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I didn't make it, but congrats to those who did!
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I don't know which is more newbie friendly but when I first started writing I used Final Draft. I was 17 and I figured things out pretty easily.
Also know there's movie magic and celtex (which is free). I haven't used movie magic but I've used celtex and I think it's pretty good. The only thing I don't like is that it doesn't give you the page count as you write.
You should go to amazon where they have the software listed and read reviews. This might help you in choosing. Hope this helps : )
Oh, I said it wrong it's celtx but yeah, make sure that whatever you get you can convert documents to PDF because a lot of the time if you submit online they mostly like to accept PDF documents.
Lisa, if you're moving into writing feature length screenplays I would reccomend you read The Screenwriters Bible or go to amazon and look up books on screenwriting, and see which ones have the best reviews.
When I first started out writing the screenwriters bible helped me out a lot. More so than a workshop class that I paid nearly $400 bucks for and didn't even let me know that I was doing my scene heading completely wrong.
You said you didn't know what subtext and on the nose dialogue was and I think the biggest mistake with screenwriting is that when people first get interested in screenwriting they just jump into it without really doing research and learning about the craft.
They waste their money on contest thinking they have a great product when they really have no clue what they're doing (I know from experience). I was really young when I started screenwriting though and since I could get by with A's in school without studying I thought the same would be true for screenwriting but it wasn't.
I think i've always been good at telling stories but I started out writing short stories and tried to convert those into screenplay's and boy oh boy...that was a complete mess!
Anyways, now that I'm older and I've been writing for six years my writing has gotten a lot better but I know you can never stop improving on something. Now I've become a little stressed about trying to become a succesful screenwriting as I'm learning even more new things about the industry. I literally sat at my computer for two hours rewriting and nit picking over one page that I eventually just deleted. But I think it's better that I actually know the rules of screenwriting instead of just going on blind faith.
I'm not a professional or in the industry yet, but I thought I would just share my story. Just to give you the point of view of a writer who went through learning the biggest mistakes the hard way.
So to anyone just starting out writing I would reccomend:
Reading a popular, well liked, book that will teach you how to write a screenplay. If you can't afford to take classes books are a lot cheaper.
Read screenplays that are similar to the type of thing you want to write. (I didn't want to read other people's work because I dind't want to end up copying, but reading other scripts really helps)
Spend some time with your script and rewriting it and really examining it before you decided to pitch it or enter in any contest. I mean only a certain amount of people can win the contest no matter what, and the best script might not always win, but if your writing is really amaturish at least you won't waste your money. But if you do enter a contest and you're just starting out then pay for feedback if you can.
Get other people, you don't know, to read your script. See what they think. This hasn't helped me out as for some reason people don't read what I write or they just don't like what I write about or when I post on a peer site my script never gets read - but I do hear that it helps out a lot of people (and people might respond to you better)
Most of all I think you should have a great passion for the art of writing itself. If you don't really enjoy it and you're just doing it for the money, I think it'll show.
I have wasted money on contest in the past, when I first started out writing which was back in 2005 I was like 17 and I just didn't have a clue. After about a year though I stopped entering and just focused on learnin and writing. Now I'm starting back entering. I will probably waste money on contest again, not because my writing is bad but just because a reader doesn't like the subject matter of my script, but I love writing. I love it so much that I am trying my best to follow the rules, even though I can't stand rules in general. Because at the end of the day my goal is to entertain people, and move them in some sort of way.
When you read books about screenwriting I think they do teach you about concept too. There's a section in the Screenwriters Bible called: The Low Down on High Concept.
Again, I think whenever you're going to tackle something you should do research, study. This can included studying the art of Story Telling.
A judge from a contest really thought I told a wonderful story but that I needed to take it to the next level and they reccomened that I read: The Art of Dramatic Writing by Lajos Egri
I was reading an article on preparing to query, and I read that you should make sure your script is flawless before you send it out.
I don't think anything can be flawless but I understand what they mean.
I think telling a story is important, very important but I also know that if your format is off then people won't get past the first ten pages of your script.
