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Congratulations to all, even if the hard-earned $60 or so you paid turned out to be a waste. But, hey, think of all the stupid things you waste your money on anyway, like Slop-Chop or the highlights in your hair (sounds like a song). Funny thing is I had no doubt that I'd make the quarterfinals. I mean, I didn't enter this thing for mere validation. If that's why one enters these damn contests, spend the money on someone who gets paid to tell you you're not a loser, like your therapist. I entered this to win. Period. (And when I lose, at least I can say . . . well, it's not the winning that matters, but the trying.)
Anyway, a day before Quarterfinals are announced, I get not one but two written critiques. First one said everything I'd expect it to say . . . I'm an awesome writer with an equally amazing script. Second one made me almost slit my wrist. Holy God, what was this person thinking when she was soul-ripping my script to pieces? I mean, criticize my writing, but at least leave me enough energy to make it to the toilet bowl so I can empty last nights triple-layered beef burrito. Needless to say, I had no idea how to interpret polar-opposite critiques. I just assumed I wouldn't make the cut. Then I saw my name on the Quarter list. Now the world is once again round and bluish.
Really, though, no one should put too much stock in these contests. Don't let one person's opinion steer you from your passion. Don't let one person's embittered view of life destroy yours. I mean, who cares if you can't write worth a damn. It's all about the mystique of calling yourself a "screenwriter." Helps to get laid. In the end, if that's all it does, hey, I got my money's worth.
Man, it's almost incestuous how all the same names keep popping up on these boards. Congrats to all who advanced to quarters. I entered my script under its original title, Incompossible. Didn't even know if this contest was relevant. I just wanted to see where I stood in the larger picture. But now that we're getting a bit cozy, I hope one you takes it all . . . cause winner takes it all, loser has to fall (couldn't resist). Oh, in case I didn't make it clear, I made the cut. I'm starting to see a pattern emerging here. Let's see what Scriptvamp and Scriptapalooza has to say.
RE: Axel's question.
I didn't know there was a scorecard. I didn't receive one. Could you elaborate on what the scorecard looks like? I'd be interested to know what my score was. On other hand, could be that if you're still alive in the contest, you don't get a scorecard (just guessing).
Thanks Irin. Congrats back to you, especially your impressive resume. Hey, as I also live in NYC we should get together. I've been commissioned to adapt a book to script. Open to collaboration w/benefits as I am not terribly fond of childrens'/family-oriented stories. Or, just compare notes. I have a producer interested in the script that just placed in Voices and Bluecat, hence my openness to collaboration. Happily, my plate is full. I just don't know how to give you email without the world knowing it.
Can't ever undervalue formal education. But the investment in an MFA, especially at a top institution, might work against you both financially and time-wise if you're only pursuing screenwriting. Most of your classes will be academic, which is to say, stimulating but lacking real market value. Example, I went to law school, spent x amount of dollars and, really, I could have passed the bar exam with a $1,500 bar review course. In fact, it's my opinion that law school can be completed w/requisite knowledge after a year and a half of study. My point: For a couple of thousand, you can learn the mechanics of writing a screenplay. As far as mastery of craft . . . time, talent, and tenacity.
Doh! Feel cheated.
I see little distinction between Hoover and Himmler. A documentary? By all means. A hollywood movie that will attempt to humanize a totalitarian megalomaniac and destroyer of First Amendment rights? . . . pure exploitation.
Just got a response from Fresh Voices regarding score sheet and feedback. I entered contest at the 11th hour, which disqualified me from receiving feedback. I also believe there was an additional fee for the feedback. Hope this helps.
Under "Contests" please pull down the menu and see "User Comments." Their has been a lengthy and even vitriolic exchange between A/Exposure and all the writers who got shafted by this pretend contests.
A/Exposure threatened me with lawsuit (libel) for badmouthing them. They even accused me of fraud by claiming they have no record of my ever being in their contest. I Provided the purchase ID# as well as the PayPal invoice proving without ambiguity that I indeed paid my entry fee into the August 2011 contest.
Now, in utter desperation, they are seeking damage control by recruiting past winners (very few) and manufactured ones to champion their cause.
I bring this up so anyone thinking about wasting their money on A/Exposure should do so with absolute caution. This is not the bitter rantings of a writer who lost a contest, but one who wishes to expose the fraudulent contests that parasite on aspiring writers. Thank you.
Dude, there's an undertone of bitterness in your "advice." While I agree with much of what you given as advice, I resoundingly disagree with you about placing in a major contest. The recognition of being honorable mention or placing in top ten does have its dividends, especially in NIcholls, Page, Scriptapalooza, etc. And I would be almost as impressed with a silver medalist in gymnastics as I would be of the Gold medalist.
But you overlook the subtle. For many writers, placing in a contest does wonders psychologically. After taking beating after beating from every direction, it's nice to know that out of 3,000 submissions, you're script made it to the top ten. By your logic, the winner of the BCS overshadows every other winner from every other major Bowl game. Hate to break it to you, but the Rose Bowl was an incredible game between TCU and Wisconsin last year. Better than the same year's BCS game, which ironically I can't remember who played. But I'll guess that an SEC team won.
I've read many of your comments. Much respect to you. But every once in a while, it's nice to get some validation. And that's what a top contest can do for you.
My bad. I concentrated on one thing to the exclusion of other things you had said. I agree with you completely. Be very selective. And I share your sentiment about the lesser or in-the-dark contests. When I see them on resumes, I often scratch my head and wonder where these contests come from.
Robert, this is not to be taken as gospel, but generally, the following contests usually pop up in most discussions of top contests.
1. Nicholls Fellowship, multiple winners, each guaranteed $35,000. 2. Page International 3. Austen 4. Scriptapalooza 5. Bluecat 6. Disney 7. Sundance 8. Scr(i)pt Open Door 9. Scriptvamp (depending on whom you ask) 10. Fresh Voices has hit the radar.
By no means is this all-inclusive. About 5 or 6 other contests could easily make top ten. As a general rule, look at longevity, writer comments, and what they're offering. Money is not the goal, getting your script produced is. So don't be so quick to jump at the doe. I speak from experience. I had to learn things the hard way. Hope this helps. And when you see someone giving the thumbs-up on a contest, look at who's giving the thumbs-up. If it's a known person on this site, then that would be more persuasive than a one-hit wonder thumbs-up. So keep your chin up, if not your thumb. (Ok, that was bad.)
Can anyone confirm when they announce semis? I thought it was on the 24th, but someone said the 21st. Thanks.
Thanks Nathan. And good luck reaching the semis. Unfortunately, we're all at the mercy of one reader's likes and dislikes. I say this so no one feels her script has less merit than one that advances.
Years ago I gave a free option (ok, $1 option) to a producer for my first script. At the 11th hour, tech market plunged and all the investors backed out. The experience left me without even my original script to call my own. After that I promised I would never, ever give another script of mine away for free. Now, I have a producer interested in a recent script I wrote. In so many words, he wanted me to allow him to shop my script without an option, but wanted exclusivity to shop it w/my giving him revision(s). I adamantly told him without even a short-term option, I couldn't do it. (He even asked if I would adapt a book he bought the rights to on spec. on the strength of my story-telling (probably not my writing).)
I would love some opinions/feedback on this issue of free option. I've heard differing opinions. (Keep in mind I do not have a movie credit on my resume.) Thank you all.
Marjory: Your words are precious. That's what happened to my first script. I lost ownership of all revisions. Had the movie gotten made, I would have had to share credit with the producer and another writer who only influenced one scene! And this producer is legitimate. But his credits, though bona fide, is in tv. He's looking to make that first feature with studio backing. I just don't want to be a guinea pig. Plus I like my new script too much. Thank you for your erudition.
Peter Z: My sympathies. I found this producer through a solid personal contact. He wined and dined me by dropping huge names, like WME, CAA, ICM, CBS movie division, but at this point I'm beyond being starry-eyed. I figure if a legit entity likes your material that much, and we're talking about a script that will need 10 million budget or more, even a 10k option for six months is reasonable and dirt cheap. I'll cross my fingers for your project.
Irin: Great advice. I'm willing to trade back-end points for up-front sacrifice. I'll let you be judge of where my script is at as you have a copy. My script is virgin though. I haven't even shopped it yet as I'm trying to get it production-level ready (whatever that means, but it sounds good).
My hat off to all the people in this forum. I think my learning curve has gone vertical from all the chit-chat.
I'm going to enter this based upon a good read-up, although the article was published by the very magazine that sponsors this contest -- Scr(i)pt. But I've been reading Scr(i)pt too long not to give them my highest endorsement. Plus I've not heard anything negative about this contest. And though Moviebytes doesn't give them the highest ratings (why, I have no idea), the exposure for winners and finalists in their magazine alone should do wonders. Lastly, Scr(i)pt magazine is very well known in the industry, which should give instant credibility to any entrant who advances far. If I remember correctly, this contest had over a thousand submissions last year. That's one of my measuring sticks . . . if a contest can generate a thousand or more submissions yearly.
Holy, happy surprises, Batman. Irin gave me his feedback on my script. I accepted I wouldn't advance to this or any other round. Wow, didn't realize how much I needed this for confidence builder. Marjory and everyone else, congrats. And Marjory, if we're going to be duking it out in "thriller" category, you can knock me up, I mean, knock me down anytime. My goal was only to make it to this point.
Irin - Had no problem with yours as I know the place from which it came -- a good place. I just need to digest it.
Does anyone know the percentage the semis represent of the total entrants? If I don't advance further, I'd like to be able to put the "semis" in context of number of entries. Thanks.
Scott, thanks for the link. It seems they pick the top 10% from the quarterfinalists from each category to be semifinalists. As for the last round, if anyone's interested and too lazy to check out the link, they take the two scores from quarters and semis and add them up. From that score, Fresh Voices will pick the winners. It's kinda confusing, so my understanding of this may be flawed. Not very good with math.
Marjory, I noticed seven people in the Thriller category but only 6 stories (one story is co-authored). Am I right in thinking that we all have a 50% chance of being either winner or taking 2nd and 3rd prizes? If so, fantastic. Those are awesome odds.
Latest news. Producer and "his team" passed on my script. He gave me a courtesy call to let me know the bad news. I, in turn, graciously thanked him for the opportunity to share my script w/him. In many ways relieved as I don't negotiate these things well. Nor was I impressed with his level of commitment. But I wanted to thank all who shared their wisdom. There will be a next time for me (or I gotta believe so).
Good point, Erin. Never burn bridges.
I'll be rooting for you, Marjory. I just don't have a good feeling about mine. But if you do place, gotta look good to a producer, don't you think (or maybe you know already).
One of the reasons I joined this contest was, like you mentioned Majory, due to its professionalism. I got quick responses to all my emails and enquiries. Plus, they offer guaranteed representation to the winner. I'll take that over some of these larger money-prize oriented contests, not to say those contests don't also offer their own types of guarantees. But couldn't you and I say we both placed within the top 6 scripts in our category? Wouldn't that alone have its dividends?
I'm confused. Were you already disqualified from this year's contest (2012)? And were those notes an explanation of why you got a "pass"? A clearer explanation, other than that you felt your reader was less than fair, would help the rest of us considerably. I ask because I entered a month ago. I'd hate to think I already got the cut and just don't know about it as I did not pay for feedback.
Athena, thank you for clarifying. And I think every writer at one point will share an experience like yours, as I have. But mine came from an individual who held himself out as a professional consultant. Nowadays, I always ask for a sample. The Writer's Store gives a good sample, and one that is consistent with Hollywood structure. To temper the frustration of bad feedback, know that it is bad and chuck it up as a loss. I've found, however, even in the harshest critiques, even if ugly motivated, you may be able to find a kernel. And thanks for the vote of confidence. If I can make it to the semis, I will consider my fortunate and my investment redeemed. And good luck to you.
It was my understanding that Sc(i)pt magazine was going to remain the same, just in electronic form. But if the main contributors, such as Martell and Dr. Format leave, if they are not one and same, I will have to look elsewhere for my poor-man's education. Is that what you heard, Irin? Sciptmag is leaving or going or disappearing?
Annie, why would you even consider spending your money on a (?) ? The general consensus is that if the contest doesn't register in the top 5, odds are it's not going to do much for you. I'm at the point if I don't think my script can compete with the best out there, why waste good money on something that's not going to do much except caress my ego? On the other hand, if you did it for the practice, and you like your result, then consider it money well spent. Because you just did an exercise that you probably wouldn't have done, which you will have to learn to do, and that puts you in a better position than most.
I think you take my words out of context. I was trying to cushion the victim from the harmful impact of being duped. By seeing a silver lining, the pinch doesn't hurt so much. For example, I wrote a 20 page paper for a grad student on Theodicy. Bastard still owes me $400. But you know what, by doing that paper, It gave me the knowledge to write a script which is now making its rounds in all the major contests. And, so far, it's doing well. If I did not see it this way, my bitterness at getting screwed might have crippled my ability to see the silver lining. We have so many reasons to weep as writers. Why give ourselves even more reasons?
Just got a smile-inducing email from Fresh Voices giving information about the future rounds for those who made it to semis. Very professional, very flattering (without being disingenuous). I am so impressed with their professionalism. For all I know, they could be working out of a garage. But you'd never know it from their correspondence.
Thanks, Heather. Read your dos and don'ts about Austen Film Festival. I'm thinking of going this year. Very helpful. Will refer to it more than once, I'm sure. Do you have a website in case I have a specific question?
Peters, I applaud you for continuing to write under strenuous circumstances. So difficult to do so when defrauded or bamboozled. I hope to see your scripts in large celluloid lettering. Theodicy are those arguments in favor of God's existence. The strength of my script is in its premise, not, sadly, in it's writing (as Irin can attest to). In my script, a lawyer has to defend a teen-age girl who is accused of murdering her parents in an exorcism. To do so, the lawyer will attempt the unthinkable: He will put God on trial.
Annie, good luck with your hassle. Wish you all the best.
Marjory, I know the place from which you were speaking. I did not miss the point that you were making. And no need to offer explanation. You're heart is in the right place . . . always looking out for the writers.
Irin, I will most definitely contact you about Austen.
lol. Irin, you got it all wrong. I'm afraid I just might win one of these contests. When I do, in case my script gets posted, I don't people to have ridiculous expectations. I'd rather tell the world now that I'm not the best writer (perhaps not even a good one) than have them find out themselves in a way that creates resentment. Having said that, I'm also not afraid to show my writing. Reminds me of professional bodybuilders. No one wants to get on the scale first before competition begins for fear of being snickered by everyone standing behind. But usually the one who does first then becomes the beacon by which everyone else measures himself. One of those reverse psychology thig-a-ma-jig.
don't they announce today? anyone heard anything?
thanks, peters. didnt make cut. kind of expected it, given their feedback. plus i sent in different version from other contests. gotta stop experimenting. congrats to those who did advance. got much to be proud of.
Good to know, Peters. Will keep in mind. Maybe we'll see each other there. lol
For the most part, I agree w/you Lana. I can't complain b/c they gave you everything they promised. I just thought my negative feedback had an edge of vitriol and castigation that could have been toned down. But even with this I found kernels. Which I am addressing for the Nicholl, Austen, Page and Big Break. The positive feedback, however, had immediate impact on my revision. I'm so used to politeness and courtesy in feedback that when someone throws your flaws in your face without regard to damage, kinda hurts like sitting on a thumbtack accidentally . . . (Ouch, where f did that come from?)
Peters, that I am still in the running for Fresh Voices, Scriptvamp and Scriptapalooza helped to cushion the disappointment. And each one of these contests got a different version of my script. God, I hope I didn't try to fix anything that didn't need to be fixed. Having said that, I will be fully prepared for the big ones. If I can make it to semis of Nicholl's, that's all I'll need to drink myself silly.
Peters, thanks for the encouragement, but anyone can enter these biggies. It's just a question of how far you can advance. And to tell you the truth, incorporating feedback is easier when anyone with experience keeps harping on the same flaws. In my case, I have to work on the human element. Stick with teleplays. A lot more money in tv than in cinema. Residuals vs. backend points is a no-brainer. Take the residuals. Good luck.
Has anyone who entered this contest received an offer to re-submit a revised version before March 7th that will then supplant the original version, unless new version is worse than the original?
If so, there is an additional price tag of $54.99 (not much less than the original cost). But you have the benefit of their scorecard and feedback from which to work. Is anyone thinking of taking advantage of this?
The deadline is only a few days away. I'm suffering a stomach flue, so I don't think I can make the deadline. But if enough people say yay, then far be it from me to say nay. (Even if I have to occasionally wipe away my barf off my keyboard.)
Pet peeve: If you're going to correct my grammar, then you better know what the hell you're talking about. My feedback complained that my use of ellipses ( . . . ) is incorrect. According to the reader, s/he believes there should be no spaces in between ellipses, thus ( ... ). All this reader had to do was google it to see which way is correct. Despite this glitch, the feedback was pretty damn good, especially when measured by all the other good feedback I've gotten. It seems they're all targeting the same shortcomings. (Irin, new respect.)
Erin, Marjory, Peters, Lana, God, somebody, advise me. Do you think it's worth spending a addition $50+? Do you think someone's really going to read it and if improved increase my chances for a placing? B/c nothing less than a placing would justify the extra cost. I'm even assuming that this is a legitimate offer and not a last minute ploy to increase revenue. (I'm so cynical.) Problem is, given the feedback and scores, I don't know where it exactly puts my script. Probably above average, I'm sure, but . . . what do ya'll think?
Good thoughts, Irin. Decided to save the extra and put it toward the biggies. The reader of my script told me she didn't know which city my story took place in even though on page 2 the District Attorney announces his intention to seek re-election for NYC DA. Go figure. Plus you don't get extra feedback. So I guess I'm stuck with what I have. Oh, well. Fortunately, I'll be ready for the big ones coming up. Oh, and on the same page 2, a character even says "NYPD just arrested Anna Blinski." Kinda sloppy, even though overall the notes were good.
Thanks, all. ScrictVamp failed to respond to two emails, though both were sent only a day or so ago. No biggie. I'll just have to rest on strength of what I originally submitted (which now makes me nervous). For some reason, I thought ScriptVamp was a major contest, which it could be. I just don't know anymore. Glad I saved the $54 though. Need it for the last four I'm entering, Nicholl, Austen, Page, Big Break. And that's it. At the rate I'm spending on these contests, shoot, a fella could have a good time in Vegas (Strangelove quote).
Btw, in no way am I impugning the legitimacy or validity of ScriptVamp. I'll reserve that right after I don't make the cut. Just kiddin'.
Congrats! Figured one can never get tired of being congratulated.
Update: ScriptVamp has responded by extending their winner announcement from April 1st (a good thing, I think) to April 30th for the express reason of giving people time to resubmit revised versions based on contest feedback. Good way to fatten the purse. And I'm just the kind of sucker to go for it. Only problem is that it seems I'm the only one who entered the damn contest. Which might not suck since that would by default make me the winner. Woo-hoo. Take it anyway it comes. Seriously, could someone else chime in and let me know they too submitted to this oh-so-tempting contest (you get % of purse).
A fellow lamb! We can get slaughtered together, Lana, lol. If you want to swap scripts for review before resubmitting, let me know. I'm a huge sic-fi nut. Then we can both cry over how much better the others script is.
Just wondering? How are you w/script coverage? Reading other's material w/feedback? What would you charge? As a credit to you, I'd be interested. I need someone to gloss over my script before I enter Nicholl's. Nothing major -- a one-pager, if that. I just need to know if there is anything glaring. I've done just about everything I can w/my script for now. Need an objective eye. (My script lives or dies as is.) Thanks.
Yes. I received an email from this contest. I don't even know how I got on their list, but sounds very tempting. Would love to know more about it as I am contemplating entering it. Don't want to be a guinea pig though. But, hell, if you enter it, I'll join you.
Irin, great reality check. Since I'm entering all the majors, why would I dabble w/an unknown?
Edward, you also make a good point that what they offer is oh-so-tempting. I'll be interested to read your experiences. Good luck.
Wow, just got a call from Fresh Voices. I won first place in category of thriller/horror. But I'm still waiting for official posts and email. Marjory, so sorry. I was rooting for you.
Can't help but draw attention to this great contest. And they are great; I won first place in thriller/horror. If I hadn't, they would be just "good." Just joshin. Guy who called me was very professional and encouraging. I believe he is head of Attraction Entertainment. His company, though willing only to guarantee one client, he is open to actively helping all the first-place winners.
Thank you Fresh Voices!
Thank you all for your support. I am anxiously waiting for them to post on their website and for a personal email detailing my win.
Marjory, it's possible they only called the first place winners. So hang in there.
Again, thanks for all the good voices out there. Adds to the encouragement.
Marjory, see, you fret for nothing. Congratulations. Third place is where I thought I'd land and I would have been happy w/that. I'm sure the distance between 1st place to 3rd is the difference between one opinion.
And congratulations to all who placed.
Things are moving faster than I would have thought. Apparently, Fresh Voices already has requests and inquiries lined up. I just gave them my newest revision to use for entities seeking my script. And this has nothing to do with all the prizes they have in store for winners and finalists. This is exciting stuff. I feel like I'm moving, in motion, non-stationary, velocity-prone, inertia . . . ok, ok, you get the point.
Great contest. Others I've won gave me at best a handshake.
Oh, thanks Lana. And Peters, your acknowledgment put an especially large smile on my face. Thanks for the boost.
Hey, hey, let's not forget the guy who started all this by making the first inquiry. I say this so SD doesn't put my script on the back burner in favor of someone else's. Also, if it turns into something big, I'd like to take credit for the inspiration of it.
Here's something: I spoke to someone who works at an agency and she looked at my query letter. I thought I had reduced it to its barest. She crossed out even more and said we really don't care about runners-ups. We always ask, "Then why didn't you win?" What a bummer. I'm afraid to mention any contest now. She said generally they get annoyed when letters are contest-reliant.
What I should have asked is if agencies feel this way about all contests. But never got to it. Her response is frighteningly close to what SD said that began this string.
Silver lining: When sending queries, she said don't write anything other than what is absolutely necessary. They don't care what you do for a living if it is not germane to the story. She also said she likes to read queries where your log line is seamlessly transitioned in a sentence rather than "Logline: . . . " In other words, "My story is about a man who discovers he has woken in a world of hell, only to discover he is in Hell. Now he has to find a way out." This is my own example. Oh, and if you're an optioned writer, don't write down the year of option unless script made it to screen, according to this person.
I'm sure most of you knew this already. But it was a good lesson for me b/c I don't have much experience querying or writing queries.
Ken, she works for a literary agency that deals in everything but screenplays. Their screenplays go to Gersh, LA, which they are in partnership. But she said the basic query is fundamentally the same w/people seeking representation for a novel, play, what have you. Her point was that she is sick and tired of reading queries in any form. So, it would behoove the sender to be as terse as possible. She said, "Ok, already, get to the point. I really don't give a damn if you graduated from USC school of Film. Or, that you have a Harvard degree. Who gives a shit."
Keep in mind, this is the posture of one person. But as she is such a pleasant person to be around (from England, btw), that if she can get so annoyed, imagine the temperament of someone like me working in her position. I'd happily play roulette w/5 empty chambers.
FYI, I almost had a heart attack when I woke up and discovered my Final Draft documents page count had gone from 120 pgs to 551 pgs. Apparently, I manipulated my printer settings to envelope. Though I switched back to default, Final Draft has its own settings that must align w/the printers, else every page will count like the size of an envelope. FD is geared to fit the printer default is my point. So be careful.
So far, I have not heard anything more. I'm going to wait until they announce grand prize winner before inquiring about the prizes and their own channels of marketing. But I will definitely keep everyone abreast as to how this contest comports itself w/regard to their promises and prizes. Having said that, I have a good feeling that they are genuinely interested in marketing their winners. They're in it for the long run.
Update: I just got an email detailing all the prizes I'm entitled to. They've given me links to access the website sponsors (gift packages) of the contest. I have to furnish my PayPal info to collect money, which will take 3-5 business days to complete.
--Industry Reads and Targeted Industry Promotion We are pleased to let you know that we have already had numerous read requests for our winning scripts. If you have sent us back the release agreement, your title and logline will be circulated to our industry contacts and your script sent to interested parties.
That was a cut and paste passage from the email they sent me.
Lastly, as Script has gone out of business, Fresh Voices is seeking an alternative prize if possible. If they can't do it, no biggie for me.
So, there you have it. It really doesn't get better. If I have any problems collecting a prize, will let you know. And as I work with Fresh Voices, I'll keep everyone updated if things move forward for me.
Thanks Nathan and Peters. But I think this also means I'm out of the running for the Grand Prize, lol. Not that I am in any way disappointed. As for the prize packages, they are all legit. I've already registered with two of them. Just waiting on InkTip to contact me, which they may not because I had a spat w/them a while back that led to a refund. Nothing acidic. Just a difference over their blitzing marketing campaign for their pitchfest. I got kind of annoyed that they were sending me emails every other day it seemed. But the kind of hope they were touting I felt was misleading -- like revving up this pitchfest out of proportion to the likely result of failure. (How do I get myself into these things?)
Congrats. Wished I had entered. Hope one of you wins.
You know, as the same names keep popping up, I can't stop wondering if maybe we're missing an opportunity. What can half a dozen or so writers do to profit off each others talents? Wish we could form our own management or production company. Just a thought. And I have a front-court view of this battle being waged through this contest. I'm preparing my popcorn and dogs for the show. Good luck to you all.
Here's the rules on Page re-submission policy:
Once a script has been entered in the competition, under no circumstances will we accept substitutions of new drafts or corrected pages. If you wish to submit a revised draft of your script, you must enter it as a new submission and pay the appropriate entry fee. (Writers who advance to the Final Round of competition will have the opportunity to submit a revised draft of their script for the Final Round of judging.)
ScriptVamp allows resubmissions. At least that's what they did this year. Hope this helps.
