Live With It, by Ben Jeapes
|Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash|
I hope I’m not about to spoil your day – week, month, even your entire 2021 – if I tell you there will not be a Ben Jeapes TV series any time soon.
But, you see, for a while there was a chance that there might …
For the last few years a treatment of my first novel, His Majesty’s Starship, and its sequel The Xenocide Mission has been getting serious attention from a young Canadian TV producer who was given the first book when he was a boy, twenty years ago. He and his wife did everything they could with treatments and visuals and outlines, up to the point where it was getting the personal attention of a very Big Name (even I’ve heard of him) in Hollywood. And ... very reluctantly, this week, the Big Name finally decided that with all the pandemic disruption and uncertainty he just couldn’t commit to making a new series. Sorry.
I am consolable. I have a roof over my head, I have my daily bread, my sins are forgiven. It’s not like my entire future happiness was staked on this one thing. Something would be badly wrong if it was.
To get to the point of writing and selling His Majesty’s Starship in the first place, I had a lot of false starts, slip-ups and rejections of work that I thought was perfectly sellable. If you want to be a writer then you will be rejected. You won’t even have the comfort of Matthew 5.11, because it’s not like you’re being persecuted unjustly. It’s just that other people’s tastes are different. Or – whisper it quietly – you’re not as good as you think you are. More likely it will be somewhere on the spectrum between those two points.
Hopefully, your rejection will come with feedback, which can be helpful if you need improvement. Less so if it’s just, “This isn’t our kind of thing, sorry.”
There is rejection and disappointment in the Bible – not just at the Job-level, and not always ultimately rewarded. Paul never got to visit, or re-visit, all the places he wanted to. Elijah thought after Mount Carmel that there would be a huge revival in the kingdom – in fact he ended up as a fugitive, so bitter and exhausted that he could just die. But in every case, they pick themselves up and keep going because – well, that’s all they can do.
In other news this week, the inability of an emotionally-stunted individual who has never before been unable to buy, flatter or bully his way into getting what he wants – and who incidentally is the most powerful man in the world – to accept that in this instance he has lost, has led to civil insurrection, deaths, and shockwaves rippling around the world.
Hopefully your reaction to failure won’t be quite as extreme. Live with it, learn what lessons you can, move on. You are a child of the King. You can handle this.
Always enjoy your pieces, Ben, & sorry they didn't go with it in the end. We shall all remaincurious as to what it would have been...ReplyDelete
Wise words. But it must have been a disappointment to you after waiting so long and all that anticipation. Good points about the Bible characters though. I was only thinking that when we were studying Hebrews 12 recently in our home group. Even those characters who, in the OT, seem to fail and never achieve their final goal, they make it into Hebrews 12 with some very complimentary accolades.ReplyDelete
I mean Hebrews 11. Sorry.Delete
Great post, Ben. Disappointment is in the writer's job description but hang in there...there will be joy again too. XxReplyDelete
Gosh Ben, What a super post! Thanks for sharing what must have been a disappointment, to help and inspire the rest of us. Hoping your books, which have clearly impressed, will be taken up in a big way by other TV drama writers and performers. But, as you say, if not... Your ruminations have been very helpful and will no doubt continue to be so.ReplyDelete
Agreed! A stonker of a post. How hard it must have been to get so close, and yet you are so gracious and wise about it. I'm impressed. You've had plenty of extremes to draw on this week and your choice of imagery resonated with me. Post lockdown, I shall be on the edge of my seat waiting for Netflix to drop a Ben Jeapes special.ReplyDelete
useful to hear. Thank you for sharing your experience.ReplyDelete