The 2013 Sundance Film Festival is starting and the cinephiles are descending on snowy Park City, Utah. Alas, I am not there. I would have been there had I made it into the Sundance Screenwriters Lab, but it was once again not meant to be. Of course, I’m grateful that two of my scripts advanced to the second round of consideration at different points in time (AUNT MOLLY’S MELTDOWN was in the running for the 2011 lab), but I’m still disappointed that I won’t be following in the footsteps of Darren Aronofsky, Tamara Jenkins, and Paul Thomas Anderson. And, damn it, I wanna meet Robert Redford!
All one can do is keep calm and carry on. (Yes, I’m missing London these days, too.) This mantra resonated even more as I witnessed the implosion of my beloved Green Bay Packers during last weekend’s play-off game against the 49ers. It was gut-wrenching to watch such a strong, resourceful team fall apart at the hands of a young punk QB named Kaepernick. (Okay, okay, I’ll cut him a little slack since he was born in Milwaukee. But just a little.) However, all that happens now is that Coach Mike McCarthy and the Packers will reflect, regroup, and channel their frustration into focused determination next year. The Green Bay Packers are a team of champions, after all! Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose!
As I think about advice I would offer to people setting out on the creative road untraveled (like I did in 2011), one main suggestion would be to anticipate and accept the rejection. Because it will come. Rejection. Is. Inevitable. I know this isn’t exactly a ground-breaking revelation and it’s territory I’ve covered before, but the scope of rejection one encounters is something I didn’t fully understand when I began this journey. However, I find I’ve now settled into a mental space where when the rejections come, I feel bummed for a little while, nod, and then MOVE ON. Persistence and Perseverance. Because the one time you hear “yes” will far outshine the hundreds of times you hear “no”. And celebrate those affirmative victories, no matter how big or small.
So let’s get through these frogs so I can finally meet my Prince Bob! (And maybe we’ll even exchange a friendly smooch on the cheek?)