Update: I've received all the prize packages. Inktip was gracious and magnanimous in offering me theirs when they could have easily refused based on a past disagreement of which I was to blame. Last thing on the list is the $300, which I have no doubt will arrive by end of week. I just wish Script hadn't gone out of business. I feel like I'm in withdrawal. You can't even get back issues. And other magazines just don't cut it.
As for their own personal script services, I have up to six months to take advantage of it. This is good because it will force me to write my next script so I can make deadline. Anything to kill procrastination is good.
Just received the prize money today. My hats off to Fresh Voices for their admirable promptness in awarding the prizes. I am now in receipt of all they promised, minus Script (which is not their fault).
If anything comes of their promos, I'll let everyone know. I don't know what was more gratifying, winning or actually seeing something come of the win. W/all the resources they have given me, I will be personally shamed if I don't at least secure a Manager or Agent.
Good point, Irin. Why create more pressure than there already is. One day at a time.
Pros and Cons:
Pros: Look at who sponsors them. They are all reputable companies, Final Draft being at the top. According to what I read on their website, seems they are looking for high-concept scripts they can market, with emphasis on market.
Cons: It's an English-borne competition. While England is politically and culturally our cousin, there is little recourse for us if things go wrong. The exchange rate "problem" may not work out in favor of an American winning. It's also a brand-spanking new competition. To the Industry, a win would be meaningless.
Despite this, I'm thinking about entering. My script seems to be a good fit for what they are looking for. And if they are willing to help market your script, could only help. On a personal note, I think my story would appeal to an English audience more so than an American one. Knowing my luck, I'll get an American reader, lol.
Did not win the grand prize. But I have nothing to complain about. I do wish to congratulate "Adventures in Babymaking by Jack Messitt", who did win the grand prize.
Anyone who had questions or doubts about this Contest, question no more. They have delivered in exemplary fashion. Although a couple of pies from Dominoes might have been the kicker. I mean, no other contest does that -- offers pizza and soda. Might as well throw in some chicken wings too.
Thanks everyone. Your support cushions the loss, though I really had no expectation of winning. And I have nothing to complain about. I'm thrilled about the win.
Lana, thanks for the info. Good look. Will check out.
If that is your version of a pep talk, you need to take Motivation-Speaking 101. Not everyone who took you up on your offer presumed to have a “Hollywood” script. My intention was to get feedback so I can improve my script. It was out of curiosity, however, and a desire to prove myself right, that I offered to pay you to read my script in the first place. After reading so many of your posts, I came to the conclusion that you were compensating. Primarily, you were unconsciously projecting your failures. It cost me $50 to prove myself right. Where is your film credit, LASD? Where is your option? Where is your fat paycheck that a studio or producer paid you for your writing? Where are your contest accolades? So far, it seems you’re the only one who uses a pseudonym. So no one can verify your accomplishments or . . . your failures.
While no one will deny your knowledge or erudition, there is an undeniable arrogance and condescendence to your offering of wisdom. One does not need to be told how much one’s writing or execution sucks. That is not the way to teach or impart sagacity. You do yourself a disservice.
But let’s take a look at what you wrote. Not all movies have a sympathetic hero. I think what you meant to say was a spec script should have one to increase its chances of success. Some of the best villains were not nasty. Any “man vs. nature” movie does not have a “nasty” element in the sense of intentionality. Hans Gruber of “Die Hard” was a classic villain who was likable in many ways. And “Aliens” had no romance, yet is considered one of the best movies in its genre.
To be sure, your repetitious use of “new writers” is a prime example of your arrogance. Many have been writing for years. If some of us blundered in our execution, that might be the result of lack of objectivity. I have read many “professional” scripts that did not read well or had trite elements in it. And I might have even considered them amateurish if I hadn’t known that they were written by a paid writer. If you read “Drive,” that script is filled with faults and imperfections. So what are we to say about that? The writer is a beginner?
If your knees are killing you from tripping over our botched attempts, perhaps you should shine that blunt instrument of learnedness on yourself and see if your knees are any stronger. I’m willing to bet one of the frequently commenting Moviebyters succeed where you have failed. But if I’m wrong, prove me wrong. I would love it if you do.
This isn't personal. You mention "encouragement." And that is what it's all about. Encouraging others to pursue screenwriting without yet another person beating you down. Look at the tone and diction of SD's words. They are not encouraging. I would take silence over wisdom laced with poison if it would translate to another day of writing. And if you read my words, I acknowledge SD's knowledge and erudition.
But when you use words like "suck" and "tripping" over what he considers botched executions and breaking a leg doing so, that tends to have a negative impact. I see little encouragement from SD and more self-serving advice couched as generosity.
For all of SD's knowledge, I'd like to see him translate that to his own writing. I'd like to see him put his money where his mouth is. Post a script and prove to us neophytes that we are truly mere "beginners" and "newbies."
And I found his notes on my script to be flawed in many ways. Yet, in other ways, he was dead-on. But what overshadowed the positive points was a general air of ridicule.
Take notice, Alan, how often people on this forum cheer and encourage each other. Not everyone on this forum is seeking to be a professional screenwriter. But for those who are, how dare anyone condescend when such person has shown nothing to justify his haughtiness. And even if he does, learn some humility.
I'm not going to beat a dead horse. But I do agree that good advice is better than no advice, however it may come. Let's just hope if some of us make it, we won't be swallowed up by the cynicism of the industry. Good luck to you.
We will indeed see. And you're one of the reasons why I frequent this website. You always have good words for people, no matter who they are. Speaks volumes about you as a person.
Your charity is overwhelming, LASD. How ever shall any of us achieve success without your pearls of wisdom? And your glib answers to all objections and challenges borders on the fatuous. It’s sad that you need to resort to mockery and pomposity, for it is more revealing of your insecurities than your erudition.
“First off, I’m a working writer living in LA. I found this site through my nephew. I would have never known that this site existed if it wasn’t for him.” Oh, I see. So your nephew is to blame for your officious need to vomit all of your wisdom. It appears to me there is a messianic overtone to anything you have to say. Do you also wear sandals?
“I’m not here to cheer and encourage you. That’s for all the rest of you to do.” Of course! LASD is and should be above such pedestrian gestures. That’s for the rest of us peons to engage in.
“To post a script just to satisfy Paul’s ego… well, who’s the arrogant one now?” Well, done, LASD. How deftly you avoid having to be microscoped by the very people whom you disdain. And if your “feedback” will lead to my getting an Oscar, then that speaks even worse about you. Why is it you cannot get your own Oscar with your own precious experience and talent?
“Who else on this site gives advice on screenwriting? Paul? Peter?” I wasn’t aware that one needed to give advice on this site. But advice laced with acid defeats its purpose, as amply demonstrated.
So you want to give back, LASD? How generous. Then why lace your feedback with condemnation? Some people have written screenplays for enjoyment alone. Should it lead to something, that would be a bonus but not an end in itself. I, for one, am pursuing a professional goal. But there are plenty out there who love movies and wish to engage in its written medium solely for its pleasure. Hard to believe, huh? Especially when it doesn’t fit LASD’s understanding of the world.
“Paul, you mentioned that I was spot on in my review of your script. If you end up using any of my suggestions, please mention me when you accept your oscar.” Such selective memory. I said also much of your feedback was flawed. And you should know that Irin’s feedback was far more intuitive than yours. So when I do accept my Oscar, I’ll be sure to mention Irin and Mark Protosevich (I Am Legend, The Cell), as the two indivindually eclipsed anything you had to offer.
“The writer of Drive has proven that he can deliver. New writers have no credibility and haven’t proven anything until they sell a spec and worked within the system.” Again, anyone can hide behind a pretend name and pawn himself off as a working writer. Even giving you the benefit of the doubt, you still haven’t proved your own words. Where is your movie credit? Seems to me you would qualify as a “New Writer” just as much as anyone else.
Underneath your words, I sense that you have a compulsive need to offer advice. Good for you. Just try to leave your 18-wheel ego in the parking lot. If you care to grow as a person, genuine encouragement oftentimes will have a greater impact than telling everyone how much they “suck” as a writer. Which brings me to the issue of “Showing vs. Telling.” I’m willing to show my work next to yours. Though my work is imperfect, the best way I have found to confront another’s boast is to let the writing speak. Which means, of course, let the audience decide.
It's incredible that you can comment on my attitude yet ignore the vitriol of the very first post that began this exchange. Maybe you like being abused, but I'd rather champion a writer's effort than trash it. I AM NOT IMPRESSED BY ANYONE WHO CONDEMNS ANOTHER'S EFFORTS, especially when the effort is an honest one.
Maybe you should read everything in this post before putting your foot in your mouth.
James, you tell me to lose the attitude, yet you accuse people of being drug addicts all b/c a contest failed to live up to its expectations or deliver on its promise. Sounds to me you have more issues than I do. All I tried to do was get my money back from A/Exposure after I got shafted (by their own admission). But I never went beyond calling them frauds.
For the record, I have never intimated that SD's words were not informative and knowing. My objection was to his delivery, his demeaning posture, and seeming arrogance. Maybe your skin is thicker and you're not bothered by it, but please don't accuse me of being bitter or envious. I believe if someone has written a great story, odds are it will get discovered or recognized. Beyond that, we can only hope. And I will always cheer another writer's success.
My fight is not with you, or even SD really, but with anyone who finds a need to condemn, belittle or ridicule other writers. It is too easy to trash someone's work or effort. But a little encouragement among peers has a better payoff than negativity.
I am going to leave this matter as is and not comment further as my intention was not to make enemies. Rather, I was trying to champion those who might have felt marginalized by another's words. It's a small world. Life is so bizarre that it would probably contrive to put us all in the same room for the purpose of working together.
Here's my olive branch. I don't know how any of this escalated to the point that it did. Perhaps I am speaking from an unbeknownst chip on my shoulder. I have many. If I were being honest, I think I may have seen something in SD's words that spoke to my own fears and insecurities and doubts, whether about my talent or my prospects of ever selling a script.
I welcome any wisdom or knowledge that can help the writer. Let's try to use this forum in the best possible way we can as writers. And I say this to myself, above all.
SD, let's bury this and move on. As I mentioned, some of your feedback was dead-on. And I did accomplish a revision that incorporated your notes. So I do want to give credit where it's due. If I do well in Page, ScriptVamp, Scriptapalooza or Nicholl, you can take some credit.
Best of luck to all. Hope no one gets screwed.
Sam: Take this in the best way. "Feel badly" does not refer to your emotions but to your ability to feel something real, like fabric or velvet. Reason: Badly is an adverb, thus modifying the verb "to feel." "Feel bad" uses "bad" as an adjective, thus describing an emotion. So I think you meant to say you "feel bad."
If I had not been corrected just like this, I would never have known. Better to hear it now than have a reader hold it against you who might be a stickler for grammar.
A fellow English major. I knew there was a reason I liked ya'.
Peters, lmao, too funny.
Ron, total agreement. I saw and read "Drive." Movie was tolerable, script sucked. In fact, reading that script gives me more hope for selling my own. Then again, he got paid, I have yet to.
Peters, great idea. I'd take you up on it if I wasn't in the midst of writing my next script.
Per SD's five elements, I was deficient in the first two. I addressed them in my last revision -- I think, I hope -- and I believe I have a more "emotional" story. We'll see. ScriptVamp will be my litmus test. They announce on April 30th. If I don't place in that contest, I don't have a chance with Page. Waiting on notes from Fresh Voices to incorporate into yet another revision before submitting to Nicholl. With the amount of time, energy, and money invested in trying to be a screenwriter, I think the sale will be anti-climactic.
Peters, if you look at this post, it has an inciting incident, rising action, descending action, midpoint, plot points, resolution (I think), subplots. Doesn't get better.
I entered the same version of my script in both ScriptVamp and Page. Page is a bigger contest, though ScriptVamp should have at least a couple of thousand submissions. That is why I'm using ScriptVamp as a barometer.
I would caution you and anyone contemplating using Amazon Studios. Always read the fine print, especially if someone is offering something free and perhaps “too good to be true.” CAVEAT EMPTOR -- buyer beware.
The following provisions should alert you to the overwhelming superiority of Amazon’s position with respect to your rights in your work, in ancillary benefits, in derivative benefits, and in any and all revisions, whether yours or someone else’s.
I believe Amazon even reserves the right to Frankenstein bits and pieces of all work posted or submitted to their site and not give due credit b/c what they appropriated does not amount to credit-level worthiness. They are not Guild signatories, thus Guild has no legal right to intervene or offer relief.
You also give up many legal rights in case of dispute, such as injunctive relief and even filing suit. Furthermore, the odds that a project will have a single writer is slim if not at all. Thus, you would be sharing the principle amount of monies w/so many other writers so that you may only see a fraction of what you would get at market value.
Your work, your creation, your baby, should be protected via Agent, Manager, Attorney or you risk losing your script, proper credit, and market value. The following are just some of the questionable provisions that fine print will hide on you until a dispute arises. Then you’re really screwed. At the same time, I’m not advocating for one not to join Amazon Studios. But if you do, look not at what they offer, but what rights you give up!
6.2.3. Our Rights to Create New Works During the Community Development Period. During the Community Development Period, you grant us a worldwide, royalty-free, non-terminable, sub-licensable, transferable right, to copy, use, edit, add to, modify and otherwise alter your Original Property to create, develop and produce derivative works based on the Original Property in the form of treatments, screenplays, writer's pitches, trailers, videos and other written, audio or audiovisual works (each a "Derivative Work"). 6.2.4. Our Rights to Distribute Your Original Property and Derivative Works During the Community Development Period. During the Community Development Period, you grant us a worldwide, royalty-free (except as specifically provided in Sections 9 and 15 below), non-terminable, sub-licensable, transferable right to:
6.3. Non-Derived Elements.
6.4. Limitations on Your Rights During any Private Review Option Consideration Period and any Community Development Period.
6.5. Grant of Rights from Amazon to You in Revisions Grant of Rights from You to Amazon for Revisions and Other Content. You irrevocably assign to us all right, title, and interest in and to your Revision worldwide for the term of copyright protection in your Revision. You acknowledge that your assignment gives us the exclusive right to use your Revision in any manner we choose, worldwide, during the entire term of copyright protection accorded to your Revision, in all formats and all media now known or later invented and to permit third parties to make any use of your Revision we deem appropriate, on and off of Amazon Studios, and leaves you with no right to use the Revision.
Effect of Removal. [you lose all rights to everything other than your original work (even if it is your own revision (?)]
No Guild Jurisdiction.
Credit Determinations. 22.6. No Rescission or Injunctive Relief.
Again, these are just some of the provisions of “The Agreement” that raised alarms and rang bells. Hope this helps.
I can personally vouch for Irin Evers, a regular on these boards. He has professional experience. But what I was impressed w/most of all was his intuitiveness. He was able to point out some subtle flaws in my script which no one else had picked up. When confronted w/the flaw, I was shocked at how accurate he was. And, of course, his honesty stung. But better honesty than flattery. He's not nasty, though. Just blunt.
I also advocate using members of this website in the spirit of helping each other out. Hope this helps.
If you go to deadline.com, they have a write-up about Amazon Studios that may clarify/shed light on their new policies. At second glance, maybe Amazon does offer something real. I'm still leery due to their fine print, but that could be the result of my cynicism.
Hey, Irin, if you do get your contest up and running, I'll be a reader. And something tells me it might be easier than we would think. Look at all the contests out there. You can't say you and a team would be able any worse.
Can you ever tire of congratulations? Congrats to all.
Unfortunately my script doesn't qualify for the Kairos b/c it is not "spiritually uplifting" and it can't fit into "PG" or "G" rating. But your info. will help me with a children's book I am adapting that perfectly matches the Kairos criteria. Again, thanks.
As for Fresh Voices, read the following:
Dear Paul, Attached please find your free analysis for your screenplay, The State V God. Please let me know if you have any questions or if anything is unclear.
Also I wanted to let you know that so far your script has been requested by and sent to the following companies - Screen Gems (Straw Dogs, Resident Evil, Attack the Block.), Overbrook Ent. (Will Smith's Company), Vinson Films (Journey, Journey 2, The Exorcism of Emily Rose, Chapter 23) and Circle of Confusion (managers of the Wachowski Brothers).
Seth Reynolds Coordinator Fresh Voices
Unfortunately, the version I sent to Fresh Voices for analysis is my latest and best. The version that went to the above-mentioned companies still has the worts that I had not yet exorcised. Damn. I'm hoping one of those companies maybe, by an act of God, sees the potential and is willing to work w/me in shaping it to the level it needs to be in.
As for the analysis, very professional, very observant, very astute. If I had paid them $175, rather than getting it for free as a result of winning, I would feel I got my monies worth.
So Irin's, SD's and others analyses helped where I needed help the most -- character arc -- as evidenced in the feedback not condemning me for one-dimensionality of characters. Still not quite there, but I can see the finish line . . . if it is not a mirage of my own desperation.
Best of all, it is good to hear comments that say you're not quite there yet, but your script demands serious consideration. If something comes of those companies who requested my script, of course I'll keep everyone posted.
Kansas. There's no place like home. Congratulations, Marjory. Definitely YouTube this badboy -- or girl -- if you can film it.
Great news, Marjory. Would love know how it feels to have others read my words. This contest and your experience of it almost makes me want to be a woman. Almost.
Speaking of which, why isn't there a contest strictly for guys? We men need validation just as much as women. You have any idea how hard it is for a man to live up to the expectations this unforgiving society has placed on them?
Just a thought.
You're hilarious. Never thought to do that w/my shorts. Gotta try it next time.
Know this: If something you've written is so important to you, why cheat yourself for $35? That's what it costs to copyright electronically.
Even if something is copyrighted, unless someone steals your work verbatim, it's almost impossible to prove infringement or plagiarism or theft of intellectual property. Why? Ideas are cheap. And you can only steal the "Expression" of an idea, not the idea itself.
Unfortunately, most don't have the money to litigate. If this weren't so, there'd be a lot more legal actions. But I seriously doubt a studio or bona fide producer is stupid enough to steal, as the ultimate price will be far more costly than just paying you outright.
A friend of mine practices Copyright law and he tells me it is a nightmare trying to prove infringement, theft, what have you. And trying to get a lawyer to take your case on contingent fee is nearly impossible.
I can't believe you took me seriously. I meant it as a joke. I know all too well the gender disparities in the market/industry. In fact, they should have more contests just for women. (Btw, I was also rooting for Catherine Bigelow to win the Director Oscar.) And I intentionally create more female characters than male characters in my stories just to even things up.
Good for you! Nothing worse than someone trying to take claim of your hard-earned sweat. And any possible way I could take a look at your Kairos-winning script? I have a lot of interest in this contest.
There are a lot of bona fide services out there. Browse some of the topics and you'll find what you're looking for. I just used Fresh Voices. Outstanding feedback. Very sensitive to those issues that are hard to pick up. And they gave examples on how to fix or improve. Ask for "Cam."
Also, here's suggestions from Marjory:
Author: Marjory Kaptanoglu Posted: 04/07/12 01:44 PM Hi Bobbette,
I like Barb at http://xtremescreenwriting.com/ ($75 with 10 day turnaround, I think), and http://www.awardwinningscreenwriters.com/id4.html ($49 for 10 day turnaround), where I like to request analyst RC, who always does a great job.
And if Irin Evers isn't busy, he's good at pointing out what's wrong with your script. Which is a good way to begin.
But you need not and should not spend more than $175. (This is my arbitrary number.)
You have to offset an appositive with a comma before and after the word or words in apposition to the main sentence. So, it should read "HI, Nick, . . . " Bro, totally bustin' on you. I figure if you're going to call me a grammar Nazi, I might as well play the part, lol. You know you da' man.
PETERS! LMMFAO! Gotta pitch two execs tonight. Hope I nail it. Need people to start requesting my shit. (Sorry to the guy who started this post.)
Dr. Format (Dave Trottier) agrees with double spacing and personally prefers it. But he also says single spacing is allowed. I use single spacing to lower page count. I'd also use double spacing if my script were 84 pages. But I don't think you'd be penalized for using either. At least I haven't been penalized in any of the scorecards I received on "Formatting."
Thanks for the inquiry. I didn't feel as good coming out of this pitch as I felt coming out of the last one. But fortunately I got great vibes from the manager, who was the one I was really gunning for. As for the Sony exec, she's really at the mercy of what her bosses want. If I get one script request, I will be thrilled.
I don't understand what you just wrote. In fact, I'm quite baffled b/c it's either fantastic coincidence or clairvoyance on your part that you mention Script Shadow and Carson. I've never given Carson any of my scripts, but within the past few days I've had a number of communications with him. So please explain your mock conversation between me and Carson. Thanks.
Good interpretation. Apparently, Alan meant it in the best way. But what a coincidence as I only came upon Carson in the last few days, then he's mentioned by a most random person. Man, life is really stranger than . . .
"Only in fiction do you have to explain everything . . ." (unknown author)
Has anyone used this service? Can anyone vouch for this service? Apparently, you can post your script, log line, synopsis, treatment, all for free. You only pay ($40) if you get a script request.
For $75, they'll personally target interested parties for you and facilitate getting your script into their hands.
There is a conspicuous lack of info on net. Don't even know when they came into business. But it sounds similar to Virtual Pitch Fest w/a little more exposure. Btw, Virtual Pitch Fest bombed for me. Irin Evers said he had better luck after another go at them.
But the main issue is Script Stork. Any and all info would be much appreciated. Thanks.
Would someone please screw my head on straight. Why are all the critics stroking this shoddy, chicanery of a movie?
By Midpoint, I was enthralled. In fact, I got a bit of performance anxiety watching this wickedly delicious piece of masterful cinema.
Then the end of Act II arrived. And that's when I got this sickening feeling in the pit of my scrotum that I was going to get denied my due. The set-up is so ambitious that I knew this movie was going to cheat. And they did.
Only one scene hinted at the larger story and foreshadowed the ultimate money shot. And it was so ridiculous in its execution (and premise) that only a child would appreciate it. Or critics -- who get paid to do what they do best: Feed off each others vapid responses.
Occam's Razor: Entities are not to be multiplied without necessity. Why inject what amounted to a deus ex machina when they could have grounded the ending by using a premise that is consistent with what they were offering?
In sum: You don't need Godzilla to destroy NYC, not when you're advertising a pure horror movie. Nor do you need Flash Gordon to rescue E.T. when you're advertising a movie about friendship and sacrifice between a boy and his dog (I mean, E.T.).
I'f I'm way off, please enlighten me.
Supposed to posts winners today. If anyone hears anything, please let me (us) know. Will be running around all day. Thanks.
Oh, well. Got a 4th place finish in horror/thriller. I suspected I'd make top 5, but for the $145 I spent, I was hoping maybe I could recoup with an "Honorable Mention." Expensive contest. But no complaints.
I'm not sure what to do with this. Should I put this on my resume? (Just woke from a nap. Still not thinking straight.)
Congrats to all winners.
I submitted at last minute, so it cost me like $90. Then I resubmitted based on their notes (and others, I think), which brought my score way up. The resubmit costs $54. I guess a fourth place win is something to be proud of. I just don't know if it'll register win industry. What do you think?
Robert, you are a rose, and a rose, and a rose . . . MHAW! I needed to hear that. Thanks.
The top five in each category gets to have their logins and info sent to Attraction Ent. for consideration. So we'll see.
Robert, thought you were a woman. Sorry.
And, Irin, I did enter all the major spring contests. Fortunately, my best revision went into Nicholl, ScriptPipeLine, Scriptapalooza, StoryPros. Page got the same version as ScriptVamp, so I'm not feeling it w/Page.
But w/Austen and Big Break, I'll have feedback from a top pro. In mean time, what does one do? Keep sending out queries?
I was looking for your name. Now I see why I couldn't find it. Congrats. Didn't you win in two categories? ANyway, good for you!
Well, Linda/Lana, my estimation of you has rocketed to new heights. I am deathly afraid of all creatures that crawl on multiple, toothpick-like legs whose skittering can be heard on linoleum floors. And you poetry smells like fresh-baked chocolate cookies steaming out of an oven on a rainy day in November.
And a sci-fi buff to boot! Wow. Do you also watch Monday Night Football?
Anytime Landa, anytime.
Thanks, Marjorie. As for Lana/Linda/Landa, I left you a treat. You must find it yourself though.
Paul, and others, I'm an admitted newbie at this, so maybe you could give me some guidance.
I too submitted to Page before I really felt ready, mainly because their original deadline was March 31. Then, on the last day, they extended the deadline an entire month. I thought, geez, it would have been nice to have the extra time.
Why do contests extend deadlines, sometimes even "final" deadlines? Are some more notorious for it than others? (I didn't expect it from Page). Can you ever count on a deadline being extended? What is the best way to play this?
Thanks and best of luck to you and all. Scott
Thanks. And that sucks about Page. I too submitted based on original schedule. W/Page don't look too deeply into it. They're not going to swindle anyone.
ScriptVamp extended so people could incorporate their feedback for resubmission. (All because Lana/Linda didn't get her initial converge back in time (just kidding).)
Most contests adhere to the deadlines. But many say "around" when they will announce, hence giving themselves leeway.
Yet other contests postpone due to incompetence or fraud. By sticking to reputable and major contests, you have nothing to worry about. Better a contest extends a submission deadline than an announcement deadline. Hope this helps.
Thanks Nathan and D. Santiago.
Hey, Landa, keep us abreast of your prizes. I'd be interested in how much they offered to you. If you want to keep it to yourself, no biggie. And do you know any other details as far as script requests? Thanks.
You da' woman. Thank you for the validation. The way this post was ignored, I thought it was a polite way of saying, "whatever." Anyway, whatever.
Any connection between your script "Outliers" and Malcolm Gladwell's "Outliers"?
Amen to that! Feel cheated by Page for extending. And did Story Pros also extend? That really sucks if they did. Now I won't have the satisfaction of a June announcement.
