Dear New Indie,
I know it’s hard. Your pitch seemed to go so well. They smiled. They laughed. They said they could see your show working on their channel. Your heart jumped a fish. They even mentioned toys. You sent them your materials just like they told you to. They wrote, “We’ll review with the team and get back to you soon.” You’ve read that e-mail a hundred times. But they have not gotten back to you. It’s been weeks. You wonder if you should write to them but you don’t. You’re afraid that you’ll look needy. So you wait.
Your mind wanders. You think, “If they take my show, everything will change. There will be scripts to write and songs to compose. There will be animation. There will be awards.” Yes, you will have finally arrived. Your show will justify all the sacrifices you’ve made and the heartbreak you’ve endured. Your show will vindicate you.
Then you get the e-mail. It goes something like this: “Thanks for sharing your project with us. After much discussion with the team here, we’ve decided it’s not a good fit for us but we do wish you every success with it.” They have passed. You read the e-mail again and again, looking for some subtext that tells you they are still considering your show. But they are not. It’s over.
You tell the few people who actually understand what you do what happened. They say, “Oh, I’m sorry.” You say, “It’s okay. They probably weren’t the right home for my show anyway.” And they say, “Yes, this is probably for the best.” And you say, “Yeah.” But you know it’s not for the best. You know it sucks. And you wonder if you suck.
So, you get yourself a Starbucks. Or a cupcake. Or a Margarita. You watch daytime TV. You find your way back to your computer. You scroll through your in-box, avoiding their e-mail like a bad diagnosis. You go through your to do list but there’s nothing to do. You call your mom. Then you remember that you were supposed to send your bible to that Canadian broadcaster. And you realize you owe a synopsis to one of the Nordics. You sit down and you send a few e-mails and you get a few back. (A good reminder that only those who send e-mails actually receive e-mails.)
You realize that the one rejection was just that: One rejection. You feel a small gust of hope. You sign up for that conference you were going to blow off. You push forward. The game is not over. You know the odds aren’t good but they’ve never been good, so, whatever. You make some calls. You do what you must do to keep the blood flowing through your show and yourself. Once again, you extend your tendrils towards the sun. You’re still alive.
Then, something happens. You get an e-mail. Someone likes what you sent them. They want to talk. You get another e-mail and there is someone more senior on the thread. Something is happening. There is a term sheet. Money is being discussed. You need an entertainment lawyer. (You have always wanted an entertainment lawyer!) The business folks argue over a clause that you didn’t even read. Then, it’s done. You’ve made your first deal. It’s not a big deal but it’s your deal. And you are asked to sign it.
And now you feel joy right through to your teeth! You dance. You hug your cat. You eat a cheeseburger. Someone wants what you have! You have made a deal! Despite what your family says, you are not crazy. You are doing what you were meant to do! And you, dear indie, are happy.