In fact, a lot of people have posted on this board that you need to make the first ten pages of your script amazing. I think this includes format, concept, theme, tone, everything. Really I think if you focus too much on just on one thing, like making your script a quick read, then that's where you make the mistake.
I agree with all the others who posted on the comment, esepcially Martin. I just wanted to elaborate a bit since you said you were writing an article.
From a one writers perspective. I have never had my story critizied. I mean no one has ever told me that my story or the concept of it was boring or anything like that. I've always been told that my format is not right, the way I write action, etc.
This is just me.
Does anyone else plan on entering this contest? I'm going to give it a try.
Lisa, I like what you are doing by trying to help other writers who just jump in based on inspiration. Though I had written stories and poems, and plays I did just jump into screenwriting without really being prepared.
I saw a movie on the big screen, was so moved and I just wanted to be able to do the same thing. If I had taken out the time to research and came a across an article like yours that would have really helped me out.
Eventually I found my way, but it wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. And it still isn't easy to hear people say bad things about my work, but I know in the end what they say can only help me improve and become the best that I can be.
I hope that all writers who really enjoy and are passionate about the art realize that even though you aren't near flawless right now, or at the highest level of the game, or getting a lot of good feedback you can always improve. I'm not going to say don't give up, because I believe that anyone who really wants it won't give it anyway. I'm just going to say keeping believing that someday someone will see your talent, and eventually your talent will be shared with the world.
Sorry if this is too corny for some of you, but I just can't help it! I love writing, I love those who pursue it and I want you all to succede. In school I never realized I could choose artist as a career.
Good Luck Lisa! And good luck to all my other writer buddies (everyone on the website, oh yeah. I don't care if you don't want to be my buddy, you are.)
I'm sure someone will come along and explain it better, but a "beat" is a pause. I think in the past writers usually just wrote "beat" to indicate a pause and that was how you wrote a beat. Today I don't think using the word "beat" is...well I think using it is fading out.
For instance. RED I can see why he wants you so bad. (beat) You're beautiful. (beat) Rich. (beat) Beautiful.
But instead of writing Beat I used
RED I can see why he wants you so bad. (then) You're beautiful. (and) Rich. (and) Beautiful.
I got the using "then" instead of "beat" from another writer on here. Instead of just saying "beat" or "then" or "and" like I did you can also like put...
RED I can see why he wants you so bad. (smiles) You're beautiful. (arches a brow) Rich. (glares) Beautiful.
This is my take on it, but you can look it up online.
Sorry for the format of my little example, I also wanted to add that I think readers/producers/agents/whoever reads your script - want you to be more creative than just using "beat" to represent a pause.
This is only based on the feedback I've gotten on my scripts.
RED I can see why he wants you so bad. (then) You're beautiful. (and) Rich. (and) Beautiful.
Hope I could help.
I just wanted to add that in my screenplay the following doesn't happpen. Not trying to be mean Irin but I didn't just make this up.
RED: I can see why he wants you so bad.
Red takes a sip of wine.
RED: You're beautiful.
He stands up.
Walks over to her.
and I was told not to add a lot of little actions if they don't really move the story forward. It depends on your script and the above would not work in my script because of the things that are happening....perhaps because he might be bound to a chair?
I have heard that actors don't like to be told what to do, but that's actually what they get paid for. I also think it depends on the level a actor is at. I mean I think Will Smith has more power to just change how he delivers a line than someone who is just starting out.
I do think it's okay to write (smiles) occasionally, just don't over do it.
And I just had to clarify because by doing what Irin did he kind of changed the whole situation of my play. My screenplay is written in a very particular way and what I did actually works for my story rather than against it. I think it adds emotion to my character and makes them more relatable to the reader.
I didn't enter this year but I plan on entering next year. I was very close but I just knew my script wasn't ready. Does Nicholl post their Quarterfinals?
I entered back in 07 and I know they send out letters to notify people if they made it or not, but I'm not sure if they post on their website.
Is this a new contest?
Too bad I live in Texas!
I don't know, I always thought "beat" meant when there called for a dramatic pause. In any case, just don't use the word "beat" then again, you might get a reader who just doesn't care if you use it or not.