Maryann, you made a new friend. Thank you for your agreement. Keep chugging away. One day, you too will get your credit. Then, when you've earned your right to write a crappy script like Josh did, you'll have your day in hell. (If only we could all be so fortunate.)
Robert, write the best story you can. The hell with the audience. A good story cannot be ignored. (Neither can a pain in the ass. Huh.)
What's in a name? I'm still trying to pronounce yours. Having a tough time. Imagine how tough it would be for your average movie-going audience? I'm not suggesting you change your name, but if you had to sell your name for $250,000, you might be amenable to altering it. On the other hand, you might not. But for $250k, I'd change my name to Lipshitz.
I knew someone whose last name was Dickoff. No shit. So he decided to alter it to Dyckoff. Much friendlier to the eye.
My original title for one of my scripts was "Incompossible." Enough people scratched their heads at it that I decided to change it to something everyone should understand... "The People V. God." Tough to do, but I decided if it's going to increase my chances of selling my script, why not?
Hope I didn't offend you.
Thanks for the heads-up. Such provisions, hidden as they are, make me want to turn really green, big, and nasty, then get Godzilla on their ass.
We writers have to have the serenity to accept that we will always be picked out from beneath the barrel, where the critters hide. Only when you get paid do you get to join the bottom of the barrel.
But, hey, it could be worse. I knew someone who cut ass-hairs for a living.
Thanks for the clarification. Shows a lot when the owner comes on these boards and offers explanation.
Alright, here goes.
I delayed saying anything about my 4th place win until ScriptVamp delivered. And they have. If you look below, you'll see that they have given me everything promised and then some. I had no idea they had connections to a major player like Atlas Entertainment. The number of major movies this company has been associated with makes me tremble with excitement. (ok, bad metaphor)
* * *
For your Top 5 placement in the Horror/Thriller genre category for your entry, "The People V. God" in ScriptVamp's 2011 Dream Quest: Feature Screenwriting Competition, you are being awarded the following prizes:
*Logline and contact information will be shared with our list of industry contacts, including Atlas Entertainment and Vital Pictures.
*Certificate of Achievement for the following category: Horror/Thriller - "The People V. God".
*Listed as a Featured Writer on our website for a minimum of 6 months.
*$25 off of one (1) query order from Venice Arts for your entry.
*25% off (a $47.50 value) of one (1) Industry Standard Coverage for any script.
*$5.00 off entry into any one (1) future ScriptVamp Attention Grabber Contest, this contest is held monthly and is ongoing.
*15% off entry into the 3rd Annual Short Screenplay Contest, going on now.
-- So there you have it. Another contest that has proven itself. With so few contests that deliver, this is one you can add to your "friends list."
If I get any responses from their contacts, will post and keep everyone updated.
This is what I wrote to Page:
I feel compelled to voice my concerns regarding your extending the deadline. I submitted in two categories based on original deadline in or around April 1st. Now I find out that the deadline has been extended to May 15th. This is grossly unfair to those who relied on an earlier deadline as a later deadline would have given me a chance to offer a version of my script that incorporated feedback that came only after I had already submitted. I feel cheated. If I had known I had a full month and a half longer to submit, then I could have submitted my present version, which I feel is a much stronger version.
That I cannot financially afford to resubmit my latest version leaves me with the desire for a refund. Though Page Awards is a top-notch contest, there is little profit in joining it if I cannot give myself the best chance of advancing as far as my talent will take me. How you respond, if at all, will dictate whether I endorse this contest. And though my voicing will have little effect, I would think the reputation you worked hard to earn should mean enough to you to want to offer some form of redress.
Here's there response. Draw what conclusions you may. There are so many.
Thank you so much for writing in with your concerns!
Please know I am always quite personally saddened when I receive an email with a contestant that is upset -- we honestly care about each and every one of you and we believe (looking at the long view of things as we do here at PAGE H.Q.) that many of you will be the future voice of global cinema in the years to come.
And I know a lot of your upset is because you so love your work and you so want to blow everyone out of the water and you are frustrated because you feel the work you submitted is now below par because you have a better re-write.
So, we get that. And we do get how much it matters. You are sending your baby out into the world, essentially, and you want us to love it as much as you do.
And, before we go further -- congratulations are in order: You having a strong re-write you are so proud of and passionate about -- That is the best news! :)
I also want to re-assure you from this end: our Judges know that every entry is a "work in progress" no matter when a script is entered and all strong contestants are going to be re-writing up until September and the Final Round when we allow all writers in the Finals to submit their newest drafts for free! (We're the only contest that does this by the way -- that is how strongly we feel about re-writes.)
So fingers crossed for THE PEOPLE V. GOD! :)
Please know the reasons we allow all writers that make it that far to re-submit their newest draft in the Final Round, at no cost to the writer --is because we want and know the writers are re-writing and we do want their best feet forward as well and we are very aware of the later entry fees being difficult for many. So it doesn't get better than free. :)
And while we also do allow re-writes during the contest season, unless your changes are truly substantial, we do NOT recommend that you re-submit your work. We are not trying to get your hard-earned money out of you twice. A few typos fixed, a few lines of dialogue tightened is great on your end, but it's not going to change your contest scores that significantly.
If you change the ending, add characters, strengthen the protagonist by a large degree, then yes, it is worth it to re-submit before the Final Round -- if you cannot, then trust the strength of your original entry. But whether or not you re-submit before Finals -- that's your choice. We leave it up to you.
Now please let me clarify things for you -- which will hopefully mitigate some of your upset, once you understand how and why the process works as it does here at The PAGE Awards.
Firstly: There has been no "extension". These are the PAGE Awards deadlines.
Please note that the PAGE Awards in its 9th Anniversary year has always had multiple deadlines.
And they are always the same:
We have our Early Entry Deadline, our Regular Entry Deadline, our Late Entry Deadline, our Last Minute Deadline and our Final Deadline.
Always. For nine years.
The prices on each deadline are also staggered at $10 more per entry. Thus, here is how it breaks down:
Early Entry Deadline: December 1st thru January 15th $39 entry fee Reguarly Entry Deadline January 16 thru March 1 $49 entry fee Late Entry Deadline March 2 thru April 1/2 $59 Last Minute Deadline April 1/2 to May 1/2 $69 FINAL Deadline May 2 thru May 15 $79
Please note that many contests have staggered entry seasons. It's not unusual, rather it is the norm. So I don't understand why you seem surprised or upset by multiple deadlines (that we have always had, by the way).
You also state the "original" entry date as on or around April 1. Actually, the "original" entry date every year is December 1st when our contest opens and then we have our other deadlines as listed and named above.
To our thinking which is always win/win at PAGE H.Q, we have multiple deadlines because.:
- Not all writers like to write in the winter or during the holiday season -- so we offer as many options as possible throughout the entry season to meet as many multiple needs of our international and stateside contestants as possible.
- Scripts take longer to write than one thinks and not everybody writes best to one deadline, rather comes close to being finished, but really needs more time -- thus the staggered entry season for the screenwriter and the staggered entry season for us. We see it as a win/win.
- It is a win for the writer -- as new/emerging writers are not professional writers and have to have "real" jobs and have real families to support and need more time than regular writers who are paid only as screenwriters and have the luxury to be able to meet deadlines.
- Plus, and most importantly, the creative muse doesn't always show up on demand. We know this. So we stagger the deadlines giving every writer another chance to 'win' and not give up on their dreams.
- It is a win for the PAGE Awards, because with a staggered entry season, we have more time to read all the writers who want to enter every year in a timely, organized, and highly productive work cycle. Which is the way we love to work. This work is our PASSION just as yours is screenwriting.
Again, many contests have multiple deadlines, and again, April 2nd was not the "original" deadline. It was the third deadline of five deadlines. You came in the middle essentially.
The reason we wait to post our May Deadlines (which is what we have always done for the past nine years) is so that we always make sure we can always meet the workload and that the contest is always running on time. Thankfully, for the past nine years, we have always been very highly organized and we are always able to meet all our Deadlines we have in a timely fashion -- so we can have the May Deadlines.
But we always wait to post them after the Late Entry Deadline -- ALWAYS. For nine years.
And we have never missed a deadline in nine years -- thus part of our stellar rep! :)
Now on to your email:
It seems that you were having trouble with meeting the deadline and wanted more time to write -- but submitted some 50 + hours early at 12:21:40pm PST on March 31st to the deadline of April 2, 2012 (it ends one second to midnight of April 3, 2012).
But after you submitted early, you got great feedback and did a stellar re-write and now you are angry with us because you have a stronger script that you cannot afford to re-submit.
But from our perspective, this comes somewhat out of left field.
Firstly, you could have written to me personally, just as you are doing now, to let me know that you were having trouble meeting the April 2nd Deadline (or you were waiting for feedback before entering and were running late or whatever) at which time I would have told you about our other deadlines upcoming, as I do with all the contestants who write in needing more time.
But you didn't do that. You actually submitted on March 31, 2012 and did not take advantage of the extra several days you could have used on re-writing and polishing -- as our April 2nd deadline ended on the night of April 2nd one second before April 3, 2012.
So that seems somewhat odd to me that you did not take full advantage of the time left to you -- Rather you just sent in what you had early...so you must have thought you were happy at that point....
I can only ask, if you were having trouble meeting the deadline, why didn't you write in and tell me so at the time? I have many, many writers from all over the world, writing in every day with whatever they are going through in their life, and letting me know that they cannot meet this deadline or that deadline, and thus I let them know we have another deadline until the FINAL Deadline (which is always mid May -- May 15, 2012 this year), and then the entry season is over for the 2012 PAGE Awards.
From our perspective, if you enter, (over two days early no less) we believe you are happy with that entry. If you were not happy with it, we would assume that you would contact us in a timely fashion so we can be helpful to you. But now, five weeks after the fact, and two deadlines later(when the Last Minute Deadline actually posted at midnight on April 2, 2012) there is little I can do to help.
But to come this many weeks later upset, when you didn't use your full time available to you in the first place, and secondly never let us know you needed help when we are HERE for you every single day seven days a week and many long nights doesn't quite make sense on this end.
You are not a victim here. You made a series of decisions that in retrospect you are not happy with. And you're upset.
We, the PAGE Awards are doing what we have always done. We are running the contest the way we have always run the contest for the past nine years with our multiple deadlines -- successfully and with great results for many of our writers to boot -- so "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" comes to mind.
And again, you are now mad at us because of this timing issue on your end. When, in fact, had you timed it better, and with more forethought, you could have ordered your feedback sooner, had the time to re-write leisurely (as you had December, January, February and March to do this) and then still submit in April and then not be mad at all because you would be able to give yourself..."the best chance of advancing as far as my talent will take me."
So, as we see it, it's a planning issue on your end that went awry.
At any time in this process, because you knew you wanted to enter The PAGE Awards you could have easily written in to me and I would have helped you structure you time better and given advice. But again, you didn't choose this option.
You made a lot of assumptions that essentially weren't true and then got upset at the end because we extended our "original" deadline when it wasn't the original deadline at all, and as a matter of fact, we were simply doing what we have always done for nine going on ten years now.
You have a better re-write because you got great feedback after you entered, which is great news!! But if you thought April was the last deadline my question is, that as a screenwriter wanting to put their best work forward:
Why did you put off getting the feedback until after what you thought was the last deadline?
That just doesn't make sense from here...
I also want to add: You also need to have more faith in the script you actually submitted. Trust me, NO WRITER feels great about a previous draft -- screenwriting is naturally about the re-writing process and constantly making the script better and better and better. So, you may look at your newest re-write and feel really strongly about it today, but in several weeks or a month, I can guarantee you'll go back and still see things to fix and tweak and polish. That's the nature of the art form.
I only wish --- like any great protagonist -- that you had proactively taken your destiny into your own hands and contacted me that you needed more time. I am truly sorry you are so unhappy, but it seems you were happy when you entered, and then that changed when you got great feedback after the fact. So you felt ready on the 31st of March, but not after you got great notes. That is how the timeline seems to be breaking down based on your email below.
Please know that I have some writers who write in and I let them know we have other deadlines, and then they get mad at me because I have "ruined" their creative flow and they lose the deadline feeling and lose their creative juice.
So, from my perspective -- we cannot please all the writers all the time, as much as we deeply try to.
The PAGE Awards does not set up this contest so you lose, rather so every writer has as many opportunities as possible to win. We have a looooooong entry season to cover as many types of writers as are out there. We have staggered fees so that the poorer students and foreign students etc. can have a shot at winning too, so our contest is not "elite". We send out complimentary eZines so that writers can learn free of charge about the industry and loglines etc. We have a comprehensive website with lots of information on it to help the writer understand our contest process.
We stay in communication with the writer, we respond to the writer -- often at great length. (This email to wit.)
So, again, while you are upset, at our perceived "extensions" as if we made them up on the fly so you feel the contest is no longer "fair" -- what about the people who entered back on December 1st? Or January 15th? Or March 1st? Or March 15th? Is the contest "not fair" for them as well? They are not complaining. They worked out their schedules and their finances and entered when they were able.
I gave this example before, but I will give it again because I believe it applies:
If you liken us to American Idol (whether you like the show or not) they also have a staggered entry season and they go from city to city looking for talent. Is it unfair that one singer can come at the end of their tour and be at the last city instead of the first? Does it somehow take away from the value of their performance? Or the singer who sang in the first city's work is then somehow devalued because they came early? Was it more or less fair/unfair that the first singers were seen first and the other singers seen later?
No. Talent is talent. They find talent on the first day as well as in the middle of their tour and on the last day of their tour. They find talent in every city they go to. One city is not "better" than another simply because they came first on the tour or at the end of the tour. Ultimately, it doesn't matter, because talent is talent. It shines, it bubbles forth, it is undeniable.
So it is like our contest -- a wonderful script remains wonderful no matter when it is entered. We have a staggered entry system and always have. It's nothing new to The PAGE Awards. We see it as infinitely fair as every writer has the chance to enter when they want and can afford to, re-enter when they want (or not or cannot), and if/when/should they make the Finals, they re-enter for free. We bend over backwards to help and we offer a lot of opportunity.
While no system is perfect, and we are always seeking to ever-perfect, we do our best to meet as many needs as possible.
There is nothing more energy depleting for us, when we work so truly hard with the writer's well-being and benefit in mind (and we never own any rights to your work at any time so all the success stories are not lining our pockets -- rather our hearts -- which is what matters to us here) - to receive an email where the writer is upset. Despite our best efforts.
This work is our passion just as your work is your passion -- so to have you come forth --so upset -- just feels so sad when it all could have been avoided with a simple email from you beforehand (not after) -- when there were so many options available to you had you structured your feedback differently, had you contacted me, etc.
But furthermore, you don't even know the results of the contest yet -- you don't even know how well you may or may not be doing in the contest -- you are allowing your own fears to bring you down to zero to a cup completely empty-- when, in fact, this may not even be the case.
The one thing that seems missing from your email: Where is the sense of your own responsibility for your own actions or lack thereof? We assume all is fine with you and then suddenly all these weeks later -- now it's not? Because you have a stronger re-write and you want to throw everything else out with the bath water?
If you knew what the deadline was i.e. April 2nd, and you truly thought it was the last one, why didn't you order your feedback in a more timely fashion so you could incorporate it into the script and still submit on time, with an earlier entry fee as you know you are on a budget in the first place?
Because, while you are upset, there is still something with your timeline that is not adding up over here as completely logical. It seems at some level the person you are most upset might be yourself.
Again, we are here -- we are always here -- we always respond to questions -- if we don't it means they somehow didn't reach us -- but we always respond.
Bottom line: Your concerns matter.
At this point, we can only look at the spilt milk and ask how can you do it better next time? Because the life of an artist is a marathon -- it is not one month, six weeks of re-writes, all or nothing -- it is a long view and the lessons you learn along the way are going to shape you as an artist, shape your voice and your talent.
Don't lose sight of the fact that no matter what you have a stellar re-write and don't lose sight of the fact that you don't know that "all is lost" at this moment -- and let the contest play out and see what happens.
You win no matter what because you are a better stronger writer with a stronger script. That's number one. You win no matter what because you have more experience with contests (at least this one) and you'll know in future (should you choose to ever re-enter) that you can always ask questions and that we always respond.
Writers, although they write in solo, do not actually work in solo. You must ask questions if you need help. You must ask questions if you feel "stuck". You must reach out and let those that are working WITH you (not against you) can offer you their advice and feedback.
Writers, once they are hired, operate from notes and quite a bit of communication -- and really are always being communicated with on one level or another. We send out so many emails before and during the contest season and we always include the fact that if they have questions to contact Zoe (me) at firstname.lastname@example.org But you didn't ask nor did you reach out. We don't read minds. We don't know your backstory unless you tell us.
Don't hesitate to ask -- when in doubt -- seems to be the takeaway here.
So, again, we are here for you -- I am so deeply sorry that you are so upset -- but again, looking at the long view, you have grown as an artist and writer and you have a stellar re-write. There are bright spots here.
Looking forward to your thoughts.
Zoe Simmons Contest Coordinator The 2012 PAGE Awards
Is it me or does this assembly-line response yields nothing but confusion and frustration? In effect, a late deadline diminished those people who sacrificed time and resources to adhere to a condition that proved to be worthless.
I just a hope a great script is a great script no matter what the deadline. And if Page never announces a winner . . . I guess we're all winners. Aw, shucks.
I agree with you 100%. I posted their boilerplate response to show that they DID NOT directly address my complaint. I'm just going to scratch this contest off as a loss. I have better things to worry about. Sucks that they're more interested in money than helping screenwriters.
Marjorie, Marjorie, Marjorie...
If I am ever in need of a Champion, I shall plea for you to raise your sword in my behalf, so sharp and robust it is.
I feel that Page should have emailed everyone a week before the first posted "final deadline" to give every entrant the best possible chance to submit the best possible script. As is, I'm not too worried. If I am to make it to the resubmission round, it will happen with the version I submitted as much as the one I would have liked to have submitted.
For some reason, a part of me feels that later entrants gained an advantage while, at the same time, penalized those who adhered to the first posted "final deadline." This "feeling" I'm sure exists only in my own mind.
And good luck to all who submitted.
I did not find out about the late extension until weeks after the fact. Don't assume. And try not to take my complaint out of context or impute more to it than needed.
I always submit two days before deadlines as a safety net in case I miscalculate the deadline. I deal with legal Statutes of Limits. A good habit is to submit before the actual SOL expires, like six months before expiration.
And if you really think Zoe's response was solely dedicated to me, then allow me to sell you the Brooklyn Bridge. I am not complaining about the substance of this contest, only one of its procedures, which many agree is problematic.
So don't go off preaching to me about how good this contest is. If I didn't rate it so highly, I wouldn't have spent extra money entering in two categories.
Good rule of thumb. I shall follow it from here on. Maybe I won't have a need for this rule if I find real work.
Couldn't agree with you more.
Another thing. I didn't ask for feedback. I have too much of it as is. That's not to say I wouldn't take it if Page gives feedback without further charge.
My sista from another mista, I swear I've gotten over it. It's cool and da' gang. And did that truck ever pull up to your driveway? You know, the one from Fort Knox? If you need help counting it all, let me know.
There's nothing wrong with using INTERCUT if the two scenes are both fixed locations.
INTERCUT - JOHN'S BASEMENT/JANE'S BASEMENT
John throws darts at a blow-up poster of Jane, smiling like a cat with a mouse's tail hanging out of the corner of its grinning mouth.
Jane hurls carving knives at John's love letters to her, which she's nailed on the wall in the pattern of a man. An especially wicked grin appears every time she hits the groin area.
Within one location, but in separate areas, like opposite ends of an L-shaped hallway, I oftentimes do this:
ON JOHN: As he tip-toes to the corner with an axe held above his head.
ON JANE: As she glides to the same corner with a double-barreled auto-loader.
ON JOHN: He clenches his jaws for the kill when he sees Jane's shadow approaching.
ON JANE: She licks her chops when she sees John's reflection in the window.
They collide simultaneously. John blows his load too early and misses by a mile. Jane crouched before John even had a chance. She points the barrel at John's -- you guessed it -- groin.
But she forgot to take the safety off. CLICK. Doh! - she smacks her forehead with her palm.
-- Anyway, you get the picture.
Honors all mine. We both got it tough. We're going up against Tonya Roberts, Julia Kubik in Drama, and a couple of other names I recognized. This is going to be tough for everyone. Having said that, congrats to all, including Landa Haltmaier, Phillip Sedgewick, Mr. Corneliu, and anyone else I didn't mention.
At least we know if we win, this will be well-deserved considering the strength of comepetiton.
Apparently Lena Headley is attached. Probably as "Penny." I thought the script was amazing in its readability and in its emotional pulse. You feel the characters from the start and they end with a... whimper.
I thought ultimately the writers gave this story, which had so much potential, a major let down. They begin with a cautionary theme about "Playing God." Then they don't expand on that theme, which pervades the story. And finally I thought there was little payoff in the end. In fact, I thought the end was rather anti-climactic. I didn't know which relationship I wanted to root for . And when Sheila realizes that she will never be loved, this lost its poignancy because the writers never capitalized on the emotional dependency between two desperate people.
And a further hint of what that ".5" would represent would have offered more to the story and our understanding of what Sheila was missing. Was it supposed to represent the "soul" maybe?
Anyway, I am happy in my own selfish way that I don't need to fear this script. Though it resonates on so many levels, ultimately I thought the writers did a superficial job of exploring the larger issue of morality and humans playing God. In other words, there was little cautionary in any of this story.
But I hope it gets made. Bravo to the writers.
Another thing that bothered me we was that I never really got a feel for the antagonist or a real opposition character. Consequently, the stakes were not maximized. There was no real feeling of urgency. And the parents appearing needed more explanation or set-up.
Still, the writing and character developments are superb. And that tells me a lot can be forgiven if you deliver and can deliver the emotion with the right character as the sympathetic here.
Last thing, if they were recognized in Central Park by an old school chum, that to me is a set-up. So I was expecting a pay-off where the real Amanda confronts her alter. Not that would have created an awkward moment.
Happy Memorial. Eat, drink, be stupid.
Years ago, in a life far, far away, I gave a free option w/back-end point. I would have gotten $150,000 had the movie gone into principle photography. Not only did I lose three years of my life and all the expenses that go with it, but I also lost my script "The Jigsaw Map" b/c I failed to protect my rights to the revisions.
Now my script has three names attached to it. And one of those names did nothing except change one scene, albeit a crucial love scene. Still, my enthusiasm got the best of me and rather than pay an entertainment lawyer to look at the contract, I foolishly decided to guinea-pig myself by doing my own negotiating. But I was freshly armed with a law degree and passage of the NYS Bar. So how could I have gone so wrong?...
BECAUSE I WAS A FUCKING MORON!
I predict one of the frequent flyers of Moviebytes wins one of the major awards. My fingers crossed. Just remember the little guys when u make it big.
Congrats on reaching semis of StoryPros.
I agree w/much of what you said about Snow White. But the movie sucked. Not even its visuals kept me from rumination. And only reason I stayed to see whole damn thing was due to charlize Theron. Bravo to her.
The story was so plodding and formulaic. I personally don't care for Chris Hemsworth (or whatever his name is). His acting range is equivalent to a two-Octave range.
I even found the script questionable. Nothing about it compelled me to read on. Felt very heavy to the eyes and senses.
Kristen Stewert makes Sylvester Stallone an Olivier. Even I could act better than she. And I get stage-nightmares.
Can't wait for PROMETHEUS. Go Ridley!
And congrats to all who advanced in StoryPros, especially to my good 'ol sista, Landa.
It should be "ol'." (I have OC.)
And he's back...
SD, you're a kick in the nuts, but I can't deny you have something to say. So keep saying and I'll keep reading.
This is the contest that helped create "The Discipline Program", which recently sold with much fanfare and Mark Wahlberg attached.
This year's contest logline from which one has to create a story and enter the first 15-pages is, "A Soldier Returns From An 18 Month Deployment And Finds That The Family Home Is Missing - Even The Address No Longer Exists."
I am entering this contest. I'll know by the end of June if I am one of ten who makes it. So far, over a thousand submissions. But I need a "working title". So please lend me your ears and eyes and help me choose.
1) The Evil That Men Do 2) Crime And Punishment 3) The Nomad Of Hell 4) No Deed Goes Unpunished 5) Full Circle
All of these titles are relevant to my story. Which is most high-concept? Thank you all. (If the only thing I win from this is Movie Magic Writer, woo-hoo.)
You people are awesome. I think I am going to go with #3, as this one is wholly my creation. And the "Nomad" is my main character's last name.
(btw, what do you mean by "you people", lol)
Btw, where the hell did you get "Perdue" from, Ron. Lmao.
Good point, Marjorie. I think I'll do that. Thanks.
thanks. i hope we both make it too.
i really liked #1 myself. so torn. and i have no doubt ur name will be on tomorrow's list. i'm just glad we're not in same category.
I like Hell's Nomad, but I don't want to get too fancy. As much as I like "The Evil That Men Do", I'll stick w/"Nomad of Hell" After all, I don't think I'm going to get penalized for a vapid title.
Btw, I read a review of ScriptShadows' opinion of "Drive". He put that script in his top-25. I told him if that's the case, then he'll forever be a reviewer and never a writer. I doubt he's going to post my comment to his review.
I mention this b/c now I feel like I have to prove myself. Oh, let me be one of the ten chosen. But I'm not spending $75 to come in 11th place. So if I am one of the 10 chosen, you heard it here first. If I am not chosen, someone else must be responsible for this post.
I know of a producer looking for my type of script. But my script is geared towards a shocking, surprise twist-ending. The producer wants the details of the surprise ending in the synopsis.
And that's my problem. How do you reveal something like this without deflating the tires or making the surprise anti-climatic?
