The Truth about Project Greenlight, II 12/2/00

Well, it's over. Not completely over ... for those who made the Top 250, it's time to make the bio videos. But it's over for the Steeles. We didn't make the cut.

Thank God.

Not that I'm glad to be out of it ... I'm a bit disappointed, to be sure. But that excruciating waiting to find out who made the cut of 250 -- it was bad enough that I don't mind so much not having to wait to be shot down at the Top 30 stage, or any of the stages that follow. Right at the moment, the relief far-outweighs the disappointment.

Besides, I knew when I submitted it that it wasn't ready. It was rushed, and while it might not have been bad, it certainly wasn't good enough to be made into a movie in its current state of evolution. The feedback I receive on it will -- with a little luck -- aid me in patching that sucker up a bit.

Oh ... do ya like grapes? Do ya like sour grapes? Because the Project Greenlight Message Boards are just chock full of 'em. Posts like, "I didn't win because everyone else sucks," and "I read Top 250 Screenplay X and mine was much much better and Matt and Ben should die ignoble deaths." I mean, whoa.

I think I explained this back in the beginning of November, but I'll do it again real quick for the benefit of those who might have missed it -- the deal was, every member of Greenlight (composed of both Submitters and Reviewers) read and reviewed three scripts, and the Top 250 scripts were decided upon based on those three peer reviews. Clearly, there's an element of chance involved. Clearly. Not everyone likes every type of movie, and different people are going to judge based on different criteria as dictated by the level of experience they bring into the contest. The fact that there was a bit of luck involved wasn't that fuckin' hard to piece together.

(Unfortunately, Passed Around was judged by people who knew what they were talkin' about. Bummer ... I was hoping the Inexperience Factor might have shooed me right in.)

I am happy to report that Mrs. Steele and I were extremely gracious on those boards (not to toot our own horns -- but screw it, I'll toot-away). We weren't entirely gracious when it came to certain whining-sour-grape-mother-fuckers, but even our responses to these people were gentle-ish.

And now, I'd like to recreate what we said on those boards, and hopefully say a few things that we intended to say, but didn't. This way, all of those comments will be gathered in one place, and I can just post this link to those boards over the next couple of days instead of retyping our condolences and heart-felt congratulations over and over and over and over and over again.

To those who made the Top 250:
Excellent job! You guys ROCK! Forget all that stuff I said about a certain amount of luck involved ... luck aside, you made the top 3.5% in a contest where we all had the exact same odds. Celebrate your accomplishment. Do an End Zone Dance, and that's an order.

You're still reading. You're not excused from this exercise unless you've already done it.

I'm waiting. I can wait all night. I don't have a bio video to shoot.

There. Much better.

To those who didn't make the Top 250:
Okay, I know you're disappointed. I was disappointed, too. But there are a couple of things you have to bear in mind.

The Greenlight Project was a single door. One door. It's not the only way to get a movie made. It takes time, perseverance, patience, and a thick skin to get a script bought. Even Moore, Affleck, and Damon have to bust their asses to get a movie made -- it's the nature of the business. If this screen writing gig is something you're serious about, you've got a whole lotta doors to knock on in your future.

Rejection sucks. It's difficult to get used to, and easy to take personally. Don't. About all I can suggest as a means to getting used to rejection is to write the absolute worst drivel you can possibly conceive, send it everywhere, and wait for the form letters to come pouring in. It also helps to lessen the blow if you've got at least two things in the mail waiting for a response at all times -- preferably more, but at least two. If you're still waiting to hear back on something else, it makes the individual rejections easier to stomach.

To those who wrote their very first screenplay for Project Greenlight:
You guys deserve a special congratulations. You've reached the end of your very first screenplay. It's more than just an accomplishment -- it's a milestone. The vast, vast majority of humans will never do this. A significant majority of the humans who call themselves 'writers' will never do this.

Your identity has changed. You're no longer just an attorney, a fireman, or an Indian Chief. You're a writer, now. What you do with it from here is up to you. I strongly recommend attempting a novel -- there are a whole lot more novels published in a twelve month period than movies made, and you can use as many setting, characters, and special effects as you like.

To those who feel you were somehow robbed or cheated:
Please shut the fuck up.

To those who feel the need to trash screenplays that made the Top 250, because you feel yours was better:
Please shut the fuck up.

To those who made the Top 250, and want to gloat:
Please feel free to gloat ... you earned it. So there. Just be gentle with the losers -- some of them are in sort of a bad way, right at the moment.

To those who feel so disappointed by the experience that you're going to give up writing:
Do it, and I'll kick your ass.

To those who feel so cheated by the experience that you're considering physically harming yourself:
Please don't. Get yourself to a hospital and tell them how you're feeling.

To those who feel so cheated by the experience that you're considering physically harming others:
Get to a hospital now.

To those who choose to express their disappointment by attacking anyone for any reason on the Message Boards:
Please shut the fuck up.