If you read the posts of others you'll find that sometimes certain people love their work and sometimes they just can't win.
Okay, according to the Screenwriters Bible this is a whrylie:
Lefty: (wryly) I've had my share of mondo babes.
And the screenwriters bible says they can be helpful to readers in helping them suggest the subtext or attitutde of the character. It does say avoid telling actors what to do but that if someone says something like "I love you" in a sarcastic way then how's the reader going to know that if you don't use a wryly
The Screenwriters Bible gives this as an example of what to do instead of using the word "beat"
Jane: Ed Darling, I want you to know...(eyes mist up)...how much I love you.
To sum it up the book states that: The word beat is the most colorless and lifeless word you can use, instead use specific words that add to the story or help characterize your character
That is a beat in dialogue.
This is according to the Screenwriters Bible which is a pretty popular book, but I don't know maybe it needs to be update.
James - funny and thank you
Lol, thanks Robert but I was talking about if they posted this year's quarter finalist.
Who is Larry Myles? What competition? I'm into myself too.
I think if you can afford to go to film school then you should because I think not only will you learn a lot, you'll benefit from making relationships. You might end up making short films while in school and I've heard it can really help you break into the industry if you go to film school first.
Not that everyone who is a writer/director went to film school, but if you can afford it then I think (depending on what school you go to) it'll greatly benefit you.
Learning things on your own is fine, I had to do that, but If I could have gone to film school, especially in California, then I would have certainly done that.
I always think about entering this competition, because it has a television competition, but I'm just not sure if it's worth it.
If anyone has had any good experiences with this competition, but hasn't left feedback, then please let me know.
When I was thinking about entering script savvy competition I tallied up which scripts won the most and I believe that Romantic Comedies win the most in that competition. Mostly comedy scripts.
I always like to do research on contest to see what genres mostly win, find out what kind of readers/judges they have, who runs the contest. I mean any type of script can most contest, but certainly some contest favor certain scripts over others depending on how the contest is run/who is involved/who it's run by. Just my opinion.
I wouldn't be so sad about not placing in a contest, especially Nicholl. Thousands of people enter contests and it takes a lot to win, and even those who do win aren't guareenteed success. Not only does your script have to be great but you have to get multiple readers, who more than likely have different tastes, to give your script the thumbs up.
I think this year Nicholl had over 6,000 entries and they only award 5 fellowships. I mean, 5 out of 6,000! Don't feel so sad, just keep writing.
Hey, good luck to the semi finalist! Anyone on here make it?
Is this a new contest? I've never heard of it before.
I am in desperate need of a job, if anyone has any suggestions please feel free to post. I was in school but had to drop out due to no finances. Thanks to anyone who has any advice. Please only advice or suggestions. I'm really at my wits end and I'm not trying to become more stressed/depressed.
I've applied at numerous places, even wal-mart but seems like they only hire high school kids. Hopefully now that all the kids are going back to school someone will take a chance on me.
Thanks Phil and Heather,
I will be taking both of your suggestions. I never thought about just calling businesses in the phone book. Thanks again and I'll let you know if I get something. Keeping my fingers crossed.
Thank you all.
I have tried a lot of options and I'm just going to keep trying.
When I realized I might never get a job I decided to try to start my own online business and if any of you have young children, especially little girls, then please feel free to check out my blog at : http://barbiecaloure.blogspot.com/2010/08/barbie-pink-butterfly-and-tinkerbell.html
or you can find me on ebay by putting in item # : 170528311405
I make barbie furniture for those of you who have little girls.
I've been researching Sundance and from what I've read you have to have some really good connections in order to actually get into the lab. This is just from the things I've been reading.
I'd also like to hear from anyone who has actually made it into the lab.
If I had the money I would definatly go to LA and get an industry job. I was considering selling my car and just going to LA but there's no guareentee I'll get a job and I don't know anyone out there.
What other post are you talking about?
Congrats Heather and thanks : )
You can post scripts here?
Thanks Susan and Steve,
I do plan on moving to LA by my next birthday. That gives me six months to raise some money. I want to be prepared when I do go. Thanks for the suggestion Susan. And thanks John.