Any suggestions or help would be greatly appreciated. I'm hoping some of the experienced ones (like Marjorie) may offer something. I'd like to respond to the producer within 24 hrs.
Think of pitching the "Sixth Sense" or "The Usual Suspects". How can I reveal the ending when the entire script was written for the ending? I mean, without the surprise ending in "Sixth Sense", there really isn't much of a movie. Same with the "Usual Suspects".
Thank you, thank you, thank you.
Hadn't quite looked at it that way. I see what you mean. Now I just have to write it as compellingly as possible. Thanks.
I love that title too, "Something Wicked This Way Comes". I mean, it doesn't get any easier for the movie-goer than that.
Don't sweat the other contest. StoryPros carries more weight. I see you being in the top three of your category. And remember, a hundred nays can't stand up to one yay.
And if I can help, call upon me anytime.
Great example. I'm liking it.
Good stuff. And I wish they would just ask for the first ten. Would make things so much easier.
Turns out, this producer really wants pure psychological/horror stuff. I don't think my script really fits his needs as mine is more psychological/drama/thriller.
But I learned something from your responses. Thanks.
It's settled. "Nomad of Hell". And if you don't like it, you can go to hell, lol.
I'm taking the ProSeries. And they make a great point. "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" is not the most original, but it gets the job done. You know exactly what you're getting. And though familiarity breeds contempt, when it comes to movies, apparently people are more comfortable with the familiar than the unfamiliar.
So if I make it to the finals, all those who favored "Nomad of Hell" can tell their grandkids about it.
Well, here goes. I'm entering my 15 pages now. From what I heard, late entries don't get the same consideration as on-time entries. Though the extended deadline is June 15th, I think it would be wiser to get it in before that date.
If anyone seriously disagrees, please let me know. I'm going to wait for another hour. I keep having this annoying feeling like I'm leaving out something important.
Thanks, Alan. I'm so happy to hear someone else agrees with me regarding "Drive." The way everyone raved about it on ScriptShadow's site, I was thinking maybe there's something wrong with me. (Which could still be the case, lol.)
And in support of my opinion about "Drive", notice that it didn't receive an Oscar nomination. I mean, if it were really that good, shouldn't it have caught the attention of the Academy Awards? I don't know how it did in other venues, like Golden Globes.
Oh, I'm so gratified to see that I got my own billing/heading in Inktip's preferred magazine on the first page of the Contest page. I'm not sure how I got chosen, but I will not look this gift horse in the mouth. Hope something comes of it.
Thanks, Scott... I think. Problem w/swagger is that in my case it easily turns into a stagger. Which is another way of saying I'm as likely to step on someone's toes as I am to taste my own.
On another note, I'm not feeling it with StoryPros. Last second doubts. I just got blasted by a consultant on my script... over things no one else had problems with. What the hell do I do now?
I'm gonna be like Kane and walk the earth.
I have such good feelings and thoughts about you. Thank you for your "keep your chin up."
Most of the professional feedback I've gotten were very positive and encouraging. But this last one, who does have credentials, harked on stuff no one else did. And what bothers me most is that I can't ignore the feedback as it was given within the context of my story. In other words, it wasn't way out there. There was, however, a lot of nit-picking. And an almost blind adherence to the three-act structure, uncompromisingly so. If the act break doesn't occur on page 30, then there must be something wrong with your script. That sort of thing.
But I have good feelings about your fate in this and other contests, Julia. I'm so upset that I have to stay up to get the results from StoryPros. (Why do I torture myself.)
So kick ass, girl.
Oh, I needed this so badly to take the sting off that wretched feedback I received.
Landa and Julia, my two Venus', I am so disappointed not to see your names. There must have been a mistake. I'm sure of it. I wanted badly to celebrate with you two.
Phillip, congrats. And further congrats to all who advanced.
Remember, at this point it's all in the luck of the draw. If you get the right reader, you're golden.
Scott, great showing for a first script. Semifinalist is not too shabby.
Next time slap a male name on your sic-fi script. Maybe that'll do the job. I can't believe you got two "honorable mentions" in Scriptvamp but don't make the finals in this one. Really tells me how much we really are at the mercy of the readers.
Rooting for you. Would love to see someone we know win it all.
Congrats. I'll be rooting for you too. And thanks for the tip. Helps to take the "complication" out of it.
And Robert, I really like your Sixth Sense logline. Great reveal without losing anything.
My script is no more brilliant than yours. I have no doubt I'd be impressed with your writing -- more than mine, I'm sure.
Stop flattering me, lol. At least wait until I've sold something. But thanks for the compliment.
Was wondering when you'd chime in. Thanks.
And.. I saw Prometheus -- 3D. Say what you want, for all of its plot holes and story flaws, I was willing to forgive it all. The visuals were so spectacular, the tension so touchable, the kinetic pulse so drug-inducing, it reinforced my epic decision to embark on the path of art.
And don't forget that we are all, in the broadest sense, partaking of art.
So here's my contribution. Paraphrasing Victor Shklovsky, what is art?
... Art takes the ordinary, slows it down, magnifies it and gives it new significance. Art allows us to recapture life that has been lost through repetition and familiarity.
If I am to be remembered, let me be remembered for this understanding.
And only slightly less well-known is this. Never fight a land-war in Asia.
Irin, you jock. Did you marry the Prom Queen?
Hate to rain on anyone's parade, but we got it tough. The lead contender for the winning script is the "Sarah Palin" hoopla, which was a finalist in BlueCat. Who knows, maybe StoryPros will hold that against the writer. Yeah, right.
Zeke, if you're out there, say something. Where the hell did you get the inspiration for something so tawdry? (I mean that in a flattering sort of way. I think.)
Hell, I'd be happy to hit the radar w/a third place. But to find out now how tougher it just got w/the announcement of so many good scripts is dejecting from where I'm sitting. (And it's not on the toilet.)
James, you sneaky, naughty man... hiding yourself w/JG. Just glad your in sci-fi.
From here on I'm just burying my head in the sand until it's over. What I don't see can't hurt me. I hope.
Just made all reservations to the Pitch Summitt in Sept. Anyone going to this? If so, let me know, I'll buy you a drink. I also have an extra bed if someone wants to save money. Or we can share beds. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
How do you write so prolifically? What's your secret? I'm happy if I can spit out one page a day during a new writing. I'd probably be able to write more if I didn't spend so much time on this board. This is why I don't Facebook or Twitter. Holding off until I absolutely have to.
Wish I had your discipline. Good for you, Phillip.
Geno Scala of sharkeatingman.com and thescriptmentor.com also is in the finals. But what I realize is that all of you are competing against yourselves. Seems no one is in my category that we know of. Do I dare to hope...?
Also funny how we make friends from conflict. Phillip and I had our disagreements as I've had with Script Dude. Reached out to SD pursuant a belated response per his review of my script. Gave me some really needed advice. Man is golden. He's really sincere about helping writers out.
Thanks. Will do. Am I the only one who thinks Zeke is a pro and maybe doesn't qualify for these contests? Or maybe he is a pro and hasn't had much work in the past year.
Just saw it. Hilarious.
I just got back. It's almost 3am and what a beautiful night. Can't believe lightening can strike twice. Hell, I'm willing to change my religion at this point -- this is after I lost it.
Thank you. I have no doubt your well-wishing influenced my win.
Enter Bluecat. We'll do a community mind-meld and influence the outcome.
Thank you for being the first to acknowledge. I said you're a stand-up guy and I stand by it.
Honestly, I think I won because all the competition was in the other categories, lol.
And congrats to Geno Scala of sharkeatingman.com.
Last, but not least, thank you LAScriptDude for additional feedback -- free of charge, no less!
Oh, before I forget, congrats to all who advanced. The next contest will have your name on it.
Thanks everyone. I'm still shell-shocked. But it'll wear off quickly, I'm sure. They say only thing better than winning is sharing the win with friends.
Lol, I could only be so lucky to get my religion back from Page.
That feedback is still wretched, but it came form a source not associated with this contest. But this win helps to put those comments in better perspective.
I'll keep everyone posted if something comes from this win. Let's hope.
Email me and I'll send you a copy. I tried reading it, but I found it to be heavy. I don't have the best reading skills, i.e. too impatient, so I couldn't get beyond the the first few pages.
Part of the reason is that I, too, wondered what a 3.2 million dollar script looks like. I think I was expecting the Holy Grail and discovered instead a very mortal chalice, however well-carved and expertly fashioned.
Had the same issue with "The Disciple Program" as far as expectations. But w/Disciple at least the read was quick and, admittedly, exciting.
If you get a chance, read "The 25th Hour". Here's a writer that has mastered the sublime art of emotional subtext. Almost on par with Fowles' "The Collector" (in novel form).
Agree with Robert. Great site. Funny how I wouldn't have even peeked at this website without someone I know endorsing it.
Having said that, TJ, you gotta get better endorsements. Who the hell is "ed"? (lol)
Your website might give Dr. Format a run for his money.
What's wrong with some of the names on here? We're not too shabby.
Thanks for the endorsement, Robert. Not sure how respected I am though (lol).
My thinking was this. If TJ starts out with writers who are actually using his site, that would be more convincing to me than getting "Dr. Format," who probably wouldn't be using the site. Just my way of thinking. (Not that one would shun an endorsement from Dr. Format.)
TJ: By all means use my name and any information associated with my name that would help your website.
I plan on referring to ScriptToolBox.com repeatedly. So much easier than flipping through a book. The layout also says that you know your craft. Less is better. The minimalism makes the site palatable to both eyes and senses. I've already picked up a couple of pointers for my next script, which unfortunately cannot be written without the dreaded "flashback."
As screenwriters love to see "white space" on the page, so too do we like to see simplicity on the website.
Contest Results: Fresh Voices Feature (First Place, 2011) ScriptVamp/Feature (Finalist, 4th place, 2011) Three Lines Or Less (Finalist, 2012 Feb-Mar) BlueCat Contest (Quarterfinalist, early draft, 2011) ScriptVamp/Attention Grabber (Finalist, 2nd runner-up, 2012 May) StoryPros Awards (First Place, 2012)
-- On a side note, I'd be all too happy to have my name associated with your website. This things going to viral soon enough.
Gotta agree with Scott. Maryanne does make a persuasive argument. And I 'd always go for the double spacing, but when I hear everyone telling me to lower page count, hard not to cheat a little.
Having said that, any advice on lowing page count without "cheating" would be appreciated. I've tried everything. Biggest problem is having the beginning of Act II began about ten pages earlier.
Now what do I do with all the necessary build-up of both story and character that constitutes those ten pages? And chronological order is important, else I'd just incorporate those ten pages into the story later on. Thanks.
Needed to hear the obvious. That's exactly what I'm going to have to do. I got trashed by a review because my 2nd Act begins on page 44. Personally, I felt my first Plot Point came around the 30 page mark. But enough people have commented on this that I can't ignore it. Anyway, simply I shall. Your advice is always welcomed.
Lol, I just experimented with this and maybe, at best, you'll be able to shorten your script by a page -- and if you're lucky. From here on, I'm double spacing for the benefit of the read.
LMMFAO. Sorry, couldn't resist. Hey, my name is Paul is this is between ya'll.
What little I know about contracts, as I don't deal w/them daily, is that it's hard to give up all rights to a script without legal consideration based upon possible theory of "unjust enrichment." But don't take this as legal advice. Just something I spun off the top of me head. Hey, I'm drunk.
First there was Botticelli's "Birth of Venus"...
Then Wagner's epic ride of the Valkyries...
Now... MovieBytes' own MaryAnne Beckman.
(It's rare that anyone ever agrees with me, especially when I'm drunk. On those rare moments when it happens, I feel compelled to flattery. Happy-hour sucked.)
How 'bout them Yankees?
Good post. I have to do something with my first act for three production reads. My biggest fear is that I'm going to make things worst. But from what I hear, Hollywood is so adherent to structure that if you violate it, that could be enough to toss your script into the basket.
Marjorie, I wish you were reading my script as you aren't such a stickler.
I'm just going to cross my fingers. Hope for the best. Does 117 pages really stick out? Does it scream amateur? Sigh.
No, I did not read the blog. I was re-reading my script. I've gotten it down to 115 pgs. And my trial now begins two pages earlier on p. 42. For now, this is as good as it gets unless someone wants to pay me for revisions.
If someone really digs your story, she's not going to toss it for five "extra" pages. Or so I hope.
I like your spirit, MaryAnne, but let's hope we're not the ones who get screwed. I'll keep whittling my script down to whatever length, but I'd like to do it with someone invested in my script. Just hope I'm not putting cart before horse.
Hey Marjorie or Irin or anyone, I just responded to a manager seeking scripts from produced or optioned writers. My option, though real, was with a producer and production company that is now defunct. Does that disqualify or invalidate my ability to tout myself as an "optioned" writer? Thanks.
Woo-hoo. You da' man, Irin.
Righto, Margarie, always right as right can be. Btw, can I purchase your book on Amazon?
Read the article. I've read other stuff from this guy. Mucho respect.
Though I've studied the 3-act structure, beats, 8 sequences, Cambell's hero's journey, Aristotle's Poetics, so on and so forth, I don't keep any of these things in mind while writing.
I follow my own internal beat. What is best for my story. I hate boring movies. I hate even more writing boring shit. Internally, I know that major beats should occur every five or six minutes. That's my own rhythm. I recently got trashed by a well-known consultant. The major gripe was with my 1st act structure. Yet, I just won 1st place in StoryPros. What am I to make of this?
I realize that I increase my chances of selling if I follow this artificial structure, but I'm not going to do it at the expense of the story. Maybe my own ignorance prevents me from adhering to the 1st act break, but I'll take my chances.
I like better general principles that every story should have a crisis moment and dilemma at end of Act 2 or beginning of Act 3. Or, every story must have necessary elements such as an inciting incident.
The best and most honest feed back I've gotten didn't comment on structure. Not because it's not important, but whatever "rules" I broke didn't detract so much from my story that one needed to harp on it.
Anyway, this is just me venting. I've come to despise those who cannot judge the merit of a story without relying on the safety of a triangle frame. One can also build a sound foundation with a multi-polygonal structure.
Lmao. To make up for my spelling retardation, I'll buy two copies of your book. Funny thing, a good friend of mine hired me to do marketing stuff for his website and new product. He loved everything I did except for one little thing. He said, "Paul, fantastic job. But my last name is Morrone, not 'Marrone'." I've known this guy for over a decade.
You hit it on the head. I've gotten top marks for concept and marketability on all the scoresheets. And I'm trying to package my script as a "must-see." To this end, I'm trying to make it as enticing as possible. As we are a society bred on legal shows, from LA Law to Boston Legal, my carrot is to offer a high-concept legal drama -- an irresistible who-done-it. I'll know if I'm getting near the goal line with the guaranteed reads from StoryPros.
As for foreign markets, I believe "Devil's Advocate" did well abroad. That might be a good barometer, though my script does not deal with supernatural elements. Also keep in mind, I haven't been trying to market my script. I'd feel a lot more comfortable doing this after I have a first draft of my current script. Looks better in case a producer asks, "What else have you got?"
In Sept. I'll be attending the Pitch Summit. I'm going to use that as my debutante introduction.
-- "My point is, don’t enter those contests where they’re dinging you for 1 vs. 2 spaces, or the act one turning point not falling on page 25, or whatever. Chances are those contests are not going to help you anyway."
Marjoree, good point. Wished I had seen this sooner. I got suckered into a couple of these. I'm a contest junkie.
-- "Do your research on who all is going to be there and what each company is looking for. Also, make sure you have plenty of one sheets... and watch out for them English."
SD, good reminder. Regarding one sheets, is it better to have your photo on them or not? And what's with the English? Is it because they're "unreadable"?
My Own Impression: Much of selling or getting an option really depends not on how universally "great" your script is but whether you're fortunate enough to get your script into the hands of a producer looking for your material and really likes your genre. And I'm an absolute believer in outlining. Couldn't work without 3x5s.
Great info. Thanks. Never would have given thought to anything so "gimmicky" as a movie poster. But I like the idea. Perhaps superimpose the words over a translucent background? Or is this too much?
Great movie. Except mine is on the opposite extreme of comedy. As for legal accuracy, it's difficult to achieve it unless your story is about the technical details of procedural law, such as "MY Cousing Vinney" was.
The other reason why it's difficult to achieve legal accuracy is that there are fifty one jurisdictions in the US. All fifty State Sovereigns plus Federal. So, theoretically, one case could yield fifty one different verdicts, depending on the issue.
Though my story is a legal drama, I'm not shooting for accuracy because then I would have to tack on additional pages. Also, I use procedural mechanisms from other Jurisdictions to achieve my result. Which I'll get crucified for from attorneys, but not the audience in general. (Besides, the hell with lawyers.)
I was going to use a poster and print info on back of it. Is this Kosher? And how big should the poster/one-sheet be? Standard 8-1/2 by 11 or bigger? Thanks.
Read Inherit when I was a teen. But never saw it. I think I will now that you've mentioned it.
On another note, here's my firm take on spec scripts and scripts in general. No matter how great your script, you will always have your detractors. Conversely, You will never make everyone happy. There was a well-known critic who trashed "12 Monkeys". Wow, this is as good a movie you're going to get in the genre.
Conclusion: Timing. If you meet the producer looking for your material, that trumps all. Would also moot all the rejections, criticisms, and negativity. Case in point, my first script got optioned. Truthfully, my script, my writing sucked. I was fortunate enough to have that script land in the hands of a producer who was looking for an action script. Unfortunately, it made me believe I could do it. Been trying ever since. I think I could have gotten two Phd's in the same timeframe.
Industry Insider released their top ten. I, sadly, did not make the list. If something worked against me, I would bet it was my intro. I was very graphic in the violence and the sex.
I did not intend gratuitous violence and sex (though I wouldn't be opposed to it either). The graphic nature was critical to the tone and theme of my story. That opening scene would also set-up a later scene that would be even more horrifying.
I heard one can be graphic if it adds something to the story. Not persistently graphic, but a bit of it here and there where it would add, not subtract.
Any informed opinion on this would be most welcomed. I've read very graphic produced scripts. But where do you draw the line? Oh, my sex scene wasn't pornographic. Just graphic. Thanks ya'll.
Email me and I'll send you a copy.
I figure it comes down to your reader. Anyone reading my story will know within the first few paragraphs whether they're going to be offended. I just gotta make sure I submit this badboy into horror/thriller and not family or rom-com.
Considering most of my descriptions will be shown and not "voiced" should mitigate offense. After all, how many disgusting, gross-out comedies speak about matters that would make even my ears blush?
And if a seventeen-year-old wasn't offended, how could an adult be, right?
In the immortal words of Rambo... "Live for nothing, die for something." And that will be the last time I ever quote Johnny again.
Should have pursued my study of Trilobytes.
Well, Danielle read my fifteen pages. Phew, she agreed that my description wasn't inappropriate outside the context of my story. (That's not to say I can't write something steamier. You know, something along the lines of "Forum." Will leave it to the guys to figure out which "Forum."
Silver lining: Entering this contest got me off my tooshie, which I was twirling around on zee catwalk. Now I'm two-thirds there to finishing my next, ahem, masterpiece.
IMHO, anything goes as long as it is written within context of your story and adds something to it.
Congrats on making finalist, Landa and Patricia.
I can't believe there's someone out there who doesn't Facebook other me. I was resistant to it forever until just two days ago. Finally did the dirty. Now I feel like I'm plugged into the "Matrix" and I've just given up any claim to freedom and privacy.
Good luck to everyone. I can't believe Quarter-rounds constitute the top 10%. Suddenly, I'm anxious about making the cut. In fact, I'm not feeling it with any of the majors coming up. But I did just finish my new script.
Which leads me to ask if there is any problem with a 95-pager? Though the category is horror, I've heard that 95 pages or less makes producers squint. Any thoughts on this backed by experience would be really helpful. Thanks.
My thinking exactly. In an age of less is better, I'm thinking 95-96 is optimal, especially for horror (really psychological horror).
I noticed that the drama category in just about every major screenplay comp has the most submissions. I find this odd considering "drama" is the least sold among specs. In some comps, "drama" has three times the number of submissions than, say, sci-fi.
I mention this to cushion the disappointment of not advancing. I unfortunately entered in drama. Wish I had known this prior to entering. Then I would have entered in sci-fi even though I would've gotten slapped for my stupidity. But, hey, my odds would still have been greater.
My two cents (and I had to borrow to get both):
I agree with Marjorea. Usually if fraud is involved, there isn't much genuine concern on part of contest. Usually you don't hear from them at all. That Shore Line is a foreign contest speak a lot in their favor. After all, if a contest really wanted to screw Americans, what better than a foreign-based contest.
Also, Final Draft is sponsoring them. That's gotta count for something. And let's wait to see if their winners get paid. If so, more kudos to Shore Line.
On the other hand, I can appreciate Michael's frustrations as I've had my own experience with a rogue contest. So, yeah, Michael, why not take advantage of the open line of communication and try to get this resolved amicably?
If I have anything to complain about, it's that my name isn't on their semifinalist list. Who cares if I never submitted. It'd still be nice to see my name up there. Sheesh.
Page has announced 2nd Rounders. I made the early cut. Congrats to all who also made cut.
But someone explain this to me. I entered in two categories. Apparently, Page only acknowledges advancement of script without regard to number of categories submitted. Then why did I pay to enter an additional category? Man, life is just confusing. What happened to the good ol' days when we only had 13 channels to choose from?
James and Nathan,
If Page is willing to advance the three of us, they'll let in anyone, lol. Congrats.
That's exactly as I thought would happen. In other contests, I've seen one script win in separate categories, such as ScriptVamp. In that contest, Landa won in sic-fi and something else.
Well, apparently, with Page you don't get that opportunity. So I did email them and asked them why I paid extra if I don't get the benefit of competing only in the category I paid to enter.
Here's their response:
"One script cannot win a prize in two categories simultaneously. Nor can one script win the Grand Prize AND the Gold Prize in its genre.
Your script has been read in BOTH categories and scores are accumulated in BOTH genres separately. The HIGHEST scores move forward in any genre, like in anything."
Really, I felt scolded, like I presumed to ask for too much. My point in spending extra was not to presume to win in two categories, but to increase my odds of at least one of them advancing further than the other.
Bottom line, my script advanced as one script and not as one script in two categories. Man, this is more confusing than some legal principles I've studied. At this point, I don't care. I've already resigned myself to disappointment with this contest as I was not able to submit my best version.
That's how I interpreted it, Marjhorie. But I liked their old system better, the one you experienced years ago -- and the one that seems to be the standard. I'm still steaming over a "missed opportunity" by not having submitted my best, given the importance of this contest.
But I'm hoping tomorrow can lift my spirit. I shall say no more until it happens. And if not, then there's nothing to forget. I'm just happy to be revising a new script.
Yeah, Julia, we're gonna party like it's 1999.
I'm there. Just set a date. I hate winters in NYC.
Oh, good luck to Tonya Roberts tomorrow. And Brent Hartinger. We'll see who gets the $2,500.
Scott, you dirty dog, I didn't see your name. And with the other names you mentioned, I feel like I'm going to be cheering more than celebrating. Just goes to show you, nothing is easy in this game.
Yeah, I'm just gonna walk the earth. Wait for winter and walk across the Bearing Straight.
C'mon, yo, how can you accuse me of sandbagging? I'm just a humble farmer trying to milk my cows.
Gotta chime in with a rant.
First, I agree with Robert. I've never heard of or seen a slug line underlined unless it is a secondary scene heading, such as a FLASHBACK - BEDROOM. I can't seem to underline here, but the reason I sometimes underline is to establish the absolute importance of the flashback. In one of my scripts, I used only once quick flashback in the whole script, and I used it at the end of the story for a money-shot reveal.
Second, I think people get too stuck on the rigidity of Formatting. While it is important, the most important feature is to write without confusing the reader. If your formatting does not confuse, then why harp on it? Right now, I'm about to say goodbye to someone who, because he's a dp and works in film, he presumes to call me out on some of my formatting oddities as being "wrong." So happens to turn out he is wrong vis-a-vis Dr. Format and Scripttollbox.com.
Why would I need to write INT. SMITH BEDROOM - NIGHT when writing INT. BEDROOM - NIGHT serves same purpose since only one bedroom in my entire script is relevant. No other bedroom exists in my story. There is no confusion. I could keep going on, but my point is that I think sometimes people harp on format to compensate for their lack of talent.
Another thing. In multiple interviews with producers, the last thing they were concerned about was formatting. They didn't care about single vs. double spacing or whether you used just NIGHT and DAY, rather than CONTINUOUS, TWILIGHT, MORNING, etc.
In fact, they universally said as long as the script looks like a script, all they care about is the content, the story, not whether you capitalized all sounds.
Ok, my breathing is back to normal. What up ya'll?
Ok, I got 2nd Place in this. I spent a hundred dollars in hope of winning the jackpot. Though this contest offers 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. If you don't win 1st, you don't win at all. Everything is geared toward awarding the winner. There is almost nothing there for second or third.
Was it worth it? No. A hundred dollars is a lot of money for a contest. The only thing I get out of this is a log line placement on their website. The hell was I thinking?
I have nothing bad to say about how they run the contest. That much was fine. But I feel like I cheated myself for impulsively joining this contest. And I never would have except I got an email at the 12th hour that the contest is a go.
Again, I'm not trashing the contest. It was run professionally and mostly satisfactorily. But the odds are so against you in winning first place that I can't justify spending any more of my money on a contest that only serves the winner.
I feel no victory in coming in second place. In fact, I feel like a goat.
In fairness, I should mention that I get a certificate.
I would love a set steak knives. In fact, I wouldn't mind getting fired. Again, what the hell was I thinking? Keep in mind, I got an email after the deadline expired. People don't do that as a favor. I was just so damn impulsive.
Anyway, no more contests for "The People V. God." From here on, its "Nomad Of Hell."
