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Notification: Finalists announced February 1st, 2013
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Seeing Red by Sundae Jahant Osborn has been named the winner of the Tennesee Screenwriters Association Screenwriting Competition.
The Tennessee Screenwriting Association has announced Elvis Wilson's Driving Top Down as the first place winner of their 2010 screenwriting competition.
The Tennssee Screenwriting Association has announced the results of their 2005 screenwriting contest.
The Tennessee Screenwriters Association has announced the winners of their 2004 Screenplay Contest.
The Tennessee Screenwriting Association has announced their first round contest results.
An interview with screenwriter Elvis Wilson regarding the Tennessee Writing Competition.Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?
A: DRIVING TOP DOWN is a classic road trip movie. Justin Walcott is a poor, battered and brilliant high school student from a dysfunctional family in Savannah, Georgia, who only wants to protect his mother from his abusive father. Even if it means he can't go to college. After being beaten by his father one night, Justin leaves and sleeps in a nearby park. The next morning, at the request of one of his teachers, he takes a job to drive Shirley Byron, a very rich, terminally ill woman to her home in Oregon. All he knows of her is that she is very sick, and the trip will give him an opportunity to get out of Georgia for the first time. Along the way, Shirley slowing peels away his anger and frustration and makes it her mission to ignite his desire to continue his education. As they grow to be friends, he realizes that she is hiding her trip home from her son John Paul, who is desperately looking for her. What Justin doesn't know is that Shirley is also hiding a secret from him. When she gets home to Portland, Oregon, she plans to end her life.Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?
A: The TSA Screenwriting contest is my hometown contest. If you didn't know it, Nashville is a tough town. I knew if I did well here, I could do well in other contests. So, far I've only entered a hand-full of contests including The Nicholls Fellowship, Austin Film Festival, Big Break and Slamdance. I've only heard from Nicholls as of this writing, and although I did not make it to the quarter-finals, I was in the top 15%. Out of 6300 scripts, I'm extremely happy with that! Also, I received notes from the first reader from Slamdance and I am excited that the reader raved about my work. I expect to hear from Slamdance advancements in September.Q: Were you satisfied with the administration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?
A: I'll tell you this, I've entered a lot of other contests in the "big" markets and was very unhappy. Sometimes the organizers were extremely late on deadlines or didn't even bother to let you know you advanced or not. I try to only enter reputable contests, but sometimes it's hard to tell who's who. The TSA Screenplay Contest was terrific. The announcements of advancements were on schedule, updates came regularly and even though I did not enter for the money, they sent my check for winning the contest right away! I'm so proud to have such a great group here in the south.Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?
A: I alway outline my story ideas. After I've created a rigid structure and I know exactly where my story is going, I find the characters simply speak to me. It's like they whisper in my ear and I just write what they say. Most of my previous scripts have taken me anywhere from six to nine months to get a solid second draft that I felt was ready for notes. The idea for DRIVING TOP DOWN came to me in November of 2009 and by January I was done with my second draft. This story just poured from me. I made two more drafts before submitting to contests.Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?
A: Final Draft is all I use. I love it. I don't even think about the software now when I write. They've got it going on.Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?
A: I do not get to write every day, but I want to. When I am "on" a script, I try to do four to eight pages a day. I'm a strong believe in the vomit draft.Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?
A: The specific answer to this question is "yes, I get writer's block on certain story ideas," but what I like to do to shake things up is to switch projects for a while. I don't consider the physical act of keying in the script as the total sum of the process of screenwriting. They're are many other things you can do besides writing to keep the ship moving forward. I'll work on a documentary, do some research, any thing to keep from spinning my wheels.Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?
A: I have two art degrees. A fine arts degree, and a commercial art degree. The year I went to college, I wanted to major in art and minor in filmmaking. Unfortunately for me, they killed the film program, so I had to switch my minor to photography. I find that it was ultimately helpful, but I also feel that I've been playing catch up ever since. I come from a very poor family (sob), so my resources were limited, but if I had to do it again, I would have gone into debt a little more and would have gone to school with an established film program. I simply had no one with experience to give me the proper guidance. Follow your heart people!!! Not your wallet.Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?
A: I go to L.A. a couple of times each year to shoot projects for the ad agency I work for. I could live there, but I hope I don't have to. I have family there as well.Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?
A: I have notes on 3 more scripts. I can't stop! I'm trying to dip my toes in different genres to prove to myself that I can. I think comedy is the absolute hardest thing to write, so that's my current focus. So in order of my next scripts: A romantic comedy; a revenge thriller; a science-fiction epic; an adaptation of one of my a Hemingway stories about little boys bullfighting. Wish me luck!