Just keeping my fingers crossed that everything works out.
It's funny to me when people are accusing others of being others...confusing too. LJ Wright is my writing name but the only reason I don't use my real name is because it's the name of a famous person and I don't want to be confused with them (or hear those same jokes i've been hearing since I was 7).
I was also confused about people like Greg Beal and Max Adams posting on this forum. I'm not saying it wasn't the real them but anyone can just create any name they want and post on here. I doubt it will stop, but I agree that if people are afraid to say something they just shouldn't say it. We're all allowed to have opinions though.
And if anyone on here is looking for a writing partner please feel free to email me for a sample of my writing.
I love to write in all genres but my favorite to write in is Sci-fi, Horror, Action.
I literally have multiple scripts in most genres. Currently working on a romantic comedy.
Please only email me if interested in a writing partner.
For all of those who offered me advice and help (which I greatly appreciate you taking out the time to do so) I wanted to let you know wal-mart let me into their secret society.
I got a job!
That means I will have money to enter contest and can save up to move to LA. : ))))
My goal is to make it big by the time I'm 25, so hopefully you'll be seeing my name on the big screen soon.
I just have to say - haha to the Chris/Karen thing. So funny.
I think Austin started sending out rejection letters today and they're going to start making phone calls to the semi finalist tomorrow. That's what I read on the DDP website.
I'm getting ready for next year.
I've been reading that some people have been getting letters.
I actually live only about three hours away from Austin and I just got my letter today.
Hey hey, let's all just calm down and go back to writing. Our multiple personalities are better left in our scripts. I doubt what anyone says on these boards is going to ruin your life, unless you let it.
Put the drama in your screenplay and create a masterpiece, lol. It's certainly entertaining.
Congrats Irin : )
Maybe if I comment someone who knows will actually comment too.
I'm not really sure how you do it but usually there's someone here who will correct me.
So if your character is reading the letter out loud the only way I can think to show that he's making the comments is to add it into his dialogue. If he's not reading the letter outloud but to himself you can do an : Insert Letter type of thing.
I suggest either checking the screenwriters bible or trying to find an example on the internet, which I know isn't always easy. Anyways, just wanted to try to help so you weren't left hanging. Sorry couldn't be of more help.
When in doubt just use your own creative touch and hope it pays off.
Imagine my surprise when I checked the blog and saw my name right away! I didn't have to search through the list which was nice. Don't know if i'll make it past this round but this is definatly motivation to keep going. Congrats to all others who advanced!
I saw Irin's name too! Miss Christmas = great script ! : )
George is mean, lol.
Takes me about three weeks to write a screenplay I feel is seriously well written. This is of course back when I had no job and spent all of my time writing, and the more I wrote and understood things the faster my writing got.
As for rewriting, does that really ever end until the script is actually made?
I do have several unfinished scripts, but that's mostly because when I have a new idea I feel is better then I just put all my time into that.
I think like Irin said Heather was just curious.
Congrats TJ ! : )
Uhm I'm not sure what's going on as I've been away for a while. I was going to enter this contest to get some feedback on my scripts and I'm wondering if I should? I have read people still haven't recieved feedback from last year so if that's the case then not sure if I should enter or not. It seems like if people still haven't gotten feedback they will be delayed in giving current feedback. Plus I see that they now have a television and short scrip contest which seems like it would take up more time. Have people gotten their feedback for any of the 2011 script savvy contest? Thanks for any information.
Thanks everyone, I think I'll just wait until they get caught up. I still think the service could be like it was before and I understand that things happen in life so I'll be there when they get better! Thanks for the info. Hope Donna's family is okay.
Wow, all the way from August. No feedback and still no refund? That's seven months. I think I'm just going to look elsewhere for feedback.
I've been writing for seven years, started when I was seventeen. I have just recently started back entering into contest so that hopefully I can get a manager or agent that way. I've tried querying and I get no reponse at all, not even a rejection when I send a SASE. When I do get a response it's always a "that's not what we're looking for at the moment" or "we're not taking on any new clients at the moment." So I deiced if I can get recognized in some major contest then I will have better luck - someting to put on my resume.