I am not repped. I don't' send queries anymore because I've never gotten a response to one. And personally, I don't think queries even get read. I say this because I've queried managers with no response. Yet, through a different channel, they'll ask for my script. Maybe it's just such a big management company, that one person doesn't know anything about the queries that get sent to the larger company/management/agency.
I post on InkTip.com. I've gotten lot's of looks, few script requests. And quite frankly, I think most of the producers on InkTip are mid-level at best and looking for specific things.
My big push will be the Pitch Summit in Sept. I'm going all out on this. A spare-nothing attitude. And I'll have a second polished script by then. If nothing comes of the Pitch Summit, I am going to quit this while I can.
In my option, luck has so much to do with your initial success. Can your script get into the hands of someone looking for your particular material. If not, no matter how good it may be, it will most likely get passed.
I wouldn't even know where to begin making a short or trailer. And I'm not so sure I'd want to invest in something so speculative.
And I won't stop writing. Probably won't ever stop writing. But I'm going to say goodbye to Hollywood and write novels. Then when Hollywood comes knocking, I'll charge them triple what they could have gotten had they bought the script. Yeah, right.
I'm just hoping I can advance far in all the big ones coming up. In fact, advancing far in just one of them would be thrilling. Funny how I started out in action genre and now I write psychological horror/dramas. So who knows how all this gets played out.
You've proven yourself. Don't let one contest throw you off. No doubt we'll see your name elsewhere.
Marjory (two script, no less)
Danielle Barros (so much for my opinion, lol)
Now we can breath for 30 days.
And congrats to anyone I missed. Just quickly perused the list. Wanted to size up the competition. Damn, nothing in life is easy. And I would have no qualms about taking a cheap win.
Don't ever stop posting. If there were a restriction based on quality of post to posting in general, only a handful would be allowed to post.
Dango... what a name. We could have serious fun with dat after a phatty. So I guess based on your observations, those who did well in StoryPros do not do well in Page. Doesn't bode well for me.
Scott, you da' man... for manning up, lol.
Come on, now, you deserve to be on this thread as much as anyone else. Just the fact that you entered entitles you to say what ever comes to mind. Hell, even if you didn't enter, I'd still say you should say whatever comes to mind.
Oh, Paula, congrats. How did I miss your name?
Even the best reader can give you questionable feedback. Most important feature to take into account when seeking feedback is whether your reader LIKES your genre.
First thing you want to ask is what types of scripts does the reader enjoy. This will often determine the quality of feedback. Ask yourself, do you just randomly choose a movie? Or do you gravitate towards certain genres? How bored and uninterested you would be seeing a rated-G movie if you love sex, violence, bloodshed, profanity, depravity, and all those other goodies.
Not that I'm saying I advocate such movies or that I even watch such movies. I think.
Hey, Marjory, I have a short that I've written and directed. Totally amateur. But I feel that there's something there in my script. The film actually worked despite the flaws.
Anyway, you do shorts. If you're interested in a one-location short, I'd give you mine to do with as you please as long as I get writing credit. If you lived in NYC, I could even provide you with free location. But all you need is a small library.
If interested, let me know. It's funny how the film exceeds the flaws of the script.
Good to know. Thanks.
I did shoot my short. Very amateurish. But I did gain a new appreciation for writing scenes and the importance of trying to be visual.
I also found that my short (about 10 minutes in length) pretty much worked. Yet, those who have read it have one criticism after another regarding the ending or one aspect of the story. There seems to be an inconsistency or disconnect between the writing and the execution. In other words, most who saw the film liked it. The objections raised in the writing didn't show up in the finished product. Still trying to figure this one out.
Anyone who wants to read my 11-pager, you're more than welcome to rip it apart. But the challenge was if I could write something within 10 pages and do it in ONE location.
Also, filming a short really does more for the filmmaker than the writer. However, if you do a good job, you can use it as a "calling card."
Here's a link to the video. Laugh all you want. But it takes courage to show something so horribly amateurish.
If all you get out of this is a good laugh, then I've achieved something -- even if unintentionally.
Too kind and too funny. I didn't expect anyone to take this seriously. I did this as an experiment to see if I wanted to direct. And I don't. Not ever. Too many hassles. Logistics nearly made me quit. And the lead actor cancelled on me on the day of the shoot b/c he got called to do a commercial.
But it was fun to see words translated to film.
Sent you a pm w/info. Hope it worked.
in NYC, it's fairly easy if you want to spend a couple of thousand. But keep in mind, that I had friends with equipment and resources. Biggest thing is finding someone who knows Final Cut Pro.
Everyone involved did it for free. I knew most of the actors already. In fact, you have to know somebody who also knows somebody, else the cost becomes an issue. Hope this helps.
Sending it now.
Robert Dorian won 1st place in this contest with "The Third Secret". Something strange. Robert Dorian doesn't really register on Google or anywhere else. There was a movie with same name produced in early '60s.
Robert Dorian also comes out of nowhere. Would he really spend $100 on a first -time contest?
Shaking my head. This just doesn't ring right. And 100Screenplays hasn't announced to Moviebytes of its winners as all the other contests do.
Maybe I'm being paranoid, but I'd really like to know who this Robert Dorian is and why his award-winning script is no where else to be found. If anyone knows something, please inform me. The third-placer is well-known on Movie bytes as she has a listing.
I'm just trying to keep things honest.
Hope evrything is alright. Congrats back to you.
Made contact with robert. Hasnt received anything yet.
I'm with you. I really don't know anything bout shorts or what to do with them. I know I took liberties with mine b/c I knew I was going to be directing, so I might have been too descriptive and too a lot of other things. (It's good to be the king.)
As far as uploading, I don't know how. And I'm really not looking for feedback. I did it as an exercise and a learning experience.
As for a 3-minute trailer, I wouldn't know where to begin. Plus it's gotta be expensive. I'm spending almost a thousand doing a poster w/tagline.
I got a nice certificate, if that counts.
I'm convinced most of these contests don't do much for you, except to let you know how your script stacks up. In your case, aren't you suppose to get money? Hope you at least got that.
Let us know.
I love the smell of "scintillating" in the morning. It smells like... victory.
You're too generous, Maryanne. Honestly, I did it as an experiment. My favorite thing about the entire project was that I personally chose the soundtrack. Years of studying classical music finally paid off. I think.
Only $150! I calculate that ScriptVamp pulled in over $50K. There are seven categories, with cash prizes going only to first and second placers. That amounts to a total of 14 payouts. At 1k to grand winner and $300 to second, that would still come out to under 10k. Boy, someone made out like a bandit.
And I paid almost $150 myself with late submission and re-submission. And that was only in one category.
I hope someone hears something from anyone -- even a fake producer. Lie to me, please.
Oh, my calculations are based upon their informing me that they received about 780 submissions. But even at 750 submissions, my numbers still add up.
Live and learn. For my next script, I'm sticking w/the top 10. Haven't decided which contest belongs in the 8th, 9th, or 10th spot, but I know which will be the top 7.
Still, even if only 50 scripts entered the sic-fi category, that should amount to 3k or more. I'd think 10% to 1st place would be reasonable. And something always nagged me about offering a percentage but not disclosing the exact percentage. I think it's better to offer a flat prize. Better to know exactly what you're getting up front.
So far, Fresh Voices has been the best with prizes. They dished it out before even the grand prize winner was announced. And they had about a thousand submissions.
Good luck to everyone who entered Scriptapalooza and Nicholl's. Scripta will announce this Friday, I believe. And Nicholl announces on the 1st.
Chin up, Robert. Ya' never know. Just make sure you don't get chin nuts.
Damn, Dude, why aren't you reading for these contests? Maybe then some of us would get somewhere.
Wow, I saw that yesterday. Congrats. Impressive.
whar r we? chopped liver? maybe we'd like a copy.
i'd luv to respond when i get home.
I'd prefer Beaujolais nouveau and chopped liver to fava beans and chianti. Why? The Beaujolais tempers the gizzard-tasting tanginess of an organ designed for toxic filtration. But what is up with fava beans? Who drinks chianti with just beans? And since Hannibal is a serial killer/cannibal, wouldn't he prefer a body part with his chianti? I always thought that line was pretentious and meaningless within context of Hannibal's character.
Then again, you're speaking to a man who drinks 40s on a street corner with his boyz. (After copping a 20 in the park, of course.)
Writer's store wanted to offer a webinar on high-concept scripts and how to sell them by a writer who has never been produced or sold a screenplay. Told them their credibility with me plummeted. What the hell is this world coming to?
Here's my top ten contests based on reputation, personal knowledge and, of course, the general consensus of Byters.
1) Nicholl (obvious) 2) Page (obvious) 3) Big Break (gets results for winners) 4) Austen (obvious) 5) Sundance (the name alone) 6) Scriptapalooza (helps semis and above for year) 7) Disney/ABC (I question this because of limited subject matter, but it's Disney) 8) Slamdance (reputation and consensus) 9) American Zoetrope (name recognition and real industry exposure) 10) Fresh Voices (fastest delivery on the planet)
Why I would not enter these:
1) Bluecat -- has an agenda that doesn't seem to favor high-concept and commercial. 2) TrackingB -- Top three gets something, next five gets recognition and you're going up against professionals. This contest does not discriminate. 3) Scriptpipeline -- like Big Break, they only post finalists. Nothing for your money if you would have landed in the semis as they have no semis or quarters. But Big Break has a track record of produced winners. 4) Screenplay Festival -- Not impressed with their distribution of awards, nor of their ability to get winners produced, sold, or optioned.
This is just the opinion of one man who has spent two thousand dollars on contests in less than a year with one script.
Here's the alternate list.
1) WeTakeYourMoneyAndYourDignigty contest. Not only will they give you no feedback, but they state in their rules that you already suck.
2) GrowAPairOfBalls contest. But since we all know how sensitive balls are, this contest tells you to grow a va-jay-jay. Now that can take a pounding.
3) NoLessThan10LateDeadlines contest. We love to milk -- you and your piggy.
4) JustGiveUsYourMoneyAndShutTheFuckUp contest. Need I say more?
5) 1MillionScriptsWritten300ScriptsSoldAYear -- YesYouHaveAChance contest. And they only charge you half your soul.
StoryPros definitely belongs in 10th or 11th spot. Or, I'd take StoryPros over Disney for the reason that most people don't write Disney movies, thus better odds with StoryPros. But obviously winning Disney is light years above most.
I stand corrected. Wow, I had plum forgot about the "liver" part. And what are the odds we're talking about "chopped Liver."
Boy, life is strange... Like sands in the hour glass, so are the days of our lives.
Yeah, already got kicked off the corner. But at least I got to finish the Crazy Horse.
I second Julia about Marjory. She got the motts.
No on stone unturned. But make sure your posting your best possible version. Otherwise, good luck with the Inktip posting and the filming.
Let us sit upon the ground and tell sad stories about the death of kings...
They call you heartless, but you have a heart. And I love you for being ashamed to show it. You are ashamed of your flood, while others are ashamed of their ebb. (Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra)
If you have no embarrassment about your writing, you have not written anything worth reading.
The logic of divorce. Yes! Divorce yourself from the self-proclaimed Demi-god of script-review. ScriptShadow, Carson Reeves, has neither the credentials, nor the talent to review every script in every category.
A new website should go up reviewing only contest-winning script. At lease these winning scripts have been filtered. And only those scripts that made it to Semis or above should be reviewed. There are thousands to choose from.
As MovieByters are the next negenaration of writers, wouldn't their scripts be more representative of cutting edge than some joe-blow who wrote his first spec from a book he found from a library dumpster?
And rather than one, there should be three reviewers -- to get the most accurrate take, Then based upon endorsement of writers for writers, get Hollywood to notice -- even if we have to threaten them with an un-lubed dildo. (Maybe we should cut that last part out?)
It's one man's opinion. Many of the scripts he likes has not been universally praised by those who count. Furthermore, for all of his wisdom, why hasn't he written or gotten produced? Anyone can start a website and critique/trash others works.
He has no credentials to back up his exorbitant fees of $600+ per review. There are oscar winners who don't charge that much. And it's not like he's giving you anymore for the ridiculous amount of $600+.
Out of the thousands that Carson has reviewed one -- and one only -- script has gotten produced. Hell, I have a better odds of winning Roulette placing my chips on one, single number. And that script was as much a result of the Writer's Store/Insustry Insider contest than it was due to Carson/ScriptShadow.
I refuse to allow a wannabe to dictate the quality of my script by posting to a bunch of aspiring, embittered writers who are just looking to trash writing to compensate for their own crappy scripts. Rather than hang on the words of one writer, why don't his followers try to gain their own recognition by entering their own scripts in Nicholl or Page? Or maybe they have and bombed,
Furthermore, it seems Carson is less concerned with finding the diamond in the ruff that perpetuating his own fantasy, fueled by the droves of wanna-bees, like herds of enchanted zombies floating to Carson's flute.
His major sales pitch is to get your $600+ and he'll offer access to so many producers and players in the industry that your $600+ will be well-spent. If that is the case, why hasn't Carson/ScriptShadow gotten his own work produced?
I'll stick to MovieBytes where at least I know I'm dealing with real, struggling writers who have something to show for their sweat.
Lastly, anyone who says "I am the best at what I do" is full of shit. That means, Carson thinks he's better than Pilar Allesandra (ch. spelling)?
One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow, else one chatters and quarrels. (Niezsche)
I agree. I had a bad experience w/a very well-known consultant on par with Pilar and I thought the feedback was mostly crap. Some of it was on point, the rest on drugs. But because so many rely upon this consultants "recommend" and that's all they have to their credit, I'll not be the one to take anything away from them. Funny thing is that an even more well-known consultant gave me a "recommend" that was trashed by the other consultant. If there is rhyme or reason anywhere in this business, please someone play me its tune. For once, I'd like to wake up with the sunrising in the East.
I agree with you that the comments in comments section are more enlightening than Carson's reviews in general.
1) Carson reviews scripts that some of the pros would not want to have their scripts in such an open forum, especially as many of those drafts are in the early stages. So what are you really reviewing? Someone's early "shit" or a willing writer looking for feedback.
2) What are Carson's credentials? I find may of his critiques to be predictable and vapid. I sometimes think he fabricates or embellishes emotional scenes where none exists or is poorly executed just to justify his "rules," his "GSU."
3) When a man won't publicly post his fees, then he's trying to maximize profits from all the suckers in the world. Sure, kid, I'm the best. Just give me a thousand and if I like you story, I have so many industry contacts. But just for you, 'cause I like you, kid, I'll drop it to $600.
4) For all his "pearls" of wisdom, I could have gotten better off public bathroom walls at a film festival. Nothing he says hasn't been said by Snyder, Scr(i)pt magazine, or even SD.
5) If he truly wanted to position himself as a manager or agent, maybe he should look at sources where he could find some hidden gems. I'm not impressed with anyone critiquing "black list" scripts. Why not critique contest winners and placers, those writers who don't have agents and produced credits.
6) Carson either safely reviews scripts that are in or headed to production or goes the opposite extreme of critiquing below amateur scripts.
7) I would never, ever hold myself out as a writer unless I'm willing to show you exactly what I have in my arsenal. So far, I've seen nothing from the self-proclaimed guru. Nada, zip, zilch.
8) Besides, I already told him he's a hack. Get an option under his belt, then presume to tell the world that "there is no one better at what he does."
Whoa, James, I don't speak tongues. I barely got through my ABCs. Or my 123s. But I am down wit' OPP, yeah you know me.
Whatever purpose ScriptShadow had has been lost. Even those on the blog complain about the direction it's gone. It's no longer about the script and learning, but more about Carson Reeves and his soap-opera life, such as the amount of time he spent trying to find a place to live in LA.
He has also assumed the attitude of one doing you a favor, rather than the droves of supporters who have put him on the map. From a personal conversation I had with him, he openly and explicitly informed me that "no one is better at what he does" and he only charges "$600" for 2-3 pages of notes. Wow, Mr. Carson, I feel so blessed. Hell, I wan't expecting anything more than some notes on cheep one-ply toilet paper, which I would have probably used to wipe my ass with as that's about how much his feedback would have been worth to me.
$600! Wow, not even produced, award-winning writers and consultants charge that much. He also explicitly stated how many industry contacts he has to pass along a script he likes, further sweetening the money he wants to grab out of your pocket.
He also intimated that he wants to be a Manager. I said, why not start with me. I'll give you ten pages and see what you think. He said, fantastic, Paul, just make sure to send $600 with those ten pages.
He's full of shit. Plus he takes down the scripts being reviewed so that only you have to rely on are his words/critiques and the words of his sheep.
Hey, I admit I still take a look at his website here and there, but don't think for a second he doesn't have an agenda. Now that he's moved to Hollywood, he will morph into the very thing he once proclaimed to shun. Besides, how difficult is it to read a script and comment on it? It's done every single day in droves by studios and prodcos. And they're better at it that Carson Reeves.
Again, where is Carson Reeves' IMDB credits? His 1st place wins? His posted scripts? It's time for a gestalt. A new paradigm is needed to fill the void of mediocrity by finding a better vehicle to allow great scripts to leave in the dust all the wannabes.
It's amazing that Marjory, with her short, hasn't had droves of people knocking on her door. Yet, a hack like Reeves can pull in 300k a year doing what?
I'm many things, but I'm not not to libel, especially when libel can so easily be verified. Here's a copy of an email from Carson Reeves/Script Shadow:
Carson Reeves email@example.com Apr 19
to me got it. Cool! So you do know your shit. That's so important in a script like this.
You should also consider notes. I'm expensive but I'm really good at what I do. Here are my rates - process...
3 pages of notes ($600) – I break down the 2-3 main issues with the script and offer solutions to those problems. I also take a look at the main characters, breaking down each and offering ideas on how to improve them. I finish with line-by-line notes for more specific scene and dialogue related problems. (total words ~2000)
5 pages of notes ($850) – I break down the 4-6 main issues with the script and offer solutions to those problems. I take a look at the main as well as the key supporting characters, and break them down, looking for ways to improve them. I finish with line-by-line notes tackling specific scene and dialogue related problems. The big difference with the 5 pager is that I have more room to offer creative ideas and solutions. This is the option you want if you *really* want me to dig in deep to every aspect of your script. (total words ~3300).
Turnaround time – Turnaround time runs about 7 days at the moment, give or take a couple of days.
Rush rates – 72 hr/$100, 48 hr/$250, 24 hr/$400.
Phone call – Phone consultations are $50/½ hr.
Payment – Payment is through credit card or Paypal.
Contacts – I have contacts at Warner Brothers, Silver Productions, ICM, WME, UTA, ATA, Verve, Benderspink, Anonymous, Kaplan/Perrone, Energy, Filmengine, The Gotham Group, as well as dozens of other mid-level and lower level producers and managers. If a consult script I read earns a “double worth the read,” I will push it to my lower and mid-level contacts. If it receives an “impressive,” I will push it to my higher level contacts. Also, anything "double worth the read" or higher, I give you the option to have it reviewed on the site. The average number of consulting scripts I pass up to people is about 7%.
I’m expensive but I’m also the best at what I do. I do it every day in front of the world! And if I like your stuff, I have plenty of people to send it to. At the very least, you get some awesome notes that will give you a better script and make you a better writer. I hope to read your script but even if I don’t, keep writing and keep fighting the good fight!
-- I (Paul) wasn't gong to respond further, but I have a need to back up my rants when someone challenges my veracity. So, James, you need not look for support from others when I give you proof from the horses mouth.
Whad'ya talkin' 'bout, Willis?
I am not his grammar coach. He don't even speak no good english.
That clarifies things. I was wondering what was up with those t-shirts. Sadly, people will wear them, probably thinking that by association others will think them writers.
My biggest gripe is the proliferation of "experts" and "gurus" who have nothing under their belt. But when Carson ScriptShadow Reeves charges more than Dr. Format or Pilar, I gotta wonder.
At least w/Dr. Format, he's written the "Bible" and other books, and he is a produced writer. Having said this, I've discovered you can get as good a feedback from $50 as you can from $500. I speak from experience. Never, ever again will I even dream of spending $500 on one friggin consultant. I don't care if the consultant is God Himself. (Well, I guess I can make one exception.)
Congrats, Marj. and Irin Evers (long lost soul in Vegas).
Yeah, I'm not doing well. First, my fish died, then my chest hairs started falling out, then I got nixed by Nicholl's. Man, at least let me get my shoes off before getting blasted. Then I find out the girl I was seeing wants to broaden our relationship... to include five other guys. Told her I'll be content to just watch.
Seriously, Nicholl wasn't supposed to post till tomorrow. Telling me I didn't advance the night before is like telling me I'm not only a step child, but I was also adopted -- in the Malibu!
You suck. You made me look at my P.S. Sure enough, it turned into a dagger to the heart. My script fell into the next 100 that would have made the cut. I really didn't need to know that. I was content with just eating chopped live and crostini.
Alas, I have so little to look forward to. Woe is me, to have seen what I have seen...
Good to hear from you, Irin, you long, lost other step-child. Btw, what's wrong with being a step-child? Without it, we would never have had "The Brady Bunch".
And congrats again to those who advanced.
P.S. U must be the greatest mom. Ur words of encouragement are like a mother's kiss to a wounded knee.
From experience, I gotta agree. But I find even many of the "Oscar" scripts to be so-so. I was not impressed by "The King's Speech". It got the Oscar from a lack of choice and the subject matter, which is a feel-good, underdog story that many find irresistible.
But from what I hear, the movie got made on the strength of Jeffrey Rush wanting to play the part.
On the other hand, reading some professional scripts can also hurt you because they take liberties that "amateurs" would be condemned for. Take Alan Loeb's "Last Living Boy In New York". (I think that's the title.) Much of his scene descriptions, beautiful as they are, would get some into trouble if they emulated his technique.
For example, "... And she wears this really sexy thing all the time... it's called an education." Great line. But I got condemned for writing, "... Allison Manfred, natural beauty, athletic... And most have to look up to talk to her, both physically and mentally." Go figure.
Congrats, Bobbette. Hope you go all the way.
Congrats. As you are too modest to flagrantly self-promote yourself, being the humble person that you are, let me do it for you. WOO-HOO. (Shame does not exist in my DNA.)
Though I have no problem with a bit of meiosis here and there.
Kick ass, woman!
If enough monkeys bang away at typewriters, one of them is bound to write Hamlet's "To be or not to be..." I've had so many chances to spell Margory, I was bound to get it right one of these days... Doh!
Oh, what I would give to flip another Page in the tome of that most splendid volume of contests. I would cleave the general ear with horrid speech, make mad the guilty, appall the free...
Anyway, what did shakespeare say to the bow-legged man? "Why dost thou have thy balls in parentheses?"
Goddam, where was I when everyone got invites to this party? If I promise to behave, will you let me know about the next one?
Congrats to all.
If you people haven't noticed, I've been getting my ass kicked. (What do you mean by you "people"?) I failed to qualify in both Scriptapalooza and Nicholl. I'm losing steam. Now all I have to look forward to are my poor starving cows, whose milk barely sustains my eighteen kids in nineteen countries.
So have mercy on this gentle soul whose only goal in life is to... change all water into wine while smoking a phatty.
Also got 4th in ScriptVamp. Agree with you about shooting craps. Guess I crapped out.
But these contests are just resume builders. I'm convinced you gotta take the fight to them. I'll know where I stand in little over a month when I attend the Pitch Summit. If I target those who are interested in my kind of script, and still cannot do anything with it, wow! what do I do then?
Good advice, Margie.
I've already written my new script. Just haven't had time to revise it. And I'm also outlining my next script. More, I'm updating an old script that, at the time, was almost optioned.
So I have plenty of mud to sling. Thanks.
How you gonna blow me up like that? I wanted to remain anonymous.
For the record, that picture was taken on the spur of the moment. And I had either just waked or baked or both.
Hell with it. Give me your worst. You're looking at a man who just busted up five dudes at the same time. Who cares if they were all wheelchair-bound.
Still sounds sexier than my last girlfriend.
What was your original image, that I was a honky from the hood?
Er, thanks. I think.
Fortunately, there's no correlation between screenwriting success and beauty.
Congrats, ya'll. Same people, different contest. One big happy family. As I didn't enter, I guess I'm the stepchild.
One can be silent and sit still only when one has bow and arrow, else one chatters and quarrels. Have no idea how this contributes to this thread, but you can't go wrong quoting Nietzsche.
A thousand nays + one yay = option or sale.
Congrats! Ditto per Julia.
Landa, I was especially rooting for ya'. Felt really bad you were getting snubbed, so this should make up for any doubts about your script (not that any of us doubted your talents).
"I used to be like Paul, "My SH$T don't stink!""
So was your focus on supporting ScriptShadow or drawing attention to yourself? If I admit I've spent $500 on feedback from a better and more qualified source than Carson Reeves, and still got no better than the $50 I spent on SD, how does my shit not stink? Why would I want to pay $600+ in such a case? Just admitting I have spent so much should indicate that I don't think my shit smells any different than someone with the temerity to charge upwards of $850+ without an IMDB credit or even an option.
My point was to draw attention to an individual who holds himself out to be the best at what he does, yet I've seen so many cracks and holes in his MO and in his reviews. Seems nowadays, Carson Reeves is more interested in self-promotion than critiquing scripts with elucidation. Again, I get more from his member reviews than from Carson's reviews. And why not post the very script he is reviewing? Why must one be a member. What happened to openness and transparency? Why doesn't Carson post his own writings? That would be most convincing that he knows what he's talking about.
If you want to see my writing -- and all its flaws -- go to StoryPros. It's right there for the world to see and pick apart. Then you tell me if I still think my shit don't stink. See, it's more about backing up your shit than complaining about how much it stinks. But what would you know, Ken? Other than seeing your fawning words and who and what you support, I don't see much substance otherwise.
