The Harsh Method a Silent Film Company Used to Reject Scripts

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Whether you just found out you're not right for a job you applied for or recently had bad luck with a date, rejection always stings. Most people say they would prefer blunt language over an easy letdown, but if this form rejection letter was still in use, they might have second thoughts.

This checklist, spotted by Open Culture after it was tweeted by Ted Gioia, was used in the 1910s by the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company.

The silent film studio was the outfit behind a few classic movies, including a series of Charlie Chaplin comedies in 1915. But for every brilliant film script they received there were numerous duds. Instead of sending sugar-coated letters to every screenplay that got rejected, they drafted up a handy checklist of reasons why it might not work. As you can see below, the list gets brutally honest at points, with “Weak Plot,” “Not Interesting,” and “Illegible” all listed as potential issues.

In the age of ghosting and overly formal emails, it's refreshing to think of a time when rejections could be so straightforward. Unfortunately, Essanay didn’t stick around long enough for their unconventional rejection style to spread through the rest of the industry: After merging with three other studios in 1918 they were absorbed by Warner Bros. in 1925.

[h/t Open Culture]

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