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I'm alive and well and do exist. Thanks to everyone for their wishes for success. Ditto on my part to everyone else who made the quarterfinals. And please, don't beat up on my friend Evie!
The announcement did go out, by e-mail, on August 3rd as promised. Nothing is listed on the web page yet.
I was told that I was one of the top 10 finalists. I e-mailed back, asking if the top winners had already been selected, and received a response that yes, they had been.
Thanks, everyone. Thanks especially, Terry -- I think we know each other through the COCW, right? All these 'wins' are great, but I'm learning, the biggest hurdle is to think/create commercially viable stories. But perhaps a couple of consecutive wins for Final Status might get it some attention.
Thanks for asking my question.
None of these people will want to see an unsolicited script. In fact, none of these people will want to even receive a query letter from you if you don't have financing already lined up -- but try a query. Don't waste the Earth's paper or your postage sending a script. In Hollywood, you can't get away with it. You can elsewhere -- Europe, Israel, etc. -- but not Hollywood. Too scared shitless to read a fucking postcard without a signed Release.
Yeah, me too, top 10% for Final Status.
Learned today that Cooper's War made the first (preliminary cut) for Creative Writing Awards.
As a friend of mine would say:
It's all good.
I've seen past comments on the Bulletin Board that have been less than flattering (and sometimes downright disparaging) about the 20/20 contest, or Screenbrokers, or Bonnie Sanders -- they are all the same.
I'd like to add my 20 cents worth.
In terms of feedback on craft, I have never spent a better twenty dollars. I have submitted to three 20/20 contests, and in each case, the style-specific feedback I received truly enlightened my work. Screenwriting is such a finely-tuned craft, and I'm not referring to the Hollywood ad naseum structure, but making sure that what appears on the screen appears on the page and nothing more. Bonnie keeps you honest in that regard, and once you get the basics, she starts working on the rest: character, structure, plotting and pace.
You can't get better advice for the price. Of course, she and her partner are only looking at the first 20 pages, and we all know the best scene is on page 21, right? No prob, since that scene on page 21 isn't going to work if the first 20 pages haven't.
I'm a novelist as well as screenwriter, and I've come to agree that you can discern voice, character, and success or failure in the first 20 pages of a manuscript. Or certainly enough is there to be critiqued with real value in feedback for the writer.
So, I'm not a Bonnie basher but a fan. I know I am a better screenwriter because of her feedback, and wish to heck I hadn't pooh-poohed her 20/20 approach for as long as I did. I might have been optioned by now if I hadn't!
A comment on "on the nose". If dialogue is too on the nose, it's usually boring. What makes dialogue -- indeed, people -- interesting is the subtext: what's not being said outright but is still being said. Once I learned that, and felt it more or less 'organically', my dialogue vastly improved -- and while I may not write commercially viable pieces or have the best structure in the world, I am now frequently praised for my dialogue.
Big mistake, Janet. I just saw your inquiry about 20/20, and you can't spend a better $20. You don't get elaborate notes, but you get points of craft that are immeasurably useful; albeit precise, they ripple through other aspects of your manuscript. 'Screenbrokers' seriously considers manuscripts for representation, and their contest is obviously a way to quickly sift through many manuscripts. And if, in your first spec screenplay, you can't hook 'em by page 20, you're not going to sell it.
So, don't pass up this very low-cost entry fee for some useful brief notes and some degree of exposure/consideration. Heck, I'd pay a lot of agents/managers/producers $20 just to PROMISE to read my stuff! Here's one who says it will and DOES.
Hi Stephen - congrats. What do you mean by 'sequencing' as a tool for second act problems?
If you are out there, Stephen Hoover, please reply. If I am not mistaken you are a proponent of sequencing, which I can only guess about, but on which you recently recommended a book. Can you please send that recommendation again? I can not find it. Thx.
So, does anyone know anything about Bridge? Thx
Is there a good alternative to InkTip?
I won the Grand Prize for WriteMovies #23. What's it matter?
It's a waste of time to enter the Rhode Island Int'l Film Festival's screenwriting competition. Total waste of time and money. Not one read, not one minuscule effort to promote my screenplay -- just grief on my part over the fiasco, expense, and nonsense of being a winner in this totally useless contest other than an inglorious entry on my bio.
I won the Grand Prize a few years ago and: was teamed up with the director from Hell who proceeded to destroy 20 minutes of my script; never received ANY of the promised prizes (oh, I am so missing that engraved clock right now!); and was never even given a courtesy copy of the 20-minute video made by the RIIF based on a scene from my script.
The guy who runs the show, George Marshall, likes to play passive-aggressive/vindictive games, thinks he's a big shot -- and I suppose he is, in his very small festival. His sidekick, whose name I forget, never followed through on anything despite his big smiles and bigger promises.
So please add the RIIF to your list of DO NOT ENTER. Or go ahead and enter it if you're so rich you like to toss money away.
Of the many wins that screenplay and others have had, I haven't found another contest to come close to the aggravation and bullshit of the RIIF.
I'm not sure I understand your comment, James.
Thanks, James II, for reminding me who James I is.
Yes, over a year ago, I sent a personal and critical comment to James I, saying (in not necessarily polite language) that his logline was too long, wasn't really a logline at all but a short synopsis, and was crowding out other writers. (He seemed to make a point of getting it back on the Moviebytes web page almost the minute it descended to the bottom.) He took issue with my comments, and has been ranting at me every time he can. So, he holds a grudge for a long time, that's pretty obvious.
I have a hidden profile, but when I click on 'all messages from same guy' they all come up, and they've all been intended to be helpful. No excessive boasts or criticisms; in fact, no boasts at all.
