When you send your screenplay to an agent, manager, producer, coverage agency, contest, or anyone else, you hope for the best. You expect to get exceptional praise in return, if not fame and fortune. You think your work is great because you wrote it and you may be blind to its flaws. However, getting glowing reviews might not be what you need or of any value to you. What will help you is some solid feedback that you can build on.
Imagine you’re opening that email or receiving that call where you’re going to hear about what someone thinks of your work. The anticipation builds and your mind races to the best possible scenario, letting your optimism get the best of you. It’s impossible not to be disappointed at least a little when you hear about the missteps you made or the improvements you could make. It’s perfectly normal to be disappointed in rejection and letting that disappointment wash over you can even be therapeutic. What’s more important, however, is that you can get over that disappointment and use the feedback constructively.
It’s hard to view your work objectively because you created these characters, this world, and the dialogue. You see it a certain way and anything you’ve left out exists in your mind, even if it’s not on the page. Just because you can’t find the faults in it doesn’t mean they don’t exist. When the faults are pointed out to you, it’s incumbent upon you to acknowledge them and figure out how to fix them.
“You can’t always get what you want but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.” That Rolling Stones lyric perfectly describes this phenomenon. You won’t get the praise or reward that you seek out of your work immediately. However, if you put in the effort to improve your writing and take the advice that’s given to you, you might discover that the rejection was what you needed all along.
If you learn to accept rejection and critique as part of the creative process, you’ll be better prepared to create something that’s worthy of praise and rewards.