Rejection Retraction: I’m failing at failing

I’m an even bigger failure at failing than I thought. I celebrated the first month of Rejection Project 2016 this weekend by boasting that I’d already scored 2 rejection letters towards this year’s ultimate goal of 50. I was wrong.

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I was sure one of the sketches I’d gotten rejected from the CBS Diversity Showcase was then rejected from a showcase for rejected sketches, which seemed, in a way, to be an especially impressive feat. Unfortunately, since my first posting, I’ve received a lovely note from one of the organizers rejecting my rejection from the rejected sketch showcase, alerting me that my proposed rejected sketch was never received. I never sent it. I left it in the “Drafts” folder of my mailbox. It may or may not have something to do with the fact that I have a full-grown human being about to crawl out of my body within the next few days to weeks. It’s called “baby brain”–a phenomenon in which a pregnant woman’s brains begin functioning with the clarity of a 5-year-old high on Whip-Its.

One of my two rejections–the more impressive one, quite frankly–has been rejected. I’m down to ONE MEASLY REJECTION out of 14 submissions for the month of January 2016. That means to meet my goal of 50 rejections this year, I’ll have to do about 60 submissions a month. After living for decades in fear of rejection, I now live in fear that there are literally not enough places on Earth for me to get rejected from so I can meet my goal.

It’s too early in the project to accept that I can’t achieve the level of rejection I aspire to. I won’t accept it. I reject it.

I. WILL. ACHIEVE. REJECTION. GREATNESS.

Read about Project Rejection 2016 here

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Rejection Project Month 1 Report: 2 Down, 48 to Go

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I’m going to have to start working a lot harder at getting rejected. I am way behind.

At the beginning of 2016, I set a goal to acquire no less than 50 rejection letters for my writing over the course of this year. See the post here

I estimated I’d have to make at least 100 submissions to successfully rake in my required number of rebuffs. It turns out that was DUMB.  Fifteen times this month I’ve submitted articles, pilot scripts, comedy videos, sketches and novel queries this month and eagerly awaited a flood of email smackdowns. I’ve received a paltry TWO rejection letters.

One of them was from a fairly impressive website that rejected an extremely personal article I’ve been trying to get published for months. It wasn’t a total blow-off. The editor suggested some rewrite notes with her rejection and said I could send it back to her later on. And I did. Still waiting for another rejection on that one.

The second one was special. For the past three and a half months I’ve been pitching sketches for an industry showcase through CBS. By the end of the pitch process, ALL of my sketches were rejected, but my clever co-writers decided to put together a showcase of the rejected sketches, so I submitted one. And?

Yeah. It got rejected. From the rejected sketch showcase.

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It feels like that should count for extra credit, right? But I’m not cheating. I want 50 REAL straight up rejections. I know I can do this.

It’s true I’m due to have a baby in less than two weeks, but I’m not going to let the creation of human life interfere with my rejection goals. I’m going to need to pull in at 4-5 rejection letters a month for the rest of the year if I want to reach my quota which means at this rate I’m going to need to do at least 30 submissions a month–about one a day. Maybe two a day so I can take off that day I’m actually squeezing out a baby.

giving birth rachel

Bring it on February,….

2016: The Year of Rejection

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2016 is going to be a painful year, and not just because I plan to squeeze a giant baby out of my delicate lady parts sometime around Valentine’s Day. The pain of giving birth is supposed to be, like, “difficult” and stuff, but I have something potentially more excruciating planned for my new year. I am making 2016 into my “Ultimate Year of Rejection.”

I’m a writer. I’ve actually made a living doing it for a few of the greatest years of my life, but it’s not exactly an easy life to sustain. Over the past few years, most of my writing has been unpaid, for spec projects that I hope will one day become things people actually read or see on TV. I’ve got a novel (it’s dark but funny), two pilots (dark, but funny), a handful of articles (yup…dark/funny…OK one of them is JUST dark), and a massive clusterfuck of pitches and proposals that swirl around my brain with the furious intensity of a drunken Tasmanian Devil.

And this is the year every single one of them gets rejected by the whole world.

I can be a pretty negative person, but not this year. This year I’m actually seeking out the thing that has crushed my fragile little artsy soul for so many years of my life: rejection. Fear of rejection has had me cowering like an ill-treated pound puppy for most of my life.

I run from it. I lament it. I wail and tantrum over my lack of success and tell myself every “no” is a confirmation that I am a talentless nobody who should give up and leave the art to the people who actually have something worth saying. But this year is going to be different. This year I will find success in my failure because I’m going to fearlessly seek it out.

I am setting a goal to acquire 50 official rejection letters for my writing this year—articles, scripts, pitches, proposals, agent queries, publishing house pleas and contest courtships.

