Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Managing expectations, Private Fraser style

I tend to expect rejection, probably as a defence mechanism. When I submit a story idea, an application for something I want to do or a script, I habitually operate on the basis that it will be turned down, smited and generally derided for the talentless shite it is. Private Fraser from Dad's Army is definitely my role model in such matters: "Domed! We're all doomed!' My thinking is that rejection when it comes will be less crushing, less hurtful, less humiliating. Obviously, this is rubbish. Rejection is rejection, no matter how low you preset expectation.

The higher I'm aiming a submission, the lower my hopes of success. I honestly don't know if that's good thing or not. As a professional writer, you'll be turned down or turned away more times than you'll be accepted, hired, commissioned [unless you're some kind of freakish genius, in which case we'll all hate you]. Rejections are inevitable. It's picking your bruised ego back up off the floor and breathing life into it I find tough. Of course, when I was an editor, I had no trouble handing out rejections. So much easier to give than it is to receive in such circumstances.

Right now, I'm waiting on a couple of big replies. The production office at BBC Scotland's soap River City has got my sample scenes. Amanda Verlaque sent out an acknowledgement last week to all this who had submitted their sample scenes, promising a reply within a few days. Nothing more was heard last week, but yesterday I went to an internet cafe in London and found a fresh communication from Amanda in my Inbox. I immediately told myself it was bad news and opened the email, heart sinking to the floor, eyes not wanting to see what felt like the inevitable.

In fact, it was simply a 'sorry for not replying properly to you all yet, madly busy' holding pattern email. Good of Amanda to keep us in the loop, but I hope we get answers soon - not sure my nerves can take the strain of opening too many emails like that.

I'm also waiting to hear whether I've been accepted for the TAPS script editing course. It'll be two consecutive days in October or November. Right now October is looking like a disaster area for prior committments, so November would be better for me - just - assuming I get accepted. [Let's not get into how I'll be funding my participation on the course, the cost of transportation to get me wherever it'll be held and the price of accommodation for at least two nights.]

Again, my Inbox had an email from the lovely people at TAPS about the course. My heart sank, until common sense kicked in and told me this was simply an acknowledgement of my application being received - and so it was. The rejection or acceptance email is probably several weeks away yet. Plenty of time to practise my Private Fraser imitation.

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