James I: I officially state, for the record, that I hope Rent House has been optioned and is a great success, and by your success you have proven me wrong. So please spend your emotional and psychological energy on your writing, not on me. Geez, I mean like really, you've got to have more to do than throw spears at me. And also for the record, I've never boasted about being a big time director, and mentioned to you that I had produced stageplays. My comments were intended to be helpful to you, and intended to ask you to respect that other writers are trying to get their loglines posted. Period. That was it. That's called feedback, and in whatever form it comes, you should treat it as useful -- because even bad feedback has merits. And if you can't discern the merit in comments you receive, then ignore them. Write something great and prove your detractors to be wrong. Okay? Hatchet buried? Can you move on and quit fixating on ancient history?
Sorry, Janet, that your valuable posting on the bulletin board has been temporarily hijacked. Hopefully it will not be so beyond this message. And I stand by my comments on the RIIF, bad karma or not.
Michael, let me elaborate, though I am not sure how knowing how others fared in WriteMovies helps you. Of course, placing in any contest is worthy, so congratulations. I think all contests are competitive. My experience with WriteMovies to date: I have met with Alex Ross, was treated to lunch at the British Film Academy, received my $3K check promptly, and now have an 'agent' or rep for both my novel and screenplay, Cooper's War (the screenplay that won). Alex is well-connected, experienced. He uses the contest as one way to ID interesting scripts that he wants to represent and/or produce, so my advice: work on your script until it wins; or, until you decide it's not winnable for whatever reason, and move on to a new project. Obviously you can write if you made it to the semifinals. Good luck and never give up.
I went to the Berlinale (Berlin Film Festival) this year, went through the process and expense of getting accredited, and it was great: contacts, exposure, etc. Most screenwriters don't go the whole hog, and you should: attend important market film festivals (Berlin, Cannes, Sundance and AFI/AFM) and get accredited so you can hobnob with the real shakers and movers in the industry. Have a 30-second pitch that gets you one more minute, and if you're prepared, it'll lead to at least a cup of coffee, referrals, maybe more.
You have to get into the markets or it's a waste of time. While the markets are designed for indies already-produced looking for distributors, for almost all small and mid-sized producers, the same people selling completed films are the people looking for new projects.
Workshops are nice, winning contests gives you pluses for your bio and pitch, but there is NOTHING like face-to-face contact with the decision makers, and they do attend the important marketing festivals, which are (see above).
The local, regional, smaller festivals might draw crowds to see movies, but they don't draw the industry. So if you have limited resources, and your goal is to pitch and sell a script, go to the festivals that have a major market component. (And that's not Santa Fe as far as I know.) They are (see above), but you must get accredited to get behind the screens to where business is taking place.
If you are serious about making it as a screenwriter, and you aren't partying and sleeping around Hollywood, your best bet are the major indie festival markets at (see above).
See you at (see above)!
I will add: I do not know what happens at Austin. I hear it's a good festival. I don't know if there is a market component.
There are LOTS of film festivals out there that are great for seeing great movies, but the market/film festivals are far far fewer. The majors, to my knowledge, are the Berlinale/EFM, Cannes, AFI/AFM, and Sundance. And that's where the industry goes.
It'll be 'oaky'? I ain't touching that! Not with a four letter word!
I wouldn't include an SASE unless it is specifically requested, and I would never ask for the script back. I can print a new one out cheaper than return postage (sorry, Earth). I wouldn't worry about the psychology between to-SASE or not-to-SASE. If they want your script, they'll find you. If they don't, they won;t bother to respond, SASE or not.
SASEs have typically been required by contests, not for pros - and now, almost everyone except dinosaurs replies by e-mail if they reply at all.
Send us all the offer!
Heck, based on actuarial tables, that's $2.37.5 per year!
I love success stories. Especially from old guys. I still use WordPerfect (not for screenplays, though, I'm a hip Final Drafter).
Or heard you were cute?
In today's Amerika, nothing surprises me.
Geez, I think you all need to take a chill pill. As to missed deadlines and unanswered e-mails, I think it would an A-bomb to annihilate all the offenders. Anyone who wants to be a writer, besides learning how to write!, needs a thick skin and the patience of Job.
I've been contacted twice by producers/agents/managers since I placed in this year's COCW. I think the contest is getting its act together with regard to getting the word out about winners.
I've had reasonable 'success' with InkTip and recommend it for exposure. I get lots of logline hits, of course fewer who look beyond that -- but it's all about exposure. I've had one manager contact me who found me through InkTip. The Preferred Newsletter is a good service with decent leads. A lot of it is low-end, but everything's a lot more low-end than it used to be. On rare occasion, sometimes Universal or Lions Gate -- if I remember correctly -- actually show up in hits or solicitations. There's a lot of cross fertilization between your scripts, meaning if you have more than one script listed, usually someone interested in one script will check out others.
My experience, it's out of favor. Tends to slow the read on a spec script. Maybe do it once or twice in a script to bring real emphasis, otherwise, a director can pretty well figure out what a bang! sounds like.
Stay away from Scriptware. Never updated itself, now a total waste of time.
Celtx is free but I've had a heck of a time adjusting margins and doing some very simple things, at least in stageplay format. (And I only use it because for some reason I can't get Final Draft to work in a stageplay format.)
I think Final Draft is excellent for screenplays. Never tried MM.
