Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.
Excuse me for being in my feelings at the moment, but I’m writing this during the time of night where my “2am personality” kicks in, and I just start thinking about random things that I thought I’d be over by now.
In late 2014, my love for television writing was at an all-time high. I watched tons of scripted TV shows, I was taking screenwriting classes in college, and I was working at a production company as an intern during the winter season. I was a junior in college, which meant it was time for me to start thinking whether or not I wanted to continue my studies and get a master’s degree in grad school. I thought about going away to grad school, I thought about doing one-year conservatory programs, and I thought about even taking screenwriting workshops in order to better my knowledge and technique in that field. When I thought I’d lost all hope for finding a graduate film school, I stumbled upon a new school Brooklyn College was opening up Fall 2015; a new graduate film school. I knew right then and there that I was going to work hard to get into that school once the time came.
By Fall 2015, I was now a senior at my college and application season was just about to start. I had my portfolio all ready to go, I filled out my application, I paid all the fees, and literally, a day after they opened up admissions, I sent in everything to the film school. I wanted to be one of the first portfolios they saw once they received it; I was that determined to make it into this school.
By the end of October, the school opened an open house for prospective students to attend, and all I remember from that night was just how beautiful the school looked. The classrooms were like actual filming studios, there were cameras and equipment everywhere, there was a special FX room, a recording studio; just everything that I never thought a film school would look so perfect. I saw myself walking in these halls that Fall. I saw myself making films and pilots and treatments and pitches and everything for three years. I saw myself making a dream finally a reality.
I was more than ever determined to get into this school, so determined that it’s all I talked about and thought about in the months following up that open house. But days turned into months, and I never heard back from them, even when they told me I’d hear back from them 6 weeks after the deadline closed. I didn’t know what to expect; my time was running out and I had not heard back from them. By the end of March/early April, I’d pretty much had a feeling that I was rejected from the film school. I felt shitty, I felt like I wasn’t good enough, and I felt anger. I felt like they didn’t give me a chance to show my passion and my love for screenwriting. I felt like they didn’t even bother trying to get to know the person behind the script. It’s one thing to get called for an interview and ultimately failing, but to never get that interview call at all felt like it was an absolute no for me when they came across my application. I just felt heartbroken, and even discouraged to continue working on screenwriting.
When I got the opportunity to be fast-tracked into my school’s MA program, I felt immensely blessed because if it wasn’t for that, I probably would’ve never returned to get my master’s degree. I was grateful and honored that my school would want me to be a part of their freshly-new MA program, so I accepted it without hesitation. It did take away the uncertainty of where my life was going after I graduated college and it gave me something to look forward to. After that, I didn’t think much of that film school, not until they sent me the rejection letter the first week of May, which I admit, it felt like opening a freshly-healed wound back up. It was hard, and two years later, I still think about that film school.
Two years and a master’s degree later, I think about that school because I wonder how different my life would’ve been if I was a film school student there. Would I be confident in my craft? What kind of opportunities would I have if I was there? Would have I been happy? That last question haunts me. My grad school experience at my college wasn’t the greatest for many reasons, but the things that made it decent and a good experience nevertheless I would forever be grateful for. I learned a lot about life and myself being in grad school and I wouldn’t take that back for anything, but this whole rejection from film school has played some sort of role on my self-esteem and insecurities. Because of the rejection, I’ve been too upset to ever even think about writing scripts for fun. In a sense, it’s kind of like how poetry became for me; I felt like every piece I wrote had to be a masterpiece. Slowly, grad school kept me busy and I slowly began to lose interest in scriptwriting as a whole. My passion for storytelling has never disappeared, just my ability to write it out on a script. I wish I was still able to enjoy scriptwriting without the memory of rejection always coming up on my mind.
I can’t lie and say I don’t look on social media and stumble across that film school’s profile to see all the other students who attend there work their asses off with their films. I can’t say that I don’t get envious of seeing those students filming and making content they are passionate about. I can’t say that I haven’t thought about trying to get in again with a whole new application and portfolio time and time again. I can’t sit here and say that I’m over that rejection completely.
If I could go back and give 22-year-old Liz some advice, I would tell her to not completely invest my future in a school that only accepts 20 students per major. I would tell her to get some backups if this one fails, do more research, make your dreams a reality even if there is no one around you willing to support it; anything to know that her devotion and talent should never go unnoticed. But I would also tell her that everything happens for a reason, and maybe there’s a reason why I stayed at my college. I might not know what it is yet, but I hope with time I could find out and understand why I had to go over this inconvenient obstacle.
Maybe one day, I will move on from this constant thought of “what if?”