View Full Version : REJECTION

count woodrow
02-25-2005, 06:20 PM
I know this is lame but ...

I've gotten so many rejections in the last few days ...

Anybody got any success stories they can relate as sort of a morale boost -- especially stories about scripts that were rejected over and over again only to emerge as sold or optioned scripts down the road?

Appreciate it.

02-25-2005, 07:25 PM
Not screenplays but The Hunt For Red October got rejected all over the place, until it was finally first published by the Navy. I think Harry Potter got rejected by 23 companies before it was finally picked up.

count woodrow
02-25-2005, 07:29 PM
Thanks, Steven. Exactly what I need to hear! CW

02-26-2005, 04:59 PM
Both my first and second scripts have been optioned, both in the five figures. As the scripts found their way to the producers who optioned them, they were both rejected by several people along the way.

The key is to listen to why they were rejected. If it's "loved the writing, but we just don't want to do a romantic comedy," that's not such a bad thing. On the other hand, if people are saying "the writing is godawful and this is the stupidest plot I've ever heard of", then you might need to be a little more nervous.

English Dave
02-26-2005, 05:41 PM
Every movie made in the last 30 years has been seen and rejected by most of the other studios at script stage. it isn't necessarily anything to do with quality. Forrest Gump was rejected by almost everyone. They just didn't get it. Don't take it personally, it is the writers lot. You are trying to sell a Picasso to a blind man. But....as Jack says, look at your notes. Don't be the blind man yourself.

count woodrow
02-26-2005, 06:32 PM
Thanks, all.

Selling Picassos to a blind man is awesome! I'll remember that.

This is helpful because I don't know anyone who writes so I don't know what "normal" is or what is to be expected. Helps to come here and get some perspective. Once again, thanks.


02-26-2005, 06:34 PM
"Usual Suspects"

I heard it got rejected by 28 companies. It won the Academy Award!

02-26-2005, 09:51 PM
I have the coverage for Jurasic Park (a pass) which said that "kids want to cuddle with dinosaurs, not be hunted by them.


02-26-2005, 10:26 PM
Count...the stories you'll hear on this board are only the tip of the iceberg on rejection. Believe me...no matter what you hear, it's worse. It's one of the true tests of a writer. Don't let it get you down. Everybody is hearing it and probably worse than you are.

But don't give up. That's probably more important than talent. Because you can develop talent. :\

As I like to say...don't let the bastards get you down.


02-27-2005, 07:09 AM
Buy the book "Great Failures of the Extremely Successful" by Steve Young.

Rejection slip for William Faulkner's Flags in the Dust - rejected by 18 publishers"

"We don't believe that you should offer it for publication. It is diffuse and non-integral with neither very much plot development nor character development".

Richard Bach collected 26 rejection slips - he got lucky with number 27. Jonatahn Seagull has sold 30 million copies worldwide.

Robert Pirsig's Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance was rejected by over 100 publishing houses before being sold in 1974 - it sold 4 million copies.

"We don't like their sound and guitar music is on the way out" Decca recording Co. rejecting the Beatles in 1962.

" I think there is a world market for maybe 5 computers" - Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, 1943 - I guess Steve Jobs and Bill Gates never read this quote ;-)

JakeSchuster aka Ostroff
02-27-2005, 08:17 AM
I wrote seven novels in seven years, at a time when to get an agent you had to have been published, and to get an editor to read you had to submit through an agent. All were either rejected or returned unread (sometimes after many months).

So I moved to London, got a film agent by way of a fifty-minute teleplay for the BBC (unproduced). She was associated with a literary agent, and I wrote a novel a year (as well as TV plays and films) for the five years I was resident in the UK. I came back to the States, wrote a novel off the top of my head in five weeks and sold it to a UK publisher a week later. I was then commissioned to adapt it as a screenplay (also unproduced).

Since then I've published four further novels.

But all those years, those twelve unpublished novels, were a way for me to hone my skills. It was, in a sense, my apprenticeship. And, of course, during that time I read a great deal, saw some great drama on British TV (which is no longer a writer's medium as it was in the late 70s-early 80s), some great movies and theatre.

The moral? Never give up.:)

count woodrow
02-27-2005, 09:42 AM

Thanks, everybody.


02-27-2005, 12:33 PM
The concept for American Graffiti was rejected by every studio in Hollywood. It was said nobody would watch a movie showing four individual stories at once in which popular songs played throughout. The actors were almost all teenagers and it had no name "stars" to carry the picture.

It had a budget of $750,000 and was made in 28 days. When first screened for Universal executives, they were aghast, thinking it had no market.

To date, the movie has grossed over $100 million dollars.

Following that enormous success, George Lucas was initally rejected by everyone on the concept of an outer space movie that became "Star Wars."

After that, nobody wanted to take a chance on the Lucas/Spielberg concept for Indiana Jones.

I believe great entertainment gets made IN SPITE OF the people who are supposed to know better.

02-27-2005, 01:43 PM
Platoon was spit on by everyone in Hollywood, until the beginning was rewritten, then it sold right away.

I have stuff rejected all the time, because I always have scripts or (now) short stories out there.

You just take it on the chin, climb from the wreckage, and go one.

02-27-2005, 03:50 PM
Just sold a script that was written three years ago. When it first went out it was rejected but then was remembered by a producer looking for a specific genre which this film fits into.

Nothing is ever wasted.

Spend the weekend buried in Ben and Jerry's then start something else.

count woodrow
02-27-2005, 04:20 PM
Just popped open some Heath Bar Crunch!

Sounds like rejection is the norm/part of the deal ... this is what I needed to know as I don't have any writer friends and didn't know what to expect.


JakeSchuster aka Ostroff
02-27-2005, 05:14 PM
Without rejection you'll never enjoy your success when it comes.

And then think about those writers who were lucky from the start and then watched their careers go rapidly downhill. You can always tell, because, especially with novelists, they think they're infallible,and that their style is impeccable, their stories irresistible. Then they start imitating themselves.