Saturday, 22 October 2011

Lost In The Post

We’re told on an almost daily basis that we need to be doing all we can to be saving the planet. We should all be sharing baths with our loved ones, stepping out and getting into our second hand jumpers and then sitting down to a meal made solely from the vegetables from the garden. We recycle everything that we possibly can, we struggle to read under our energy saving light bulbs and our meticulously insulated homes are full of canvas shopping bags.

This planet may have its flaws and sometimes it gets things wrong. Earthquakes and tsunamis are when the world gets it totally wrong and those are the days when you wonder what on earth it was thinking. But look outside your window. It’s lovely out there. Even if you’re looking out on the most horrific view in the world, I bet there’s one nice thing out there. A tree. A flower. A bird. A crisp packet floating in the breeze. So I think we all agree that we need to keep this lovely little planet of ours safe. Kicking it when it’s down and taking the idea of ‘landfill sites’ literally ain’t the way.
So why do some agencies still insist on being contacted by post? In this modern age, so many of us are constantly attached to our inboxes. They’re in our pockets and in our handbags. They sit by us at night while we’re sound asleep and they’re in our hands when we call loved ones, take photos of funny shaped strawberries and drunkenly text old friends at 3am. Even if I didn’t have a phone that can do everything and more, I can access a computer that performs all the same actions on a bigger screen. Being contacted through these glorious machines is the best thing since that clever person decided that Kit Kats needed to be bigger. It’s so quick it’s frightening. When you post something to someone, how surprised are you when it arrives the next day? Imagine if that happened with an email? If someone doesn’t reply to my pointless electronic messages after 10 minutes then I start to suspect that the whole Internet is broken. And it’s efficient. If halfway through an email I use the wrong word, my mind distracted by what’s going on around me, I can just press that gorgeous little delete button and no one need ever know. Do that in a letter and you either have to try and find that bottle of Tippex that you bought 10 years ago, only to find that it is all dried up and useless, you have to cross it out and get annoyed at the constant flaw in your written art or you have to start all over again. None of these options are useful. They’re irritating and time-consuming. 

I can only imagine that agents and the like really enjoy receiving post. I have to admit that my heart skips a little beat when I see a hand-written envelope lying in the hallway. Instantly you want to know what it is and who it’s from. The joy that someone has taken the time to actually write something is just wonderful. When I was younger, my friends and I used to constantly write to each other. Pointless ramblings on pretty paper. Little in-jokes encased in brightly coloured envelopes. But I’m sure that agents know that every brown or white hard backed envelope contains a black and white 10’x8’ photograph and CV poorly designed in Word. Much like how we start to recognise certain bills by the colour of their envelope, agents must recognise the familiar A4 offerings. Then there’s the effort of opening the damn thing, rifling through the bits of paper and then said bits of paper need to be sent back with a note on why they’re not interested. An email can be filed away, responded to at the click of a button with a standard response and then deleted, never to be seen again. 

Yes, I realise that my laptop uses up energy while it’s plugged in but surely that doesn’t destroy the planet anywhere near as much as me sending out 100 letters to agents to tell them that I feature in the background reading a flyer in a student film. And it’s not just the paper involved. It’s the printing for my headshots. It’s the ink cartridges that my printer gets through quicker than I do crisps. It’s the postman driving them to the sorting depot thing and them then being sent back out to be delivered. All that energy wasted into one letter that at best will be looked at by an assistant and will then be flung back in the post with a little scribbled compliment slip enclosed. And that’s if the thing even arrives in the first place rather than being hoarded by some postman who has a penchant for other people’s mail. No polar bear will ever be harmed by an email.

And then there’s the receiving of the rejection letter. With a knockback email, you get the little rush of excitement when you see it pop up in your inbox but as soon as you’ve scanned the message, seen the words ‘thank you’ ‘unfortunately’ ‘at this time’ then you know you can just delete it and never have to look at it again. But with a letter you get that initial thrill when the envelope slides through your letter box. It takes time to open it with your jittery hands. You read the letter to find that they’re not interested so you throw it away. You put it in the bin but it’s still there. It will lie there, crumpled up but still staring at you. Taunting you until you can finally pluck up the energy to take the rubbish/recycling/pile of stuff on your floor outside and out of sight. 

It’s now got to the point where I’m reluctant to contact an agent if they only accept postal submissions. So listen up, agents. Your environmentally unfriendly ways means you’re missing out on being contacted by a slightly bitter and ranty actress. Ah. Maybe don’t go changing your policies just yet then…

1 comment:

  1. You'd be surprised how therapeutic it is to shred rejection letters! That little rush returns....