I'm a serious guy and never thought I'd be writing a comedy. But I have a set-up that begs for it. So please: can anyone suggest a good, succinct article/approach to writing comedies? Or any special tips? I'm a writer, but usually of drama, and I'd appreciate any comments that really could help me draw the distinction between, say, character development in comedy vs. drama. Etc. All comments and advice truly appreciated, so thanks in advance.
They wrote a letter and told me I won! They're just not telling everyone yet.
Then I woke up and discovered I was living Inception. Bad dream, worse movie.
You have the chance to go to film school, then go to film school. It can only do you good. If you don't want to write dumb comedies or vampire stories (and thus not succeed in Hollywood), you won't -- you'll write what you want and get some foundation for doing it right. Take the opportunity.
That's okay, John. Your cat's not.
Okay, congrats all and thanks all. Tim
Sounds like a scam.
But hey, if you'll pay ME some big bucks to look at your screenplay and try to find an agent for you, NO PROB! Make sure it's enuf to get me to Rio!
Thanks Janet and all.
Some of you, like me, may also write the occasional stageplay, or have friends who do - so I wanted to let you about the Smith Prize for political theater. Please pass this information on to your playwright friends. It's or plays that address the pressing issues of our times -- political in the ancient Greek sense of the body politic.
The submission deadline is December 30th. Please check it out at:
Stage plays, NOT screenplays.
If anyone is interested in reviewing/ranking my screenplay, COOPR'S PROMISE, I just listed it. Amazon Studios is a new paradigm in a changing marketplace. It's worth the shot. Please read and review Cooper's Promise. It's the story of a deserter from the war in Iraq who must redeem himself for a broken promise to his sister before he can go home.
I wish it were S Spielberg who noticed, but hey! I'll accept a word of congrats. Thanks. Good luck to all of us!
If I recall correctly, the awards dinner was last night. Does anyone know who won?
Copyright can be done electronically. Time consuming? Unless you have A.D.D., you'll not find it onerous time-wise. It's actually pretty simple.
If you're talking your work around town, then register early stuff with the WGA and final first draft with the copyright office.
Or post it on Amazon Studios and give it away, according to some. According to me (and Mr. Hoover), post it on Amazon Studios and get a real shot at $20K and more. Sure, someone can rewrite my gay soldier to be a geisha, but would I even recognize it?
S Hoover is right: the world has changed into another imperfect world. We need to adapt. It's going to be a bumpy road as we do.
Copyright, by the way, gives you the right to recover legal fees. WGA registration does not.
You are talking about two different things. You can register your work for $25 (or it was $25) which the WGA holds onto for 5 years. It's one way to prove you wrote what you wrote. H Membership in the WGA is totally different, and full membership IS based on having a screenplay produced or something like that (I am not exactly sure). However, you may want to check out the WGA's Independent Caucus, which you can join if you have won a respected screenwriting competition. It costs $100/year and gives you some benefits, including access to group health insurance.
You sign an option or sell your screenplay, you've basically signed it away. That's how the business works. I think it's worth a shot. Schmidaho.
I won a place at the table at this competition/workshop a couple of years ago, and found it very worthwhile. They want scripts that are socially conscious, good dramas. Check it out:
DreamAgo's Plume & Pellicule Screenwriting Workshop
May 4-May 12, 2011
Deadline for script submissions: JAN 15, 2011.
A great opportunity for internationally-minded screenwriters! (Feature films only. Not accepting documentaries or shorts.)
Each year, the international film association DreamAgo sponsors a 10-day screenwriting workshop in Sierre, Switzerland called "Plume et Pellicule," which is figurative French for "from script to screen." Ten talented screenwriters are given the opportunity to spend an intensive week in one-on-one coaching sessions with film professionals from all over the world. Past coaches have includes: John Herman Shaner (USA); Maggie Soboil (South Africa); Hasan Legzouli (Morocco); Arturo Arango (Cuba); Randa Haines (USA); Yves Lavandier (France); Henry Bean (USA); Larry Gross (USA). One of DreamAgo's patrons, director Stephen Frears (UK), is a frequent guest. Workshop alumni have gone on to see their films made and to win other prizes, including a Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship. The workshop takes place in an idyllic castle nestled in the Swiss Alps. A mini film festival runs in parallel to the workshop, where participants can view films and hear guest filmmakers discussing their work.
The workshop is trilingual. On-site translators are provided. If you have at least a first-draft script in English, French, or Spanish, you may submit it for consideration. This workshop is especially recommended for writers whose themes tend toward the social, cultural, and political, and who strive to touch upon that which we share as human beings no matter where we live on the planet. If you are selected, your room, board, workshop participation, and film screenings during the 9-day stay at the castle in Sierre are free of charge. You will remain responsible for your travel costs and for providing translations of your script into the two other languages. You may also request DreamAgo to have your script translated for you at a very reduced rate. To submit or for further information, please visit www.dreamago.com.
Dreamago's workshop is about the writing and it's nurturing. It's also a heck of a lot of fun. It's not a marketing situation at all.
I gained a lot from the one-on-one mentoring sessions. The feedback very much helped me take my script to a new level. The 'Meet Your Match' possibility after the workshop is taken very seriously and definitely worth going after. They're not miracle workers, but I think with the right quality script (and subject and budget) they have the possibility of helping to place it.
It's hard to beat staying in a castle for a week, but beyond that, you'll make many personal contacts that will endure.
It's a great writer's experience and opportunity. As long as you're going to the workshop for craft, you can't be disappointed, and the Meet Your Match follow-on is a promising effort. You'll also have a chance to meet with European writers and producers whose sensibilities are very different. It's great.
Fun fun fun! It must be exciting. Congrats.
Call the agency and ask.