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It’s not going to be as easy as it sounds. You might think that I could just find 50 places to submit my work and just wait for the negativity to roll on in, but I’ve learned something profoundly sad over the past few years. Rejection letters aren’t always so easy to come by. Most places I’ve sought to place my work don’t even have the common courtesy to tell me to go fuck myself. They just ignore what I’ve sent them and never respond at all. So, to get 50 real rejection letters I estimate I’ll have to send out my work to at least 100 places—probably a lot more.

Now, instead of dreading checking my email inbox to find out if my hopes of writing superstardom have once again been dashed for the umpteenth time, I can eagerly await the joyful resounding “No’s” of national magazines, novel agents, network fellowships and literary agents and collect them all in a pretty little binder that I can flip through whenever I need to feel a sense of accomplishment.

It’s going to be a great year.

Oh, and I’m going to have a baby.

cute baby

Sentras and Sizzle-Lean: 7 Things That Changed Before the “Breaking Bad” Pilot Ever Aired

Breaking Bad

 

As the world prepares to feast on this weekend’s “Breaking Badseries finale, many are praising creator Vince Gilligan for delivering what may turn out to be the most celebrated, well-executed story arc in the history of television. He seems to have known absolutely everything that was going to happen, and has yet to drop the ball on a single twist or turn, leading some to believe he truly did have the entire story worked out on day one.

But, as Walt said in the pilot episode, chemistry isn’t just the study of matter, “it’s the study of change.” And there were plenty of things in the original script that became something else entirely. Here are the seven biggest abandoned ideas Gilligan wrote into the original pilot script. They’ll blow your mind harder than a snort of “the blue stuff.”

Read the full story on Medium.com

I Asked A Slave

Here I am, just another American idiot.
Here I am, just another American idiot.

I am truly honored to play one of the ignorant morons in the latest episode of the hottest web series on Earth right now: “Ask A Slave.”

Azie Marie Dungey got a gig playing a historical slave character giving tours at George Washington’s home Mount Vernon. The real questions she was asked by real live American idiots will blow your mind. I’m in the episode featured below, but you can watch the whole series on YouTube here

Liz Brown in “Anchored” at The Groundlings Theater

I wrote and performed this in my Advanced show at the amazing Groundlings Theater in October 2012. It features the awesome Jennifer Winters and Andrew Delman on voiceover. If you’re a Howard Stern Show fan, you may recognize the hottie in the final slide as Benjy Bronk’s “Online Sweetheart” Elisa Jordana.

The Best Photo from My Wedding

LIZ AND DEE DEE

It’s my wedding anniversary. I don’t deserve my husband. No,…I’m not saying that coyly. I literally DO NOT DESERVE him. He’s nice to me ALL the time, even when I’m an asshole, which is most of the time.

In a pathetic Paula Deen style statement of victimization, I’d like to submit Exhibit A, the above photo, featuring me and my grandmother on my father’s side. During this dizzingly happy night at sickeningly quaint country inn in Vermont, she pulled me aside to let me know that my dancing wasn’t up to par, and that I wasn’t keeping time with the music.

OK, first of all,…I’m an AMAZING dancer. Like,…AMAZING. Almost TOO good.

Secondly, I was wearing a 100 pound dress with a cathedral train.

Thirdly, what the FUCK Dee Dee??? (Everyone calls my Grandmother Dee Dee)

Fourthly: No wonder my entire family is so fucked up.

Fifthly: God bless my wedding photographer, who was a photojournalist and shot my entire wedding for free. Granted, we didn’t get a great posed classic picture of my husband and I TOGETHER on our wedding day, but we got this, which is (arguably) better. There is nothing I love more than a photo that captures a real moment.

Obituary: Dooley J. Hornberg, PhD

dooley cat

Dooley J. Hornberg passed away on May 12, 2013 while being snuggled in blankets in the sunlight.

According to veterinary estimates, he was born around the year 2000. In 2005, he was found in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles under the bridge made famous in the Red Hot Chili Peppers song “Under the Bridge”. He was presented to Liz Brown as a gift on her birthday by neighbor and famed bassist/visual artist Matt Pinkus.


After making himself at home with Liz and her husband, he revealed that held a PhD in Microbiology from University of California, Berkeley and could often be seen staring out the window pondering what the sea must be like this time of year. He became a member of the all black-and-white tuxedo cat band “The Kitties 3” and was known for his uniquely funky bass jams.

Dooley had a brief but brilliant career in the entertainment industry, appearing in the popular YouTube comedy short “The Ending of Lost,” created by a collection of students from the world famous Groundlings Theater. You can see Dooley’s performance here

Dooley’s nose was extremely pink. He was well known to be the best cat in the household.

RIP Dooleycat. A fine friend to all who knew him.

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dooley cat desk

dooley cat in the sun