Thursday, October 23, 2008

Rejection notes

While we're still on jargon, a quick email to various colleagues brought forth the following (genuine) reasons for scripts being rejected:

"We feel the script lacks primary colours." (the writer in question says "My offer to specify in the directions that the main character dresses in a pillar box red pullover throughout failed to retrieve the project from the bin").

"There are too many funny bits, and not enough other bits."

"We like the writing but we're not doing grey" (as Oli has suggested, is there perhaps a glut of execs with synaesthesia?)

"This is too intelligent for an (channel deleted) audience."

"Hattrick is not at home to whimsy."

"It's very very funny, but it begs the question 'why?'"

"It's great.  We love it.  The script made me laugh out loud.  We're not doing it."

Email from one writer to another: "Well we got the notes from ITV and basically they don't want jokes about people, ideas, books, places, history, travel, cars, politics or things.  So far in the script they have approved something about a meat auction."

And from a director about a script that was made: "I don't bother looking at the bits in italics" i.e. the stage directions.

UPDATE: James Moran says:

You can name me, because I still don't know who the guilty party was. When Severance was being sent out to production companies, about a week later some complete stranger returned a copy to the PFD office - they'd found it on a bus. Clearly somebody at one of the companies found it a very gripping read. We never found out who it was, nobody owned up to losing it.

I would add to this, to continue the developing sub-theme of mystery rejection, James's agent rejected my very first sitcom script without me ever having sent it to him. He returned a copy of the script with a very nice note saying it wasn't quite his cup of tea, but I shouldn't let this kind of thing get me down, because everyone has differing tastes, and I was bound to get representation eventually, which I did, awwww. Although I still have no idea who sent him my script.


Salvadore Vincent said...

I too have had "It made me laugh out loud... we don't want it."

My favourite bit of feedback though was when I was once doctoring an animation series which involved rewriting parts of all 26 episodes in a short space of time. The script editor and I quickly agreed that to save time for everyone she would just forward the notes straight from the German co-producer rather than "nice them up a bit" on the way to protect my fragile ego.

I still remember one particular note: "Why not try something funnier?"

James Henry said...

This has led to a separate discussion via email about whether writers would prefer it if producers just said something along the lines of 'Look, we just thought it was shit'.

Conclusion: no.

Lucy V said...

I got once, "Your characters eat too much flesh for me to be able to relate to them."

Translation: your script is shit.

Boz said...

I am sort of always at home to whimsey. And I am a telly watcher. Although I suppose not just whimsey.

And funny should never be questioned.

Anonymous said...


Good grief another big word in the space of two days, I am impressed.

Jayne said...

I'm lounging around in Umbria this week anyway so no need to make excuses. Although I do expect a Very Big Drink at some point.

Salvadore Vincent said...

I don't especially want to go down the lazy national stereotype route as I like Germany very much, have met many lovely German people over the years and indeed my girlfriend is half-German.

But being told you're not funny by one? Ouch.

Jayne said...

whoops, sorry. meant to put this on the previous post. Well not this but the other one. You know what I mean...

Anonymous said...

Kind of explains the continous "success" of My Family - presumbly someone said - "It's just bland enough - thank you" whihc clearly gives you something to aim for. With a shoulder held rocket launcher.

Who ARE these people???

John Soanes said...

Are we talking feedback only here, or rejections too? If the latter is allowed, then I had the reply 'thanks for sending the chapters, which we've read, but they're not quite our thing', which would have been fine if I'd actually sent anything more than an initial query letter...

Boz said...

If this moves on to personal rejections from the object of people's affections, this comment thread could go supernova...

Boz said... which I mean my rejections, obviously.

James Henry said...

Is this about Ringo Starr? He's had enough fanmail for one lifetime LET IT GO BOZ,

Boz said... hurts... (sniff)