Notification: Quarterfinalists, Semifinalists and Finalists November; Winners December 15th
Over $20,000 in CASH & PRIZES!
Major Contest Sponsors: InkTip, Writer's Boot Camp, Save The Cat!, Movie Outline Software, Sherwood Oaks, Script Delivery, Truby Writer's Studio, Supernotecard for Screenwriting, Writer Guard, Great Dialogue Software, and ScriptBuddy.
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Janyce Lapore's 10 Minutes From Paradise has been named the winner of the StoryPros International Screenplay Competition.
StoryPros has announced the finalists of their 2012 International Screenplay Competition.
StoryPros has announced the semifinalists for their 6th Annaul International Screenwriting Competition.
StoryPros has announced the quarterfinalists for their 6th Annaul International Screenwriting Competition.
Owen Maxwell's Stone's Thunder has been named the winner of the 5th Annual StoryPros International Screenwriting Competition.
An interview with screenwriter Kevin Sedelmeier regarding the StoryPros International Writing Competition.Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?
A: A Year Without Ordinary Time
During one defining year, a Catholic priest in rural Tennessee comes to a crossroads in his life and must make decisions that will affect a woman he's been counseling as well as the rest of his parishioners. A burgeoning relationship with the woman, a mentoring role to a misguided college student, and disagreements with a local preacher are just some of the circumstances that make the priest question his vocation, faith, and future.
At the crossroads of life, sometimes you don’t notice the light has changed. Keeping the faith sometimes means letting other things go. A mid-life crisis of faith.
A: This is the first contest I have entered with this script. When I completed it this fall, I started looking online for where to send it; it had been a few years since I entered any competition. I checked out MovieBytes, and the user comments were really favorable. Everyone said it was a really well run and respectable contest, so I gave it a try. I found it to be everything people said it was and more.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: Very much. It was all very professional; everything was well communicated. They met their deadlines, and Jeff Swanson from StoryPros has been really great to work with. He responds to e-mails quickly and provides feedback. He really supports writers and offers good advice and encouragement. As of today 1/16, I haven't received the prize package, but last week they said it should be here in a week or two, so it should arrive soon. There are some great prizes, but the exposure is also so important. I think most writers just hope one industry person will see their script, like it, and want to see it realized on screen. I certainly do.Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?
A: Around the beginning of 2009, I had a vague idea that a comedy script about a
priest dating a parishioner might make for good, humorous content. I soon decided that it probably wouldn’t and shortly after that realization, I recognized that the story would be much more than a comedy filled with zany, awkward moments and ensuing mayhem when two worlds collide. It would evolve to become a story about loneliness, isolation, purpose, midlife assessment, family, community, redemption, forgiveness, fulfillment, and faith.
There were many characters with potentially rich back stories. So, I initially started writing it as a novel, but after a dozen pages, I realized my deficiencies in crafting third person prose would not allow me to fully realize this story that was constantly changing and becoming more important to me. So, in early 2010, I decided that it would be a screenplay, my most efficient and hopefully effective means of telling this story. In March of 2010, I had lunch with the priest from our church and asked him all of the logistical questions about how things are run within a parish and the diocese. With this information, I was able to focus on the story better.
Meanwhile, I was just starting to write music articles, cover concerts, and interview artists for Louisville.com. I really enjoyed it; it was a terrific way to make some extra money writing and do something I enjoy anyway – talking about music. In fact, in the script music is one of the common interests that bring Micah and Amanda together. It wasn’t by chance that I picked the band The Smiths to be their favorite band. The name suggests anonymity, which was what Micah felt summed up his life. Did anyone benefit from what he did? Could he leave a legacy? Could he be loved? He felt nondescript like the name of his beloved British band. As much as I enjoyed covering local music and the bands that came to town, it also took time away from regularly working on the script. But as life often has it, other events occur that change your plans and priorities. My mom passed away unexpectedly in December 2010, and I immediately stopped writing for Louisville.com just so that I could avoid any added stress associated with submission deadlines. Early in 2011, I resumed working on the script, and it started becoming richer. After losing my mom, I realized that my faith wasn’t as strong as it used to be, that even praying was difficult. These feelings helped shape Micah and Tommy as well as specific events and dialogue in the script.
