In the past 40 years, I have been received rejection letters from the likes of:
Barry Reardon, President of Warner Brothers
Martial Arts film producer Serafim Karalexis
New Line Cinema
Dino De Laurentis Entertainment
Hundreds of film festivals
and an assorted number of big names and small names in this business.
I have had scathing reviews of my work by
All of the major film distributors
Chicago film critics
Critics’ blogs in the U.K.
and internet stalkers who are
jealous that I did not grant them a part in one of my past films.
I was up for a starring role in a film starring Enter the Dragon co star John Saxon.
I was up for the co starring role in the film SUPERFIGHTS.
I was cast as a gang member.
I once offered a role to Fitness superstar Cory Everson, who took my script
to her agent at the world’s biggest talent Agency.
SHE told me she could get me a deal, because she knew people, and wanted
to star in the film. She was ecstatic that I had contacted her first.
The film concerned a female alien who had come
to earth, and was killing men for their genetic material.
Months later, a friend spotted her on a plane headed to L.A
and put her on the phone.
Cory acted like she didn’t know
who I was. Months later, a film called SPECIES with the same plot line from my film was released.
Rejection is a fact of life, and as a filmmaker
you’d better be prepared to handle it…
Or it might just kill you (literally).
I remember a friend of mine who was a close friend of
Special Effects legend Rick Baker.
They went to school together in Dayton, Ohio.
My bud felt he could hook up with Rick,
and the rest would become history.
Didn’t turn out that way.
My friend did get to appear in the film
“Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”
as one of the neanderthals.
He thought his career was set to go.
But then a funny thing
happened on the way to fame.
Rick Baker rejected him, refusing to offer my friend any help.
My pal called me, searching his mind and soul for the reasons why his high school buddy dispatched with him like a bag of week old babies diapers.
This is the business we are in. Get used to it.
You don’t have friends in Hollywood, just acquaintances.
It’s dog eat dog, and the meanest Pit Bull survives.
What you have to realize is that TALENT is no guarantee of success.
When you get a rejection letter, it’s usually because you have no monetary value to them. Money rules, and if you can’t assure a producer you will be a money-maker, forget it. No amount of begging and pleading will make you famous. Obviously some of these scum bags will accept “sexual favors” and bribes of all kinds, and even then, they are not going to put you in the lead role of their multi million dollar investment.
So, when you pack your bags and head to LA LA land, expecting to become the next Tom Cruise, chances are you will not reach that goal. EVER.
So you do the usual thing, get an agent. You’ll probably get bit parts, extras roles, background. nothing big, but enough to get you in the door. What next? Something called LUCK and TIMING.
Another way to do this, is to have CONNECTIONS. This way, somebody who knows somebody who knows you, can get somebody to refer you to a producer. Again, is it practical to pin all your hopes on “somebody”?
How about pinning your hopes on YOU? Do you have the talent to impress the main “somebody” to launch your career? But Even then, how valuable is talent?
Bad news, there are a shit load of movies featuring
actors who suck, and tons of actors who can’t get a job in Hollywood.
And there are thousands just like you,
with the Same dream, just as unprepared for
rejection as you. And you have talent.
Some can take it and stick it out. Some go home.
Some end up on the
streets waiting for their big break.
Others get smart, and make plans.
I came to one major realization:
Hollywood would not give me that big break,so I made my own.
And, it took 30 years to finally make it.
We’ll revisit this in a later blog.
Fact is, TALENT may get you noticed, but will not guarantee
you the job.
When I became an “acquaintance” of Monty Ross, Spike
Lee’s producer, I thought I was all set back in 1991 to
be the next big thing.
Ross and the team at 40 Acres and A Mule continually
My scripts, although Monty always thought highly of me.
But I eventually got tired of hearing:
“Thanks for your submission, but it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.”
In retrospect, my films did not fit their vision (at that time), and my work was far from the quality of a major release.
Indeed, I knew Monty, but that’s where my connections ended.
I had the talent, but no one was going to give me a shot.
Now, with all of this rejection, my choices were to give up my passion,
or continue to be rejected.
OR MAKE MY OWN WAY.
Are you wiling to wait YEARS for your dream
to come true?
Are you deluding yourself about your abilities?
Have you found other avenues to reaching your dream, other than begging
Big wig , faceless, nameless, soul-less producers for help, to make that dream come true?
Can you find others, nearby, who will support your vision and help you make it a reality?
Find them. NOW.
Bottom line is, how far you go is up to you. Sure,
you’ll need luck and connections, and people with the same vision, but make sure
you have the rest of your life to fulfill your dream.
Remember: My dream took 30 years and is still
If this business is something you can live without,
then move on.
If this is in your blood, then be prepared to work until the day you die.
That which does not kill us, forces us to look more critically at ourselves.
In the end, just being an actor. Waiting for someone to make you famous is a mistake.
Like Robert Townsend said in “Hollywood Shuffle”:
If you can’t make it in the film biz,
“There’s plenty of work at the Post Office.”
But I like making films much, much better.
How about you?
So, now that I’ve ruined your dreams, how about a plan for making your OWN WAY?
As famous as some stars get, ever notice how many end up broke?
And they had talent and connections.
Think about it.
A business plan for your dream will save your sanity, your career and your life.
I may have your answer.
Like any good show man, you’ll have to read my
next blog for that little bit of advice.
HANG IN THERE. IT GETS BETTER. TRUST ME.