When Roomie Jekyll and I watch Survivor (yes, we still watch that show, last week’s episode was AWESOME), and in between us trying to imitate the African tribal music yelped by a vigorously ethnic sounding voice (goes something like “ENNNNNNNG ENNNNNNNGGG AHHHHHHHHHH!”) Roomie Jekyll will ask rhetorical questions of the starving and desperate contestants on TV. “Why are they so stupid!?” is a common one. “Don’t they understand how dumb they look?” “How does he not know how annoying he is?” I continually point out to Roomie Jekyll that they’re in the Survivor Bubble, and it’s very easy to make judgments and personality calls from the safety of your couch, but it’s probably very different inside the Survivor Bubble of the game, where you don’t have a bird’s eye view of the situation.
I don’t have a Survivor Bubble, but I have been getting along very nicely on a Denial Bubble all my own. The Denial Bubble, contrary to the name, is actually an optimistic place to be. In this Bubble, we’ve finished the Pink Piggy film, we’ve submitted it to festivals, and we haven’t heard back if we’ve been accepted or not. So I’m free to occasionally puff up fantasies that we HAVE been accepted, and all the a, b, and c tangents that will naturally evolve from there, which culminate in us doing Striped Tiger, and another unnamed Menangerie film, as well as selling Purple Monkey to a major studio, and finally moving into a place of my own with a comfy chair.
I should’ve been doing a lot more work inside the Denial Bubble, though sometimes I’ll remember that I wrote a first draft of a brand new project for a class at the beginning of this year that I’ve since put away. And then I have to remind myself that I spent all of October on Polka Dotted Platypus, and I’ll most likely see the benefit of that endeavor next year. My short term memory really sucks inside the Denial Bubble. Who are you again? I know you bought me this drink and all, and I’m so embarrassed but, seriously, what was your name again? Didn’t you say you were an architect or something?
But no matter how much the Denial Bubble bounced along the dewy fields of Amy’s Fantasyland, I never forgot that we had submitted to Film Festival A, B, and C, at least for the first round.
And I also knew that the time was stretching pretty close to hear back from these festivals whether we got in or not. And last Friday, I had starting hearing blips and peeps from acquaintances and random strangers whose posts I stumbled over during my internet searches that this short got in, that film got a midnight screening.
And my Denial Bubble abruptly spouted leaks all over the place.
I had pretty much written off Film Festival A. That’s the one you’ve heard of, that’s the one my dad’s heard of, that’s the one every film submits to, regardless of whether the film is good or not. There was no way Pink Piggy was getting into Film Festival A. It’s political, we had no insider advocate, we had no stars in our cast. It wasn’t happening.
But I did hold unabashed hopes for Film Festival B. You probably have heard of Film Festival B, certainly if you live in L.A. Films get bought at Film Festival B. Film Festival B is respectable. They like first time filmmakers, that’s us. They take chances on different films, that’s us too. The festival programmer was posting on her blog a list of indy film clichés, then admitted her favorite film had two of them, just like our film does! (yes, we have a main character staring at herself in a mirror, and yes, there is some photo caressing going on.)
But all the evidence I was pulling off the internet was pointing to the fact that Film Festival B had started calling the lucky films over this past weekend. And no call for us.
I’m no stranger to rejection, HELL NO I’M NOT. Scripts, boys, jobs, yep, I could wallpaper my room with a thousand “nos”, as any writer could. So I was surprised to feel a sting in my heart as my Denial Bubble went POP. Come on, Amy, snap out of it. This is only the start of what will probably be a million nos for Pink Piggy. The least you can do is be a grownup about it. A thousand people can say no, it only takes one person to say yes.
I’ve been talking to God about clarity on a number of fronts. It seems pretty clear that He’s closing this door, this door, and this door on other avenues of my life. Usually, that would upset me. But now, I’m more interested in having Him lead me where He wants me to go. Okay, we’re not going down that road. Great, where to now? I’m ready Freddy! Vroom vroom let’s go! At a blazingly glacial pace.
But after a Saturday talk with God, I was surprised to feel a quicker sense of calm than normal. The inner peace, she don’t come easy to me. But I did feel like I gave a Symbolic Shrug of sorts and was somewhat okay with waiting to see what’s next, and somewhat okay with knowing that What’s Next probably wouldn’t show up for another five years.
When you get to the part of a Survivor episode where they have to kick somebody off, it usually boils down to let’s kick off Person A, or let’s kick off Person B. The smarter contestants are the one that can point to Person C, or Option C, which blindsides everybody and makes for an excellent Tribal Council with lots of snarling and yelling and bitter Last Words, because nobody saw Option C coming, not in a million years.
Today at work, the Pink Piggy crew told me that we got into Film Festival C.
Film Festival C! Option C! The one I totally forgot about! I couldn’t even remember the name of Film Festival C! I had to go look it up!
Now, you, Gentle Reader, have probably not heard of Film Festival C. It’s okay, my parents haven’t either. I didn’t really pay attention to it, I was focused on Film Festival B. (Which is of course why we got into Film Festival C.) I will probably have to explain about ten million times to everyone what it is.
But Film Festival C is a valid one. In the top ten of important U.S. independent film festivals, they tell me. Suddenly, we have merit. Suddenly, we have a resume. It will probably help our chances of getting into other festivals, they tell me.
Even better, they tell me we’re in the Narrative Competition category, as opposed to a showcase category. Do I think we’ll win? Not unless it’s in a rousing game of Rock Band, and I’m singing “Enter Sandman” with the director on guitar, a producer on bass and the costume designer on drums.
But that’s not important right now. Right now, my Denial Bubble is suddenly puffed full again, and will be until next year.
Does God really work like this? Was this really where He was leading me? It seems TOO perfect. I’m actually uncomfortable thinking His hand’s stirring this pot. I prefer to think that things Plinko balled their way into this arrangement on their own and God’s more concerned about my character and how I handle it.
So I’m handling it verrrrrrrrry slowly. ThankyouGodthankyou. At a blazingly glacial pace. ThankyouGodthankyou. One breath at a time. ThankyouGodthankyou.
And I’m back to working on the Purple Monkey outline.