Meanwhile, the script got bigger in scope and size, bigger than I originally expected it to be. In fact, the first draft was 181 pages. And we know how many specs from unknown writers get a read at 181 pages. What followed were numerous rewrites that whittled the page count down, each time I’d ask myself “Does this scene advance the plot?” Along the way, I read many of last year’s Academy Award nominated scripts and tried to learn from those, discerning what made them stand out, what techniques were now accepted and common.
Once I had the script where I thought it needed to be, a.k.a. finished, I sent it to my sister-in-law who is an avid reader, the type who looks beyond the words and deconstructs. Using her feedback, I went back and did another draft, focusing on the story’s ending, adding a couple scenes that would prove important and arguably necessary for the script to be fulfilling. In hindsight, I could not have written this script, say, at 20 or even 30.
So to summarize this ridicuously long answer, I had pages and pages of outlines and notes and when it was over, there were nine drafts. I also had a specific Windows Media Player playlist that I played whenever I worked on the script at home, which was important to help set the mood of the script.
A: Microsoft Word. I always take the template from one of my previous scripts and use that. Compared to some of the screenplay software available today, that may seem a little like using a typewriter, but also being a technical writer means that Word and I are pretty tight for better or worse.Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?
A: Although I think about my projects every day, I don't write every day. It comes in spurts. I write a little at lunchtime at work or at night when my boys are asleep. I take notes most days, though.Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?
A: Coming up with ideas is much easier for me than the actually writing. I procrastinate, but I don't really have writer's block. I may get stuck on how to get the plot from point A to C, taking a while to figure out point B, but I usually get there. But obviously the nearly twenty years of rejection letters from production companies and agents confirm that I really haven't "gotten there" yet.Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?
A: I've worked as a technical writer in the software company for over twelve years, but I've been writing creatively for as long as I can remember - everything from school plays, to cable access TV skits, short stories, non-fiction, fiction, online news, reviews, and of course screenplays. I'll estimate that I've registered at least 18 with the WGA over the past twenty years.
I have a Master of Arts in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from the University of Louisville. During grad school, I was a National Society of Arts and Letters finalist (Kentucky winner) in its Teleplay Competition.
Recently, I've been a music writer for Louisville.com and Examiner.com (2009-2010). Before that, my first online venture was as a sports writer for Arenafan.com (2003-2006).
Late last year, my short story “Corporal Punishment” was included in Almost Famous Author’s Faire: Top Thirty Short Stories & Poems 2010 from Bearhead Publishing. And if you must know it's about a late 70s Gong Show contestant who seeks revenge against Jamie Farr, the celebrity who gonged him. I know what you're thinking, "That got published?" Go figure.
However, I am most proud of being the co-author: Pop Goes The Culture: A Father and Son’s Take on the World from Outskirts Press. This is a book I wrote with my young son, and proceeds have benefitted the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
A: Louisville, Kentucky, is my hometown, and I've lived here all of my life. I really like movies, but I don't care for Hollywood. A little like Carol Channing at a Wu-Tang Clan concert, I don't think I'd feel really comfortable there. Uprooting my wife and young sons and moving away from our extended families doesn't seem in our best interest. I have dreamt about being called a writer for years, but being called Dad is much more important. So, I will keep us put, which makes all of us happy. But I must admit I enjoy watching Elizabethtown and picking out locations here in town, and I still daydream about getting my name on a movie poster.Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?
A: I have about 60 pages done on a comedy script, but I'm not in a hurry. I think it's funny, but it doesn't have a really quick, knock down the producers' doors tagline. Me thinking a script is funny, though, is hardly an indicator that it is since the majority of my scripts have been comedies, and they have not seen the light of day. I guess I'm amusing myself at least.
I'm also writing a book that is an autobiography of a fictional character. So, it's an odd work of fiction that's different from most other things that I've written. He's 35, looking for a job and hoping to find a life in the process. He has no platform, no seedy past, no family, and arguably not much of a reason for optimism, but he somehow maintains a unique and positive outlook on life.
I have a couple other script premises that I'm trying to decide whether to follow through on or not. After years of rejection, I'm starting to think more about that evil nemesis the tagline. Was Real Steel pitched as Over The Top meets Rocky via RoboCop? I guess I'm just not that great at those things.
But I do want to thank MovieBytes for allowing me to talk about my writing, which is a bit of self indulgence struggling writers seldom get to enjoy. So it is much appreciated. Thanks very much.