Last year I actually did get past the first round in some contest. I'm just wondering if there are any writers out there with agents/who are doing good or have done good in contest that would be willing to look at my work and give me some advice. I entered Nicholl this year, just because I didn't want to pass up the chance. However I'm not sure I'll make it this year but I plan on entering again next year. So if anyone is interested in mentoring a young writer with a lot of passion for the craft then feel free to email me!
Anyone on here intersted in reading a dark drama/thriller email me. Interested in swapping scripts for feedback too. Also have action script. Any talented writers looking to collaborate with another talented writer on comedy script feel free to email me.
I see. If anyone reading this would like to swap works with me feel free to email me. Already know about triggerstreet, just reaching out to fellow writers through here.
I know about triggerstreet. Have used trigger street. I got a lot of weird feedback, maybe because it was from new writers which is what I'm trying to avoid. I was told to change things related to my format when nothing was wrong with it.
The reason I am posting here is to find writers here. So if anyone here who has been writing a while would like to help then please feel free to email me. Seeing if there are any writers on here that would like to help out, so that I can kind of get to know the person. Maybe we can work together. Not a lot of screenwriters in the town I live in.
If you see this and you're looking for someone who really loves writing, who will really be willing to help you in return for your help, then feel free to email me. If you don't want to help that's alright too, but I know all the feedback sites, services, I know about equeries, etc, etc, etc. Just looking for a writer friend because I really don't know anyone who loves to write as much as I do and it's frustrating not to be able talk about the craft with anyone.
I was going to do something like this. At the end of my script I had written "End Credits" then I was going to write another scene. I decided to remove the End Credits and just write the scene because as long as they don't run the credits at like mid movie I don't think it's that important to my story. I also wouldn't want something like "Roll Credits" detracting a reader from my story.
I guess everyone is focused on their own work so I will just focus on mine. And even though it says Dallas on my adress I live in a smaller town. Anyway, forget about it. Good luck to you all.
Thanks Janet. There's actually nothing wrong with my formatting, that was something someone pointed out that was wrong and it wasn't. I have read dozens of dozens of books on screenwriting and always keep my trusty Screenwriters Bible by my side. I'm not anxious. I just wanted to know if there was anyone on here who might be interested in me. I believe I have a lot to offer and I was looking for a certain person.
In any case I'm not really going to use triggerstreet anymore as it's not helping me. I'm going to retreat back into my cave and continue to write on my own. I really just wanted to share my work with you all. Thanks for your suggestions.
Just not possible for me to go to Dallas, I can only go places that are 1 to 3 miles away because of gas, car, etc. Don't really have people who are willing to spend the time to take me places. Everyone's just so busy. I was taking an online writing class with gotham, but I guess writers are busy worrying about their own work.
In any case, sorry for disturbing you all. Good luck!
Is there a such thing as a script being too short? When I write I don't ever go over 90 pages and I'm wondering if that could potentially turn readers off? I know long scripts are a turn off but lately i've been wondering if maybe I'm not writing enough. I also think about the fact that sometimes a lot gets cut from scripts and with only 90 pages that would leave my script very bare. I try to only include what's important to my story. Every moment has to matter, every scene has to mean something and advance the story. Still I wonder what others think about shorter scripts, 80 - 90 pages.
Me not going over 90 pages is not a goal I set it's just something that happens automatically. Page 80, 85, 90 and I'm done telling my story. So opinions are welcomed.
I think that if the story is really good it won't matter about page count. I read the Source Code script and it was really interesting to me so it didn't really seem long at all but I believe it was a little over 120 pages.
I've heard that scenes should be short, but again maybe this just depends on what the scene is about. When I'm writing I think to myself, "this is something that would be cut" so I just leave it out.
I probably don't plan things out as detailed as most. I've tried but I just never stick to the plan. Will have to wait and see what kind of feedback I get from Bluecat - free feedback with entry which is pretty nice.
I thought the script was actually quite good. I heard the movie wasn't as good as it was very different from the script. I think if I aim for a higher page count that might cause me to add things that really aren't necessary. We shall see though. Thank you guys for your replies!
