dealing with failure – fall down, get back up

september has been a crazy month. i started off the month thinking i didn’t even get into the semifinals of the nickelodeon writing fellowship, only to have them call me a few days later saying i did make it in, and that they were just running behind. then i had a phone interview and an in person interview, and found out i made it to the last round as a finalist. then after 3 crazy days of speed interviews, i found out yesterday that i didn’t make it in.

today, i feel pretty good. of course i’m sad that i was sooooo close and yet didn’t make it in, but i’m not as depressed as i thought i’d be. it’s not the inverse of how happy i would have been if i had made it in. so even though i was upset yesterday, i immediately went into planning mode to figure out what i needed to do to get in next year.

the director of the fellowship was generous enough to offer to stay in touch, and we’re supposed to schedule a meeting. i want to ask her what i can do better next year in the interviews, along with a long list of other questions.

i decided to quit my studies at animation mentor. as much as i enjoyed animation, it was still plan B to me, and not my passion. my logic was it would be more fun that what i do now (web design, bleh), and it would be in the entertainment industry. after years of working as an animator, i thought there might be opportunities to transition to directing, like tim burton or brad bird did.

the problem is animation homework would eat up 10 – 20 hours a week on top of the 40 hours from my full time job, and i’m sure it would just get more intense as time went on. that would leave me no time to write or make films. even if i finished the program and got a great job as an animator, many animation jobs require 60 hours of work per week, which again would leave me with no time or energy to write. so having come so close and having my writing ability validated, i have to commit fully to writing.

up till now, i haven’t focused on the business side of writing at all. i felt it was too early and that my skill wasn’t there yet.  but i feel like my skill level is there now, so i have to start thinking about things like getting an agent and networking, all while continuing to work on my writing. here is the list of projects i came up with, to be completed within a year from now:


  • 30 rock spec – i already started outlining this.
  • live action pilot – i already started this as well.
  • animation spec – i might do one for the mighty b!


  • make another short film, or shoot a web series.
  • come up with an animated show to pitch.
  • a feature script – i have 2 ideas, have to decide which one.

who knows. maybe 364 days from now, i’ll be writing about how i made it in as a fellow. the countdown begins!

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  1. Hey Kiyong,

    I’ve been living vicariously through you on your Nick Fellowship journey. I wrote a Foster’s script for this year’s competition but did not receive one of the elusive calls.

    Sorry to hear it didn’t work out for you this time around, but you obviously have a winning attitude about everything and a great work ethic that will surely pay off.

    Good luck to you, and who knows, maybe someday we’ll be working in the same writer’s room.


  2. thanks and good luck to you too! make sure you have a 2nd script ready by august just in case. and from the 4 finalists, 7 of the 8 scripts were live action, and only 1 was animated. might be something to consider.

  3. Kiyong

    I just started reading your blog with in the last few weeks and I was happy to see you received a call back. I myself have submitted a script and short fiction story for the CBS Diversity Writers program and received an email from CBS stating that I would hear something from them in September. To date I have not heard anything. I am sure I will get a generic email soon letting me know I did not make it, but at least this time I did make it through the front door. Hopefully next time I will get much further. You should be proud of yourself for making it as far as you did.

    Good Job


    1. hi lisa. thanks for the kind words! i applied to the cbs writers program too, but never heard anything from them. same with the nbc one. i think the disney fellowship notifications are in november, but i’m not holding my breath. i hope we have better luck next year!

  4. I’m so sorry you didn’t make it, but I think it is a huge compliment to have made it so far into the competition. It seems that you not getting it was based not on your writing but rather on your group interview. As a place to be, that’s a pretty good one. If you decide to shoot something, let me know, I know lots of people, myself included, who could join you on a production.

  5. Kiyong, you rock! It’s amazing to see how far you went – and yes – your writing prowess has been validated.

    Sorry to see you leave the animation but illustration and such will support your pitches and if nothing else, be a fun hobby.

    We hear it over and over again – the ability to market and sell yourself. You’ve learned a valuable lesson and taught us something as well from your experience.

    I’m always a resource for you – just call.

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