There’s precious little* advice on the net about how to handle rejection.
I’m not talking about being rejected. That’s easy to deal with, I have a simple three step formula:
- Forget you’ve sent stuff to people; that way, if they don’t get back to you, it’s not a problem since you weren’t expecting them to anyway.
- Understand that this is just one person’s opinion about one product – it’s not a fact and it doesn’t apply to you as a person/your entire catalogue of works.
- Find out where they live and set fire to their pets.
Easy. I never feel bad about rejection.
Mass puppy murder, yes; but rejection … not bothered at all.
What no one tells you¤ is as you start to get a little bit more well known/successful/lucky, you get flooded† with job offers and you have to turn some of them down.
I’ve been living in denial of this fact for a while now.
“Pile it on!”
“I can cope!”
“Oh fuck, no I can’t!”
In this last week, I’ve had three offers from people I’ve worked with before … and I’ve had to say no to all of them.
I hated doing it, and I’m still not sure if it’s the right decision; but I did it all the same.
Last year (or maybe the year before), working on a low paid project, with slim chances of getting made, was fine. I’d rather be working for a little money for someone who actually wanted to read what I’ve written, than writing a spec script for no money and then have to persuade someone to read it afterwards. It’s a simple formula:
Little money + a first timer pushing your script forwards > No money + no interest
At least in my world.
I still believe that, I really do; but now there are extra factors:
More money + someone famous pushing your script forward > a little money + a first timer pushing your script forward.
My life situation has changed (for the better, but in a worrying way). There’s a lot more‡ work on offer and only so much Phill to go around.∞ In essence, I need more money than I did before and I’ve got more work to choose from.
This doesn’t mean a higher paid project is automatically more worthwhile than a lower/no money project, because it doesn’t quite work like that.
The formula for this calculation looks something like this:
[n(n-1)/2 – 2D]/[n(n-1)/2] = 1 – 4D/n(n-1)
Where ‘D’ means … um … a doggie, maybe? And ‘n’ means I just picked a random formula off a random webpage.
Okay, so I don’t have a formula – which only makes it harder.
There are some well paid gigs on the table right now which might happen, or they might not. There are some high profile projects in production/in development which may lead to even better things, or they may not.
Then there are the projects with people I know, like and want to work with but who have no money.
It’s all very difficult.
The end result is I’m having to turn people down. I’ve gone from rejectee to rejecter and I don’t like it. In a way, it’s nice a nice position to be in, I have a choice of projects. In another way, it’s horrible and I hate it. I have to say no to people.
Hopefully, these people understand and won’t take it personally. I hate to think I’ve upset anyone … but I’m hiding my cat just in case.
* I don’t actually know, I haven’t looked.
¤ Or maybe they do? See the above note.
† A very small flood, more of a damp basement; but you get the idea.
‡ One is a lot more than none. Two is a lot more than one. Three, four? We’re getting into loads now.
∞ Although a steady stream of biscuits and an ever decreasing exercise regime seems to be increasing the amount of raw material.