Pamela Harris

The Writers Lab August 7, 2017

For years I've had the fantasy of wallpapering my bathroom with rejection letters. Over time the amount of rejection necessitated growing that bathroom into a master en suite that comes with an airplane hangar. My rule for the Plastered Walls of Failure is I have to get some kind of correspondence, so there will be no silent responses included.

Rejection is what happens in the world of what I do. Though I feel it every time, the pain is usually fleeting. The times it’s harder to get over is when I get a pass from something I was sure I had a shot at. Or it was something I really wanted.

The Writers Lab is something I wanted to be a part of. It’s put on by New York Women in Film and TV (NYWIFT), IRIS and the WGA East. It’s funded by Meryl Streep and, this year, Oprah Winfrey. I got rejected last year and it was one of the harder emails to get over. Some rejections come with a moment of disbelief. How could they reject that project? I love these moments because they show me I believe in what I do. And they counter the moments of headf*ck I have, though these, mercifully, come less frequently than they used to.

A few weeks ago I got a ‘Dear Applicant’ email from the Lab and my heart froze. It wasn’t a rejection; it let me know I was a finalist. Up to this point the screenplays were read blind since the Lab wanted to go by what was on the page vs a resume. The email said we’d know in August. I’ve had a lot going on and am juggling this and that, but August kept coming into my head and it took effort to chase it out.

Last Monday I got a phone call instead of a letter from the Writers Lab. I was on foot, dodging Holland Tunnel traffic and all I heard was “blghblgh New York Women in Film and TV glhglg.” I immediately moved to the side of the road in time to hear the woman on the phone say, “How are you?”

“Holding my breath,” I blurted. I was. Phone calls are good, great, since I’ve never been called to be told I didn’t get whatever it was I applied for. When Terry, the woman on the phone, told me I got selected for the Lab I burst into tears and blubbered about how the last thing I won was a turkey when I was fifteen at a shooting range in Andover, Massachusetts. And then the disbelief hit, like, I really got this?

This year, I am honored and beyond thrilled to participate in the Writers Lab. If interested, you can read about it here The Lab environment is something I’ve craved and feel so ready for. I’m very, very excited.


Pamela ... I am so proud of you! Come visit me at the Met for an empty Met tour.

Jodi - still a lover of your picture in my dining room

Jodi rabinowitz | September 23, 2017 at 02:12 pm

Of course, you already know what you need to do now. Blow up the Acceptance Letter larger than an Airplane Hanger, and cover up all those Rejections. Those are all in the past, and the only thing ahead of you is a Bright, Bright Future.

Paul Murphy | August 20, 2017 at 11:34 am

WOW !!! I just saw this. Super congratulations !!
You must be so proud.... and happy. What an honor. You are a brilliant, brilliant woman, Pamela, and if anyone deserves this, you do. Is Grandview a full length screen play? Or a One act? Or something completely different? Is it something you've been working on? Or brand new? I just got back into the country, and I was thrilled to learn of your selection. This is really wonderful, Pam. Again, mucho congrats !!

Paul Murphy | August 20, 2017 at 11:21 am

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