How to deal with rejection emails

I write this blog post after literally just receiving a rejection email for one of my short plays submitted to a festival that won’t be named.


This blog post has been laying on my heart for the longest time, inspired by the kind of people who seem to think that my journey so far has been plain sailing, the I’m so proud of you people who are genuinely proud and stuff no disrespect, but ya’ll don’t understand the blood, sweat and tears that go into everything, and the beloved rejection emails, oh thy beloved politely worded, formal, not even in the slightest bit passive aggressive rejection emails.

The rejection emails are STRONG lemmenotlie, on average I send my work out 3-4 times a month, and I would say 80% of the time my work doesn’t get picked.


Why ?

Maybe I’m shit and I’ve picked the wrong career, or more realistically…the competition is just that tough.

I’ve got to the stage where I believe in my sauce small small and so the second option is my mantra and ideally should be yours too.

To put things into perspective :
Most places you submit your work to have hundreds of submissions and are only looking for 6-8 pieces of work.
Can you imagine having to read through 200+ scripts and know only a handful of those will be successful ?

Theatre is subjective, your play about your neighbours cat learning how to talk may be comedy gold, But if the script reader has a underlying hate for cats what do you think is gonna happen ?

In simpler terms, your script may be great but if the reader just doesn’t like your theme, it nah go ‘appen.


Small tips when submitting your work : –

-Try to keep your short scripts simple in regards to staging, multiple scene & location changes may be challenging for a director and harder to perfect in a play with restricted time.

-Less characters the better. For reasons listed above.

-Nice twists, strong begginings and memorable endings play out beautifully on stage for short pieces, in my opinion anyway but who am I?
At 8-15 minutes per peice your looking to hook your audience in as soon as possible and hold their interest right up until the end.

Now you’ve done all the above, had your boyfriend read the script aloud and wholeheartedly agree your the next best thing to touch uk theatre and then boom… you get that painfully polite ‘sorry on this occasion we will not be using your play’.

Now what?


At this point I delete the email and go back to regular scheduling, but I’m a stubborn Taurus and this might not work for everyone.

Some tips that I would like to follow in a ideal world;

Read the email to the end, hear them out.
– Maybe the email states the exact reason your script hasn’t been chosen.

-Ask for feedback, for self development reasons.
Maybe the script just needs that one likkl tweak.

And lastly, this one I do follow you’ll be glad to know.
– Don’t take it too personal, apply for smaller scale scratch nights where submission numbers may be relatively lower.

Send your work out to many festivals at a time so your not just banking on one, don’t loose faith, rejection emails aren’t always a direct criticism of your writing skills so keep at it…eventually something will bang.