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You don't know me, but I recently discovered this Board (don't know why it took me so long) and have been following some of the latest discussions with interest.
Regarding the AAA contest, I wanted to say that I sent Pasha an email in June asking when I would receive my script evaluations, and she replied in a timely fashion, saying they would be sent out around mid-August. I have to say I was somewhat surprised, as I submitted mine in February, and the information on the website indicated that evaluations would be sent when they were completed. Since I entered so early, I did think I would get them much sooner. On the other hand, no guarantees were made.
I was disappointed about one other aspect of the contest. In prior years they have put out quarterfinalist lists and so naturally I expected they would do so again. It's nice to know if you at least were close (and also to have some kind of contest credit) or to figure you better plan that next rewrite soon if you didn't even make the quarterfinals.
In addition, it was implied that there would be a semifinalist list, as the website tells us there will be these semifinalist prizes: FEATURE SCREENPLAY SEMIFINALISTS " Publicity -- your name and script name posted on our web site. " Subscription to Creative Screenwriting Magazine. " Free Educational DVD on Screenwriting From Our Expo DVD Collection. However, only one "semifinalist" was listed and it was not really a semifinalist; it was more like an honorable mention or runner up kind of thing.
I do appreciate all the time and trouble that goes into running a contest, and offer my criticism as a means for improvement.
I agree, getting feedback 6 months later is simply not useful. But some contests are better than this. Script Savvy will get you the feedback in a month (or maybe just a little bit longer) and they do a great job, so I would definitely continue to use them.
Does anyone know of any other contests that guarantee feedback within a month or so?
I also like Inktip. I've gotten 13 script reads out of their service since January. Some of that interest came after contest placements (wherein one of the prizes was an email announcement from Inktip). I also change my loglines. Currently I just have one script posted, and my latest logline and synopsis for it are generating quite a bit more interest than previous loglines and synopses, so I plan to stick with them for a while.
I agree that most of the prodcos are low budget indies, at least the ones looking at my stuff. And unfortunately, none of these script reads has led to an option. But as someone already said, it's all about getting as many reads as you can, 'cause it takes a ton to reach a company that might want to make your spec or hire you as a writer.
Inktip is also useful if you have any short scripts. I posted the logline for my short in their Shorts index (you must have a paid listing on the site to use this service), and got a lot of people requesting to read the script. Quite a few are students, which is fine except my one requirement was that I didn't want it to be made and just used as someone's thesis project... I wanted a filmmaker who planned to submit it to as many festivals as possible and really get the short film out there to be seen. Anyway, someone like that found my short through Inktip and his company is in production on my short right now!
Colin, you mentioned you like VPF better. Can you tell us what success you've had from that (like, script requests or an option or an assignment)? I like that they have to answer you, but it's quite a bit more money than Inktip.
Question two: Everyone on this Board keeps mentioning Barb. Could someone please tell me who she is? If she does such a great job, I would like to find out if I can hire her for feedback on my next script.
I agree. I find the current action films boring because the action has become so over the top that it takes me out of the story. The action seems so unreal, I can't believe any of it could really happen, and then I remember it's nothing but a movie and I no longer care what happens to any of the characters.
Ron, you make a good point. Why enter any contest that is poorly run or offers cheap or useless prizes? If these contests fold, will it be any loss to us? I think not.
A big issue here, I believe, is communication. I don't like it when a contest doesn't report results on the date promised, but if they issue an apology and new reporting date right away, then I'm fine with that. It's the ones that don't even bother to let you know what's going on, or to acknowledge that they've made a mistake by apologizing, that really bug me.
Likewise the contests that extend deadlines without letting people know in advance. If I contact a contest by email right before the deadline, and they quickly let me know that the deadline is going to be extended, I'm fine with that. This happened with Page (always a lightning fast response from those two well-organized women), and also one year when Jim was still running the Expo contest, I contacted him before the deadline and he let me know right away that there would be an extension. The best would be if they announced the extension before the end of the so-called "final" deadline, but barring that, if I can find out by email, I can live with that.
Me neither. How do you know it was supposed to be the 5th? It just says September on the website right now.
Actually, I did call them about the date for the awards ceremony (which will be for the shorts, teleplays, features and I don't know what else). On the phone they said they are now looking at October 7 as the most likely date for that (I guess, because judging the feature contest is taking longer than they anticipated).
