I was riding on the bus yesterday when one of my classmates took up the seat next to me. I don't know him too well personally, but we made small talk about our screenwriting course and then out of the blue he triggered a memory I had almost let slip away.
So you got any film internships goin' on or anything?
It's not a weird thing to be asked by any means, but in that moment I realized my brain had suppressed the only experience I had with that evil word.
Last summer I applied for the whole enchilada. Disney, Warner Bros, Viacom, Paramount, Universal, any production internship that I qualified for. After no word for a few months, I was blown away when my phone read "Burbank, CA" and it turned out to be the internship coordinator for MTV. Salvation! She liked my resume, gave me a quick phone interview, and left me with a promise that the production department I applied to would give me a call with all the details in a week or two. Congrats.
Guess what? No phone call. If there ever were a time in my life where I had really gotten my hopes up, this was it. I gave a nudge phone call here, a nudge email there. ANOTHER nudge phone call. Nothing.
I suppose, in a way, I'm thankful to have learned this lesson quick and dirty, just to get it over with. That's the big fat "NO" stamp in Hollywood and it sucks. I still get lectured about it now in my seminar. Unless someone hands you a check for your script, you've got nothing but a pat on the back. They'll never tell you no, but they will kill you with encouragement.
My classmate on the bus thought it was worth something to get a call in the first place, and I have to agree. Even their acknowledgment felt like an affirmation that I must be doing something right. The experience bummed me out at the time, but I learned to just be cool. Let it go. It's the first and surely not the last time I'll be given the silent treatment.