Rare is the day that I don't ask myself, 'What would Mister Rogers say?'
In fact, just now, I was staring out the window at the sunset doing just that. And as always, I heard his voice in my head.
"It's fine," he said. "Just keep trying."
What would Mister Rogers say when I told him our documentary, 'Mister Rogers & Me,' was not accepted to Independent Film Week?"
That's right. "Mister Rogers & Me" was not accepted to Independent Film Week. I got the email as I was walking through the turnstile at work. "Dear Benjamin," it started.
Thank you for your submission to the Documentary Work-in-Progress section of the 2008 Independent Film Week’ Project Forum. We regret to inform you that your project, “Mister Rogers & Me“, was not selected. We are only able to accommodate a maximum of 75 projects in this most competitive documentary section, which had approximately 500 submissions and numerous strong projects not selected this year.
Please be assured that all submitted projects were carefully reviewed by the Selection Committee. Final decisions were based on a range of criteria, including compliance with all application requirements, amount of financing in place or needed, available rights, artistic merit, and quality. That said, many projects "passed" these criteria, yet still could not be included due to space limitations.
I think I said, "Damn," before stepping into Times Square and cranking Billy Joel's "A Matter Of Trust" (of all things).
My first thought? 'Next!'
My second thought? Many.
First, I thought about early this afternoon. I was sitting in my office scheduling out the next few weeks: San Diego for ComicCon, Indianapolis for Brickyard 400, Meadowlands for Springsteen, Nantucket, Seattle, Nevis and on and on and on.
'I'm pretty blessed,' I thought then.
'Maybe this is some sort of message,' I thought now.
Second, I thought about how difficult the home stretch towards the Independent Film Week deadline was for Chris and me.
'Maybe this is some sort of message,' I thought.
Finally, I thought about how many times I said that, if all else failed, we'd load the movie into a van and drive it to every church basement and rec center that'd have us. Which still stands.
And then I thought, 'Back to work.'
We just have to keep trying.