thank you for reading part one. It was actually a post from Facebook, as it wasn’t only directed to audio creators. The message was universal. I had a great conversation with someone who replied to my first one talking about “fear” specifically. Fear of rejection.
I think that those topics just come too short in my option. We as creators like to talk about all those awesome techniques, software, plugins, libraries, tools, etc. but I think that oftentimes we forget about some things that might be even more important as they are connected to being a “human being”. So let’s talk about “fear of rejection” for now.
I will talk about my personal experiences again. I share what I have experienced and run into. Everything is again very transparent as an open book. I will not share concrete names obviously. Everything is true. So keep on reading if you are interested in what can happen in the industry out there. It can be brutal and cruel. But it is how it is…so…fear of rejection…
Fear can be experienced in different ways. It has more than just one stage. Fear can be very exciting, think of scary video games like “Last Of Us” or “Resident Evil”. We play because of the “excitement”. Some people like it, others don’t.
Another stage of fear can cause mental instabilities. Your body and brain can’t do anything about it. Something very unexpected happens…you hear the alarm during a cruise on a ship…it’s not an exercise…(I hope no one will ever experience that, it’s just an example…). As I have experienced that myself twice I know how different people react to it…some take action…others switch off every part of their body and hope that it’s just a dream. You can’t “train” it…it’s just the way it is. No one should blame others for how they react to very unexpected situations.
The last form that I could think of for now is the fear that we have already experienced – so a situation that we have already lived through once. Which is the case of “fear of rejection”. We applied for a job, for an opportunity, that we thought is really cool, and we got this message back (if ever) after a few weeks: “Thank you for your application, however, we have decided to work with someone else. We appreciate your efforts and wish you all the best. Kind regards, XY.” …something like that…
This is very annoying. This is not very encouraging. This is shit as in most cases we never know what the “real” reason was…we never get a real answer. And if we ask…which I have done before you get something like this back: “Sorry, I can’t answer that question. Kind regards,…”. Seriously, you took your time to look after my application, but you can’t find one minute to reply to what I can improve in the future? Yeah…they got hundreds of emails and applications but how many really ask “Why not me? What was wrong with my application?”, I think because most of them never want it too serious and just give up quickly. I think there is absolutely nothing wrong with it to re-ask why my application wasn’t what they wanted…you have NOTHING to lose. You only tell people…“Hey, I do fu%$ing about it…I’ve invested a lot of time…”. But this is just a part of my story…
So now, we come to a very interesting part. To an awkward part. To a part where after going through all of this I had to ask myself…do I really want to experience this once again?
Back in 2019, I saw a great opportunity to switch my part-time job into a full-time job as an engineer – once again. I already had some personal meetings before where I have applied to, but I wasn’t “wowed” by the companies (in town) and the conditions. My situation at that point was nothing I could complain about. Part-Time working in the industry…more or less “safe” job. Part-Time doing my own stuff as a freelancer.
However, then I saw that opportunity in another town. 500km away from where I live now. Full-Time engineer studio. Sounded all cool. I’ve applied more or less for fun, just to see what will happen. No expectations. It happened during the off-season in the theater where I work, so no shows at that time, but I had to be there to prepare the technical stuff in the control room that I was responsible for most of the time.
But before that, I was invited to the studio that I have talked about. I took my wife with me. Felt like a short vacation. Took three days off. Reserved a hotel room. Booked the train tickets. We went there. Everything was really nice. Location. People. Team. The studio. I even had some sessions with the engineers there which was great.
Before I had a talk with the manager, I’ve talked to the main engineer. Seemed down to earth. Full of knowledge. But a little bit “quit” to my personal liking. It seemed like I had to talk all the time as he didn’t really know what to ask me. He wasn’t really prepared. That’s how it felt. I mean he was responsible to hire me, at least telling the studio manager what he thinks about me. But whatever. If I really would start working there, I will have my own studio. My own stuff to do. So it’s not like I need to work with him 24/7 in the same room. But a colleague is a colleague. You have to like most of them, otherwise, you will have a very different time.
After that, I had a talk with the studio manager. I really liked his attitude. Very dynamic. Full of energy. He told me his way “from the bottom to the top”, haha…yeah very encouraging…I didn’t need that extra push or motivation. But at least I got some more information about the team.
After that, we have decided to jump on a call to decide when I could potentially start working – at least doing the first two weeks of test-work, so both parties can still decide after that – yes or no.
The problem for me was that I couldn’t just jump off my current work, because the off-season in the theater is extremely hard and saturated work. The team needed me. So I had to make a decision. What to do…because the head of sound (theater) told me that it’s almost impossible to take a vacation at this time…obviously. So basically I had two “fear of rejections” here at the same time. Telling my head of audio that I need two weeks off due to another potential work…
“Hello? Who the hell likes to hear from your team-member in that time period where you have plenty of stuff to do that he wants to leave?” and second…telling the head of audio (studio) that I could do the test-work in a roundabout six weeks. The position was starting in 4 weeks.
