"You Are Not Underprivileged"


Hey Brooke,

I am That Screenwriter.
Started my third year here as a scholar and wanted to share with you something fascinating that happened:

I completed a screenplay and sent it to a fellowship that is aiming at underprivileged groups – minorities, LGBT, and women.
So the premise is that if you qualify for any of these groups, by definition, you must be underprivileged. Interesting…

My reason for sending them my screenplay was in order to send my work out, get some feedback and get a foot in the door if I win the fellowship.

I worked very hard at completing the screenplay and polishing it on time, and when the deadline came close I had to answer a questionnaire that will showcase my being underprivileged.
And I remember so vividly trying to find some hardship story, something that will portray me as such, when actually the only thing that was there was stating that I am a woman, yet I never felt in my life that a door closed before me because I am a woman. I always knew that if I didn’t get something it was probably because I didn’t want it hard enough.

So interestingly, during their first round, they read my screenplay as a blind read (no name and no knowledge of who I am and my story), and they got back to me and said, we found your screenplay to be so good, we want you now to submit the fellowship application with your entire story, and so I did.

Then they got back to me and said, ‘We are sorry to inform you that you haven’t met the required conditions of being underprivileged and we wish you the best of luck.’

Now, all my brain could see was ‘We are sorry… you haven’t met.., We are sorry… you haven’t met.., We are sorry… you haven’t met…’ and it kept playing this over and over.

A couple of self-coaching sessions later and I realized I should be happy actually. What actually happened here?

— I worked my ass and mind off to complete a screenplay and have it ready for a deadline.
— I now have a good piece of work I can send out to other places.
— I grew so much in the process of completing such epic work.
— Before they knew anything about me and only read my writing, they thought it’s so good to be considered to the fellowship.
— They read my story and they think I am not underprivileged. Meaning, I am privileged, or at least I have the same chances as anyone else.

Then I also realized why it’s FOR me: I don’t want to walk into this industry’s door wearing the badge of ‘I am underprivileged, so please take me.’

I want to walk through the door wearing the badge of, ‘You are invited to sit at our table because of your storytelling talent. Here, can I offer you something to drink?’

So there, someone said it for me, I am not underprivileged, and that’s a good thing.

Thank you.
That Screenwriter