Here's a hint, Ken. If you're going to support someone, do it discretely (spelling intended) without bringing negative attention to someone else. Sounds more authentic doing it this way.
Pun? Either I misinterpreted or you mis-delivered. Your inelegant use of "idiot" makes me wonder if my original interpretation wasn't accurate. To clarify, I didn't pay a cent for the $500 review. I received a grant, which had to be used imminently. I chose to use a consultant who I had been following for years in Script Magazine (when it still circulating). My devotion to this contributor of Script Mag. stemmed from his prodigious examples of the craft. I had a lot to go on and a $500 grant. Why not spend it on someone proven? He actually pointed out some crucial detail I and many others failed to discover. Idiot? If I had gained nothing and spent everything, then your vilifying me would be justified.
And if you had read more carefully, I acknowledged that I did indeed use SD. And I also pointed out that my $500 consultation gave me equivalent feedback as that of SD's $50 review. Hence, my aversion to using Script Shadow, an unproven writer and, at best, a questionable reviewer. But, really, how hard is it for any of us to review an amateur's work -- a newbie's first script -- and point out all its flaws? And reviewing BlackList scripts is equally appalling as these scripts have already proven themselves. So by reviewing them, and giving them a thumbs-down, only serves to alienate. But the temerity to judge those who have proven themselves when Mr. Shadow has not on a personal blog is tantamount to Bellerophon's hubris. While Script Shadow once stumbled upon a "neat" idea, the idea has sadly grown into an institution, i.e. the message has gotten lost. And now the institution dares to grow ivy on its tower when it is not even accredited. Only fools pay Shadows that have not shown themselves. I paid Dr. Format. At least I have solace in knowing that I gave good money to a proven winner.
As for posting my script on StoryPros, I did it despite trepidation and fear of ridicule for two reasons: 1) They asked; I felt obliged. 2) I have to put myself out there sometime. Now is as good as any. Subtext: If my skin is to callous, best to begin with my worst detractors. Then I'll truly be prepared for the ones whose opinions matter -- and hurt the most... producers, studio execs, the keygrip's grandmother, and so on.
Here's the type of response I've been getting from the likes of Gallagher (from T. Zinner (ch. spelling)):
--------------------------- afilmwriter firstname.lastname@example.org Jul 7
to me Hello
I actually reviewed this quicker than I thought - you are very skilled at dialogue - making it an easy read. However, it is a pass for me. Looking more for a real thriller, felt there was too much dialogue/court for me but congrats on a job well done!
Terri www.afilmwriter.com www.terrizinner.com -------------------
Lastly, to temper your Budda, allow me to quote Nietzshe: You should have eyes that always seek an enemy -- your enemy! And some of you will hate at first sight. Your enemy you shall seek, your war you shall wage -- for your thought. And if your thought be vanquished, your honesty should still find cause for triumph in that. (On War And Warriors)
I got a partial scholarship to Writer's Bootcamp. Even still, it's going to cost me over 4k more in the two years it takes to complete this program. Can anyone tell me if it's worth it? Anyone with personal experience of Writer's Bootcamp? Thanks.
Also, I'm getting frustrated with Final Draft, especially their customer support. I always have difficulty upgrading, downloading, or what have you. Right now I'm trying to update their program for Mac Mountain Lion and I can't do it without technical support per their instructions. Then I call them during business hours on Saturday and a computer tells me to call during regular office hours. So I wrote back and said, "Thank you for helping me to make up my mind as to whether to switch to Movie Magic Writer. At the least, they can't be worse than you."
Ok, so do people think Movie Magic Screenwriter is a better program than FD? Thanks again.
Thanks, good peeps. Now does anyone know the cheapest way I can get MM? More thanks.
Thanks. I think I can get it for $80 just for being an FD user (I think). Not too shabby. It'll cost me a night out for Sushi, but hey, priorities first. Just got to wait for response to see if it is fully compatible with Mountain Lion.
While you get your nut, I'm gonna bust one... right on your forehead. Just kiddin', dude.
Listen, bro, rather than quote Buddha, why don't you and I instead smoke one. Then we'll talk about who's kung fu is better.
Thanks. Checking into it.
Good stuff. My mind is made up. MM it is. Now what do I do with the FD I won from StoryPros?
Anyone need FD? After this thread, I might pay you to take it.
Good suggestion. But I'm not looking to profit. If any Byter needs (not wants) FD, it's yours. In exchange, you might offer to read two as-yet-to-be-completed scripts of mine. One revising, the other writing. Fair, right?
Felicitations! Feliz Navidad! Fie, foh, fum!
Bring it, beeeotch! Mastered the 36 chambers. Studied with Mr. Miyagi. Taught Panda all his kung fu. I even look macho tap dancing. Yeeeah, boyee.
Ok, maybe not the tap dancing. But I can do the Kung Fu Hustle.
Ken, you da man, da woman and da child. Hell, I might as well just call you family. Sending you my script. Tear that badboy apart. I'm hand-delivering you all the ammo you need to counter my Drunken Monkey. Just don't spank your monkey. At least not in public.
I admit it. I have no shame. Especially when it comes to self-promotion.
WHERE ARE ALL THE MOVIEBYTERS? Am I the only Byter who entered this most prestigious and awe-inspiring contest that is second only to Nirvana (not the band)?
I don't recognize any of the contestants. Barely recognized myself. And that's because I had forgotten who runs this contest. I just assumed they wouldn't give me any love.
Having said that, to all those speaking badly of Final Draft, and you people know who you are, shame on you. Final Draft has been the industry leader since its inception. And that distinction will remain... until I don't see my name in the Semis.
With your wishing, how can I not do well, mon amie? Thank you.
Thanks, Heather. Means a lot.
It's all in the luck of the draw. But thanks for acknowledgement.
LMAO, we'll see about the software. And if by magic I should win any of the big ones, my treat to really fancy restaurant like... Sizzlers.
Final Draft is the bomb.
When I spoke negatively about a certain software, I mistakenly said Final Draft, when -- ahem -- I really meant to say Movie Draft. You can see how one could easily get tripped up on names. So confusing.
So, yeah, don't use Movie Draft. Always use Final Draft because if James Cameron uses it, who are we to use any other software? And right now, you can get Final Draft for a whopping $100 if you entered Page contest.
So generous. Always looking out for the writer.
Final Draft -- the only draft you'll ever need. (I am a non-paid spokesperson and you heard it here first)
(This is a cut and paste from the site. Formatting compromised.)
CastorTroy16 One point on Carson's note service. I paid for Carson's notes a few times and they were always great. Great feedback and notes for future revision. The last time on the coverage, you had a fact about a character's job wrong and gave a note with a potential change in the next rewrite (obviously, it's impossible to incorporate lol)
It's a minor thing, yes. But it just made me think you were too busy to give the script it's full attention, which we're essentially paying for. I've debated coming back for another round of coverage for my new script, but with everything on your plate - is it worth it? Maybe I'm just being a little too skittish.
Like Reply 1 hour ago 1 Like JanePlain Doesn't he charge $600 - $750 for notes now? At that price, I'd expect him to pay attention instead of just saying that it's the writer's fault he's not paying attention to the details. Especially when he has all the time in the world to extoll the virtues of Gangnam Style and certain hamburgers.
Are you being a little skittish? Perhaps not.
-- Just read Avery's article on rewrites per Script email. Her first go-to guy for support was Carson Reeves of ScriptShadow. I knew then her credibility would plummet. Of the five subsequent viewer comments, two of them questioned her on Carson's "at least 10 revisions before showing anyone" philosophy. She obviously esteems Reeves over Hal Croasmun, who makes a living teaching the very thing she is writing about.
-- My point: If you're going to quote someone in an article, at least pick someone who has real accomplishments, such as Blake Snyder, William Martel, even Sancho Panza.
-- My contentiousness: I'm bored.
Would love to. But for some reason, I'd feel more comfortable writing one with a partner. Comedy is one of the hardest things to write. But I'm more suited to a "Clerks"-type comedy than a pure rom-com. That's not to say that I don't like rom-coms. Who can resist "Never Been Kissed" or "Pretty Woman"?
So if there is someone who has a good female character in mind, I'll write the male lead, you write the female lead... you got the looks, I got the brains; let's make lots of money.
Here's something interesting.
Page Awards Semis: 180 +/- 5 scripts (representing approx. 3 to 3.5% of total)
Big Break Quarters: 365 +/- 5 scripts (representing approx. 7.5% of total)
Only 5 Page Semis show up in Big Break Quarters: Drama, Drama, Family, Thriller, Mystery. Yet, all the genres and some sub-genres were represented rather equally.
So where did all these new scripts come from? Most were not on radar of the other contests. What do you make of this?
And one of the Big Break scripts should not be in the contest at all as it has already been optioned, hence automatic disqualification per rules. Should I email Big Break or just let it slide? I don't like to blow anyone up, but the rules are the rules. Love to hear feedback on all of this.
1. Some people are very selective and waited to enter Big Break and not the others.
2. Some people were not ready with their scripts for the other contests.
3. Each contest really has its own flavor. And if you don't match their taste, oh well.
4. Beauty really is in the eye of the beholder, with a wide varying body of readers who each have unique tastes, which leads me to believe if you can get 5 out of 10 to like your script, you're doing pretty well.
5. Only a handful actually hit the radar of all of the majors, thus these scripts should be picked up rather quickly.
6. Why not make a "Scroggins" report for contest-winning script? Seems Moviebytes could be doing more to promote us or are they already doing this and I just didn't notice? I guess there is the top 10. But a year-to-year listing would add another dimension.
I decided I am going to inform Big Break. This writer in all likelihood prevented an undiscovered writer from advancing. And the script I'm talking about can so easily be verified as having been optioned per Google. Really selfish.
Used the best algorithm on the market. And it's real cheap, though prone to crash here and there -- it's called Paul's brain.
Pros do enter. And they are parasites for doing so. They've been discovered already, many with representation. By entering, they are feeding on those who may be on the cusp or should be discovered.
Actually, Big Break is second only to Nicholl if you go by number of entries and prizes. Big Break gives out $21,000 to three winners. And they choose the genre that best suits your script. That means there are no mistakes to be made by writer as far as which category to enter. The number of submissions this year are equivalent to the big ones except NIcholl. Somewhere around 5,000 entries.
As far as Final Draft users having an advantage, wouldn't be shocked by such a discovery. At the same time, we also have to play the game. If you're going to enter this contest, use or buy Final Draft -- just in case. Considering the stakes, the investment is worth it.
I'v never used any program other than Final Draft. At least for a month, I have no intention of changing this fact.
Final Draft -- the only draft you'll ever need.
Kiss my black ass.
Beckwourth (Western) by James Watts [Big Break Quarters]
James K. Watts' 2008 Script Pipeline Finalist screenplay "Beckwourth" is currently under option. [per Google]
[July 25, 2012 per "The Grid (ItsOnTheGrid.com (I think))] [per Google] The Silver Bitela Agency‘s Barbara Bitela is out with Beckwourth, a new drama spec by James K. M. Watts. The script tells the true story of Jim Beckwourth, the Black mountain man becomes a powerful war chief and is forced to betray the Crow Indians he lives and fights with in order to save the woman warrior he once loved.
"Optioned screenplays are not eligible." (Rule #8 per Big Break Rules) -- One could interpret this to mean that only those scripts "currently" under option, rather than optioned scripts that have lapsed. If such is the case, "optioned" should be preceded by an adverb. The fact that it is in adjectival form indicates to me that this would preclude "any" script that has been optioned. If one were to interpret this as any "current" script under option, then it should read "Currently" or "Current" optioned script.
Also, the script in issue is currently being shopped by an Agency, which is to say, it is in play. Why not exclude this script as it has already achieved a level that most of us are trying to attain? I'd take representation and a script "in play" than anything Big Break can offer, as that is the end result of a contest -- to get your script out there in the marketplace.
This writer, James Watts, also has another script in the Big Break Quarters. I'm wondering if he shouldn't be disqualified altogether. Or is that what your suggesting, Robert? If so, I agree.
Whoa, let's tone down the hating. My point was to expose the egregious trend of amateurs charging exorbitant fees. In other words, don't get suckered into thinking the more money you pay, the better the feedback. Quite frankly, I think I'm very good at exposing a script's flaws. Just not my own. So I have never charged more than $100. And only because I don't like reviewing scripts and this girl kept bugging me. (Turned out she was doing this to get a date with me. I had to tell her I don't date grandmothers. (Gotta have standards, you know.))
Objectively, Carson has done well for himself. He's created a nice little niche. To that extent, bravo. Now back up your shit by posting your own script. A how-to book just doesn't cut it for me. But I don't hate the guy. In fact, I'm probably secretly envious. But I'd never admit something like that in public.
Don't be a hypocrite. You've been posting for over seven years. And in that time, you've left a long trail of vitriol and sleuthing yourself. Observe:
--------------- Author: Michael Raymond Posted: 10/06/08 11:16 AM Not sure how this will display . . . and I rounded up numbers to elmiminate clutter.
GENRE QF HM QF% HM% OVERALL%
Drama 15 9 30% 39% 33% Comedy 10 4 20% 17% 19% Action 4 1 8% 4% 7% Adv 4 1 8% 4% 7% Family 4 1 8% 4% 7% Sci-Fi 4 1 8% 4% 7% Thriller 3 2 6% 9% 7% Fantasy 2 1 4% 4% 4% Anim 1 1 2% 4% 3% Horror 1 1 2% 4% 3% War 1 1 2% 4% 3% Western 1 0 2% 0% 1% Topic: Creative World Awards Announcement
Author: Michael Raymond Posted: 10/06/08 11:17 AM Now I understand your problem.
GENRE QF HM QF% HM% OVERALL%
Drama 15 9 30% 39% 33% Comedy 10 4 20% 17% 19% Action 4 1 8% 4% 7% Adv 4 1 8% 4% 7% Family 4 1 8% 4% 7% Sci-Fi 4 1 8% 4% 7% Thriller 3 2 6% 9% 7% Fantasy 2 1 4% 4% 4% Anim 1 1 2% 4% 3% Horror 1 1 2% 4% 3% War 1 1 2% 4% 3% Western 1 0 2% 0% 1% ---------------------
Seems you have as much time as anyone else to waste. As for keeping it classy... where did you ever get the idea that I was classy? Perhaps you need to tweak your humor-meter. This is all in fun, my man.
So if you get on a horse, don't ever think it's higher than my mine. Not in light of your all your analyses of contests.
Incidentally, small world, I too won HSI so many eons ago and I too was represented by Earl Blakesly. Even more coincidental, Neal Stevens wanted to option my script "Bishop's Gambit". I even worked with his development guy, revising what I and many thought was a damn good script. Then nothing. I took a rest; a long, long rest, then zombied back to screenwriting.
Still questioning my decision. I had forgotten what a BS industry this is. Out of respect for your many helpful contributions over the years, know that I never meant harm. I mean, you should know by now I'll say anything for a laugh -- even at my own expense.
You have a short memory or you're just too lazy to look at your own posts, which span a seven-year period. So it seems you have had more time than anyone. Anyway, if you don't recognize your own writing, as I have cut and pasted it, then it's no wonder "you don't get it."
You are the one who directed people to Earl Blakesly (manager per Hollywood Scriptwriting Institute) years ago (in prior post) and Neal Stevens, whom you mentioned in also in prior posts. I have had dealing in past with both. That is the reference to "small world."
And is this not a site for "screenwriting contests"? If so, it seems everything I've said is relevant, especially to those who want to invest in these contests. So get off your horse. And by all means do us a favor and not visit this one if you can't contribute anything other than a snide comment about how some of us have too much time on our hands.
Btw, I have no problem playing the "bad guy." I thrive on it. So if you want to paint a target on me, bring it.
How did we degenerate to this point? I apologize for my crass and crude comment about the color of my arse. I'd like to think, at heart, we both have similar objectives, both as writers and as artists.
Looked at your resume online. Very, very impressive indeed. How can a man, woman... or child not respect your accomplishments. I'd be honored to shake your hand as a person of achievement and as an estimable writer.
About the pissing, did you know people in England, late 19th century, washed their mouths out with morning urine to whiten them? Really, the ammonia whitened the teeth. But it also killed the enamel. Smh.
You should love peace as a means to new wars, And the short peace more than the long. To you, I do not recommend work but struggle. To you, I do not recommend peace but victory. Let your work be a struggle. Let your peace be a victory.
(Yo, dawgs, ya'll should know by now who I'm quoting.)
How can I disagree with profundity?
Just curious. Where are all the ladies... the ones I grew up with in the eighties? Seriously, though, this is starting to have that distinct quality, a rather queasy distinct quality, of a sausage factory.
No discussion is quite as euphonic as when a lady chimes in with her thoughts. We lend you our ears.
I said rip it apart, not give me notes. Who do you think you are? Carson? (Pssst, I'll read it anyway... because I just can't turn away from a car collision. Just promise me you'll make it painful.)
Nothing like a woman to keep us focused. Wow, hadn't realized how far we've strayed. You da' woman, Margie. Great input. Why didn't I think of that?
Philly, Phil, always looking out for da writers. Good look.
Clowns frighten me.
Only 4 characters! Just joshin.
Can you give more detail? Is it a feature? Genre?
I don't think there's any fast and hard rules. Depends on what you're trying to accomplish. I would tend to think the story will determine your answer. If action, definitely shorter time spent on character. If, drama, then spend more time. I generally like good pacing. To move the story along as rapidly as possible, I like jumping from scene-to-scene. If, however, each character is doing something really interesting or fascinating, then I might spend equal time introducing them (allowing for 10-minute intros). But I'm thinking that the audience/reader wants to know what the story is about. Knowing that there are going to be multiple characters, I'd rather have a hint of the players. Creates more anticipation -- the anticipation of conflict.
Without more, I'm just shooting in the dark. Hope this helps.
Drama = Conflict. (axiomatic)
Then what is conflict? Many seem to be confused or have a vague idea.
Here's my take: Conflict, for our purposes, occurs in three basic situations.
1) When a character wants something and isn't getting it. 2) When a character wants someone else to do something and that person won't, refuses, or doesn't. 3) When two or more people want the same thing and there can only be one possessor.
Anger = Not getting what you want. Anger = Someone isn't doing what you want or fails to do what you expect them do to.
Disappointment only occurs when there is an expectation. In the absence of expectation, there can be no disappointment.
What is theme: Opposite of flaw. 1) If the flaw is greed, then the theme is generosity. (Christmas Carol) 2) If the theme is finding love, then flaw is inability to give, receive, or find love. 3) Theme is the end result of story, though it pervades story.
A character's affect or persona (the personality he projects to the world) is generally opposite of his flaw or need. 1) Arrogance usually implies insecurity. 2) Entitlement (a feeling that one deserves something, usually unjustifiably) implies deprivation. (intro to Richard III)
Ex: If I feel entitled to the good things in life, it's usually because I don't have it. Ex: If I feel people should respect me, it's usually because no one does or I perceive that I am not getting respect.
Freud's Standard Structural Model on human behavior and motives: WE SEEK PLEASURE AND AVOID PAIN. (primal per Blake Sndyder; it's that simple) -- Don't be disagreeable about this; it works at the basic level.
Fairbairn (ch. spelling): Why we seek pain per Object Relations Theory. -- A an abused child will often seek parents' pain not for the pain but to "relate" to the parent. -- An abused child does not seek pain as an end unto itself. A child seeks pain as a means to connect with the object, which is the parent. If the only way to do so is by suffering pain, then pain is the means by which child seeks its pleasure -- the basic human need for human contact and companionship. -- Also applies to an abused spouse.
So there. Just to demonstrate that I can offer something other than a hand between my crotch while bopping my way to the bodega to get myself a 40. Yeah, boyee.
At the rate you're going, you should become an agent or manager.
Wow, you don't ask for much. Outlining is 75% of your story. The actual writing is the easy part if you outline well.
The quick: Know your log line from the start.
(not quite in this order, but mostly) 1) What is your ending? If you don't know your ending, be a novelist. 2) What is at stake for your Main Character and Antagonist? 3) What is at risk and what are the consequences of failure? 4) Pick Genre. And stick to basic rules of that genre. 5) What is your character's flaw? Then find the theme per above. 6) The flaw is what prevents character from changing/transforming. 7) Map out structure: Act I, Incit. Incid., Plot pt. I (new direction for story), Midpoint (add another dimension, take it in an even new direction), Plot Pt. II, crisis (dilemma), climax, resolution. 8) Know all the beats of your story. 9) Write out a master scene w/sluglines. 10) Create a character arc and an emotional arc for all your major characters. 11) Subplots -- must feed the main story. If the main story can exist without a subplot or a character, off with their heads. 12) Is the goal worth the risk? Is the goal a real one? And make sure you have the right character for the right genre.
This is like the bare-bones, no-frills, clearance-sale advice. Ratio: 5 months of outlining, one month of writing. 4 months of revising. 1 month of editing. 1 month of feedback. The better ones can do it in half the time.
My well is muddy, hence its appearance of "deep."
Something I observed. And I address this to the more experienced writers.
I can generally tell when I'm getting feedback from an amateur vs. a pro. How?
1) Pros concentrate on structure, beats, character arc, dialogue, etc. 2) Amateurs concentrate on description. They are still weaning on textbook 101 stead-fast rules.
EXT. BETHLEHEM STATE PARK - PARKING LOT - DAY
Late spring. Pristine mountain air. Cleansing, life-affirming. Birds chirp, PEOPLE rejoice with festivity and...
Someone had a problem with "cleansing, life-affirming," claiming this can't be seen, thus it should not be written. Forget that I was attempting to establish a tone/mood for the intro that would arise again and again throughout my script.
To punch this home, every professional feedback I got on my "People V. God" script never harked on my character descriptions, unless it contradicted or interrupted flow.
From Dr. Format: I love your character introductions. Right from the beginning, the reader gets a sense of who your characters are.
From Ken (Carson's buddy): You are telling us stuff about the character that maybe should be 'shown' or 'told', more SHOW than TELL, but you get my drift? Although the descriptions are clever and witty, they somehow detract from the reading.
And this has been the problem. Even Barb Doyan didn't say anything about my character intros. Neither did any of the major contest reviews.
And neither did two producers and one manager.
Someone, please -- like Irin or SD or Margie -- enlighten me. Because I'm ready to pull the hair out of my chest in frustration. (Oh, I forgot, I'm Asian, I don't have hair on my chest. But I got it where it counts... under my arms.)
So what am I to make of this?
Fortunately I haven't gotten penalized from those who matter. Only from those who wish to matter.
Nothing like validation! Thank you, Margie. Now I have a better sense of which way my air bubbles are rising, so muddy and dark is the ocean of screenwriting.
I think you're less concerned with learning and elevating your writing than you are with clearing your throat in the hope of an applause.
The entire "Cuban-in-mouth" grin applies to a ruthless District Attorney who has spent the entire story doing everything he can to destroy an equally ruthless and arrogant Archbishop. The DA finally gets his chance in court to deliver the coup-de-grace -- and do so in gruesome fashion, knowing that destroying the Archbishop in a public arena will not only neutralize the Archbishop's political influence but virtually insure the DA's re-election.
Thus, having an arrogant, ruthless political beast up for re-election, standing over his arch nemesis, is a cause for celebration. Why not a "Cuban-in-mouth" grin? If this metaphor is too much for you to comprehend, if it seems distracting and pretentious, then enjoy your seat in the bleachers. Because the closest you'll ever get to playing in the game is if the ball accidentally falls into your lap. Even then, at best, you have a souvenir, not a contract.
I find it laughable how much pleasure you took in getting Carson to review a script you had recommended to him. Is that your fifteen minutes? Wow, such ambitions.
The following is from Alan Loeb (Ken, try not to have a heart attack):
wears a double-dyed pink wife-beater that stops just short of her bumper-sticker... the Chinese symbol of balance. She owns a temple of a body built of feminine mega-morph and displays a small diamond stud in her nose.
All of Mimi's attempts to hide her beauty fail miserably.
-- Alan Loeb has earned his right to write like this. But keep in mind, when he wrote "The Last Living Boy In New York", it was a spec, not a paid assignment. This is the spec that got Alan a writing assignment.
And, Ken, you cannot be Asian.
"I think Paul and I just aren't seeing eye to eye at all....he's prolly shorter than me, being Asian and all...."
Nigga, please. At 6'1", 180 lbs., I'm usually the one staring down. If we should view this metaphorically, I'd need a microscope to come down to your level.
Most the of the feedback were on character development. My characters came off too unsympathetic. (Any comments, you're getting decked.) I have since revised. Which shows per better contest placements.
Hence, my voracious appetite to study character. Hence, the desire to write this thread. Begone, thief. You rob us.
My mother's mother's mother was black. So shtep off, punk. And if you say anything about my rice-dick, know this. It's brown rice... and it's long grain. So don't make me hafta show you who your Uncle Ben is.
How's this for damage control.
"Dear Mr. Undari – Congratulations on being a quarter-finalist! You are correct, optioned screenplays are not eligible. It is possible that the option expired and the writer got representation, not an option, but we will contact him for verification and remove the script if it is indeed optioned. Thank you for the information. Best, The Final Draft, Inc. Big Break Team From: Paul Undari [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Thursday, August 23, 2012 11:25 AM To: Kendall Spencer Subject: Re: PDF Title
Paul Undari 5:06 PM (0 minutes ago)
to Kendall Thank you for addressing my concern. I am confident you will investigate the matter and find a judicious solution.
Final Draft -- The only draft you'll ever need."
Sheeeiiit, my brutha, I knew you was gonna go there. I had to cut you off before I let you tag me first. LMFAO!
And the competition is only going to get harder, alas.
If ever there was an underdog, it is you. When I make it big, I'm gonna stipulate that my agent has to sign you with me. As God is my witness.
As I peel back my banana... Wow, Julie, tell us what you really think! And whatever you're stuffing in their pipes, can I have some?
