The part of submitting scripts to competitions I hate is the emails you get with subject “CONGRATS TO THE FINALISTS” and you find your name isn’t on the list. It’s extremely heartbreaking. You poured your hard work, your blood-sweat-and-tears into this script and it wasn’t picked. Then you see other people you know say they got picked for a competition. Then you go into this existential crisis about whether or not you will ever be good enough.
Yeah, this sounds like a depressing post, but I’ll brighten it up, I promise.
So… yes, I got my first “no” this past week… and that’s what brought me to write about it.
I hate – well, dislike – getting a “no”. I dislike seeing that my name isn’t on the list because I know that my story can be good enough. But, I have to sit back and realize there were THOUSANDS of entries and these six people got picked. So I shouldn’t be surprised if I’m not on that list. Those SIX people? They were the BEST out of thousands. I don’t know where I stood on the long list… I could have been number seven.
Competition season is exciting and scary at the same time. It totally affects my mood. I don’t like to admit it, but usually after seeing that I didn’t get in, I hit a bout of “depression” (depression in quotes because it’s not really chemical depression). I don’t feel motivated to write or even get out of bed. I try to beat it by making myself go out with friends or just talking about other things with my husband. I try to beat it by thinking about the other competitions that has yet to decide and maybe pursuing more just to prove that my story is competent enough to win something. It’s definitely a tough battle and not meant for the weak-hearted.
I think a lot has to do with my competitive spirit. Everyone hates losing… and I’ve had my fair share of losing playing basketball… but I hate it when the people who are losing give up. That’s where my competitive drive kicks in. I see that I’m losing, but I’m not giving up. I will keep going and taking those punches to my gut every single time because I know that something good will come out of it. Whether it be a new story, a better draft, or maybe a place in the finals.
I need to keep reminding myself that it’s not the end of the world. Growing up, I was told that if I did everything right I would be rewarded (or even if I just tried). The real world is not like that. It doesn’t matter how much work you put into something if it’s not unique, it won’t get that acknowledgement. I wish adults would change that ideology for the future kids’ sake. It’s tough to change your mindset from “I deserve this” to “I’m grateful for receiving this”.
I also have to remember that people only post the positives about their work, never the negatives. So, I really don’t know if they’ve gotten a “no” from other competitions. I’m trying to change that with my posts, so other people realize, “Hey, that happens to Emi, too.” Because everyone gets that “no” at some point in their career. We shouldn’t be ashamed of it; we should embrace it. It’s not something to be embarrassed about. Everything we do in life is a lesson and we learn from it.
I’m grateful for these opportunities to exist in the first place. Here’s a chance to have my script sit in front of industry readers/professionals and get read. Here’s a chance that reader might want to work with this script so they make a note about it to remember after the competition is over. The more “exposure” the script gets the better the odds it gets noticed. So, that’s why I do it. That’s why I put myself through this agony year after year.
One day, I’ll get noticed.
UPDATE 5/15/18: MY SCRIPT MADE IT TO SEMIFINALS IN A COMPETITION! I’ll let you guys know more when I find out!
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