A salutary lesson arrived in my inbox this morning: a reminder that one person’s opinion is just that – their opinion.
I have this sci fi script, ‘Paradise’, set on Mars. I’m quite proud of it. Some of my trusted fellow screenwriters, film-making/acting chums, and friends who have known me long enough to not spare my feelings have read it, and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s made the top 8% of the BBC Writers Room 10 – they’re currently re-reading it and discussing whether or not to take it (or me) further – fingers crossed.
I pitched it (through Stage 32.com) to three big time Hollywood execs. The first pitch was verbal, on Skype, and I hadn’t even got to the end of the logline before the exec said she wanted to read it (and I managed not to talk her out of it in my nervousness). The second one was a written pitch and, although I didn’t feel it was as good as my verbal one, it again ended in a script request. Both execs scored my pitch on various different aspects (1 being poor, 5 being excellent) and I got mostly 4s, a few 3s and even a 5. They’re still reading (I know it will take some time to hear back) so again – fingers crossed.
The 3rd pitch was again written, an improved version of the previous one as I’d taken feedback into consideration. Got the scores back this morning. All 2s, apart from one aspect – which the first exec scored me a 5 on – for which I got a 1. Comments: a story he’s heard too many times before. Very poor pitch.
If I’d got that feedback first, I would have been devastated. I would have gone back to bed and stayed there. I would have deleted everything I’d ever written off the laptop and cried. I know, because I’ve done it before.This guy’s a Hollywood big cheese, he knows what he’s talking about. I’m crap. Give up now.
But you know what? The other two are Hollywood big cheeses too, and they also know what they’re talking about. The Beeb know what they’re talking about. And they completely disagreed with him. So it just goes to prove that actually, no one ‘knows’ anything.
It’s their opinion.
If my film – or any of my other screenplays – ever gets made, I hope lots of people will love it. But there will also be great swathes of the population who hate it. Or just aren’t interested enough to even watch it.
I’ve finally accepted that I will never please everybody. You won’t either. If you like what you’re doing, keep doing it. Listen to advice, take it if you want to or ignore it. Just keep going.
I hope one day to make that 3rd exec rue the day he turned down one of my scripts, but hey, if he doesn’t, fuck it.