Not everybody’s going to like it

Astonishing as it is, some people actually don’t like pie. Heathens.

Notes and comments continue to come in for the comedy spec. I’m seeing some very insightful stuff that will prove most beneficial for the next draft.

Reactions range from “I loved it!” to “I was very disappointed with this.” The author of the latter even started things out by saying “I wanted to like it, but just couldn’t. I guess our senses of humor are just too different”.

And you know what? They’re right, and that’s totally fine. Comedy is subjective. Everybody likes different things. If it’s not for you, it’s not for you.

Would I have preferred they liked it? Of course. But they didn’t, and that’s all there is to it. I still value their opinion and will continue to ask them for feedback in the future.

But I also shouldn’t totally disregard what they had to say. They made some valid points and suggestions in their explanation of why it didn’t work for them, a lot of which could potentially be applied to the aforementioned rewrite.

Nor should I take one person’s rejection as the final word. They didn’t like it, but in no way does that mean everybody else will have the same opinion. For all I know, this one dislike is the exception to the rule.

This is one of those things that a lot of writers, especially newer ones, fail to grasp. You slave away on a script, and then you send it out, convinced it’s a work of genius. And you don’t get the reaction you were hoping for. PASS. Thanks, but no thanks. We’re working with something similar.

Heartbreaking, ain’t it? “How could they not have liked it?” you cry out to the writing gods. It’s just the way it is. Remember – it’s not about you. It’s about the script.

So you’ve got two choices. Obsess over the rejection, or accept it, put it behind you, and keep pushing forward. Maybe figuring out why their reaction was negative could help.

But don’t let that negative slow you down. Do what you can to turn things to your advantage. Like with practically everything connected to screenwriting, it won’t be easy.

Start by making sure you like it, and then take it from there.

12 thoughts on “Not everybody’s going to like it

  1. It’s such a subjective field and industry. You can’t please all of the people, as they say. My rule of thumb is: If one person doesn’t like something, that’s probably just them. If two people don’t like it, I’d better look again. If three or more don’t like it, it almost certainly needs to change.

  2. It is hard not to take it personal. It’s my creation but you are right about keeping the criticism or rejection in perspective and to pay attention if the same criticism is repeated by a few people. Buena Suerte.

  3. Well done, Paul!
    For finishing your script.
    For being brave enough to put it “out there.”
    For accepting that it may not all be “genius” and being willing to make the changes.
    And to keep pushing forward.
    You’re a real trooper!

    Having said all of this, for me, the most important point:
    “Thanks, but no thanks. We’re working with something similar.”
    Something similar?
    Oh dear!
    You need to totally SEDUCE them with something so new, so original, so mind blowing – they simply can’t say “no”!

    • Thanks! The “something similar” is a variation on something a friend was recently told in response to his TV pilot pitch.

  4. I know. I had a published author who know how to write great character arc read it and she told me I should send it out to a contest so I did and definitely saw it a different way, so I’m doing. Rewrite which is going smithy. With what I’ve learned a it shortening dialogue and reworking the description has
    (I bekieve) made a difference. And comedy writing. Is a thing in my dreams They offer comedy writing through The Writers Store on the internet. Do you recommend them to learn comedy. I have snippets of humor in my scripts, but I don’t know how to carry it through a screenplay.

  5. If you want a measure of how subjective humor is, see the critic scores for “Hail Caesar,” which range from 25 to 100. I found the movie very funny, working at different levels, using insider jokes that even some ‘critics’ apparently didn’t get. For example, Frances McDormand has a wonderful cameo scene as film editor Margaret Booth. The scene is very short, but captures the essence of the character beautifully. People who’d actually met Booth would pee their pants.

  6. Mohinder, the answer to your question: “Until you get it right.”
    Yeah, I know, “getting it right” is subjective, but here’s the thing: a winning script all depends on whether you have a great captivating story or just ‘situations” that make up your story!

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