I didn't get the first email either. So then I went to their website and signed up (on the right side of their home page) where it says, SIGN UP FOR VIDEO and NEWS UPDATES. That worked because then I got their next email notification (of the quarterfinalists). I figure I can always unsubscribe later on.
Congrats on your and other Moviebyters' placements!
Thanks, Robert! Good luck to you and other M'byters!
Thanks, Irin. Congrats to you. From what I have seen of your contest results so far, I'm glad we are not in the same genre grouping!
Thanks! Congratulations and good luck to all!!
This is a great thread, Irin. We spend all this money on contests with the hope of breaking in; prize money is nice but it will not last long and will not build your career.
Script Savvy has been the best by far for me. After winning the contest last October, I received about 5 requests to read my script. Since then a few more requests have dribbled in, the latest coming last week! That's pretty amazing to get a request one year later. Also, Script Savvy gives you an email announcement of your win in Inktip's newsletter, and that brought in another 6-7 requests to read the script. And, I hear that Script Savvy is now using Sell-a-Script (it wasn't when I won), and that brought about 40 requests for my friend who won the contest more recently (granted, with a very commercial rom-com). I guess you could use Sell-a-Script without Script Savvy, but wouldn't it bring in more requests if your blurb says you just won this contest?
As for actual results, a producer who read my script through Script Savvy hired me to write a screenplay based on his own premise, so I got real work through this contest placement.
Other than this, I got a few script reads from Movie Script when my feature made their Winners' Circle.
In general, I use the contest placements when pitching at Expo or Great American Pitchfest and have been fairly successful at soliciting reads at these events. Except, as Irin mentioned, some people have no idea what contest you're talking about if it's not Nicholl's or Austin.
Hopefully this thread will help us better identify the contests that are making the biggest difference. I never tried Screenplay Festival, so thank you, Nathan, for mentioning that.
I signed up for the ScriptPIMP database a couple months ago and queried a bunch of managers and agents. I only heard back from one, which was a pass. At least that one had the courtesy to reply. These are companies who signed up for the database, so you'd think they could at least respond to those who query through that means.
But as for their coverage service, I've never tried it. Inktip has a checkbox for "ScriptPIMP recommends." Has being able to check that helped anyone get a read or make a sale?
Does anyone have a specific example of a coverage service that liked your script so much, they found you a buyer/optioner/agent/manager?
I have read that our scripts are much more likely to be seen as calling cards than to be made into movies. But I'm not sure that changes anything about what we choose to write. You might think that if your script is only going to be a calling card, you could write something that is not commercial at all and it won't matter. But I think that even if it's just going to function as a calling card, it should still be based on as commercial a premise as possible, because the producer or agent looking at it will probably want to see that you're capable of coming up with a commercial idea and developing it effectively.
So, I guess I'm saying that I would take the same approach writing a script in either case... choose a marketable premise and write the best damn script I can.
The article is full of good ideas. Thanks for posting it, Stephen.
I'm out. Best of luck to those who remain!
Congratulations, Stephen! Must be an amazing script.
Semifinalists will be announced on 10/14, according to their email.
They're not the greatest communicators, no. Basically you have to check their website to find out results. They posted the ten finalists and I think there's also now an announcement of the winner.
On the plus side, if you're a finalist in any of their contests, you get invited to the awards ceremony. My short script was a finalist in the short contest, so I was invited. It was a very nice event held at the WGA last week, with food and drinks and mingling with industry folk. Awards were announced and prize envelopes handed out. I made a few contacts which could prove useful. And I won an all access pass to the Slamdance Film Festival in January, which is pretty nice since short scripts often don't win much of anything.
So, I'm just saying Slamdance is legit and well-intentioned even if they seem disorganized at times.
Very well put. Last year I had a script finish in the semifinals and was notified one day before the expo began. I had already planned to attend; otherwise it would've been too late. I agree that notifications need to be made well in advance of the start of Expo in order to allow the contestant who placed ample time to make arrangements to come and leverage their placements as effectively as possible.
I must also mention that placing in the semifinals - which represented the top 1% or fewer of all entries - did not garner a single read as a result of any efforts on the part of the contest organizers. I actually would prefer if they keep their cash (not that I was entitled to any as a semifinalist) and instead devote time and effort to getting their top placing scripts read by industry players. Surely the top 1% should be considered worthy of their efforts.