Give 'em a break. Donna has sent out apologetic e-mails for the delays. It's going to happen that things get delayed or get stuck for all sorts of reasons. Personal, overwhelmed by manuscripts...? There are a lot of reasons, and my experience is: enter a contest if you think the awards/rewards are worth the entry fee. If you're fixated on knowing by a certain date, you're likely going to be disappointed. There are some bogus contests out there -- Script Savvy is not one of them.
Septemmber results, BTW, I believe are on their web page. It's the October contest that is pending.
I never thought I would have to ask this question, but in Final Draft, should there be one or two spaces between a period and the first letter of the next sentence?
I am asking only because, in one of the more prestigious competitions, I was severely in feedback because I had put only one space. (This is not a joke. It was deemed a major fault.) I was accused of cheating on space, and breaking a major rule of: make sure there's lots of white space on the page. (I am considering submitting a blank manuscript this year between two periods.)
Seriously: what is the required standard? Sometimes two spaces looks like such a stretch, and in fact, one space can save you a few lines in a manuscript.
I also write novels, and one space is now standard which is why I dared use it in a screenplay to start with!
Best to all, and thanks in advance.
But hey, thanks for the advice.
And apparently not such a stupid question after all. (But perhaps a stupid reader who is looking for white space not story.)
Movies are visual. Screenplays should be visual. Intercut with the visual, and (free advice follows) do NOT suggest specific music unless it is CRUCIAL to the story and/or theme. If it is just to establish a certain mood or hear your favorite song every time you watch your own movie, leave it out.
You think THAT's stupid? How about the contest judge who told me he had spent far too long Googling the FICTITIOUS town/country in which my screenplay was set AND COULDN'T FIND IT!!!!! Then he took points off my score because I had wasted his time trying to find a place too obscure. This guy never did figure out it was actually fictitious. Duhhhh....
K v. K
Go with the classics.
I would go with ON TV. That gives the Director an option to let the newsman be in the background droning away, or to focus the camera on him. It's not the same as a real life character who enters a bar and says something O.S.; like, "puttem up or yur dead." And it's definitely not V.O.
As if one contest is that important. We send out queries, and wait months for... nothing? A rejection if we persist? Some of us probably forget some of the contests we enter and never hear from. I'm not saying that's good, but it is the business. And if you win the January Script Savvy contest, will it really change your life? Or will it simply be an excuse to contact people again, say "I WON NOTHING THAT'S IMPORTANT TO YOU" -- and wait for them to say sorry, again?
I am totally into the contest circuit. I live in Paris so I don't have the opportunity to schmooze and/or sleep around in Hollywood. I think the contests are my way, ultimately, to some recognition. But am I worried about Script Savvy being overdue? Will their notes be the end-all that propels me from rejection to option? I seriously doubt it. If I win, it's a marketing point that might get someone to read what they will probably decide is not a commercial script because it doesn't include zombies.
I am, by no means, a discouraged writer -- I am as far from being discouraged as you can imagine. I believe good writing will eventually win the day. Will Script Savvy win the day for me? No. Can it possibly open one reader to reading my script if I win? I hope so. ONE reader. That's all we can hope for from these contests.
So if the January winner is announced this instant, or last October, or tomorrow or next month... in this business, why are you fretting so? These contests are ticks on your resume, and nada mas. They are nine words in your query letter. If you think they are more than that, you're focusing on the wrong stuff, from your logline to your query letters. And if you really need professional feedback to "fix" your script, you're not going to get it by entering a monthly contest but by paying for real coverage.
Mel Gibson is a homophobic anti-semitic ranting pig who's lost his good looks to boot. Why would you even bother?
As far as I know, there's no rule or format for a beat sheet.
Just list every action in your screenplay, and include enough information to see every turning point; e.g., Oedipus sleeps with woman AND discovers she is his mother. The big stuff.
The beat sheet is YOUR tool. And it's useful. Keep it current as you move forward.
Hello Mike Smith,
I never would have known about this. For the obvious reason that I am currently in the lead, and would otherwise be clueless, thank you for posting this link. Of course, now I am checking it every 7.5 nanoseconds!
Janet is right. Only underline in dialogue. Why? It's a better highlighter for the actor than italics.
Thanks, Matthew. I received an e-mail this morning saying that I had, in fact, won. Can use the win, the money, and definitely something that does not feel like a rejection letter!
Thanks, Irin. Tim
I was invited to the wedding but sent my script instead.
All exposure helps. Contests are good/great for that. Will they make you a success? Yes/no. Depends on luck/strategy/circumstances. But they are one venue for exposure that, if you don't participate, is simply closed off to you. "You can't win if you don't play" as the lottery folks like to say.
I've had agencies/producers ask to see my screenplays because they were judging something I had entered, didn't win, but wanted to see more. I think it was three producers who contacted me because I was a semifinalist for Nicholl. And whenever I meet with agents, producers, etc., I hand them my writers resume with nearly 70 wins or places in contests, and bet me, they are impressed. If I weren't writing about queer Army deserters ending up as mercenaries in West Africa befrieding 14-year-old prostitutes, I might actually be published and/or produced by now. But that was my life. And they say, write what you know. T.
I've been twice. Very worthwhile experience.
Script Dude, you have got a burr up your ass about contests, and that is for sure. Your every message is pretty much the same message: Why bother?
I WANT to be judged based on good writing and not some commercial standard looking for the next adaptation of a graphic novel or something else as stupidly and offensively mind-numbing.
