Handling Rejection in the Entertainment Industry as a Professional… and Non-Professional. (Part 1)
How one handles REJECTION while pursuing their Professional dreams as a Screenwriter / Filmmaker can be a key factor in how long your career lasts in the Entertainment Industry (“EI”). I would rank it up in the top three factors impacting a career (even above "talent") and probably the number-one factor in deciding the success of someone who seeks to break into the EI.
This is a big, complicated subject and I plan on devoting more than one online post addressing the subject. I kick things off by laying the ground work for why rejection is such a huge factor in the EI.
Five Entertainment Industry Truisms regarding Rejection as a way of doing business.
1 Working in the Entertainment Industry is perceived by the rest of the world as sexy, glamorous, and the way to become rich and/or famous. This is why the EI attracts the best and brightest people from all over the world who hope to become part of it. And of course it also attracts (from all over the world) the far-from-the-finest, the not- so-smart, and the people without any talent. This explains why there is a massive amount of people who want to be part of the club.
It also partially explains why professionals have a difficult time maintaining their status in the EI. Everyone has a script they’ve written… or wants to be an actor… or wants to direct… or wants to be a hyphenate and do all three. Most will do anything they can to become connected with a successful movie or TV show.
Very few professions invoke such passion and obsession. I would claim that no other profession even comes close (even though my use of the term EI is specifically referring to the Movie and TV industry. If I was writing also about Music... forget about it. There's no other profession in the world that is at the same level.)
2 The systemic way the EI largely weeds out the wannabes from those who end up becoming professionals is through Attrition. And one of the main weapons used in this system is... Rejection.
Everything having to do with getting a foothold in the industry seems hopeless or next to impossible in the way business is conducted daily.
3 The system of attrition / rejection leads to most people attempting a career in the EI to quickly give up in their effort. This is why the system has been part of the EI since working in movies and TV became a life goal.
4 Those who do end up becoming Professionals often struggle and have short careers because of this system of attrition. Sustaining any kind of success is problematic over the long haul when one (especially a "creative artist") must go up against a system that is grounded in the concept of rejection.
5 The Attrition System employed by the EI is still the most common way of welcoming newcomers and nurturing artistic talent.
Under the Attrition System, rejection, in one form or another, usually occurs regularly, even for a Professional working in the Entertainment Industry. Those who want to break into the EI will likely face even more rejection until they become a Professional.
The above Truisms are why how one handles rejection, Professional or non-Professional, is critical to eventually succeeding in a profound way when going up against the E.I. attrition system.
Are there exceptions to the above Truisms?
You bet. One obvious example is "money." If a person has money, especially enough money to finance movies, the attrition system doesn’t apply. But what’s the point of going into the exceptions.
Mostly everyone who attempts to break in or succeed in the Entertainment Industry will suffer rejection.
So let’s proceed on that path.
The next post will deal with how some people handle rejection badly and how others use the attrition system to their advantage.