Friday, April 22, 2011

Take heart in your Rejection

This week marks my 20th year back from Desert Storm. Last week I wrote about how that also marked my first time to be published and receive royalties. That week twenty years ago also marked the rather abrupt end with my relationship with the right honorable Ms. Petula Palmer, who hopefully has Google Alert set up to tag her name which will lead her here to realize that she ranks high enough for a humorous opening paragraph, but now I'm moving on to the main body of the text...

Which happens to be about rejection. I am, I admit, one of those people who fantasize about wallpapering a bathroom one day with all my rejection letters after I've struck it rich and become a gazillionaire. I don’t want to give away too much, but I thought I’d share a rejection email from 1998, back when people were still figuring out the internet and how things like “CC” v. “BCC” worked. It is a film festival rejection, not one of the many rejections from agents and publishers, but whatever. A rejection is a rejection, and I thought this one would still work here. I’ve taken many rejections quietly, and with dignity, but a form letter cc’d to 50 people was just too much. I’ve included my reply as well.


Subj: Film Festival Notification
Date: 98-07-26 11:33:51 EDT
From: FlicksArt
To: About 50 email addresses (deleted)

Dear Film Festival Entrant:

Thank you for your submission to the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF). It was a pleasure to hear from you. Your work displays promise, talent and potential.

RIIFF received 207 entries from 10 countries, 26 U.S. states, and 5 Canadian provinces. Titles to be screened between August 13-16 in the cities of Providence and Woonsocket, R.I., include 34 feature films and an additional 60 short subjects and videos.

Unfortunately, your submission was not selected by our judges for exhibition during this year’s festival. Our distinguished panel of judges includes Academy Award winner Tom Ohanian, senior editor, Avid Corp.; commercial producer Charlie Shaw of Sonalyst Studios (where interiors of “Amistad” were shot); independent filmmaker and performing artist Norm Beauregard; in addition to cinematographers, videographers, commercial sound engineers, university film faculty members, and communications professionals.

We encourage you to continue in your artistic development and filmmaking pursuits. And we hope an entry from you for next year’s festival will be chosen by our judges for exhibition in 1999.

Cordially,

George T. Name Changed,
Executive Director/Producer
Rhode Island International Film Festival
Flickers Arts Collaborative
Address, Email, and Phone Number (deleted)

{{Note that I kept the same 50 email addresses in my response}}

Subj: Re: Film Festival Notification
Date: 98-07-28 03:28:17 EDT
From: SMetze
To: About 50 email addresses (deleted)

Dear Film Festival Executive:

Thank you for your rejection notice from the Rhode Island International Film Festival (RIIFF). It was a pleasure to hear from you. Your letter displays promise, talent and potential.

I have entered many hundreds of film festivals throughout the world, and I have received countless international rejection letters, all of which I have had painstakingly encased in plastic and kept in an aesthetically pleasing weather-proof file for viewing by my closest friends and family.

Unfortunately, your rejection letter was not selected by our judges for exhibition in this fine collection of hand-pressed stationery, desktop published notifications, and even form letters. Our distinguished panel of judges did not see fit to even print out your correspondence, because, following your example, we did not want to expend valuable paper and toner in this modern day world of resource management.

We encourage you to continue in your artistic development in the areas of fine literary works and formal communiqu├ęs. Next year, when you've learned how to do things like, not start sentences with a conjunction, or perhaps, when you graduate up to the wild wacky world of paper or even individually addressed notices, we hope a rejection letter from you for next year’s festival will be chosen by our judges for exhibition in 1999.

Until then, please tell your panel of judges, including Academy Award winner Tom Ohanian, commercial producer Charlie Shaw of Sonalyst Studios (like we care where interiors of “Amistad” were shot); independent filmmaker and performing artist Norm Beauregard, and all the cinematographers, videographers, commercial sound engineers, university film faculty members, and communications professionals, to kiss my rosy red butt.

Cordially,

Steven E. Metze
Complete Address, Email, and Phone Number printed in bold (deleted)



Not recommending this as a standard process, but at some point, the line must be drawn.

I got a call from an old film professor later that year who had moved from the University of Texas to some University in Florida. He said he recognized my name when he saw it in these two emails printed and framed on the wall of their film department.

All characters appearing in this blog are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead or even mostly dead, is purely coincidental.

2 comments:

  1. Steve,

    Stay classy...this was hysterical. I liked that someone has it framed somewhere!

    ReplyDelete
  2. They framed your emails! Priceless.

    ReplyDelete