Oldboy... sick effin' movie. Spike Lee is directing a remake. Mark Protocevich (The Cell, Thor, I Am Legend) already wrote the script. Met Mark P. Great guy. Saw every flaw in an early draft I gave him of a script. Wish I had held off. Just goes to show you, when an opportunity arises, don't squander it.
Good call, Julie. Good eye. Would love it if you emailed me a copy.
Didn't see your post. Lol.
Your personality is intoxicating. I get a scent of Southern-bell. Sorry, but after this, my banana will take on an entirely new dimension.
Seriously, you've peeked my curiosity. Can you email me a copy of the script? Entropolis3@gmail.com.
What a gal.
Damn, just rattle us, then leave us dry. Thanks for the link. I like your take on things. Rings just right enough to sound real.
Damn, James, wish I could back ya' up. But I just can't resist pussycat cologne. Or is it perfume? Oh, man, it's a jungle sometimes... makes me wonder how I keep from goin' unda.
I have no shame in admitting when I'm wrong... but I never am. That is, I'm never ashamed.
Damn good script. Haven't finished. It's like a grotesques multi-car disaster with bodies and parts punching out of cob-webbed windshields. So grotesque... but I can't turn away. Messed up how mesmerized we are to the macabre brutality of humanity.
I'm ashamed to be human. Oh, I forgot, I'm never ashamed. So pretend you don't notice the tear I wipe away.
Got a phone call. But it wasn't from Austin. It was from Houston. And they said they have a problem. They don't like East Coast folks. I haven't heard anything either. If anyone does get a phone call... make sure it's not a prank. How cruel would that be? Good luck. At this late stage, we'll need it.
Finished this last night. I just can't believe this made the top of the Black List, let alone got the green-light.
Great setup. Awesome. And I didn't really care about the oddity of the prose. Seemed to flow with the genre.
Here's the problem. I'll mention two. (Spoilers)
First, the very thing that sets it up is its greatest weakness. Where was the payoff? I read this entire thing waiting for the payoff. If you introduce a handshake with the devil, then you it better end with the devil. Sadly, this story did not. One of the bad guys, preferably Billy, should have gotten eaten. Then the rapist should have gotten eaten alive.
Second, the hero gets introduced so late in the first act, it took me into the second act to figure out he's the hero. And his intro should have been more active, like arresting/killing some bad dudes. By the time I figured out who to root for, the writer's emotional capital was nearly in the red.
Three, the ending! Didn't do it for me. After all this exposition, heavy description, and enormous setups of characters, it felt trite. I've seen this ending way too many times. I felt cheated. The story should have ended with the very same people who helped start it - the cannibal Indian Tribe.
Fourth, if the Indians were behind the crucial midpoint climax, then the Indians should have sought and unleashed their dogs of war. Mercy, that would have injected a whole new level of biting nails. Then the climax would have given me a cardiac.
As I shift my eyes back and forth... (whispered tone) Fiiive, what's up with the impotence reference? If you're going to offer a reason for human motivation to do evil, don't use such a cliched device as impotency. Evil really needs no reason other than the act itself. Thus the act is the raison d'etre. The character, Billy, is largely shielded from the one-dimensional label by the fact of attracting such a "beautiful" wife. How, I have no idea, since this character is sociopathy incarnate.
As I cross my arms in triumph... Six, unsatisfied with the "Doctor" character. The rapist should have gotten raped. Instead he got merely savaged, tortured, blah, blah, blah. Then the character suddenly falls off the face of the earth. Not even a hint of his demise, end or triumph. It's as if his entire character was created for convenience to allow the Sheriff to find a way to the bad guys.
Lastly, the confrontations in the end were questionable. I didn't feel that the hero directly faced off with the antagonist. He did, technically, but the ignition for most of his outrage was against the rapist. So now you have two people who you want to see kill the rapist. But the one you most want to see kill the rapist doesn't. Thus, I felt cheated. In which case, take the wife's rape scene out of the story as we've already seen what this demon is capable of in the beginning. The symbolic rape of the town is enough to get us to root for the Sheriff to face off with Billy. Then that leaves the Doctor with the rapist. And now our emotions are properly wired. But the doozy would have been for the confrontation to occur in Indian country. Then have the Indians surround everyone. And now Billy and the rapist truly have reason to fear. Not only does making a pact with the devil, so to speak, resonate more but it also means their deeds live on long after them as now they will forever be consumed by the Indians whom they betrayed, generation after generation. Symbolically, it would also represent an eating of souls.
What I learned: So the showdown with another Sheriff and his gang deflected the very identity of this story and liquidated it altogether. The wrong confrontation played out. If I said it once, I'll say it again. People, don't avoid the worse case scenario -- embrace it. Don't ever lose sight of what you have setup and the anticipation you have instilled in the audience. Always give it to them. Just not in the way they expect.
There's my ScriptNaked review. See, anyone can do this.
Aw, Julie, I still love ya'. And I liked the script a lot. I just thought the writer could have ripped this wide open with a payoff that was necessitated by the intro. The catharsis for me would have been to see the evil that men do come back to haunt them -- in the worse way possible.
Here it is. This is how it should have played out. When the Sheriff and the Doctor pursue Billy and his gang through Indian country, they should have gotten ambushed by the original Indian tribe. Sheriff and Doc are going to get slaughtered by the Indians because they want blood for being betrayed by Billy and his gang.
Sheriff and Doc are stripped. Then the miniature replica of Billy falls out. The Chief recognizes Billy and wants to know where he is. It is then that Sheriff and Doc explain that they are pursuing the very demons who betrayed them. Then have the Sheriff make a pact with the Chief. He'll bring Billy and his gang to them if he let's them go. The Chief tells them if they betray him, he'll eat the entire town of Rattleborge.
Billy and his gang escape the Sheriff and Doc's trap due to the wife and kids. But that plays into the Sheriff's plan as Billy and gang are fleeing into the very territory they do not want to be caught in. Then have Billy and his gang ambush Sheriff and Doc. This is the true crisis moment. When it seems that Billy is going to win, he looks up and sees the entire tribe he betrayed surrounding him. And now he will know fear like no one has before.
Out of sheer desperation, Billy and rapist make one last move, but it fails. Sheriff picks up his Colt and wounds Billy. Doc plunges his knife into rapist's crotch. Then have the Chief order Sheriff and Doc to leave. As they do, the entire tribe unleash their hatred upon Billy and rapist.
As Sheriff and Doc ride off into sunset, they hear the ungodly scream of savages ravaging savages.
Ok, so I'm hoping the team who produces this sees this and hires me to do the rewrite. Yeah, right.
Thank, Bob. If someone's willing to pay me $800, I'll give you half. Right now, I'd be lucky to $18 for a review.
Good question. Are they even still calling people for semis? Or is it that if you haven't received one by now, it's done?
Jojo was a man who thought he was a loner/
But he knew it wouldn't last./
Jojo left his home in Tucson, Arizona/
For some California grass./
Get back, get back,/ To where you once belonged./
You need help.
Didn't you say you had a boyfriend?
Michael and Heather, any relation? Just kidding. Thanks for the link, Heather.
Here's one that indirectly, very indirectly, applies to this thread. Either way, it rather opens up eyes and repeats many of the caveats shouted on this website. Also, wouldn't be surprised if someone has already posted this link.
I've got contest fatigue. I'm going to be super-duper selective about which contests I enter for all future scripts.
Yes, LASD did warn of this and I acknowledged that people had spoken of this.
Just lends a poignancy when a screenwriter speaks from personal experience. Rather disheartening. Also validates AFF, though I'm still waiting (futilely) for news of my progress and for them to release news of those who advanced.
Is it me or could AFF have saved a lot of trees and used the postage either to jack up the prize money or offer money to second placers? What's wrong with email? And there's an implicit cruelty in snailmail, as if we haven't waited long enough... as I blow my bangs away from my eyes.
That is disheartening. My estimation of this contest has diminished considerably. It's a crapshoot. At the least, I would hope everyone would have an equal chance of at least getting two real reads. With such a strong conflict of interest, I've lost my interest. Bad enough to have to cross fingers, but then to have do it with your other hand in the hopes of getting a fair shake reduces this contest to joke status.
Although there are many who would swear by this contest, it's obviously grown too big for Austin to administrate with magnanimity. Even if I get a letter, which I will, telling me I advanced to the second round, I would look upon it as no more useful than toilet paper.
Do they think snailmail somehow dignifies them? Seems to be a parasitic weeding out process they have instituted.
I'm come to the conclusion for the most part these contests don't work. Best to save up and attend pitch fests. Go one-on-one with the industry and let the talking begin. Ten business cards have to have more capital than ten contests.
Just confirmed with Austin. They do in fact allow readers with entered scripts to read scripts for their contest, though they "make sure" such readers read outside of their genre. So, if such reader loves drama, action, sic-fi, but hates comedy -- and vice versa -- would I really want such a person reading my script, let alone judging it? I still think there is a conflict of interest. The very appearance of such a conflict should be enough to steer away from it.
Oh, I did not even make first round. And I'm not really bummed. Not after the questionable practices that have been revealed by this most esteemed contest.
Congrats to those who did.
Tell me who I have to sleep with.
The hell with these contests. Time to take the fight to them. I was to born to sell. Hollywood is not about the best scripts. Get that out of your mind (not you Bob). It's about who looks the best -- on screen.
Ever notice a beautiful, gorgeous woman with a plain guy? Even an ugly guy? Then you shake your head and wonder what am I doing wrong? Well, your script is that "guy." But what your script has to offer is security. The best-looking scripts are often the star high-school quarterback. But does such a person ofter long-term security?
Me? I'd go for the nerd. It's a question of percentages if security is what you're looking for. And it seems all the major players are motivated more by security than jumping on the first script that can throw seventy yards off his back foot but without accuracy. (Jamarcus Russell comes to mind (biggest bust in NFL history))
Ok, so many of you will get this and others will disagree. But for my money, I rather spend my bucks on a face-to-face pitch, where I can show the real product -- me! You're not just selling a script; you're selling yourself. And I have no problem being a sellout. Selling the crowd, of course.
But if I'm way off, enlighten me.
Despite the "thumbs-up" from many, I share Robert's sobering take on this. After everything I've learned about this contest, I have no desire to ever enter it again. I would hate to think my script is going to be judged by a monkey who happens to share human proportionality. And for that alone, the monkey gets to ape his two cents.
Again, it's not bitterness. After all, I took Nicholl's rejection in stride. At least I knew someone read my script. But for Austin, if the best you can do is an auto mechanic and a precocious monkey as readers, I'd do better spending my entry fee on paper towels to wipe the crap that your fan has sprayed on everything.
Austin the Festival, I have no knowledge of.
Austin the Contest, I question if all scripts even got read.
Austin the Power, yeah baby.
I've read some of the scripts that made it to the second round and some that didn't. Wow. I base my cynicism on the SCREENPLAY COMPETITION. One cannot ignore the conflict of interest.
Let me spell this out. Reader #1 reads for the comedies. Reader #2, a friend of reader #1, has her script in comedy. So, reader #1 looks for any script that can compete with her friend's, and voila. It doesn't advance. Then, Reader #2, who's reading for the drama, looks for any script with resemblance with Reader #1's script that happens to be in drama. And viola. It doesn't advance.
This is called collusion. It is also illegal. And that a contest would make fertile the opportunity for such collusion should be ashamed to tout itself as one of the best. Personally, I'll take a lesser-known competition and give it higher marks for its adherence to propriety than one that makes no attempt to reveal its shoddy vetting process.
You can sit there and justify Austin all you want. Lie to yourself, by all means. You have that prerogative. Just don't try to shovel that shit my way.
In fact, I want to read for them next year. I will most likely be reading in comedy or teleplays. If any of you have scripts in these categories in this competition, let me know. Any script I come across that can compete with yours, I'll make sure to give really bad grades.
If enough of us do this, we can probably influence the finalist list. Maybe one of our scripts can get there on the strength of our collusion. If any of you are gasping, do you really think this hasn't been going on already? Please don't be so naive.
Paula and Marjory, my two sisters, thank you for your validation. When I sell my script, I will send a bottle of Remy Martin XO to each of you. And with an age no less than 20 years.
What's up, my dude? What exotic island have you been languishing on? Surely not Staten Island, lol.
Bro, you know better than anyone that a game is tainted if there is even a whiff of collusion. I am violently opposed to any contest that allows its judges to participate in the very contest they are judging. The conflict of interest and possibility of fraud is too great.
I also maintain that my script was not read. To shut me up, all Austen has to do is show me something. Did you know Fresh Voices gave me proof that my script was read before they posted any results? I expressed my disappointment with them when I didn't get feedback. They told me I submitted too late. Yet, they emailed me two sentences from the Reader's scoresheet. I thought that was very magnanimous of them. I suspect my script wasn't read because I literally submitted at the 11th hour.
Again, my gripe is with their appearance of impropriety and their overall stinginess with prize money. 5k? That's it? I alone gave them $75 ($25 extra for Enderby possibility).
Anyway, good to see you back on the boards.
Ken, my brutha', do you want to marry him too? I think Julie's got a slight advantage over you.
Really good point. Never even saw that scenario. It would start a firestorm.
Btw, I posted on Austin's Facebook page. I accused them of being frauds. They responded that all of their readers are trained and they each swore they wouldn't do anything underhanded. I told them I feel so much better. I guess there never has been a lawyer who lies. After all, these lawyers all swore under oath they wouldn't.
Then I responded to a random person explaining the progress of my script in other contests.
I woke up today to discover Austin has deleted every one of my posts, even a harmless response to another poster.
If that doesn't speak volumes. Austin is supposed to be a bastion of free speech in an ocean of red. (Take a look at the political spectrum of the State of Texas.)
I'm no genius, but usually erasing bad press is the first sign of culpability. And if there were no substance to my concerns or complaints, why not just give me a piece of evidence that I'm wrong, that my script was in fact read? I even offered to pay them to prove me wrong.
And, from their perspective, I've "libeled" them. They should be actively pursuing legal redress. Yet, not one mention of it.
This entire business of screenwriting makes sick. So I'm going to do the unthinkable. When I go to the Pitch Summit, I'm going to offer my "People V. God" script for free. Yup, you heard it. I'm going to try a new strategy. I'm going to rely on my next two scripts to rake in da' doe. This is not desperation.
Keep in mind, the only reason so many of Stephen King's stories got made into movies was because he only asks for $1 to adapt his stories.
You take me way too seriously. My barb was against Austin's Screenplay competition and it's questionable practices. No more. As for my State of Texas comment, I have no convictions on the matter. I happen to know some Asians from that State. So, yeah, it does have a rich mixture of different peoples. But Austin is known for its liberalism. And I find it appalling that they would erase what constitutes "debate" and "speech." Unless, of course, there is substance to my claim of fraud and impropriety.
I was also joking on my "free" option. However, I would consider doing it for back-end Producer's points. At this stage it's not about the money.
SD, buddy, if you've read all of our posts, then you must have as much time to waste as we.
Last I checked, this was a website about screenwriting contests and about those who enter these contests.
Why wouldn't I or anyone else want to apprise people of all aspects of a contest, especially a major one? And I did not know about Austin's policy on readers also being contestents. Had I, I might not have entered. Thus, my desire to inform the public so future contestents know exactly what is going on.
Only fools look for greener pasture when their pasture is already green. Thus, I have no need of other screenwriting pastures than the fertile soil of Final Draft upon which my feet are firmly planted.
... At least for a couple of more weeks before they announce their top 30.
So, I advance to the semis of Final Draft but did not advance to even the 1st round of that most dubious contest in the rotten City of Austin. I still contend that they did not read my script. And they shall suffer for it.
Congrats to all who seek their Big Break!
Back at ya'. Happy to see someone familiar on the list. Fingers crossed for the both of us and anyone I missed.
Thanks everyone. This one really meant a lot. Not your well-wishing, but the contest. Not to say your well-wishing wasn't appreciated. You know how much I luv u guys... and especially girls - I mean, women. (Better stop while I'm ahead.)
Phil, you missed your calling. You and Eminem could be the next 2LiveCrew.
I went, I saw, I got robbed. Friggin Marriott charged me a $250 "damage fee" for smoking in my hotel room. I mean, they got advertisements for every restaurant, internet provider, sex channels, call-girl service, trip to the moon, but they can't put up a sign saying "no smoking." Are you lickin' my toe? If you're gonna piss on me, at least let me buy an umbrella.
Anyway, here's my experience of the largest Pitch Fest in da' world. First, everyone should get to know Stephanie Palmer. She is the Pitch guru. And she'll even give you a free seven day course. Her advice helped out a lot.
Second, you really don't know who you're going to pitch to until the time of pitch. Things change. But it's fairly easy to figure out which line to get into.
Third, either plunge headlong, like I did, or warm yourself up. It is a test of endurance. And drink a lot of fluids. My mouth got so dry at one point, I couldn't articulate my words. Must have sounded like I was talking tongues.
Fourth, some producers are easy-going and smiling. Others could freeze the core of the earth. As each table had multiple producers and such, I gambled and went for the one I thought showed most interest and gave her most of my attention.
Fifth, know your genre. That will determine which line to wait on.
Sixth, many ask for business cards. I didn't. I figure why ask if they're not offering. I'm only interested in the ones who really want to see my script. But don't follow my path. I'm sure if I had asked, I could have gotten a lot more cards. Again, I wasn't going to bother with someone who showed little interest.
Seventh, get a sense of what's working and what's not and evolve your pitch accordingly. In fact, just ask how your pitch went. They'll give you honest feedback.
Eighth, if you're not getting through, don't waste your time or theirs. If I felt there was no interest, I politely bowed out and saved my energy for the next table.
Ninth, some use the shotgun method, I used the sniper method. So far, I've gotten three requests. One of them immediately the next day. And all are good leads. One of them is a producer/actress who just happens to fit my lead female to a tea. Fingers crossed on this one.
Tenth, if you have time, pitch other projects as all genres are represented. I made contacts for when I get a polished version of one of my new scripts.
Anyway, I hope this was helpful. And if anything comes of it, you'll be the second to know.
Hey, George. Good to meet you too. And great additions to my comments, all of which I whole-heartedly agree with.
I have a producer asking me for a tagline. This is a first for me. I've never had anyone ask me, a mere writer, for a tagline. Why would he need one, let alone ask for one from the writer?
Is this a test?
And is it protocol to ask for a synopsis and log line if I tell the producer I won't have a polished script for him for a month? In other words, it seems he is going to make some kind of decision on my new script based on just the synopsis and logline. I would think a producer wouldn't be interested until a writer has a polished version.
Any thoughts would be most welcome... Irin? SD? Margie? OPP?
Thanks for response. I have my script written. Just needs to be polished. Based on my log line, a producer/director got interested. He has since asked for a log line (which I though I already gave him), a synopsis and a tagline. I am going to give him synopsis and logline and defer to him on the tagline.
Once again, appreciate the the feedback.
Good advice, Margie. This may be wishful thinking, but I thought maybe this producer/director has ability to pitch a project and a tagline would only help his cause and mine.
Problem is, my story feeds off a multiple twist-ending. I can't reveal it, so I'm going to have to end my synopsis with a cliff-hanger and hope it does the job. It's like someone telling you the butler did it if you reveal it in your synopsis. Where, then, is the motivation to read the script?
That's exactly what I'm going to do as my ending is similar to "Sixth Sense" in the sense of surprise ending.
And, Margie, I toyed with the tagline and actually came up with something decent. If nothing else, playing around with it helps you to capture the most economic way of expressing your theme -- with marketing in mind, of course.
That is the $64,000 question, isn't it?
The answer is yes and no.
Yes: If you're really serious about trying to sell a script and being a screenwriter. The industry contacts, meeting other writers, exposure to the experience of pitching, traveling, getting yourself organized and immersing yourself in the industry makes this worthwhile. I spent nearly $2,500 for this trip. But I could easily have done it for a dime less. Remember, I'm traveling from one side of country to next.
No: If you don't have the talent and you don't want to waste money and you aren't 100% dedicated, stay home. To justify the expense and time, you would have to have full commitment to the craft or you can do this on the cheap.
Maybe: If you're gambling on getting real contacts, then you might measure the value of investment based on number of requests. If so, a few requests only might be disappointing. And if you walk away with only a few players you can form a relationship with, then you will definitely be disappointed.
Again, I went for the sniper method. So I'm content with the three requests I've gotten as two of them were the very people I wanted to request my script and for me to get it into their hands. I'm confident I will also get more requests as the producers and such settle down and sort out all the one-sheets they got.
Hope this helps.
You know I have mad respect for you, but I gotta disagree with you on this. See, if I give away everything, there's not much to stop a writer from creating his own story using the skeleton of my structure.
Now, if my script were already in play on some level, that would give me more comfort that someone's not going to rip off my story. And that's not to say I have written anything special, but there is an element to my story that could very easily inspire another writer to produce the same story.
Although I'm sure there is someone writing a similar story to mine, I just don't want to hand it to them on a silver platter. Further, I think whetting someone's tastebuds can achieve just as much as a full reveal.
To use a crude example, we've all slept with people who we thought advertised better than what they delivered. The trick is to entice them to want to read further. (I intentionally refrain from going further with this analogy.)
Just to clarify, I'm not suggesting I have anything unique. I just refuse to show everything without meaningful interest when advertising twist-ending stories.
Damn, Georege, that's exactly what I wanted to say also. This is what happens when you respond half asleep
My thoughts, exactly, Irin.
I'm not crossing my fingers on this one, but I think it is good practice to meet deadlines, take the request as a challenge and do the best you can. Maybe this guy has the inside track to make a project and he needs to sell a pitch so he doesn't lose opportunity.
And it's nice to hear that my shock wasn't from inexperience.
Appreciate the post. Can you tell us how you came by this information and why we should trust it?
I am not trying to impugn your veracity or the diligence you took to compile the list, but a hint of your method would go a long way in helping me to make my decision whether to buy your book or not. Mainly, give me assurances that the list is reliable.
And are these entities registered with the guild or are many just fledgling players who are just a rung above the starving writer? I mention this because I just attended a pitch fest and was not impressed with many of the entities whose only credential was a 10k film that couldn't even be verified via a Google search.
I guess this guy didn't like my tagline or logline or synopsis or all of the above.
Personally, I feel insulted, may offended (can't find the right word) that a newbie working for a management company with less than stellar reputation would ask a writer for a tagline. I mean, really, it's hard enough coming up with a logline.
I think the word I am looking for is affronted. Whatever. Just gotta roll with it.
But good responses. I think a lot of us learned something here. What, I have no idea.
Anyone know anything substantial about this contest? Has anyone gotten to the final rounds? Would love to hear from someone with personal experience to give some detail about whether it's worth investing $95 into a contest that supposedly does a lot for their winners and honorable mentions. But what are the odds of making it that far? A part of me thinks I'm just pissing away more money.
And for an extra $25, they'll allow you to be considered for representation by a management company. Here's the problem. Isn't that the same as asking a writer to pat to be represented? Just seems a little odd.
Finally, I can't find any contact other than the one to submit. That seemed weird.
Thanks for any thoughts. And the deadline is end of Oct.
Thanks, Margie. Have you ever entered this contest? If not, would you? For late submission, it's going to cost $95. Think of using this money instead to get an IMDB Pro account.
I got a similar sense. Saw a lot of comedies. So my guess is probably right. They're targeting specific material. And right now, action is supposedly a hot commodity.
Another prize I received from StoryPros. This one has garnered a lot of requests. They keep coming and coming. Wow. If you decide to use this service, use the "full delivery" for $80. It's like going to a pitch fest for a fraction of the cost.
Since the service "blasted" my one-sheet (used same one from the Pitch Summit), I've gotten three requests and a number of "No thank you. Not for us."
This went out just this morning. And many of the "automated" responses were just to let you know they are on vacation. So, yeah, I an definitely vouch for this service. I checked on all those who requested and they're all legit.
Just got another request. This is really messed up. I've just gotten more requests in one day -- from a prize package, no less -- than I got from an entire Pitch Fest.
Someone please make sense of life for me. Or Hollywood.
I've decided to steer clear of this one for several reasons. But first, I also contemplated the two-script entry for the one-year subscription. Then I realized I've never even heard of TrackingB outside the context of its contest.
I have no problem anymore of going up against professional writers. After all, if I can't compete against them, I feel I have no business trying to sell my work.
But this contest isn't transparent nor friendly to communication. Again, I couldn't find any way to contact them even for a question. And there is this mysterious entity who goes by a cryptic name and supposedly no one knows who he is, blah, blah, blah. Less mystery, more openness. Save the gimmicks.
And that they have this $25 extra fee to be considered for representation by one of their associated management firms doesn't sit well with me. I might as well just offer a company to take my money in the hope that they'll sign me. Seems like a scam. If the management company is really looking for clients or new writers, then read some friggin scripts, rather than sit back and collect $25 a head.
And there is nothing to fall back on if you don't make 1 out of the 5 spots they're offering you. Forget that. I'm still reaping rewards from StoryPros. And I entered that contest for a lot less.
Hope this helps.
But, Maryanne, you'll always be a winner here.
Try this link. firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, go to Facebook and you can find her there.
I was going to enter this, but didn't know if it was worth it. Had I known such estimable people were entering, I would have been happy to have offered some competition. Failing that, I'm happy to see good writers advance.
Kudos on the article, George.
Ted, hang in there. The race is not to the swift but to those who keep running. (God, I hate cheesy quotes, but it was the best I could come up with on short notice.)
I think you're couple of cans shy of a six-pack. Strangely, though, I get a kick out of your incoherence.
Good In a room: Awesome pitch advice. Do yourself a favor and link up with her on facebook.
20 Things You Should Never Do In A Pitch Meeting » Blog » Good in a Room – Stephanie Palmer
She's great, she's accessible, she wants to share. (I already asked her to marry me, lol.)
No one's asking you.