I write about Army deserters who end up as a mercenaries in West Africa, gays under the Nazis, the Israeli/Palestinian conflict -- these are not commercial topics unless I can convince someone that they are. And winning contests helps me do that. (The producer of The King's Speech is seriously considering a screenplay of mine that has won lots of contests, and he simply would not be looking at it if it had not.)
The problem with most contests is that they are commercial enterprises themselves, they want to pick commercial winners because then more people will submit to the contest -- and voila, they make more money.
Thank you, Matt, for letting us know that good writing, in Austin's case, may still win the day.
You're right and you're wrong.
I'd venture that Hollywood is not the biggest buyer of scripts. The indies are. How many movies do the big studios make a year? A dozen at best I would guess. And there are approximately 600 movies made a year (compared to what? 40,000 screenplays being written - I've heard more, I've heard less)
No, Hollywood in general is not concerned with contest winners. Scripts get picked up in Hollywood through connections -- getting people to read your script to start with.
Contests -- or, winning them -- is a marketing tool whether you are in Hollywood or not. It distinguishes you from 39,999 scripts.
Things get delayed in the real and reel worlds. Probably the only firm date in this life is tax day, and even that slipped three days this year!
My advice: Quit complaining, wait patiently, and hope you win. I won WriteMovies about a year ago, and they've actively tried to put my project together. It hasn't happened but the effort has been real.
LJ - I haven't seen the movie but read the script (Source Code) and can't believe it was made into a movie let alone reviewed favorably in the New Yorker.
Page length? 90 is too short. Aim for 110. That's what I'm hearing back.
BUT it all depends on how good you are. BUT forgetabout140.
Sounds to me like a little sobriety might help.
If your message is an indication of how well you write (or not) a screenplay, you need a class or two. Or a new career. Or maybe try poetry where repetition is sometimes mistaken for iambic pentameter.
I've been writing full-time since 1997, just finished the first draft of a new screenplay yesterday, and I am THRILLED!
Is that one lump or two?
Oh... I can just imagine.
Can;t Hollywood move to, say, Bangladesh, and let some real talent take over the studios?
Who cares? More Hollywood poop.
Michael - right on 100%.
Script Dud - Hollywood consists of a handful of huge studios making mostly crappy films, and for the most part won't even consider something that isn't a franchise: a game, toy, novel, toilet article - something with name recognition. Sure, we'd all like Hollywood to produce something we write. (Heck, I'd like my neighbor to produce my scripts!) It still doesn't change the fact that mostly what comes out of Hollywood is Drek, Drek 2, Drek 3, etc.
I agree with M.R.: you've got waaaay too much time in your hands and a pretty lousy attitude to boot. Tearing into people who have faith that entering contests might actually gain us some recognition (which you do ad naseum) is hardly helpful. Most of us on this board can distinguish a**holes from art, and most of us know a lot about paying our dues and the hard climb to the top.
SEND THE MONEY TO ME AND I'LL READ YOUR SCRIPT! HECK, SEND ME LOTS OF MONEY AND I'LL READ ANYTHING YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN! Sounds a little iffy to me.
The Children of Men.
And all my screenplays!!! I'll send 'em all to you to pass on to Brad Pitt or Andrew Garfield - no prob.
I've had a couple of things posted with them. They seem to be organized enough to actually give feedback, and to update that feedback occasionally. It's been across the board in terms of opinions and yet all informative at the same time. It's another venue for exposure -- heck, they really do read what you write! And they must occasionally sell something or why would they keep doing it?
I'd give them high marks overall for honesty about what they offer, worthwhile feedback, and organization. Whether they offer much useful exposure, I don't know and haven't explored. But I'm glad for the reminder to list my new project with them.
These guys were in the vanguard of people in the industry finding online-driven niches in the general screenwriting market. As I recall, coverage with grades, a chance to resubmit and move up: all of that is useful. A management company that could potentially find indie buyers for spec scripts instead of rewriters for brain dead Hangover 17. Or so I think that's what it set it itself up to be.
As I said, thanks for the reminder to check it out again for myself.
MARCH and APRIL CONTEST results will be announced by Sunday June 26th. We apologize for the extension and ask for your patience as we work through staffing issues.
Ms. White (original Contest Coordinator) will return soon to assist Eric in finishing up all open issues.
Those of you who have known Ms. White over the years and have asked about her recently may be interested to know that her mother passed away on Friday June 17th after a long illness, and was laid to rest on Monday morning June 20th.
Ms. White has asked that we post a heartfelt THANK YOU to so many of you who have sent words of sympathy and support.
Hey everyone - I didn't mean to imply that I know the Scrip Savvy people personally, though I think it's really nice that you want me to convey your condolences.
What I posted was taken from the Script Savvy web page. I realize now that it could have been mistaken as something I wrote by the way I presented it.
Please pass your condolences on directly to Donna White via Script Savvy. I am sure she will appreciate a kind word.
Best to all.
Well done on all fronts!
Exposure. Period. Tim
The best was to ascertain such information is, well, check with the contest's web page. It's rare (or never) that such information is not posted -- if, in fact, finalists, etc., have been announced. (Why wouldn't a contest post this information on its web page?)
I'll save you the trouble this time. Quarterfinalists will be announced, July 15.
Of course there's still hope, Lana! It doesn't end or begin with Page. Good luck, and never get discouraged. Tim
Just FYI, I made it to the top 10% for one screenplay, top 20% for another -- but no Q'finalaist! So congrats to those who did. Envy envy drool drool...
Now back to writing next year's winner!
I have always found 20/20's feedback to be sparse but revealing, and certainly worth the $20 entry fee.
