Another chapter has closed in my ongoing quest to become a working writer, or at least an annoying wrinkle has been ironed out.
Following the latest but not-surprisingly disappointing results, my involvement with the “pay to pitch” practice has come to an end. A person can only take so much before totally abandoning the ship in question.
Simply put: I ain’t doin’ it no more.
How did I end up here? Easy. Desperation.
Despite all my efforts on several fronts, nothing was happening with any of my scripts. I got to the point that I’d try anything.
So I tried this. A few times, each with the same result – PASS, accompanied with a few classic chestnuts. “Couldn’t get excited about the story.” “Didn’t really care about the characters.” “No specificity of the throughline.” (This last one will stick with me until the end of time.)
I even went so far as to do one via video streaming, but technical issues really mucked things up. It’s kind of tough to pitch to someone when they can see you, but YOU CAN’T SEE THEM. Did the best I could, but still another PASS.
I got a survey/questionnaire about this one, and didn’t pull any punches in airing my frustration about it, adding how I couldn’t in good conscience recommend the service to anybody.
A representative contacted me soon afterward, expressing their sympathy and understanding, as well as an explanation that “their policies regarding responses were different now”, and offered a free pitch. I considered it, and decided to hold off unless something too irresistible came along. The rep also offered to help me with the pitch so as to get maximum results.
A few months went by, and what seemed like a solid match popped up. I contacted the rep, asking for their help, which they provided in the form of suggested edits. Each subsequent draft had to be uploaded to a file-storing program for the rep to read it, but I didn’t know if each new draft was replacing the old one, or just sitting there next to it. My emails to the rep were going unanswered, and the deadline was drawing near fast. In the end, there was nothing I could do.
The deadline came and went. Days went by, and no response. Days turned to weeks, and still nothing. As it neared the 2-month mark, I’d decided that was a sufficient amount of time and sent an email to the rep asking what had happened (plus a copy to the rep’s supervisor, just in case).
The response was almost immediate – from the supervisor. This was the first they’d heard about my situation, apologies were offered, along with the promise to give my pitch top priority with that company the next time. I said I’d be in touch.
A few hours later, I got an email from the original rep, who informed me they were no longer with the company (their departure most likely around the same time as, if not before, my original deadline).
Jump ahead a few days, and a response to my original pitch arrived from the company in question.
5/5 in every category, save for a 3/5 in Character Obstacles (which was one of the things I’d cut based on the rep’s suggestions).
I sent another email to the supervisor, informing them about this (since I’m sure they weren’t even aware of it) and officially calling it quits. I won’t hold my breath waiting for a response.
What bothers me the most about this whole experience is how easily I bought into the false hope that was being sold. Like I said, I was feeling frustrated and desperate, and this seemed like my only option, which of course it wasn’t.
There are very rough days where I get extremely depressed about my lack of progress, and going through something like this doesn’t help – especially when it keeps happening over and over again. You learn real fast how many hits you can endure before wanting to simply give up completely.
But I’m not at that point just yet.
A lot of writer friends have offered up words of encouragement, and a few positive things have happened recently so as to improve my spirits, or at least renew my belief in my writing skills. Things will take a turn for the better.
The marathon continues, one step at a time. But I won’t be paying for it anymore.