It was not easy for me. What will both head of sounds think of me? Telling the first one that I want to leave because of another job, and the second one that I can’t because of the current situation. Really awkward. The problem was of course…I had no idea how both will react. What will they say? But I had to try although it was very risky. I was definitely under pressure, as I knew that if I will miss this opportunity it will never know what would have happened if…you know…
So I said to the theater head of audio that I have applied for a new job and they can only do test-work in the next following week, as they have a deadline. His reaction was not what I wanted to hear and see of course. I felt awful, as he was shocked that at the most important stage of pre-production I wanted to leave. But I had to act as professional as I possibly could at this point and I told him that it’s my life, and sometimes we need to do things that are not what others want to hear aka. just being honest. As I have mentioned as well that I could easily “lie” about that I just don’t feel good…and stay home because I am sick or something else. I asked him if he wants to work with honest employees or with people who lie in front of him. That was basically the turning point in his reaction and he admitted that I was totally right. (I think I have managed that situation pretty well. Or what would you do in that situation?)
So after that, I called the head of audio (studio) and told him that everything is clear at work and I can start working immediately. What I haven’t mentioned before is that I was chosen to test-work from over 30 or 35 people. At least that’s what the studio manager said to me, as he was really impressed with my motivation and dedication. That was maybe one of the reasons why they have chosen me as first. But it doesn’t really matter in the end. You either win or lose. Nobody asks you later “how”?
So I packed my stuff, it’s Friday at 10 p.m., one week after I was there. I’ve booked the train (on Sunday). The Air-BnB is booked (the studio booked for me). I receive an email from the head of audio (studio) which goes something like this…
“Dear Alexey, unfortunately, we have chosen another candidate for the position you have applied for. We wish you all the best.”
First, I thought it’s just a joke or something in that direction. Must be a mistake. Everything was done. All the bookings, all the dates. I thought like “seriously, after all THAT this way???..wow…just wow”.
I’ve called the head of audio the next day. No answer. Tried it a couple of more times. Wrote an email to ask what went wrong and why they have decided to randomly change their mind. A couple of days later I have received another very strange email that it’s not my fault but they’ve again randomly found a guy who was “much more experienced than the whole team itself”, yes, this is what they have said.
During the call, I’ve said that it’s totally okay to change your mind about someone, telling him or her that he is not the chosen anymore…whatever…but acting this unprofessional and this irresponsible to people who had to do more than what was expected to get there and actually risking the current job situation is out of my own belief.
That’s one of my favorite questions that I like to ask people: “How would you feel if I would have done this to you…or someone else? Please tell me.” That’s exactly the point where most people don’t know what to say and feel so embarrassed. But I am not sure if they were. Whatever. In the end, I just told them that I will charge the studio for the time that I had to took off because of them and risking good relationships with my current team. After two months or so…after numerous follow-up emails, they’ve paid. Wow. That was a big surprise.
Now you ask yourself, well, how does that connect to the topic “fear of rejections”. Well, what I can say now, after being in that kind of situation you have no other choice than keep trying. Don’t be disappointed that you didn’t get a job or opportunity. Tell yourself, that it’s THEM who missed a great team-member and a hard-working employee. I truly believe that at some point you will find the right team and project for yourself where you meet people who are on the same wavelength. Because otherwise what’s the point of keeping hiding behind the tree? If you want to grow and want more for yourself, then staying in your fear-hiding-zone or better known as “comfort-zone” will never do the edge.
Today when I applied for new things I try to be direct. Like…“Hey there, let’s hop on a Zoom-Call, so we discuss some things in person.” And if you see and feel that it works out fine, ask for a contract especially for “testing-phases”…so it doesn’t happen that you have similar stories to tell like me here.
When I hear the word application I’m like: “Haha, what will happen this time?” You know? I’m far more relaxed going into this, as I already know how “low-bottom” you can hit and get punished. So I am already prepared for things.
I think the best way to try it out is stupidly writing PNs on Facebook, Insta, or LinkedIn, and ask people if they need your music. You don’t need to care about all of those filmmakers who don’t care about you. You will for sure find new people and new projects there and you never know where it all can end up. The same with libraries. Make research and write why that library you think is right for you and your music and how YOU can help THEM. You will be rejected ALL the time ALL your life EVERYWHERE. No matter how good you are. It’s just how it is as we will always deal with people who either…
1.) Have no clue
2.) Just had a bad day
3.) Their dog died and they didn’t like your writing font
4.) Think of thousands of other reasons (I was invited to a private meeting with music supervisors from Disney and Warner, and that’s exactly what they have said.)
Always remember how “Adele” started out…always remember how once Beyoncé was told she could not sing…how J. K. Rowling had to fight for her story “nobody” wanted to hear…there are thousands of other examples out there…all of them have something in common…fear of rejection is not an option. Imagine just one of them giving up after trying five times. We would have no clue who those people would be, right?
Of course, “LUCK” is involved – no question. But as Ed Sheeran has described: “Luck is what happens to you when you create yourself opportunities that you are prepared for.” I personally think there is no better explanation than this one. It’s just true.
Keep on grinding, keep on fighting, keep on believing in yourself, as if you don’t and others do it for you, you are far away from what you want for yourself. You want to have it? Believe in it and you will get it after many times trying and pushing and if you have achieved it, you will look back to “how you have started” and no matter how big or small that achievement was…you will be proud of it. And that’s exactly the feeling you need to have every single day when you struggle. You need to re-create that feeling, as it’s the only thing that is pushing your inner self to achieve even more than you have already done by now!
Thanks for reading.