Today, I received yet another rejection letter but this time, for something that I’ve been doing for 15 years. Ouch? Not really. By now, I have gotten used to people saying “No” to me that when they actually do say “Yes”, I am stunned by that decision.
For a long time, I didn’t want to be a radio DJ because when I started, all of the real DJ’s making the big bucks wasn’t on the radio. They were too busy spinning the flyest parties in town from Diddy’s infamous All-White 4th of July in the Hamptons to New York Fashion Week’s after-parties. Mark Ronson, DJ AM, Beverly Bond, Goldfingers; They were the tastemakers, and radio DJ’s lacked the ill mixing skills. Some might call Radio DJ’s puppets because of the mandatory playlist given for them to include on air and they would pump these horrific records in exchange of payola.
Here I am in 2017, after a decade in Los Angeles, after my hiatus from DJ’ing because of film school, I’ve decided to go ahead and apply for Power 106. Why? Because nobody cares about the nightclub tastemakers like they used to anymore. DJ’s come in dimes in a dozen because everybody thinks they can buy Serato and call themselves a DJ. And because Power 106 DJs, do mix. And because being mainstream is what people understand nowadays. I personally had limited radio experience but my mixes were heard on the airwaves in Montreal (K103), New York (WBAI), SIRIUS XM and on AOL Radio on the regular. So I am fine with them finding somebody else with more experience. :)
I’ve built a thicker skin during film school in which I applied for internships. Who doesn’t want free employees? But nope. I was wrong. Rejection isn’t limited to paid jobs. My ego took a seat back. I probably received 30 of those.
But by miracle, one or two companies responded and took me in.
I interned for Smart Entertainment in production and went on to take over the last assistant’s job. She went on to work in the writer’s room for a TV show. It was an interesting 4 months for me.
As I was moving forward from interning, I wanted to further my knowledge as a filmmaker thus AFI DWW program, CDDP showcase. I’ve even applied for the DGA AD Program in which I received a brutal physical rejection letter. I was so frustrated that I ripped it into pieces. I can’t front, I cried a little bit.
It’s a numbers game. I’ve been told that my scripts would never sell because networks weren’t buying music-themed TV shows yet Empire has been on for four seasons! I’ve been told to change my Jamaican character to a Caucasian character, which would’ve defeated the point of my narrative, to appease the mainstream audience. Yet, HBO’s Insecure and ABC’s Blackish are hit shows. ABC’s Fresh Off of the Boat is on Season Four. I can go on about the stupidity that I had to deal with. I stuck to my guns. My colorful pilot ideas got me in other doors: the Women In Film Upfronts and James Franco’s Evil Days.
I sympathize with the person whom have to reject these people because I was also on the flip side. When I was casting dancers for music videos or actors for my sizzle project, when I was A&R’ing, I was to seep through producers, when I worked as a studio manager, I couldn’t hire everybody. It’s just to show you that you win some, and then you lose some. Or maybe it was their loss as well. Read these famous rejection letters:
Legends like Tim Burton, Madonna, Steve Jobs and Andy Warhol have all gone through people dismissing the same talent and vision that got them famous. The moral of the story, just keep it moving and do you.
** UPDATE: Here’s Nine More for This Lovely Collection:
Even got rejection in French. LOL
But in one in hundreds of attempt, I do get in the door. Out of 250 applications, I was able to secure a mentorship spot! Thanks Melissa. :)
Wait. I never applied for this mentorship. Although, subscribing to the newsletter does qualify a rejection letter. LOL