Writers: Tips to Handle the "No's" and How to Move Your Career Forward

Hosted by Steve Desmond

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Steve Desmond

Webinar hosted by: Steve Desmond

Screenwriter (Warner Bros., Film Nation), Filmmaker

It took Steve Desmond 17 screenplays to become a full-time working screenwriter. Now, his scripts have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times, including in 2020 with THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB, which he is attached to direct with Fuller Media (A QUIET PLACE) producing. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, HARRY'S ALL-NIGHT HAMBURGERS, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with an Oscar-nominated producer attached. FilmNation (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, ARRIVAL) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD. He's currently co-writing a new sci-film for Paramount with Wes Ball (THE TIME RUNNER) directing. He's also worked on projects for Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and Mandalay Pictures, among others. His short film, MONSTERS, which he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards. Full Bio »

Webinar Summary

"No" "Pass" "It's not for me" - What do you do when your script gets passed on by every company you send it to?

Screenwriting is extremely hard, especially when it comes to handling rejection. But the reality is, the "no's" are a normal and part of the game. Even professional screenwriters get rejected numerous times a year. This webinar will offer tips and best practices for how to accept rejection, learn from it, and move on. Rejection can actually be empowering, and going through its trenches will ultimately make your scripts stronger and your victories feel that much better.

Many aspiring writers let rejection, or the fear of rejection, stop their career before it even starts. Far too many writers quit after one or two scripts that didn’t sell. Even worse, many would-be writers don't even finish a script because they are afraid that it will never find success.

Don't let that happen to you. 

Unless you’re a prodigy, rejection is something you will encounter over and over and over again, even if you become a working writer. But there are ways to prepare yourself for it, and use it as a teaching device to help you become better at what you love. The reality is, you can’t control if someone doesn’t like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection, and how you choose to move forward.

 

ABOUT YOUR STAGE 32 EDUCATOR

It took Steve Desmond 17 screenplays to become a full time working screenwriter. He didn't give up and neither should you.

Steve has landed on the industry Black List four times and worked with major production companies and studios including Fuller Media (A QUIET PLACE), Warner Bros, Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and Mandalay Pictures, and more. FilmNation (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, ARRIVAL) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD, and he's co-writing a project at Paramount with Wes Ball (THE TIME RUNNER) attached to direct. His short film, MONSTERS, which he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards.

Steve believes that going through these trenches ultimately makes your script stronger and your victories even better. In this empowering webinar he'll prepare you for it so that you become better at what you love by showing you:

  • The different kinds of rejection, including "no," no response, and the toxic response
  • How to use rejection to make your script better
  • The feedback process and finding trusted readers
  • Defeating self-rejection
  • How to get your script out there
  • Understanding gatekeepers and how to get past them
  • Tracking your submission progress while celebrating the wins
  • Juggling multiple projects so you're always moving forward
  • And so much more!

You can't control if someone doesn't like your work. But you can control how you react to rejection and use it to your advantage.

 

 

"Before hearing from Steve, I would take months off between scripts if I got a really mean rejection because I couldn't handle it. Now, I'm always working on something new. If they don't want my script. No problem, someone else will or I'll make it myself!"

- Emilio S. 

 

 

What You'll Learn

The Big Picture

  • Rejection is normal
  • Thinking Long Term – “Overnight Success Takes Ten Years”

If You're Not Being Rejected, You're Not Trying Hard

  • Utilizing Rejection to Make Your Script Better
  • You can do better than your first try.
  • The Feedback Process – Rejection of drafts
  • Embracing Rejection – Finding your Five Trusted Readers

Self-Rejection: That “Little Voice”

  • Treating Yourself the Way You Want Others to Treat You
  • Creating your comfortable workspace
  • Remembering how lucky we are
  • Getting Your Script Out There
  • You want as many people to read your work as possible
  • The worse thing they can say is “No.”
  • One Yes Overcomes a Hundred No’s

Common Types of Rejection

  • “It's not for me.”
  • “I liked the writing, but it's not for me.”
  • The non-response
  • Toxic Rejections (very rare)
  • Who’s Rejecting You?
  • Not putting people on pedestals.
  • Gatekeepers guard the gate. They don’t govern the castle.
  • “Nobody knows anything” – William Goldman
  • How to Respond Professionally
  • Be grateful. Not a dick.
  • Staying in touch
  • Asking for feedback
  • Keeping a log for each project
  • Paying it Forward
  • Identifying What You Can Do Better
  • Looking for common trends
  • Identifying creative “red flags”
  • Only Work on What You’re Passionate About
  • Self-Rejection happens between drafts
  • If you don’t care enough, you won’t keep going
  • Be ready to let go
  • Putting your eggs in multiple baskets
  • Work on something else while submitting
  • Always have the next project lined up
  • Self-Care for the ones that hurt
  • Self-building, not self-pity
  • Taking Time Outs
  • Identifying your feelings and strategies for dealing with them

Celebrating the Little Victories

  • Finishing Drafts
  • Advancing through rounds
  • Getting an attachment

Q&A with Steve

About Your Instructor

It took Steve Desmond 17 screenplays to become a full-time working screenwriter. Now, his scripts have been voted onto the prestigious industry Black List four times, including in 2020 with THE SATURDAY NIGHT GHOST CLUB, which he is attached to direct with Fuller Media (A QUIET PLACE) producing. He sold his sci-fi adventure screenplay, HARRY'S ALL-NIGHT HAMBURGERS, to Warner Bros in a bidding war, with an Oscar-nominated producer attached. FilmNation (PROMISING YOUNG WOMAN, ARRIVAL) hired him to adapt the Stoker-award-winning horror novel THE CABIN AT THE END OF THE WORLD. He's currently co-writing a new sci-film for Paramount with Wes Ball (THE TIME RUNNER) directing. He's also worked on projects for Legendary Pictures, Blumhouse, and Mandalay Pictures, among others. His short film, MONSTERS, which he wrote and directed, has amassed over two million views online and screened in over 100 film festivals worldwide, winning 45 awards.

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Testimonials

 

"Before hearing from Steve, I would take months off between scripts if I got a really mean rejection because I couldn't handle it. Now, I'm always working on something new. If they don't want my script. No problem, someone else will or I'll make it myself!"

- Emilio S. 

 

Questions?

If you have a generic question about Stage 32 education you can take a look at our frequently asked questions section on our help page, or feel free to contact support with any other inquiries you might have.
 

Reviews Average Rating: 5 out of 5

  • I have two recommendations after watching this webinar I feel every CREATIVE should watch it and take the time to digest. Here is my gut feel, rejection may or not be my fault. I am auditioning my craft(s) to another who is willing to put their or someone else's money at risk. Their reputation is on the line either way. They are most likely to be looking for project that passes through their special filter to find the one and only project with the least risk, the easiest money, to make a film in the shortest possible time. "Newbies" they call us, we are not easy, not riskless, nor a locomotive on rails delivering freight at the cheapest cost, in the shortest acceptable time and at the least risk. Second, this webinar is so good that it should be free to every creative hobo trying to catch a ride on the Hollywood gravy train...

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