When I first started acting, my professor told my class that we would experience a ton of rejection in the industry. Foolishly, I looked around at my classmates and was like, oh she must be talking about y’all because my career is about to be it…
… uh, yeah, no, she was talking about my ass too.
Rejection is a recurring antagonist in most of our stories, especially if you’re an artist. For me, it didn’t stop once I started writing; it just transferred. But what it’s given me is elevated persistence to press forward in my art and win. I have to.
Away is my second attempt applying for the McDonald’s “My Community” Video Competition hosted by the American Black Film Festival (ABFF). My second attempt… and my second rejection. I applied with a dope video called Lovin’ Diana last year and was determined to redeem myself. Actually, that year, everything came effortless to me. The idea, the script, the production, everything. This year, however, was the complete opposite.
So here’s the deal. The competition gives you the theme with two months to complete a minute and a half video. Okay, cool. Problem is, I didn’t finish the script until two weeks until the deadline. I wrote so many different drafts with different ideas that in my opinion just weren’t working, so it took a while to finalize the one I was going to shoot.
The script I finalized fell into the drama genre. Uh oh. (See my About page to know why me and drama have beef.) Moreover, I know comedy usually works better in short form. Nonetheless, I went forward with it because I believed in the story. With two weeks left, I was like, I can do this.
Then, main actors dropped out, locations didn’t respond, and I was getting mixed reviews from the script… Five days left. Shit! I considered giving up, but there was something in me telling me to keep going. So, eventually I got the main cast solidified. Great! But still, no locations. Not so great.
Now I’m a person who likes to follow the rules… usually. So in my mind, I needed permission from these locations to film. Besides, I didn’t want to plan the entire production only for it to get shut down – been there before, it sucks.
After praying and talking to my lead and others, I felt like God was saying, just do it. So, I did. And it worked! No issues… well, other than the fact that I had to nix the main sequence – my favorite part – because committed actors decided they had something better to do or were just way too sick to make it – yeah that’s another story. But still, we made it work.
If I hadn’t pressed forward, if I hadn’t just gone out and done it, if I had decided to wait on other people and their permission or approval, I would have nothing. I’m not saying don’t ask for permission, but don’t wait for other people to give you the green light, when you’re already green lit and ready to go.
So check the video out. It’s not perfect. I see the flaws, but I also see progress. And as you watch, just know you’re only doing so because I stole every shot.