My understanding is that this is how Screenbrokers IDs scripts it wants to represent. I used to balk at the idea that 'they didn't read the whole script' but, after having read a lot of scripts myself, if you don't have the reader/audience hooked in 20 pages, forget it.
Yeah, yeah, lots of exceptions out there -- almost always European films which Americans aren't making. Or it's a script by an established screenwriter.
If I got feedback like the "oleo" comment, I'd take a hard look at my script, not Screenbrokers. It's not their job to be purposefully insulting but to give honest feedback, and that's pretty honest feedback. That, and your own description of your fetishists, makes me want to suggest a major rethinking and rewrite may be in order.
I'm gay and I like the idea of 1 in 10. I've entered a couple of times, but it looks like they prefer silly gay stories, not serious stories or dramas. One screenplay I entered has won 15 accolades, including Grand prizes. Another stageplay adaptation of a screenplay won one of the most prestigious American playwriting prizes. Neither scored well in terms of 1 in 10, BUT... I'd still submit to them again if I had a new gay screenplay. I think it's an important prize and would be honored to win it. I just haven't written what they're looking for yet.
Eddie Murphy is known for his homophobic rants and should not be bestowed this honor. In fact, his movies, etc., should be boycotted right there alongside with the racist, misogynist, anti-semitic and homophobic Mel Gibson. Others may be excited about this, but I just learned that I won't be watching the Oscars this year. Alas.
Sorry, I haven't read all the advice so far. But: Give out a business card, get your pitch down to 1 minute max, be engaging if anyone seems interested but DON'T get into back story only character. Make them love your protagonist. Don't hand out anything at the festival unless it is specifically asked for. Follow up immediately the second business day after the first day of business after the end of the festival. T
The movie business is f####d, that's why all the movies coming out of Hollywood are about zombies.
Apparently, many of the people running prominent contests fit into that category as well.
Call it the State of Amerika. What do you expect from an empire in rapid decline with diminishing resources and a failure of leadership? Cheesy entertainment to stupify the already stupid masses.
Do you really think something intelligent is going to squeeze through the system? I still hope so, that's why I keep writing intelligent screenplays, but the odds are increasingly in favor of the zombies.
Wow wow and wow. Whoever thought that a gritty story about a homosexual deserter from the war in Iraq who's ended up as a mercenary in a West African country where he befriends a 14-year-old prostitute would ever make it to the PAGE finals! I guess not everything has to be a zombie movie these days. Thanks for your congrats, and congrats to the others finalists.
Hello fellow Moviebyters,
For the last few years, I have been going to a very special place in Greece which is a great place to write as well as (almost) live the life of Zorba. The place I have rented is exceptionally beautiful and a wonderful place to write, which may be why it has been primarily rented by writers for many years.
The house has been steadily improved and winterized, and the family that owns it is promoting it as a writers retreat especially in winter. So, I thought I'd let you all know about it.
Here is a link to it:
For the rates, click on the "Contact us" tab.
I am not advertising this nor do I get anything out of it. I'm just putting this out there because I think it's such a great place to work AND enjoy life to the max. But if you contact the owners and tell them you heard about this through 'Timotheos', you will be especially warmly greeted.
I hope some of you can eventually take advantage of this wonderful place.
Just glad I don't have any fucking boobs to parade around and my tats are only for fucking intimate friends to fucking discover IF I have any.
So, they get me and my scripts and a good elevator pitch. What the fuck.
I was the Grand Prize winner in last year's StoryPros contest. One thing I won was a screenplay analysis by them.
They were very specific on this issue.
If it is the same location, then simply say LATER instead of DAY or NIGHT.
So use a full slug line, but use LATER.
Yes, LATER should be used only in the same time frame. It implies minutes later, or a short time later, not days or weeks later.
INT. FRAT HOUSE - NIGHT
Big, noisy, raucous party. John enters, sees June across the room. Instantly aims for her.
INT. FRAT HOUSE - LATER
John and June are necking on the couch.
It's a stupid example but you get the point. Same location, same NIGHT, same everything except only a short time later.
Hope that clarifies it.
I'm not surprised you didn't know.
I entered Cynosure a couple years in a row. Absolutely no communication with the winning or losing screenwriters from what I could tell. I went on their web page and couldn't find even a mention of the winners. It seemed to me that the contest was just a moneymaker for them without any real effort to give screenwriters the exposure we need. At least that was the case as of a couple of years ago. Waste of money as far as I'm concerned.
For any of you who also write stage plays or have friends who do:
Six years ago, I established a national playwriting prize for political theatre, cleverly named the Smith Prize. It is administered by the National New Play Network and is awarded to a play that specifically focuses on American politics - examining our civic institutions, particularly our democratic institutions - and asks: Who are Americans as a people? What are we becoming? What are our global responsibilities
The prize carries a $5,000 cash award, which is split between the playwright and the first National New Play Network member theater that chooses to produce the winning play.
1) Only full-length, non-musical plays will be accepted.
2) The play's theme must focus on American politics, as explained above, illuminating issues that can only be dealt with at the national or global level, even if the story is told from an individual perspective.
3) At the time of application, the play must not have had a professional production.
4) Playwrights may only submit one script, and may not submit a script that was previously entered in the Smith Prize.
5) Previous winners of the Smith Prize may not enter.
There are two steps to the application process:
1) Pay the submission fee of $10. You may pay online by visiting our PayPal site — go to www.nnpn.org, click on the ''Donate'' button in the lower right-hand corner, and in the ''instructions to seller'' section, please type ''Smith Prize'' and the name of your play. Alternatively, you may send a check made out to the National New Play Network to us (NNPN, c/o Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company, 641 D Street NW, Washington, DC 20004). If you send a check, please make sure to indicate the name of your play on your check. Do not mail your script.
