed up with my agent, he informed me that we had received an early cut and that the producers planned to re-edit the pilot. I never got around to watching the re-edited version (and have long wondered how different it was from that early way-out version) because, alas, Paul and I were not Lexx material. On the bright side, that left us free to pursue other opportunities – specifically, a series called Stargate: SG-1 that was looking for writers to staff on its fourth season. All things being equal, I really can’t complain with the way it all turned out in the end.
Other rejections? Boy, way too many to mention. The ones that sting the most are, of course, the most recent:
The pitch for that comic book horror series I thought was a slam dunk – that went sideways and, ultimately, to someone else.
The pitch for that awesome sci-fi realtime strategy game that, had it gotten the go-ahead, would have truly blown you all away.
The pitch for that sci-fi novel adaptation that had such heart and humor that it actually pained me when the execs passed on my vision for the series.
The pitch for a television adaptation of Robert Heinlein’s Friday.
My pitch for a new Blake’s 7 series.
My pitch for a new Space: 1999 series.
My pitch for that Dark Matter spinoff.
I could go on, and on, and on, and on. But the important thing is that I never let rejections get me down – for long. If I had landed Lexx, I wouldn’t have landed Stargate. And if I hand landed Friday, I wouldn’t have landed Dark Matter.
I truly cannot wait to see what amazing opportunities await as the result of these latest crushing refusals. Something pretty amazing I bet!