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I e-mailed them about a month ago and asked who their judges were. They said their "guidelines" didn't allow them to reveal the judges names. GUIDELINES? Are you kidding me? Throw me a bone, here. In my opinion, the two most important aspects of a competition are the amount of the prize money and who is judging my script. It's way too easy to list several big name agencies and say someone from all these companies will be judging, and then not name them. If those people were really judging, I can't imagine Accolades creating guidelines that prevented them from saying who they were. I'm not saying they're out to get us. But I would be interested in the response you would get if you sent an E-mail to those agencies and asked if they really had someone judging the competition. Maybe it's the valet.
I appreciate your honesty on this forum. But I'm curious about your statement that you read 1/3 of the scripts submitted to Slamdance. We writers sometimes assume too much, but I always assume that the guy running the competition isn't judging the screenplays himself. Were you judging, or reading them for another reason? You may be a great contest coordinator, but if you were judging, what credentials do you have to judge screenplays? Not trying to attack you. It's just that I've learned much much more about Slamdance from this message board than I ever will from their web site. And I just noticed that their web site doesn't reveal who the judges are. That's a bad sign in my opinion for a competition. Also, will you be judging your new competition yourself?
Thanks Allen. Always interesting to know what goes on behind the curtain.
As for the report cards: I thought this board was for us to discuss the pros and cons of competitions. Now we vote on the competitions and use this board to talk about the pros and cons of voting. I liked the message board as a means of spreading the buzz on competitions. I think the report card system is asking for controversy and makes it too easy for writers with sour grapes to call a worthy competition terrible and amateur. Also stuffing the ballots is to be expected. Regardless, I'd like to thank you Frederick for always thinking of new features to add to moviebytes. Keeping it fresh will ensure longevity. And we will always have a place to go.
If you need it, get rid of it. If you don't, keep it. I heard that once about voiceover, and it put in perspective for me. If you're telling the story visually, then the added texture of well-written dialogue enhances the film. If you're not telling the story visually, then you're probably using the voiceover as a crutch. First-time writers should never use voiceover.
Can someone please give me an exact definition of what optioning a script really means for the writer. And if someone has had a script optioned, what is the process as far as signing on the dotted line and where does it go from there? Thanks.
I'd start with a digital video camera. You could search for a site that rates them.
In between acts, I want to show static shots of artwork and nature that reflect the mood of the film. How do I put that on paper?
Yuk it up.
I'm just going to use it twice. Between acts. There needs to be a short intermission to smooth the transition, due to the nature of the scenes. Don't tell me it can't be done, because there were about 8 intermissions with artwork in BREAKING THE WAVES and they worked beautifully. Mine is a totally different style of story, but I know there is a way to format it on paper.
Thank you everyone. Nice to see participation on a quality message board like this. It hit me this afternoon that the slug I was trying to remember is SERIES OF SHOTS.
I think it's McKee who wrote Story. And that is the best book on screenwriting period. You should have your friends read your script before sending it off. When 2 friends tell you the same thing, believe it.
Are you sure SERIES OF SHOTS only pertains to action shots? It seems like I remember that too, but forgot. I guess I should give up that part of the vision and consider it part of the director's job. The reason I'm hesitant is this: One of the toughest parts of writing, to me, is getting the pace right--like including direction between dialogue lines to give the reader the correct pause.
The last scene of my first act hits you like a truck. The audience needs a moment before jumping into Act II. What I see in my mind works perfectly. Should I give that up, because I'm not the director. I mean, I've seen author scripts that tell you when the credits are rolling.
What's the abbreviation for special effects? SPFX, right?
I thought that was sound effects.
You said that the "expensive shots" done with 16mm & 35mm cameras are still out of reach with video. Could you define what kind of shots you're referring to? Thank you.
You don't need friends who write, just friends who read. Anyone who enjoys a good story can offer valid opinions about your script. When the same criticism keeps popping up, then you have something to work on.
The town Dicaprio's character is from (somewhere in the Midwest I think) wasn't founded until years later. That's the only mistake I've ever heard Cameron admit to.
I know two judges who have read for Austin in the past. Here's the scoop: Readers are asked to read the first 10 or 30 pages (I honestly can't remember which) and give their score. The readers are compensated not with pay, but with passes to the film festival. One guy I know was a semifinalist reader, the other one I'm not sure which round.
Make no mistake about it. AFF is a money-making machine. They spend NOTHING on their competition (they don't have to pay readers). They charge $40 per entry. They receive over 4000 entries. They give away a whopping $9,000 total in cash prizes. Wow!!! $9,000!
The writers are spending over $160,000 to enter . . . and the grand prize is $4,000? Can't even round up to 5 grand. And yet we come out in droves to throw our hat in the ring.
With all the new coverage services, I'm curious. What do you guys budget, in an average year, for competitions, coverage, and other screenwriting services (including who's buying what and other internet subscriptions). I was surprised at first to see in another thread, that someone had spent over a thousand dollars. But now that I think about it, that's probably the norm.
Everyone who follows these comp's knows how great Nicholl is, and we applaud you for keeping it that way. But I have to wonder why you would defend AFF.
First, how do you know that ALL of the profit from the screenplay comp. goes into the festival? I doubt that anyone outside of AFF knows where that money goes. But assuming it does, it doesn't make me warm and fuzzy inside to know that my entry fee instead of going to prize money or for better judges will finance some festival that I'm going to have to pay between $325 and $700 to get into anyway. Let me guess, the festival entry fee funds the screenplay competition? Austin Film Festival is not a non-profit organization. It is owned by some very business-savvy former marketing professionals that are doing very well for themselves.
I have no problem with them making a lot of money. Capitalism baby! I congratulate them for being able to get away with giving out such small prizes and still attracting so many screenwriters. They obviously got in on this very early in the game. But I do have a problem with writers being misled. And reading some of these message boards, it seems like some people don't have all the facts.
Greg, don't take this as an attack on you. As I said, you rock and so does your competition. But if you're going to speak on behalf of AFF, then I have to speak on behalf of the screenwriters.
Would someone who subscribes to Variety's EXTRA package please tell me what the article about Gersh going online is about, and what their url is?
Thanks in advance.
Can you explain a little about your contract with the writers? You are the same as a literary agency right? (except your commission is much lower) When a writer signs on with your site, he/she is under contract with you to give you a % of any deal. So what if the writer already has an agent, or finds one after signing on? How does that work? And what if a writer secures a deal without your help? Still a commission for you, or no? And if not, what's to keep the two parties from making a deal once you connect them, and leaving you out in the cold?
Just a little curious about how this new E-Hollywood is going to work. Seems problematic to me, and I'd like to know how you solved these problems.
Also, I looked at your site and was a little unclear about this: Does the fee for a feature script allow the writer to post the whole script in your database? Or just a synopsis? Thanks.
It's always interesting for me to interact with the creative minds behind new concepts, particularly on the internet.
I'm interested to know what the toughest part was in creating such an elaborate web site with so many functions. My thinking is that it must have been expensive, which means you'll have to have a lot of listings to turn a profit.
Good luck with it.
Actually, I know html isn't that difficult. But storyxchange stores tons of info. from writers including whole scripts. Then they can call parts of it up upon request via password. I'm just assuming that kind of database and web application are much more complex than your average web site. Programming something like that has to be in the 5 figure range. Plus the memory space.
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