Those who play by the hidden rules win

Mar 30, 2011Find joy today, Write!

I learned early on that there existed hidden rules for contests that some folks knew about and others didn’t. I didn’t.

I competed in a teen beauty/scholarship pageant a million years ago. I didn’t realize those who got the most advertising for the cheesy program would be rewarded later. I didn’t know a perennial smile and an all American way about you would garner interest. The girl who won wore red white and blue, had tons of ads sold, and sang about America and played the piano. After that fact, I couldn’t help but think the pageant was rigged somehow and that I never became privvy to the inside rules.

I’m not sure if this is the case for book awards. Maybe so. Maybe not. Hard to say.

But it is the way of the Oscars on some scale. Did you know that it’s common practice for nominees to campaign for the Oscar? Don’t believe me? Read this interesting article from New York magazine. It’s expected (in those pesky unwritten rules) that actors campaign for their spot. That they pay their dues.

I’m all about paying dues, about working hard in obscurity, but it frustrates me that some folks can work hard, pay their dues, yet not get recognition because they didn’t know about the hidden rules.

This post is coming across awfully bitter, which is not my intent. I actually laugh about the teen pageant now, and I have empathy for the Oscar nominees. I just wonder about the fairness of contests whose rules aren’t overly apparent.


What about you? Do you have a story to tell about unknown, behind the scenes rules?