Amazing, Heather. Much to be proud of. Now I'm jealous I'm not going to be there. But I'll drink one in your honor.
From your logline, I don't see a clear antagonist or opposition. Although the "kidnapper" is implied, you seem to bury this fact. From your logline, I get the impression that it's more about the sisters and their feud.
Why not rework it so that "hero" or "heroes" want "goal" but "so-and-so" does something to oppose them. With these three clearly defined elements, you should be able to imply the genre.
However, wait till Irin replies. He's got a lot more experience.
And have you considered going to a pitch fest? InkTip has the most "industry people" out of all of them. Their next one will be in six months. If you can't get requests out of a pitchfest, then the problem definitely lies with you.
I like it. When I need a logline, you my dawg.
You're all over the place. Keep it simple. Clarity is better than triple summersaults.
A (adjective) (main character) wants (goal) but is opposed by (adjective) (antagonist/opposition character).
From your first and second logline, I'm not sure what the goal is. In the second one, it seems too many, which really relegates it to none. At least with the second one, I'm starting to sort of get the idea of whom to root for.
Look at all the classic loglines, and they all have these elements (or at least most).
Well done, Michael. Very well done. Now take this to the next level so we can all say, "Hey, I know that guy."
Who wants to be the first guinea pig? I'd love to know if this is for real or just a money-making enterprise. I'm really hoping for the best.
And everyone knows that a Korean film about one of our most taboo subjects would never get remade with Spike Lee directing and Mark Protocevich penning.
This is Screenwriting 101. First thing you learn is that Story = Drama = Conflict = Someone Not Getting What S/He wants. If you needed ScriptShadow to inform you of the obvious, something every writer on this board understands, then you should pick up the basic books in the craft, all of which will tell you about the "Hero's Journey" to one extent or another.
While ScriptShadow occasionally has something enlightening, I find the vast majority of his stuff to be regurgitated fluff that one could easily pick up (and from better sources) by reading back issues of Script Magazine.
Or just look at all of ScriptDude's post. You'll find better. Pay particular attention to the one where he discusses the progression of scenes. Namely, a subsequent scene should always be a consequence of a prior scene; and a future scene should be created from a need for that scene arising logically from a prior scene.
No offense to you, but there are working writers on this board who have accomplished a lot more than ScriptShadow. As for critiquing, any "reader" can do just as well, if not better, than aforesaid.
What would a story be without a villain? Ok, it's that time of the month for me -- paying bills.
I'm a little confused. Are you being sarcastic? My brain isn't functioning to well today.
Looked at it. Too funny. Such a dubious distinction. But they say, worse than being talked about is not being talked about.
I have those same magazines -- on two shelves! Oh, wait, we're talking about screenwriting magazines. Doh!
Yes. All results posted on their website. I did not advance beyond semis. Alas. So now I feel at liberty to explore Movie Magic Writer... the only draft you'll ever need.
Interested. But you have no email address. No profile page. And we all know without these things you can't really exist.
Awesome, Michael. You've worked hard for this. Glad it worked out for you.
I had to inflate one of my rafts and get to dry land to respond to this. All of lower Manhattan south of 34th st. has no electricity. All subways are kaput. Limited bus service. Freedom Tower flooded. In fact, most of lower Manhattan is aquatic.
Fortunately, I live on the 6th floor.
With your encouragement, I shall stay preserved. Right now, I'm marinating my ass in a hot tub. It's not like there's anything else to do in NYC. No transportation. No restaurants. At least Irin gets to play with the kids. I only get to play with... I'll leave it at that.
I shall light candles for all those MovieByters who have suffered this beast of a storm.
If it's good enough for Margie, it's good enough for me. As soon as I do another polish, I shall submit.
Once I do a polish of the script you trashed, I will give it a go. Actually, I've revised the version you've read. This is where my "God" script is as of now. After twenty pages, a producer indicated an option. That was almost two weeks ago. Bitch.
I just recently got feedback from two excellent writers. One loved it for the very reason the other hated it. To drive home the point of polar-opposite reviews, the lover was from England -- oh, that most mighty nation of poets -- and the hater was from America -- oh, that nation that hath made a shameful conquest of itself.
So once I do another revision (polish), I'll see where I'm at. But I'm ready to give up on this script and just move on to my next script. (I feel like I'm abandoning my child. Oh, well. It's a doggy-dog world.)
Wow, small world. Johnathan, you dick, you're the one who trashed my script, lol. Funny thing, the English lad who liked it loved it for the very reasons you didn't. How the hell do I interpret this? Is it maybe cultural? Anyway, I'll get to Priam in a day or two.
Oh, I feel obliged to clarify. Johanthan is a very talented writer. Remember his name, I think it is just a matter of time before he becomes a house-hold name among screenwriters.
You da' man. Female producer, actually, discussed option terms after reading first twenty. Four days ago, I sent email (separate from the one we have been corresponding through), but no reply.
I'm really bad at following up. I feel like I'm either imposing or showing desperation. Out of four recent reviews of my latest version, one dislike, one so-so, one like with reservations, one love-it. Two of those reviews are from really good writers. So it's really a 50-50 split.
Fingers crossed, but not holding breath.
Can someone please tell me how to triple space between scenes in MMS. Why wouldn't MMS make triple spacing the default? I just got reamed by a consult on this. And I'm probably going to get reamed by a contest I entered my new script in. Damn.
Thanks, people. Julia, where were you when I needed you, lol. Took me an hour to figure out what you wrote.
MM vs. FD. Both have their advantages. I'm not yet completely sold on MM. I find that MM lacks some things that are available on FD. But MM is great for importing, which FD sucks at.
Someone with experience please explain the following. Does it mean I have a chance? Or is this a polite way of saying, "Oh, well, it was fun teasing you but ultimately, you don't have a prayer with us."
Hope all is well. I just wanted to touch base with you. I really enjoyed your script! Honestly, we have a lot on our plates right now and am not sure that we're in a position, at this time, to add it to our slate. I will discuss further with my partner upon his return from NY next week. Thanks so much!
Any respondent speaking from experience would be greatly appreciated. I hate getting my hopes up.
Thanks. More for reminding me to see this as a future opportunity than a present loss. Likewise, I think this is also a good sign if I'm getting nibbles.
Scratch my ass.
A year and a half a go, I wrote "The People V. God" from instinct alone. As good as the story was, it failed in all the important categories, like emotion and character arc. Then, a year ago, I decided to seriously study the craft. I went from college tryouts to minor league play to now major-league serious -- all in one year. Point: If I can do this, anyone can.
I have read so many shit scripts that I don't even try to be polite anymore. Don't ask me to read your script unless you're prepared for the worst. And I always give it. What I've discovered is that so many on this board can identify a good script, make astute observations about why a script sucks, but fail atrociously in translating all their seeming wisdom to the page.
But the best writers are the ones who'll take honest feedback however it comes -- as long as you can offer something real. Two of the thickest-skinned people on this board I've had the honor of trashing are Bob Blacka and Ken Glover. They really wanted feedback to improve themselves and their work. They got it, and now they're better writers. (Not just from my own feedback, of course.)
In defense of my learning curve, I love it when someone stabs me multiple times with a rusty blade of a critique. Helps me to thicken my own skin. And if there is something in the feedback that can help me improve, I'll take your spit, your kicks, your ball-busting all day. Long gone are the days of defensiveness. For what I'm shooting for, if all I have to do is withstand the whips and scorns of your words, I'd feel like I got away with murder.
Apparently, I've learned to critique well. A soon-to-be produced writer asks me to review everything he writes. Another one relies on me to tell him exactly why he's not getting a producer to sign, even though he has got the goods. (Keep these names in mind. Bernard Serioux and Johnathan Dick)
These same people, in turn, have helped get my latest script in a shape that has already gotten interest from a producer who wants to enter negotiations for an option. I'm holding out because there is also interest from bigger fish. I could not have gotten into this position without the abundance of hurt I have suffered at the hands of so many MovieByters -- Phil, Danielle, Ken, Bob, Heather, Irin and others -- who were caring enough to tell me exactly why my shit sucked. Because of them, I don't feel so shitty now.
It's possible I may even turn into a producer if someone my partner knows decides to commit a mil to get the ball rolling. We'll see.
Anyway, I have no idea what I'm saying anymore. Just rambling. But thanks to so many of those on this site, I may see my dream come true. And if you're ever in NYC, allow me to feast you at... Sizzlers? Still better than Arby's.
I knew I was missing someone. Julia Kubik. She has a way of kicking you and smiling at the same time.
Stop sandbagging with your new script. Just joking. Congrats.
I didn't see your name on the list. But now that I know you're on the list... well, they say ignorance is bliss.
We should put you in a circus. Who the hell writes one script a week? At the rate you're going, you'll have your own library. As I am a gambling man, I gotta put my money where I get the best odds. As a 5-1 fav, I gotta dime says you advance.
Congrats to all, even to the guy whose script I trashed on Talentville. I'm going to be tasting my foot when you advance further than me. Something tells me I got a long climb ahead of me with a faith-based family drama without any profanity -- or any of the other good stuff.
Btw, check out this link. It is a very short, short. Very professionally done with all the trademarks of godly storytelling technique and humor. I'm so envious.
Hang in there, Margie. You're a winner among us.
Something I heard. Perseverance has a higher percentage of success than pure talent in Hollywood. (Notice the natural use of alliteration? Hm? This and a soft taco might eventually get me to a burrito.)
Anyone know anything about this contest other than what's printed? They say the winner will be "slated" for 2014-15 production. This contest is categorized under "Christian" contest, dealing in "Faith, Hope, Love, Inspiration" (not necessarily in that order).
I tried emailing them, but no response. And that was about three weeks ago. Thanks.
(And I realize I should have my head examined for considering a brand-spanking newbie, but it doesn't hurt to ask.)
Here's what bothers me. If the contest coordinators have production deals slated, then why run a contest? There should be no shortage of scripts or writers if financing is in place. Strange. I figure if I have these questions, then I've really provided my own answer. Any takers?
The end scene of "The Usual Suspects" when Agent Kujan realizes the man he's been interrogating is, in fact, Kaiser Soze!
"Brazil," when we realize that our main character finally achieves his "freedom," but at the cost of his own sanity. Or, "freedom" is an illusion. I like the first interpretation better.
"The Thirteenth Floor," when the main character realizes that he is not the god of the world he created in cyberspace. (pre-Matrix) Sick ending, which I don't want to ruin for anyone.
Just for you. "Saving Private Ryan." When Tom Hanks' character meets Corporal Oppum. The Corporal doesn't know what to take into battle as he is a translator and language specialist. The Corporal stumbles and bumbles, grabbing his typewriter and every useless item he can grab. Finally, Tom Hanks' character holds up a pencil. In that one action, Hanks' character speaks volumes -- This is war, buddy, if it doesn't kill, leave it behind.
I like the "Braveheart" example, but we don't know its significance until later.
Aw, Heather, you shouldn't have. But thanks. And to you also Irin and Bruce. What's bumming me out is that I was writing till the final minutes and wasn't able to offer my strongest version. Then I read a script that also made it to the semis. Wow, this script is incredible. So I have no illusions about making the top three.
This Thursday I have a teleconference with a producer who specializes in faith-based movies. Let's hope I can offer something more laudable than a contest placement. Fingers and toes crossed.
For you, I'll aways make time. You know my email and stuff. Give me a call or email and we'll go from there. Good to hear from you.
Hey everyone. Paula, I am going the same route. I'm having a meeting next week. My partner wants to raise 4-6 million through his own investors. I have major elements in place to do the movie.
I figure an option guarantees nothing. A sale guarantees nothing. But your own budget can. I feel like I'm cheating by going the producers route, but if the goal is to make the movie, who cares how it gets done, right? In other words, is it less "prestigious" to go the independent route?
Hope everyone is plugging away and keeping their chins up. Miracles to happen. I think.
To restate Poetist, a manager alone doesn't guarantee anything. In fact, even having an agent won't guarantee anything. Usually agents are good for two things: closing a deal (already on the table) or setting up meetings.
As a general rule, you (the writer) has to do most of the leg work, unless you're top talent.
I've gotten further by making contacts in the industry and those on the fringe than I have with a mere manager. You'd be surprised at how much faster you get to that next level with one person who likes your material and is willing to champion it. In other words, instead of thinking getting a manager or agent is the end all of be all, make connections, get yourself out there, and don't make enemies.
I have been supporting my friend Randall Hahn for a while now, mostly by helping him with his script "Gideon." He's now this year's grand prize winner of Kairos. And he loves my new script. He also helped me to shape it. Now we're both trying to help each other. Even if my deal falls through, he wants to pass my script to his people. And I've already shown his script to some of my "people." Suddenly, we are in position to possibly produce his script and mine, where he gets to direct both. Nothing written in stone, but I have a lot of powerful interests in both of our scripts.
Despite the number of people who have trashed the hell out of my new script, what matters most is that the market to which it was targeted has resoundingly loved it. That's where the money's going to come from.
Point is: Influence the direction of your script and career by being more proactive and less "wait-and-see." And don't let a few nay-sayers dissuade you if in your heart, you feel you have a winner. Screw the nay-sayers. These are the same people who will be bitchin' a year from now, wondering why their scripts haven't gotten noticed.
And if you look at most success stories, it took years -- so many years -- of hard work before selling that first script. Now I see the truth in the adage that if you haven't written at least five scripts, don't even think you have a chance of selling one. 90% sweat + 10% talent = possible success. Wow, why would anyone want to be a screenwriter?
Congrats. Good to see familiar names doing well. Or just familiar names period.
Heather-one-kenobi. I bow to your wisdom.
Check your email. Good to see you're still around. For the newbies on this site, anything SD or Irin say is next to gospel.
And I've personally been very busy in the best possible way.
As for contests, here's my take. They can lull you into a false sense of security. Although I've won several contests, the level of writing required to "make it" surpasses the standards of most contests, and I admit my level wasn't at the best level. Now, at least I'm confident I can write at the highest level if not achieve the best story.
So be proud of your wins, but keep writing, then write some more. Above all, you have to get someone to champion your work. I just got a friend a writing assignment b/c I loved his writing and passed his script along to a producer. Now he's in negotiations.
My two cents for what it's worth... about 1/2 a cents.
Have not read this entire post. But "funding" a film is the hardest part of making a film. No, duh, many of you say. Well, I got partial funding and now am seeking the rest. I have many options as far as getting the rest.
Here's how I did it. Someone asked me to adapt his children's book. I did. Then he said, "Why not go all the way and produce this?" I said, "Good luck. Unless you have 3-4 million to spare, this script will collect dust." Then he got his friends involved. Suddenly, everyone wants to contribute, even if in non-monetary ways. With so many backers who have rich, rich, rich friends, suddenly 3-4 million doesn't seem like an insurmountable goal.
And I feel real lucky, because I almost gave this script away for a dollar-option. Phew. And someone on Moviebytes was very instrumental in helping me find a director (with multiple credits producing and directing) and a producer. I also have the child-actor attached. Ok, ok. I'll shut up.
KAT LADY, late 60s with a hunch that makes her look 80s. Her only comfort are her mewing cats, all 20 of 'em. Doesn't amount to the one daughter she lost to the bottomless vacuum of Hollywood. She scratches her ass, confused -- then looks up at an empty sky.
A POSTMAN (65) hands her letters.
Kat Lady Anything from my daughter?
Postman gives her an uncomfortable smile.
Postman Sorry, lady, I don't recall ever seeing anyone here but you.
Kat Lady You blind, son? I've been living here for thirty years.
Postman And I've been delivering your mail for thirty-five.
He leaves. Shakes his head.
Hate to be the cynic, but now Blacklist is set up for multiple submissions/reviews? Wow, maybe it's just me, but this sounds like a money-making machine more than a service really and truly looking to sell it's writers.
Honestly, Dan, try to show your script to someone who knows someone. If your story and/or writing is top-notch, someone will recognize it and want to help out. Connections and referrals seem to be the best way to break in.
Based upon multiple referrals, I'm in negotiations to sign with a manager and/or agent. Sounds easier said than done, but I just hate to see writers spend money on "maybes." I've wasted enough to know I could have saved myself tons. I don't know anyone who does comedies. But maybe someone on this board might.
If anyone does succeed with Black List, chime in. And leave no stone unturned. I'm in communication with a producer because I innocently called someone to ask who produced such-and-such movie. The woman was nice enough to give me the number to the producer. Ta-dah. The producer requested my script. Likes it so far. Now I'm just waiting for her to finish it. Either way, she turned out to be a good connection. Good luck.
DON'T YOU DARE SPEND A LOT OF MONEY on coverage. No need to. Find some experienced writers you trust. Use them as your first line of feedback. I have spent $500 on a well-known individual in the industry. And I got about $50 worth of feedback. (In my defense, I didn't personally pay for it.)
But before you burden your friends, you should put your own script through at least 5 revisions yourself before showing to anyone. Above all, make sure your story is logical and makes sense. Then develop your characters to the point where you can at least shed a tear or laugh your hiney off (if it's a comedy). Then go over the scenes as individual "beats" and make sure all the major ones have their own internal arc -- emotionally and conflict-wise. Then make your dialogue jump off the page. That little voice in the back of your head -- no, not the one that tells you to spank your monkey every hour -- the one that makes you cringe or question the validity or economy or originality of your dialogue and scene descriptions, listen to it. Then word-smith. Then use the damn spell-check.
Now you're giving respect to your reader. Only after exhausting your "friends" should you then spend money on coverage. And just to let you know, most of those "coverage" readers aren't any better than an experienced writer.
If you want cheap coverage for free, visit any number of sites. But be warned, many of them are like high school with a lot of bullies and cliques. Total herd mentality.
I use this service for $50: www.awardwinningscreenwriters.com. And they give you as much as the $500 ones.
When you think you are on the cusp of producing a market-ready script, then go for the ace-in-the-hole pros who charge $200-$300. Irin uses one that is worth the price he charges -- $300. But it wouldn't serve the average writer to use him with a first draft. More like a final draft.
Lastly, if you're going to spend serious money, at least do it with a reputable service that offers to market your script if you get a "consider" or "recommend." Just so you know, getting a recommend from jo-shmo is meaningless. From, say, ScriptShark, it registers among some circles. And they at least have a proven "Scouting" system to help market your script. Having said this, only about 2-3% get a "consider." I've never heard of anyone getting a "recommend." A "Strong Recommend" at best.
But here's the best scenario. Get it to the best possible shape you can. Make connections and hope that someone loves your stuff so much that s/he will want to champion it. I did this with the writer of "Gideon," which won grand prize of Kairos. Gave it to a producer and now they're in negotiations for an adaptation on a book the producer bought the rights to. Then Randall (writer of Gideon) gave my work to his Manager and he liked it enough that we're now discussing possible rep.
But right now, I have decided the only way to make a film is to do it yourself. I'm in development. And I'll make the big announcement when I have the full budget -- about 5 million dollars. Piece of cake. 1/5 of the way there with another 1/5 on the way. (Really, though, this is such a bs business. I don't know how anything ever gets done. Thank god for tax incentives and rebates.)
I was being totally sarcastic. The hardest job in the movie business is raising the money. Although I have commitments, none of it means anything if I can't raise the full budget.
Oh, coincidentally, my partner -- months back before we decided to go the Indy route -- paid for ScriptShark. Don't know why as I told him it'll probably be a waste of $545. Well, sure enough, I got "consider w/reservation." Wasn't even expecting that. Then, with a revision, I got a "consider." I was owed one more draft, so I submitted my last draft two weeks ago. I was expecting a "strong consider." Just found out I got a "Recommend." Suddenly, my estimation of ScriptShark went through the roof. Really, has nothing to do with the "RECOMMEND." I swear. Yeah, right.
Yet, they "passed" on my "People V. God" script after a total revamp that got "thumbs-up" from three pros -- a director, a producer, and a director/producer combo. I'd pull the hair off my chest if I had hair on my chest. Whaddya' want, I'm Asian.
Just goes to show you, if you don't give your script to the right audience, you'd have a better chance of finding the Holy Grail.
Way ahead of you. For "Born Under" we're most likely going to shoot in Utah. For "People V God" most like Atlanta, Chicago, Toronto, or somewhere like that. But surprisingly "People V God" is going to cost more as my director said it can attract A-listers with a tweak. That means a 2-million below-the-line can easily climb to 30 million when you add above-the-line. I don't know anyone who'll want to give me 30 million, so if it happens, it'll have to be done by a miracle or the studios. But thanks for the suggestion.
In other news, would love to exchange scripts with someone. Just wrote my latest script and could use someone who really likes psychological horror. I don't do period, historical, or character studies. Anyway, any takers would be appreciated. I'm making my big move and would love to have another viable script ready when I make my play, which should happen in a week or two. Thanks.
Thanks. Had forgotten I even asked for a swap. Doing too many things at once.
In case anyone wants to know, I spoke with Erin at AwardWinningScreenwriters.com. Look under "Home" for the $49 coverage. Others on this site have used this very same service and they can all vouch for her Readers' professionalism.
Newebie sd (er, mini-me sd?),
Good post. Thanks for sharing.
Believe it or not. Without formula, no one could write a script in the time it takes to put it into production. The trick is not the show the formula in the writing. Every genre has its rules. Not b/c someone made them up but b/c that's the way things are. Just like all elements begin with the fundamental particle of Hydrogen. Thus, 2 H atoms fuse to make Helium. Likewise, an action movie has to have ACTION. And if you take a romance and comedy, you get... Just the way it goes.
I've also discovered most writers secretly look more for validation than feedback. You should specify what type of feedback you're looking for based on how far your script is to the finish line. In a first draft, I only want to know if the basic story works. If this doesn't, I've found just about everything else fails. If you have a polished script, then seek tweaks or what exactly isn't resonating to get it over the finish line.
Also, what works for one is anathema to another. If you can get three out of ten people to thumbs-up your script, you're doing well.
Lastly, if my script doesn't read like a produced one, then I know it has no chance. The biggest question for any script is if it resonates emotionally. Without emotion stabbing your eyes, you're making it that much easier for the reader to "pass." It is so much easier to say no. Why? Jobs, man, it's all about not losing your job.
Good point, SD. Lol about the P and P. 6 out of 10? I figured it would be higher. I've noticed all the great scripts universally resonate.
I'm well aware of packaging. I'll know in a week whether it'll work for me or not. I'm trying to entice a prodco to work with me based on the elements I have in place and the sick logistical support I bring to the table. I should be able to drop my below-the-line by half-a-million.
Can't explain further until I have more than letters of intents and have meeting with my development team.
The question for me was why DEVGRU (formerly Seal Team 6) got the assignment and not DELTA. If the goal was to get Bin Laden aboard a US Naval vessel, then using a maritime Tier-1 operations unit would make most sense. In fact, DELTA was used. They were the ones giving aerial perimeter support via snipers. They were also among the first to front-breach.
Where Bigelow screwed up was not adding a meaningful soundtrack to the final operation. And not giving Jessica's character a standing ovation by the Operators in the very end. Oh, and those SOG operatives in the compound that died among the seven-member CIA team did probably shoot the asshole suicider before he pushed the detonator. In fact, he was probably already in "button mode." So what triggered the explosion was killing him, thus forcing his thumb off the "button."
Anyway, this is just a rant. I thought the movie lacked much needed tension and suspense during the most crucial moments. Oh, it's my understanding that Seals look for publicity (for funding and such) while Delta shuns publicity at all cost. That's why Seals got all the credit.
Just b/c you have partial funding and elements, like a director and even a producer -- or even actors (not top-shelf) -- it would still be wise to produce it under the banner of an established prodco b/c making a movie doesn't guarantee distribution. Most who make indies cross their fingers in the film festival circuit. But most (99%) of indy films go nowhere. They collect dust.
Before questioning, try to understand the business of Hollywood. Distributors only care about bankable (or recognizable) talent. An established prodco may have access to decent talent that you -- a newbie producer/writer -- don't have. Plus they may have relationships with distributors and with studio entities.
I'm trying to work with an established prodco that has produced credits with borderline A-list talent. Such a company also has its own funding sources, which could add to mine. Suddenly, you have a full budget. But if you don't make a quality film with recognizable talent, who's going to pick it up? Where are your distribution outlets? Do you even know the full spectrum of the ancillary markets or derivative markets? Do you know how foreign distribution works?
So, yeah, I'd be all too happy to shack with someone who knows all these things.
Sorry, Robert. Didn't realize you were asking SD. But while I'm at it, there are logistical and practical concerns to take into account. A newbie producer will generally produce an inflated production budget based on inexperience and lack of resources. An experienced producer and/or prodco knows how to make a movie at cost, thus increasing the likelihood of a reasonable cost-to-return.
You also have to take into account tax credits and best tax incentive states. Plus there's additional leeway to negotiate logistics with a town so you can lower your production budget and thereby attract more recognizable talent.
Then you have to figure how best to leverage gross and backpoints to attract best possible talent. A new filmmaker has none of these connections, nor the savvy to negotiate the million little things necessary to make a multi-million-dollar picture.
So try to make as many connections as you can. You're going to need them all. And always show appreciation when someone does lend a helping hand. Too many people ask without giving or offering.
Not bad. Looks like a quality film with quality acting. Obviously a team/crew with experience. Reminds me of a film someone mentioned to me 10 years ago. Goes something like this:
A biker gang terrorizes everyone they come across. After a shootout with local police, leaving most of them dead or dying, they take refuge in a house, deep in the woods. No one's home. They trash the place. Then one of the bikers goes into the basement. He finds corpses hanging from hooks. He screams. All the bikers run down into the basement. They realize they've stumbled upon something more horrific than themselves. Suddenly, the front door creaks open. Not one, but an entire family of footsteps marches in. Guess what's for dinner?
-- Wished I had seen the movie. Point is, you can't go wrong with basement horror (almost). Contained. Cheap to make. But hard to write. Once you expose the horror, how do you sustain it?
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