As you pointed out, Irin, Austin is a great example of an industry gathering that provides specific opportunities and discounts to their quarterfinalists and above. If the Expo Contest would provide similar opportunities in terms of, say, exclusive panels and parties to promote those who place in the contest, it would become a much more intriguing proposition.
As it is, I too decided not to enter the Expo contest again unless changes are made. This year, for the first time in some years, I submitted nothing.
Do you think 90% of the scripts women are selling are rom coms because that's what 90% of women are writing, or because producers don't trust a woman to write action or thrillers or other types of comedies? Just wondering if you got any sense of this from your research. I'm a woman who likes to write thrillers and sci-fi.
Thanks, John! Congrats to Irin and Mike also. Good luck!
Anyone who currently uses Movie Outline 3.0... what do you think of it? I really like the demo. But before I spend $200, I wanted to check and see what current users have to say about it, pro or con.
Thanks in advance for any feedback you can give me.
Thanks a lot for the information, Ron. I see what you're saying. I thought I might prefer to use Movie Outline just for the outlining/development stage, and then do the actual script in Final Draft. But if I decide to write the script in MO too, can I then export the file to Final Draft? Would I save the file as rtf to do that? But I'm not sure if any of the formatting info would be lost when opening an rtf file in Final Draft. Sometimes producers will want the script in fdr format, otherwise I wouldn't care.
I suggest... for a scene like this you need to establish a tone. For example, the surroundings and the weather could reflect the emotional state of the protagonist. Describe the graveyard as silent, empty, or deserted. Branches of trees are stark, leafless. The grass is yellow, neglected. There are gray clouds or black clouds or it's raining. The wind blows strong or the air is unnaturally still. You get the idea. The descriptions should be brief, but they need to be strong visual representations of the protagonist's state of mind.
Along with this, it's important to show what the protagonist is feeling through his own actions or inactions. Does he weep? Or maybe he does something that shows he's angry and feeling sorry for himself. Or his face is blank but tense, because he's the type who holds his feelings inside. Think about one small action he can do that will illustrate the depth of his grief.
It will still be a short scene. But I think if you manage to convey the depth of emotion felt by your protagonist, the reader will understand the great significance of the scene.
Ditto on all the positive comments about Script Savvy above. I actually think this is the most useful contest a screenwriter can enter these days. I suppose Nicholls can launch a career, but even a great script may never win it. Whereas Script Savvy runs monthly so it doesn't have too many entries at a time, and therefore winning is quite possible. I won it last year, got a lot of reads, and ended up accepting a writing assignment from an independent producer. Donna works so hard to promote her winners; you couldn't ask for anything more. Also, the feedback is terrific and I always get the full analysis.
I also have a script which is both a comedy and a mystery/thriller/action. It has always done best in contests when entered as the latter. Not sure why that is; maybe because the mystery is seen as the heart of the story, whereas the comedy is just like icing on the cake.
Good luck (though I don't suppose you need it with those impressive wins).
Congratulations, Stephen. I really think yours was the best title.
I notice you post frequently here, and I also noticed your script got an honorable mention from the Scriptshadow contest.
First of all, congratulations!
Secondly, can you keep us posted and let us know if this leads to any industry requests? Scriptshadow has created a stir, and it would be interesting to see if the industry values the recommendations that come from there. It would be nice to know if their next contest would be worth entering (Scriptshadow hints that it will no longer be free).
That's awesome, Mike. Hope it brings you a sale. Please let us know!
Wow, I think that about sums it up. Thanks for taking the time to write that post, Mike.
I also have gotten great notes from Script Savvy and A Feeding Frenzy (but the latter is not currently running a contest).
Regarding Slamdance, I had a short script in their top 5 last year and won an invitation to an awards/networking party at the WGA building in LA. I attended and made a few useful contacts. I also won a free pass to attend the Slamdance Film Festival. Unfortunately I couldn't attend, but I was able to transfer the pass to a friend, so that was good.
On the bad side, I had to contact them MANY times before I received any of my prizes (there was other stuff too), and I never did receive all of it. However, it sounds like they are making changes to their contests this year, so perhaps there will not be as many problems. I would enter again because it's a significant festival, and I do believe they are well-intentioned.
