Screenplay Festival was established to help eliminate this "chicken and egg" problem. By accepting all submitted screenplays and judging them based upon their quality -- not their source or their standardized formatting or the quality of the brads holding them together -- Screenplay Festival looks to give undiscovered screenwriters an opportunity to rise above the crowd.
The competition's categories ensure that a truly wonderful script is not punished or ignored because it is in a genre that does not usually win awards. There is no limit to the frustration experienced by the writer who commits the crime of writing "fun" or "likeable" material. In this world of awards, it always seems to be "important" films that win the accolades. In reality, people love dramas, and they love comedies and action movies and thrillers and horror flicks. Writing for a fun genre should not forbid a writer from having their talents acknowledged.
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Screenplay Festival has announced their semifinalists for 2012.
Screenplay Festival has announced their 2011 semifinalists.
The Screenplay Festival Screenwriting Competition has announced their 2010 final results.
The Screenplay Festival Screenwriting Competition has announced their 2009 final results.
The Screenplay Festival Screenwriting Competition has announced their 2009 finalists.
An interview with screenwriter Ed Vela regarding the Screenplay Festival Writing Competition.Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?
A: My sci/fi-action adventure is called: "The Future Force" and it won the Grand Prize in the Action Adventure category for 2010 (even though they didn't let me know about it until June of 2011).
"The Future Force" is blend of the Super-Hero genre with the basic alien invasion genre, wherein we have a rag-tag group of teens with super-powers coming together for the first time to stop two ancient, warring alien factions from using the earth as their next battleground.
The Thrax and the Myxl engage in a pitched space battle just outside of earth's solar system. Both fleets are decimated, and the remnants of each limp to the nearest habitable planet. Unfortunately for us, it happens to be earth.
Meanwhile, Walker, a 13-year old mute with fantastic powers of precognition has dreams of the battle and what is to come, and begins mentally "looking" for kids that have powers similar to his in an effort to combat the threat.
With the impending battle between Thrax and Myxl, Walker knows if the earth is to have a future the team he is putting together will be the only force to ensure it.
A: Basically in the fall of 2010, with my first screenplay completed (I come from the school of playwriting), I decided to send "The Future Force" in to a few different contest deadlining around October/November of that year.
Since it's win at Screenplay Festival, it has gotten good feedback from other contests, i.e., New Voices, Emerging Screenwriters, and been eviscerated by the Big Bear Screenplay contest. So it definitely elicits strong opinions one way or the other.
A: I met their last deadline, but one of the prizes they had awarded me, help with a quality, industry friendly query letter and synopsis, from one group was promised, but then backed out on by the contest, citing that the company was no longer a sponsor.
All other prizes and award money was given, so the complaint is minor, but I sure could've used the help with the query and synopsis, as those are my weak points as a writer. Dialog and character are my forte.
A: The initial thrust was done in a about 4-6 weeks time, and I have been re-writing, re-editing, and cutting ever since to try to make it better, and more what the industry wants (if that doesn't change again in the next five minutes as I type this). Currently it is probably in its 3rd or 4th draft (major changes), not counting all the times I went back in just to do minor edit jobs.Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?
A: Well, being a "poor" writer who makes his living doing something else besides writing, I use Celtx (that you can download for free from the internet), and love it so much that even now that I have a version of Final Draft (not the latest but within the last couple of years), I still can't bring myself to change. I like Celtx's margins and spacing a LOT, and FD wastes more paper in the print out due to the minimal size of the dialog column space.
I have also used Movie Magic 6 (on a trial, even wrote my first pilot on that), and FD, but I still like Celtx. No, I don't have stock in the company, this is an honest plug for a software that is accessible, affordable, and GOOD.
A: Nope. For me, writing is like vomiting... When it the inspiration hits me, I can't stop myself from writing a lot, but most days I don't write. It'll come when it comes. But then, time goes away, and how many hours becomes how many DAYS.Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?
A: No. If I think about it, the chore isn't getting inspired to write, it's setting aside time to just sit there and start flowing. The discipline for me isn't within the writing (as I sometimes feel I'm channeling the stuff I come up with some greater force than my own being), it's the re-writing, wherein you take that initial burst of creation, and try to refine it. It's like breaking a fine, and spirited horse, and just as tough and sometimes sad a task.Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?
A: I was a stage actor since I was 18 in my native Texas. In 1997, one of the theaters I worked with as an actor needed a Xmas play, but could not afford to pay royalties, so I said that I'd give it a try and see if they liked what I came up with as a play. I wrote it. They liked it. They produced it. And I was hooked. There were several 10-minute play writing contests and short play contest in and around the Houston area, so I entered. I won. Got produced. And it became a narcotic of sorts... The idea that something that was dancing in your head one night within a few weeks or months could be actualized by actors and a director on stage.
A couple of National contests wins followed, and I have a few plays published (no, not by Sam French). I have written one sitcom that was optioned by a small production company but never produced. I have also written one other sitcom pilot, two hour long sci/fi-thriller pilots, and my latest, a dramedy feature length screenplay. Not counting a few really good short film scripts.
A: After a couple of the young actors I worked with came out here and had some success, I decided to move to Burbank in the summer of 2009, and I have been plugging away here (without an agent or manager, yet) ever since. Hoping to take a meeting one day with someone that really believes in my script, and wants to option it.
I love it out here, and consider my Texan days behind me. I'm a Californian now, for better or worse (for California that is).
A: My latest script: "The Mortality Game" is a quirky, character comedy/drama that is character driven, and very low budget doable, so I'm hoping it will put me on the map like the big budget, epic, "The Future Force" could not (or HAS not so far). "The Mortality Game," if done right, will one of those "darling of Sundance type of movies, and I can't wait to see it on the big screen!