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First Draft Contest Announces Winner

(Edinburg, TX) "Texarkana," an original screenplay by Christopher Lucas of Seattle, Wash., is the winner of the inaugural First Draft Script Writing Contest conducted by The University of Texas-Pan American in conjunction with SCNRWRiT, an Internet e-mail discussion list for screenwriters. Lucas' script was chosen from a field of five finalists by Lou Grant, Los Angeles script consultant and editor of The Hollywood Scriptwriter, a respected industry newsletter.

The other finalists were "Behind The Badge," by Dave Eisenstark of Venice, Calif.; "The Judas Horse," by Blacky Bokich of Berkeley, Calif.; "Holy Land," by Ray Chatelin of Point Roberts, Wash.; and "The Fall In Budapest," by Aniko' J. Bartos of Budapest, Hungary, and Alan C. Baird of Glendale, Calif.

Lucas' "Texarkana" is his first script and, according to script consultant and editor Grant, it is a "very cast-able, character-driven piece."

The competition at the finalist level included thrillers and dramas. Grant was looking for the script among the five which best demonstrated professional writing and a story telling ability which set it apart. This she found in "Texarkana."

The First Draft Script Writing Contest is not actually for first draft scripts, said contest director Dr. Jack R. Stanley.

"One of the realities of the film and television business is that when a producer, studio or network purchases a script, no matter how many rewrites it may have been through to get it to the stage where it is worth buying, the very first thing that happens to that script is that it is stamped, `First Draft,'" Stanley said.

The SCRNWRiT contest, according to Stanley, is an attempt to address that reality. The First Draft Script Writing Contest was open to members of SCRNWRiT (pronounced "screenwrite"), a worldwide e-mail based discussion list for and about the arts and crafts of writing for feature films and television. The list is owned by Dr. Jack R. Stanley, chair of The University of Texas-Pan American's Communication Department, and it is operated from the U.T.P.A. campus in Edinburg, Texas. SCRNWRiT has subscribers from Australia to Israel, Sweden to South Africa, as well from every state in the Union.

Fifty original scripts from the 1,486 members of SCRNWRiT advanced to the quarterfinals in October. Ten of the quarter-finalists made it to the semi-final stage and that group was cut in half with the selection of the final five.

SCRNWRiT is a much-cited source for Internet basics about screen writing. The list's home page,, contains the F.A.Q. (frequently asked questions) file which has earned Internet awards for its ease and access to the beginning scripters.

Plans are under way for the 2nd Annual First Draft Script Writing Contest. List owner Dr. Stanley says interested writers should watch the web and professional script writing publications for details.

Updated: 12/15/1998

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