How To Successfully Navigate An Emmys Loss

I lost at the Emmys for the seventh time in a row last weekend, bringing me one step closer to Susan Lucci, and like her, I keep getting stronger in the process. At # seven, I feel much less personally affected than previous years, and it seems that now I’m in a unique position to share some tips on how to deal with this kind of situation. Let me be clear: being nominated is an insane honor, and that is totally ENOUGH. Being double nominated this year was that much more incredible, and no win or loss is really necessary.

OK. Now onto the tips. Things start to go haywire in the leadup to the Emmys. My advice: compact this whole experience into ONE DAY. If you can cram all this between 11:30am and the end of the show, you’ll be really efficient in your disappointment.

  1. Go for a run or do some other exercise. Get all of your energy out. Psyche yourself up.

  2. Plan your “Thank You’s” morning of (perhaps in the shower). The nerves really start to get you when you start planning your Thank You’s, so you don’t want to begin this process much earlier than the morning of. I plan it in the shower about an hour and a half before we leave the house to go to the Emmys. Keep your pad and paper outside the shower after you dry off so you can start scratching out your thank you list.

  3. Psyche yourself up again. Have a glass of champagne or two to relax yourself.

  4. Do the red carpet. If you have a publicist, you can talk and thank the press people all you want. If you don’t, zip right through and get your pictures with your family. Have another glass if you need to relax more.

  5. Absorb the shock as best as you can. There are moments every time I go through this experience where I think, “I’m OK if I lose, because I don’t have to get up on that stage and potentially say something stupid to 3,000 people.” Well, then it happens. When you lose, there’s an incredible rush that goes through your body as you watch the winner go up on stage. The speech is happening, but you’re not hearing it. Instead, you’re hearing the sound of your own really loud monologue going through your head saying, “Really? They got more votes? We didn’t get it?” It’s a lot of shock. You can’t really prepare for this, because you’ve likely been envisioning yourself up on that stage for hours to weeks to years.

  6. Come down from your self pity.  You realize your disappointment is going to be fine. It’s just a silly awards show anyway. This is not a reflection on your work. It’s not like you’re never going to work again. Unfortunately, the problem with awards shows is, after the winners are announced, they go up and disappear backstage through a press circuit (and most of them usually don’t come back out). So you’re stuck there in the audience to go through this emotional journey of flushing it out with your friends,family, and other Emmy losers who are all equally disappointed. So really, everyone in the audience is basically sitting there stewing, probably not paying all that much attention to the show.

  7. Leave before the show ends. This one is important. You MUST get away from all the people saying sorry to you. It really isn’t bad at all until people start amplifying it. “You were robbed!” “You deserved more!” You know that. Art isn’t a competition anyway. There’s no need to get all that crazy. It only really takes an hour or so to get over the self-defeat and flush it out internally. If you sit and stew with folks, you build on the disappointment, and up screwing yourself.   

  8. Take a moment for yourself, and then make the decision to have fun. You have to process this Emmy loss by yourself before you can do any productive socializing, so be sure to avoid the lobby bar (where all the winners are celebrating) on your way out. It’s too soon for that. Have a quiet moment by yourself, away from people, and then make the choice to go have fun. If you can stay with your friends and make it to the Governors Ball to drink and dance, you’ve successfully navigated the loss.