Craft Corner #8 - Screenwriters x Rejection

Roadmap Craft Corner

by James Moorer

One of the things that really surprises me about new writers is their reaction to the rejection of their work. Having been where most of them are, there's a part of me that understands the frustration behind it all. But at the end of the day, the one thing I've come to understand is that every script must meet a “Business Standard” that the writer may or may not be aware of. Business Standard can mean many things but primarily comes down to one question: 

Does your script meet the needs of the industry?

Now here's the tricky part. Just because YOU THINK it does, doesn't necessarily mean it will. There are many factors when it comes to the marketability of a script that goes beyond your love for the project. It has to make sense for those you are presenting it to, and your vision must be clear for them to see its potential. This also means that you, as a writer, have done your due diligence and researched every exec you're looking to work with. 

  • What are they looking for? 
  • Do they already have something similar in production? 
  • What are their goals for the year? 

All of these questions must be answered ahead of any meeting. 

But the one thing I believe most writers miss is that a rejection is still an opportunity to build and create a relationship if the exec likes you. Rejection itself is not a personal thing, it's a business decision. This means your response and/or reaction to it should be made from a business mindset, not an emotional one. 

Now I may lose some of you on this part but hear me out... 

your emotional response to rejection will damage your career.

Don't make assumptions based on the one time when you cannot trust your reasoning if you are in an emotional state. Ask yourself...

  • Have you met the business standard?
  • Have you done your proper due diligence?
  • And as always… Is the script in the best shape it can be, or does it still need work? 

This is not a cure-all for every situation, but when you can turn pain into potential, you must always be in a business mindset to succeed. 

Rejection is part of the job, and we all know that coming through the door.  

We can't always win, but we can always be about that business.


James Moorer
Director of Outreach & Diversity Initiatives @ Roadmap Writers
Screenwriter, Author, Pancake Connoisseur

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