You probably know that when you fully believe in a project, that you give yourself every chance to complete it, that you believe in yourself, even if people make you understand that you are wrong, you can achieve it. Finally, sometimes your work is also just really shitty, and in those moments, well, you had to listen to the others better, but right now we’re going to talk about people in whom no one believed and who nevertheless had a great success, not big losers.
1. The “Squid Game” series rejected for 10 years by the studios
It’s kind of the last arrival on this list, but the Netflix event series has been a long road full of pitfalls and dog shit on the ground for its author. Considered too brutal and violent, many studios put off the project until Netflix agreed to adapt it. For the author, this could be explained by the fact that the world is changing and that this violence is more topical than ten years ago. Have you looked at the Squid Game characters in an honest version if not?
2. The “Harry Potter” saga refused 12 times by publishers
It can make you smile today when you see the mountain of dough that the work represents to think that publishers have refused JK Rowling’s idea nearly twelve times. And we’re not talking about twelve times by the same person, but about twelve different publishing houses who must still be biting their fingers 20 years later to have let this opportunity slip by. Otherwise there are plenty of details that you haven’t seen in Harry Potter, it’s time to open your eyes.
3. The author of “The conspiracy of imbeciles” who commits suicide because of the refusals
John Kennedy Toole, author of the famous humorous novel which will win the Pulitzer Prize after his death, committed suicide at the age of 31 after seeing his novel being refused by a large number of publishers. Discouraged and disgusted, it is after his tragic gesture that the novel will fall into the hands of a small publisher thanks to the efforts of his mother and will become a real success. Sad story.
4. Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psychosis” deemed too violent
Before becoming a small masterpiece of cinema, the film Psycho by good old Alfred Hitchcock was refused by many production companies. Basically, the studios absolutely did not like the idea of adapting this book deemed too violent for the cinema of the time. Imagine if the author of Squid Game had offered them his scenario at that time, they would have freaked out their mother.
5. “His Majesty of the Flies” Rejected 20 Times by Editors
The book is hard, we are not going to lie to each other, but it has become such a cult book that one wonders how the publishers have rejected this book by Golding nearly twenty times. For the record, during an interview where Stephen King was asked what book he would have liked to write, he answered without hesitation “His majesty of the flies”. Finally I imagine that he answered in English on the other hand.
6. “Star Wars”, deemed uninteresting by three major studios
As for “Harry Potter” with the publishers, it makes you smile today to think that three huge studios have refused the Star Wars project. Lucas had even started to get discouraged when his friend Spielberg convinced him to insist. But when you know that the Disney studio is one of those who rejected the work, it’s funny to think that they spent a lot of money to buy it back several decades later.
7. “Back to the future”, refused more than 40 times
Forty refusals, counting several from the same studio, is the number of winds that screenwriter Bob Gale took. While some felt the product wouldn’t work, others like Disney were bothered by Marty’s mother falling in love with him, which is understandable. But Universal didn’t mind, so that’s fine, because then we were able to show you details that you didn’t see in Back to the Future.
8. “Gone with the Wind” and its 38 rejections from publishers
Before being adapted into a cult film, Margaret Mitchell’s novel suffered more than thirty-eight rejections and a few middle fingers (it’s wrong, stop being so naive). So don’t believe that when someone says no to you 37 times you have to keep insisting, but for her it obviously worked, and that’s a good thing. Anyway, I don’t know, I haven’t read the book.
9. Stephen King’s “Carrie” and her thirty no’s
In the numerous rejection letters that we sent to King we find the sentence “we are not interested in works of science fiction which speak of negative utopias, they do not sell at all.” “Sacred clairvoyance when you see that today it works rather well as a subject. A few years later there were still two films adapted from the novel enough to spit out his tuna sandwich out of regret.
10. “Toy Story” and the impossible technical prowess
The birth of the first feature film from the Pixar studio is a complex path: first refused by Disney who did not believe in an animated film in computer graphics, it is the success of the small short film from the studio “Tin toy” who finally convinced the Mickey-eared giant to try his hand at this new kind of animation by giving Pixar the money to make the movie.
11. “Dune”, more than twenty refusals
Not to mention the films adapted from the novel, the Dune work is one (if not the) of the best-selling science fiction novels in the world, and yet the project did not initially convince publishers since its author Franck Herbert suffered nearly 23 publishing refusals before finally being able to launch his great saga. You wouldn’t have been able to see Timothée Chalamet in the sand without it. If the film remains unclear do not hesitate to see the explanations on Dune.
12. “Pulp fiction” and the story no one understands
If today the film which won the Palme d’or at Cannes has become a classic, it was another number when it had to be sold to the studios to film it. “It’s the worst thing ever written”, “it’s too long, violent and unrealizable”, “someone died and then he comes back, it’s incomprehensible”. Here is a small anthology of criticisms heard by Tarantino and his co-author Roger Avary, enough to discourage and yet, it worked pretty well, probably thanks to the character of the cramp.
Don’t be discouraged if you write something, it will eventually work. Unless it’s a story about a girl who hesitates between dating a werewolf and a vampire, that’s my idea.
Sources: Insider, Esquire, Wikipedia, BoredPanda, EarlyBird Books.