I've been working to have my novel turned into a movie for the past few years (the NYT just wrote on my experiences). Along the way, the process has revealed the truth behind some positive and negative stereotypes of the film industry: it’s full of passive-aggressive people, but it does respect persistence.
If you’re a new filmmaker like me, you’ve got a lot working against you. Most doors will be closed to you because established industry people already have thousands of projects from established filmmakers that they can work on.
But what I’ve found is that if you knock on those doors long enough, eventually someone will notice that you believe in yourself and in your project enough to still be standing there knocking.
I learned that persistence pays off when I was trying to get my book published, a process which took me two years. I learned the hard way that I had to do most of the legwork on my own.
At one point, I had pretty much given up. My agent had refused to send the book to publishers a second time. I called everyone I knew, emailed everyone I knew — nobody could help. I was tired of it all — I was unemployed, I was running out of money. I said to myself: “I’m going to send out one final email. And after that I’ve had it.”
And I sent that one final email, and I fully expected the person to come back and say, “You know, look: you’ve asked me this question 20 times, and I’ve told you no 20 times.”
But to my surprise, he came back and said, “Alright — I’ll connect you with someone.”
Had I not sent that one final email, none of this would be happening.
Sanjay Sanghoee is the author of the novel Merger and is working on the film adaptation.