2) Email a blind copy of your script (without your name on the title page or anywhere in the script) to General Manager Jojo Ruf, email@example.com. The script may be formatted in MSWord or PDF format.
The deadline for receipt of both the script and application fee is December 30, 2011. The winner will be announced in June 2012.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE PRIZE or to make a donation*, go to:
*While I donate half the prize money, I rely on contributions of any size to make up the balance. Also, starting last year, the NNPN has held a separate fundraiser to try to cover its costs in administering the prize.
Thanks for sharing this with your friends. If anyone feels like posting this on their Facebook page, go for it! Thx.
Sorry everyone for mistakenly dumping on Cynosure.
My experience was with Cinequest, not Cynosure.
Sorry sorry sorry...
Character. Conflict. Period.
If you don't have David Trottier's "Screenwriters Bible", you need to get it. It answers all these basic questions.
I think by ellipse you mean three little dots.
You use an ellipse when a sentence trails off, or there's a thoughtful pause by the speaker.
You use a dash when the speaker is interrupted.
At least that's my understanding.
So, is anyone else going to the Austin Film Festival. I'd like to put a face to names I've seen for a long time on this message board, and use the opportunity to share our Austin experiences.
It looks like a great line-up of workshops, speakers, well attended by interesting producers, etc. It's all potsed on the AFF's web page - check it out.
Ditto ditto ditto. I've been twice to the Cinestory retreat, and both times were exceedingly beneficial.
Go for it!
You may have wasted your weekend, but you saved many of mine! Great resources. Thanks for all your hard work on all Moviebyters' behalf.
Ron has a good point. The last time I paid for free coverage, I felt pretty darn foolish!
But Irin's point is a good one. Basically, you get what you pay for. Free doesn't get you much, and most contests that offer notes or coverage aren't usually worth much more. (Sometimes you have to wonder if they wrote the screenplay you submitted!) If you pay $50 to enter a contest, how much of that is dedicated to paying for coverage on YOUR script? Not much. It has to cover the costs of contest, staff, and overhead first.
So, I'll toot my own horn here. In the course of winning several international competitions and optioning one screenplay, frequently I've been asked to comment on screenplays. I've started to provide this service at a competitive rate. If you are interested, check out www.kosmosfilms.com and click on 'About'.
Sorry, I meant read the screenplay you write. Typing too fast here. T.
Sorry, I meant read the screenplay you wrote. Typing too fast here. T.
If I wrote things that were a bit more commercial (you know, zombie horror movies instead of gay thoughtful dramas), I am sure I would have optioned something through InkTip by now. I get lots of hits - LOTS of them. And always new hits when I "update" every six weeks. Many small independent producers clearly watch InkTip. Worth the $60, which you spend to enter a contest and hope somebody other a film school student might read.
Athena is right, big guys do troll InkTip. Lions Gate has looked at mine, once. Boo hoo... never contacted me. But could I have gotten Lions Gate to look at my stuff on my own? Not a remote possibility.
This is my dilemma.
Once upon a time, I used Scriptware. The default between the last line of action or dialogue before a slug line was 1 line (1 pace). Then I switched to Final Draft, and at first, it was the same. THEN Final Draft went to 1.5 lines as its default. I overrode that and went back to 1 line, and was nicked by BlueCat for doing that. But then at Austin, in a workshop on revisions with Terry Rosio (Shrek, Pirates of the C) he made a point of showing in a powerpoint presentation bringing it back to 1 -- because 1.5 takes too much space.
Where do you stand on this? On one line or one-point-five?
This month's issue of Script Magazine is especially interesting. Be sure not to overlook the article on Dreamago (on p. 20 of the hardcopy). This is an excellent organization to know about for many reasons, including its ability to network in the film communities outside the U.S.
Dreamago runs a 10-day writers conference designed to work on a specific script. The program is called Plume & Pellicule and only scripts that are somehow socially redeemable are considered (no zombie scripts or slashers). A second stage of the program is Meet Your Match, which is what the name implies: trying to hook up screenwriters with interested producers and directors.
It's all in the article, or you can find information on line at www.dreamago.com
NOT TWO DIFFERENT DASH SIZES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I'VE BEEN DINGED FOR THAT, TOO. I FEEL YOUR PAIN.
- -- - --- -- - --
Script Dude - This may be the first time you and I agree 100%!
Who knew that a spacing problem as miniscule as .5 of a line could elicit such intelligent response?
Bravo to everyone for a great conversation, though I have to say, I am still .5 away from a firm answer.
Time to move on, folks. Yelling at Donna White post-mortem is a waste of typo possibilities. It's a contest gone south, and probably not intentionally. I mean, at this point, is it worth the energy to even care?
In screenwriting, as in life, you get what you pay for.
For a $100 read, I wouldn't expect much. I do script analysis, and know that what I give to my clients is worth a lot more than $100. And I wouldn't even consider doing the work for $100 -- that would be like getting paid minimum wage based on the time involved.
Everyone complains about the quality of readers and feedback at contests. I'd suggest that what you are getting is about $100 worth of a reader's service.
Many of the script development/coverage services, at around $200-$300, are pretty piss poor, too. I've used three or four of the "leading" ones that frequently show up on Moviebytes (Scriptapalooza, Script Pipeline, etc.) and while their feedback is helpful, it hasn't been especially brilliant or in-depth.
You figure it out. You are a business with overhead and salaries to pay, etc. You charge someone $250 for a script analysis, how much of that actually goes to pay the readers? Not much. So let's say they are earning $10 or max $15/hour for their work. You can flip burgers and make more than that.
