Post Submission Anxiety

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  • Post Submission Anxiety

    Am I the only person who gets this? Maybe. Maybe not. There may be some veteren contest/fellowship submitters out there who have overcome this feeling. If so, please respond, your input would be most appreciated.

    Being a novice writer, with limited contacts, all I have are contests. I spend months writing a spec (tv) with only limited options as to submit,
    (the ABC/Disney Fellowship being the golden ticket.) But with that, comes an enormous amount of anxiety. For those of us with no immediate contacts, our options are few, so therefore, every script we submit is like, I don't know, taking the SAT. (For lack of a better analogy.) We spend months sweating over our script, waking up in a cold sweat over possible errors, or things we could have done differently, driving are significant others crazy (or for real losers like myself, our mothers) and for what?

    To find out we made the semi-finals despite all of that? Or to find out we didn't? And then what?

    That's the question before all of us who have time to post on this board.

    And then what?

  • #2
    Re: Post Submission Anxiety

    I know what you mean and been there. I began screenwriting in summer of 2001. So the following year, I entered the big contests (Austin, Nicholl, Chesterfield, Sundance, and maybe Disney.)

    When you wait in line at the post office, you can't help but hope "What if this wins? What if this gets me discovered?" It's only natural. What I found out that year is that advancing to that first cut or second cut is pretty meaningless. [I was Austin finalist, Chesterfield semi-finalist, and Sundance June Lab finalist that year.]

    Last year, I entered contests and promptly put it out of my mind. Call that being jaded or having lowered expectation. So of the three I entered, I didn't advance in Nicholl or Disney. And the one I put out of my mind, I got into. That was Film Indpendent's Filmmaker Lab.

    This year, I submitted my script to six contests and immediately put it out of my mind (except I still dream of Nicholl and Sundance). Just imagine them as sending out a query letter. Forget about it. If you hear back in a positive way, you'll be pleasantly surprised. In the meanwhile, continue working on your scripts for next year's contest deadlines.

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    • #3
      Re: Post Submission Anxiety

      What ham doesn't mention is that he's been submitting the same script for 5 years.
      http://confoundedfilms.com

      http://www.myspace.com/confoundedfilms

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      • #4
        Re: Post Submission Anxiety

        One of the things i've learned from being a lawyer is that there is no sense worrying about things that are out of your controll. I often submit motion papers to a judge that aren't decided until eight months later. If I worried about all of them I would go out of my mind.

        All you can do is say "i did the best for my client" and let the chips fall where they may.
        "Take the thing you love, and make it your life"--Californication. [email protected]

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        • #5
          Re: Post Submission Anxiety

          I have anxiety about submitting posts on this board all the time.

          Wait, what were you talking about?

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          • #6
            Re: Post Submission Anxiety

            I know how you're feeling because I've felt that way. I don't have quite the level of anxiety I used to. I have moments here and there, and I'll daydream from time to time, but I don't have the fear I used to.

            To find out we made the semi-finals despite all of that? Or to find out we didn't? And then what?
            And then what? That's really at the heart of it. If you don't win, do you give up? Does it mean you're a terrible writer? Does it mean your ideas are worthless? Does it mean you have to resign yourself to a colorless 9-to-5 job with no hope of creativity, passion or financial reward in your life?

            Some time back, someone wrote that people shouldn't worry about breaking in but should rather concentrate on becoming good, and then they would be discovered, that the opportunities would come to them. I can't remember what was said exactly, but at the time I thought it was sort of a b.s. pep talk. (Sorry to whoever wrote that.) Now, I'm sort of living it. I want to make it when I know I've earned it. People will like my best effort, or they won't. They'll buy it, or they won't. You'll win the contest, or you won't. It's like that rattle in your car. No amount of anxiety is going to change what the mechanic finds. If you deal with enough car repairs, you know that you'll work off the bill and get back on the road again. I guess I've written enough to know that I'll open another file and keep trying. If someone doesn't like my story, I'll write another. Meanwhile, I'm constantly learning, and maybe I'll learn something that'll make some earlier story better. Am I disappointed if I don't get what I hope to? Sure, but it isn't the end. It means there's more work ahead. Once I accepted that there will always be more work ahead, it doesn't make what happens in the moment so devastating or powerful. I'll work at it until it happens, then I'll work at it after it happens. If it never happens, I can look forward to sitting in a low-budget nursing home, surrounded by stacks of unproduced scripts, my mind thankfully gone, fully believing that I'm a famous writer.

            Write another script. Write 10 more. Read another script. Read 10 more. Study writing. Study people. Study stories. Go out and have fun. Make your life enjoyable so that "being discovered" isn't your best and only hope. If it never happens, the sun will still rise and people will still love you. If they don't, at least you will still love you. If you don't, well ... work on that. All the writing success in the world won't fix what ails you.

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            • #7
              Re: Post Submission Anxiety

              I think the anxiety is normal, especially for anyone who is young and full of lots of hopes.

              For an older guy like me ... nyeh, no apprehension. I entered my first-ever contest this year (Austin, TV drama). It does not weigh on my mind at all. It has really just had the effect of encouraging me to write some more scripts.

              "The fact that you have seen professionals write poorly is no reason for you to imitate them." - ComicBent.

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