Being a creator means being ready for rejection. The industry does away with those who can not handle it. Sometimes, we get so passionate about a project, we pursue the greatest of opportunities without a second thought. Or sometimes, we pass on experiences that turned out to be major successes.
You will go through this at some point in your career. How do we move on from that? How do we do away with regret and hurt?
What do we do when that amazing moment is gone?
So, you didn’t take your shot or maybe you were passed over. That’s perfectly okay. Don’t lose sight of your main goal. You have to stay focused and hungry for another shot. But how?
Audition for more gigs, make more films, or write more scripts. We can get so disappointed that we aren’t looking at the positive things that are right in our faces. We’ve all felt that imposter syndrome creeping up or thought that you weren’t cut out for this industry. Oftentimes, that way of thinking comes from fear and pressure.
How do you get over that slump of rejection? Here’s a small exercise I did when I was in that situation. Write down your goals. Okay, I know you’re rolling your eyes right now.
‘Not another goal-setting exercise’
Yes, it’s another one. So, write down short and long-term goals, then break them down into smaller methods or approaches.
So, let’s say your main goal is to score a hit feature film. Well, you probably aren’t there yet. So, let’s break it down into smaller bits. If your goal is scoring a feature, then your methods may be to write music every day, work on smaller films to gain experience (and hopefully pay), analyze other scores, and network with filmmakers.
Maybe your goal is to book a top-level gig. Your methods are reading and performing monologues, acting in indie projects, taking a few stage acting classes, and improving how you respond to feedback from instructors.
Breaking your goals down into methods can help you see your achievements. And when you put a checkmark beside those methods, you start to feel like you are taking in opportunities.
Goal setting can be detrimental to progress because we tend to write down these elaborate goals that can not be obtained in the amount of time we want or at the skillset we are in. And we wonder why we failed.
You have to come back with smaller goals. With each method you complete, you gain new skills and can adapt to new situations. So, when you inevitably miss another opportunity, you are prepared for it. You are still able to move on to the next one without an issue. So stay hungry. Keep making goals to feed that appetite, but keep them within reach.
In an earlier blog post, I talked about the creator’s ego. Well, that topic is coming back around again, here. Rejections and missed opportunities hurt. We take it personally. After a while, we turn our hurt and anger towards the person that rejected us. “They didn’t get it.” or “I’m too good for them.” or “I didn’t want to do it anyway.”
It is completely irrational to think that, right? It’s that ego and entitlement.
Stay humble. Admit your flaws. Realize that you are just one person in a sea of folks who have the same goal as you do. You’re going to get a ‘No’ from time to time. The key is to not take it personally and to appreciate the moment.
Reflect on what happened and why you missed that opportunity. Was it something wrong with the script? Were you unprepared for the audition? Maybe you did everything right but the stars didn’t align.
Reflecting on situations like this will prepare you for the next.
Okay, you’re reflecting and you end up in a downward spiral. The point of reflection is to acknowledge the positive and negative experiences and then move forward. Do not sit with it for too long or you will end up regretting your actions and dwelling on your hiccups. Keep moving forward.
Staying present means that you are in this moment and focusing on positive outcomes. Enjoy the time you have now. The stress of your past mistakes and the anxiety from thinking too hard about your future opportunities will take a toll on you. Take a breather, you deserve it.
Ages ago, I missed the opportunity to work with Broadway composers and writers Heitzman and Reid. It was a weird mishap with emails, of all things. I remember being so gutted. I was so angry with myself that I convinced myself that music wasn’t worth pursuing. That I wasn’t worth it. Looking back on it, the actions I took after the missed opportunity made me miss all of the other wonderful projects I could’ve done instead.
What if I would have reconnected with them? What if I networked with other creators and leaders? If I had stayed focused and connected instead of wasting time feeling sorry for myself, I probably would’ve been ready for another opportunity that came by months later from another Broadway performer!
Lesson learned. Hey, missed opportunities can floor you but you have to stay focused. You’re not out of the game yet.
After taking that time to relax and regroup, make sure you do not stay stagnant. Go out and learn something. Take this moment to experience a different industry, it could help you book a new exciting opportunity. Beef up your skills and contacts. Just because you missed your opportunity doesn’t mean you are finished growing as a creator. Like I said before, keep moving forward.
You now have a great way to improve. You have a front seat on how to be successful because of that missed opportunity. Look at the person who got that gig. What did they do differently? How do they work on projects? What sets them apart?
At the end of the day, we all have the same goal. So, work towards them. Make your opportunities by learning each day and experiencing new situations.
You have two choices:
Stay still or move forward.
I am a film composer, sound designer, and screenwriter from Baltimore, Maryland. I have scored animated, feature and short films along with various games. My sound design work was featured in theatre company Rapid Lemon Production’s “Variations of Myth. Recently, I have worked with animator and producer, Dan Ekis on his science fiction film GREY ISLAND as well as director and writer, Harry Owens on IN MADNESS which was the official selection of the Pan Afro Film Festival and previewed at the Los Angeles International Film Festival. Most recently, I was featured in the best seller "IT'S SIMPLY FILMMAKING" by author CALI GILBERT, which showcases women in film and tv.
My goal is to impact and inspire people from all walks of life. I hope to connect with producers, directors and other creatives.
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