“Thank you for applying to the DC Talent Development Writers Workshop! Due to the high volume of competitive submissions, it was very challenging to select our final candidates. Unfortunately, we will not be able to offer you a place in the program this year. We enjoyed reviewing your application and appreciate your interest in the program.
We hope you’ll consider applying again in the future!
– DC Talent Development”
I almost didn’t open the email.
It was about 9:30 in the morning. I’d already been up at 5 to work for several hours. I’d come back home to nap, before getting started with the next part of my day. Ironically enough, the next part of my day was the writing portion. Working on my latest script.
Something woke me. And, as is typical for those with a ton of things on their plate, I spazzed out in a semi-conscious panic, thinking I was late for something. But I wasn’t. I held my phone in my hand, looking at the time. 9:30. I could still afford to stay in bed just a little bit longer. And then, like a rebel bee on the war path, my phone buzzed. The headline flashed across the top.
DC Talent Development.
What the heck was THAT?!
My sleep addled brain wasn’t comprehending what was happening. Have you ever waited for something so long, with so much anticipation, that you don’t even recognize it when it arrives? That was me. Struggling to figure out who this DC character was and what talent they were supposedly developing.
And then it clicked. This was the DC job I’d been itching to hear about! They were canvassing for new writers and artists [presumably] to help carry the monstrous title output load incited by the massively successful Rebirth launching. The challenge for the writers was to submit a completely original story along with a cover letter, stating why you wanted to work for DC Comics specifically and the comic book industry in general. Then they would whittle down to about 13 people and take the chosen ones through a concentrated writer’s group led by none other than young legend Scott Snyder.
Maybe I should open this later, I thought.
Sparks clashed across my emotional battlefield as heart and mind dueled for dominance. Heart saying open the email now. Mind saying to put it off until later, just in case it’s unfavorable.
But my mind was at a disadvantage. I’d learned some time ago that he can be… well, rather cowardly when it comes to these types of things. Now allied with my heart, it took almost no time at all to skewer that yellow striped brain matter of mine. Swipe down. Tap once.
This entry’s opening scrawl greeted me unceremoniously.
I read it once.
Read it twice.
And felt… nothing. At all.
Now, you might need a little context to understand the significance of this. Up until two years ago, I suffered from deep depression. Never quite made it to medication level, but not for lack of emotional instability. Ha. I just didn’t want to get put on anything (for a few reasons, chief of which was that deep down I felt I really could beat depression). Two years ago the deep part finally broke off. But I still struggled with depression. And the number one triggers were writing and creativity.
I love mythology and I love my industry and it killed me to be kept on the outside of it. Not to mention that facebook “friends” are notorious for not supporting… well, anything not already successful. It’s interesting. I have this theory. My theory is that nobody wants to claim you, until everybody KNOWS you. Then, all these unsupportive people who you know online and offline, will suddenly be sharing your stuff and talking about how they knew you when.
But “when” is NOW!
That was quite depressing.
It wasn’t until this year, I want to say May (the month this contest began), that depression started to lose its grip. My battles and victories and headway against depression are a whole other blog’s worth of words, but suffice it to say I really believed I was getting better.
Then the email happened. And I felt nothing. So much so, that I began to be alarmed. Maybe I WAS depressed, but suppressing it. There was no chance in Krypton’s corrupted core that I was actually okay with this.
So I dug. And I mean reallllly dug. Practically tried to force myself to dredge up a functional state of depression. I did this for about 20 minutes (in and out of sleep) until I got too tired. Then I stopped and considered what was happening…
I was fine! Completely and totally fine!
I could hardly believe it.
Now let’s not get it twisted. Of COURSE I would have wanted to work for DC Comics! That fits in with my life plans nicely. A quick bump to prominence and the spotlight. I absolutely would have wanted that. But I didn’t get it. And I was fine with it. At the time of the email, I’d just finished the pilot script for a youtube series I’m working on pitching and was over halfway done with the script for an animated feature I’m planning to shop around (I finished writing it like the next day). I’d also nearly completed a short story for an anthology contest I’m submitting to (finished that a couples day later). And I’m already beating out another story on my board.
Somebody get the butter-CUZ I’M ON A ROLL!!!
Not to mention a handful of other projects that I’m either involved with or personally cooking up. I’m sizzling with creative energy and consistent output. No time to mourn the loss of the fast track, when I’m mastering my own path.
I will continue to read, I will continue to research, I will continue to learn.
Because I’m committed to the craft of good storytelling- not merely the fame of having told a good story.
Maybe my comic book script format wasn’t clean enough. Possible, since I’d literally never done one before. Maybe my story was “too black.” Also possible, because I had a lot of powerful black characters in it, including one who was a king in a whole other dimension AND a superhero for earth. Maybe they didn’t believe the earnestness of my cover letter. Possible as well- if you don’t know me, you might think I’m fabricating or exaggerating my passion for story and comprehension of the power of mythology… but I assure you it’s no hyperbole. I love this stuff man.
Maybe I got severely outwritten. Possible. I’m not the only good writer in the world, and there are certainly many who surpass my skill. Maybe I was over imaginative; could be they wanted something more streamlined. And heck- maybe, there were just too many people and I simply didn’t make the cut. Poor luck of the draw.
Whatever the reason was, I realized one simple thing about them choosing not to bring me on board…
They’ve just made one of their biggest mistakes yet.