So if you want to pay for burgers, pay for burgers. If you want help on your screenplay, pay someone who can really help you, not just tell you that your inciting incident should appear before page 25. Duh.
...now read the book.
The screenplay adaptation of my novel "Cooper's Promise" has placed in over 20 contests, including winning five Grand Prizes and First Places.
Now the original novel is being published with a release date of February 1, 2012. I have launched a pre-order campaign through Kickstarter for signed first edition copies. Here's the link where you can read a synopsis, etc.:
I have reluctantly embraced social networking, so those of you who know me know that I am disgruntled when I ask you to go to www.facebook.com/TimothyJaySmith and 'like' me even if you don't. You will find a lot more about me when you do.
Thanks, Moviebyters, for your support.
Thanks so much for your condensed rendition of the Top 10. I would have to agree with all of them, and very much appreciate your putting them so succinctly.
I have reluctantly but finally embraced social networking, realizing that it is simply the new paradigm of our age.
Please check out my page at:
At the top, you can click on the "Like" button if you want. Apparently the more likes I get, the more often I show up in searches. So please like me!
ALSO, my novel, Cooper's Promise, is coming out in Jan/Feb 2012, so I have launched a pre-order campaign to generate a little buzz around it. This is the novel that has been the basis for my award-winning screenplay (5 Grand Prizes and First Places). Please check it out at:
Just a reminder that the deadline for submitting plays is the end of the year.
Like Haiku, screenwriting is a constrained indeed rigid craft that can result in great beauty in the hands of a true craftsman -- both sexes and cross genders included.
Failed is spelled with one L, but I took it as a sardonic typo.
Don't ever underestimate the craft behind good writing. There is no good writing without it.
How often do you write a treatment? Irin, and other success stories? I never have. Maybe that's a big mistake but no one has ever even hinted as much.
Hello fellow Moviebyters,
In the past, some of you have asked to read Cooper's Promise, my screenplay that has won several top honors. Now the novel from which it was adapted is coming out -- so you can see how I adapted it, or just read the novel if you want. It's a good read.
I have a Kickstarter campaign to pre-sell copies of the book (release date Feb 1, 2012). If you wanted to give it as an Xmas gift, and order by tomorrow 12/13 midnight PST, I can get a gift certificate to you by the holiday. On a pre-order basis only, I am offering signed first editions.
You can still pre-order it after tomorrow, nut I can;t guarantee getting a gift certificate to you in time.
Anyway, here's the site, please check it out: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1574975666/coopers-promise-a-novel.
Thanks, and happy holidays to all!
Learn how to achieve everything you achieve to your advantage. A 'recommend' can become 'good coverage from a respected agency' if that can be honestly said.
I respect and appreciate Script Dude's belief that good scripts eventually float on their own. I have to believe that too, or I wouldn't keep writing them. But it's not that only bad scripts don't get produced. Most good ones do not either. So use whatever recognition you earn, spin it to your advantage.
Wow, thanks for letting me know I was on the list. I had no idea! Congrats to others who have made it this far,
Apparently COOPER'S PROMISE tied for Best Male Lead. Go Cooper! And go my co-winner Kenneth Lemm for DRUM. Congrats to all other winners as well.
I guess it's time to announce on Moviebytes that the novel Cooper's Promise was released in January. It has upcoming reviews in a dozen news publications on four continents, in addition to being promoted by major anti-human trafficking because at its core is a story of young girl who's been trafficked.
If you're interested in the book, here's a link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1462084087/ref=as_li_qf_sp_asin_til?tag=wwwtimothyjay-20&camp=0&creative=0&linkCode=as1&creativeASIN=1462084087&adid=16YT2M33MP450G1KBCY4
If you read it, please review it anywhere -- good or bad. All publicity is good! And I always appreciate honest feedback.
Hello fellow screenwriters,
For a recent contest win, I received a copy of Movie Magic Screenwriter software Version 6. I do not need this.
What I need to do is to up my sales of my novel "Cooper's Promise" in the first calendar quarter, so... the first person who buys three paperback copies of my book for a total of $47.85 ($15.95 each) gets this Movie Magic Screenwriter software sold on the internet for $250. You pay me on Paypal, give me your mailing address, and it's a done deal.
I think you can send me an e-mail via Moviebytes.
I hope this helps somebody who needs software because for me, it's a numbers game. I have a major producer looking at Cooper's Promise, and I want to show some sales.
Thanks, greetings to fellow M'byters,
Yes, of course it's possible to get an autographed copy of Cooper's Promise.
If there has been a delay in my answering you, it's because I don't check this message board too often. Please e-mail me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks -- I appreciate your interest in Cooper's Promise. I've not heard of a disappointed reader yet, so I hope you are not the first!
I'm just glad for the "remove" button.
Hello fellow screenwriters, I have a new (box never opened) copy of Screenwriter software by Write Brothers. Retails for $249.95. I don't need it and would like to sell it to buy something I do need. I'm asking $60 incl. shipping. Please e-mail me if interested. And keep writing!
Thanks for bringing to my attention the fact that my Moviebytes page is non-existent. I can't explain it unless my membership has expired unbeknownst to me. I will write Frederick Mensch (who knows me personally and knows I exist!) to ask what's happened. I have seven winning scripts listed and recently someone contacted me via Moviebytes, so I don't know what gives.
You can check me out at www.timothyjaysmith.com.
Last year they chose a zombie movie. And I thought Sundance had more on the ball than Hollywood. But good luck.
Life. It's a great contest.
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