That's a good way of looking at things. From the start I tend to put %100 heart into my writing. I feel like the worlds I create are unique as are my characters. Staying away from stereotypes and clichés is something I do often. So maybe if I focus a little more on action then I could flesh out my scripts without bloating them. Though according to final draft my action always outweighs my dialogue. I'm just not sure what I'm lacking specifically. Seems like I have A story, B story, underlying story, subtext, showing rather than telling, clear beginning, middle and ending. I might be missing something but maybe I'm just being paranoid. When I first started writing having too much was my problem. Now I'm so afraid of over doing it I might not be doing enough. This is something I'll seriously be looking into. Thanks for pointing out those points Eric - makes me think.
PS - Does anyone here who uses final draft use that script statistics tool? Is it worthwhile?
I certainly haven't been writing as long as you have, not scripts anyway, but it's been a few years for me now. In all of these 7 years I've been writing screenplay's nothing has happened for me, except that I've gotten better at writing.
Right now I'm 23 and a lot of times I think, "What if when I'm 35 and still in the same place with my writing?" Not to offend anyone but I also think, "I don't want to be in my 40's and still trying to get my big break." But the truth is that if I were in my 40's and I still hadn't gotten to where I wanted to be I would keep trying because writing is my passion. For me it's about making art. It's about seeing my dreams on the big screen and people enjoying those dreams, getting to hear my voice. I wouldn't be satisfied if I never got there. I do believe I will get there because I'm going to work hard and harder. Sometimes I get in slumps, feel hopeless but then I'll see a movie and I'll get this tingling feeling in my stomach and say to myself "I have to do this."
I think everyone is driven by different things. As much as I love collecting dolls, as much as I love dogs, as nice as it would be to get married and have a family, my heart wants that sale. I need to see my imagination come alive on the screen. So for me the thrill isn't gone and it's not because I'm 23. Trust me I have been through a lot and still struggling so much. The one thing I can trust to keep me going is that chase. I hope I'm not 90 when I reach the finish line, but if I am then I'll certainly die happy knowing I got there.
I entered one drama scrip into PAGE this year. Last year I only got past the first round, hope I make it a little further this year.
I'm 1 of 351! The possibility of moving on isn't what excites me, it's that I've gotten to the point in my writing where I finally make it past the first round. For the rest of my life I'll be able to say one of my scripts made it to the Quarter Final round in Nicholl. So in awe right now. So in awe.
Congrats to the rest of you who made it! For those of you who didn't, just keep writing if it's really your passion! I entered Nicholl when I was 19, then again when I was 20 and got nowhere. Now I'm 23 and a quarter finalist. I'll be entering again next year.
My favorite is Nicholl because I advanced lol. I enter contest because it offers a chance for me to get one step closer to my dreams. I haven't been able to land any interest by querying. I don't have any connections. I don't have the money to move or take a trip to LA. For me a contest win is a chance to show that I've accomplished something in my writing. Now that I've made it to the quarter final round of Nicholl my logline and contact information will actually be sent out to Nicholl's list of agents, producers, etc. That's a great prize already and there are many writers who have done well in Nicholl that have gone on to have great careers. I hope to be one of those people but if not this year then next year.
It's a drama with a fantasy element to it. It centers around a young girl, her mother is murdered by her absuive boyfriend.
I've entered bluecat before and didn't advance. This year I did advance. I think it's one of the better competitions out there, and that's even if I don't advance. If I do advance that would be pretty cool but if I don't then I have an even better script for next year!
I'm baffled too. When I read what the readers wrote about my script I thought, "Oh well, I'll try again next year." And here I am a semi finalist. I'm not saying the reader comments were overly negative, but they didn't seem overly glowing either. I have entered this contest in the past and when I received the feedback I would think, "How could they not get that?" or "Did they really read the script?" but now If a reader's note indicates that they didn't get something or their view point of the story differs from what I intended it to be, I just take that as I need to be more clear.
Good luck to all those who advanced, though not too much because I want a place in the finalist, lol. And if at first you don't succeed, try and try again. I know I will.
All I can do is hope. Just making it to semi finals is good enough for me at this point. I will be putting out my strongest work this year. : )
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