Regarding contests like Acclaim and the Writers Place, I try to find evidence that they have succeeded in providing access to their winners (like at least one winner getting an agent or prodco). If I can't find any evidence of that, I don't enter.
Yeah, someone on Done Deal Pro posted that the person who gave them notes on the script they submitted to the Slamdance TV contest turned out to be the person who won the contest (i.e., the contest winner was a reader in that very contest).
Anyone know for sure if this was true?
Susan: Regarding Cynosure, I had a thriller script that placed in their quarterfinals one year, so perhaps a horror would also have a shot.
Regarding Scriptapalooza: I know what you're saying about not being notified, Bobbette, but at the same time, Scriptapalooza does try to help those who place in the contest. I was a semifinalist one year and they did communicate with us by email and did try to get the script out there. A friend of mine, also a semifinalist, got one or two reads out of it. Most contests don't do a thing for their semifinalists. Scriptapalooza does have several success stories posted, and they do seem to generate a number of reads for their finalists, and some for the semifinalists.
My main beef with Scriptapalooza is that the winner gets all the cash. I like to think that if I'm lucky enough to get in the top three, I should get some cash along with access. I mean, for 1st place to get 10k and 2nd place to get nothing makes no sense to me. There can't be that much difference between the two.
By contrast, I like the way Scriptpimp splits it equally among four winners. And the remaining 16 finalists get a little cash and travel money too. Plus an invitation to a networking event. I'm always going to prefer a contest where there's a larger likelihood of seeing some sort of benefit. I do wish Scriptpimp would name its semifinalists and quarterfinalists, but I guess you can't have everything.
When my script finished in the winners' circle (top 9 scripts) of the Movie Script Contest, I got several reads out of it. Also, I believe they got an agent for the winner. However, I haven't heard much about them lately, and they do tend to go way past their deadlines.
Worldfest Houston didn't get me reads, but if you're a finalist they do give you a free pass to their festival and a free awards weekend, which includes a dinner, visit to Nasa, sailboat trip and barbecue. I went and it was lots of fun, and it did provide networking opportunities.
I have to say, Contest of Contest Winners was the worst contest I've ever entered. They never even posted the list of winners on their own website the year I placed in the top ten.
Unfortunately, Janet, if you want to limit the contests you enter to those who get reads for ALL their finalists, you will not find any contests to enter. They can't force their producer/manager/agent sponsors to read material that doesn't interest them (usually because they don't think that the premise sounds commercial). My guideline is... have they gotten reads for SOME of their finalists? If so, that's good enough for me.
Irin, lol, I won a platinum with a thriller script at Worldfest Houston in 2005. It was also my first big win, so I went and had a really great time. So, same as you, it holds a big place in my heart. Too bad I missed out on meeting you and your wife. And she won the regatta, no less!
Irin, I'm sure we didn't meet. I wasn't there long, just 2 days and I tried to watch some films too, so I didn't meet as many people as I would've liked.
I imagine we'll meet at a festival one of these days:-)
You may want to consider that the vast majority of indie films make NO money at all. They do not get distribution deals. If these producers have no prior film/TV credits, it's most likely that if they do manage to make the film and TV pilot (a very big if), neither is going to bring in any money.
Therefore, it's wise to ask for at least $100 for the option (as a show of honest intention) and for a paycheck when principal photography begins. You may be willing to settle for not too large of a paycheck, depending on the size of the backend percentage you get, but you would be wise to insist on some kind of paycheck. It will almost certainly be the only money you get.
Also, the money you spend on an entertainment attorney will be money well-spent.
But what if they go out of business next year?
When a script of mine made the quarterfinals of Cinestory, we were allowed to enter new versions for the next round. Didn't help in my case, but I appreciated being given the opportunity to update it. Presumably, Cinestory still does this.
I believe Cinequest also allows finalists to submit a new version.
It seems like a no-brainer. The contest need only contact the finalists (which could be a pretty small number) and ask them to send their latest by a certain date/time. If nothing new is received, the contest judges the script they already have. Easy.
Heather, that looks very interesting and I never heard of it before. Thanks for posting the link.
However, I think Bobbette may have been referring to The Great American Screenplay Competition (otherwise known as Acefest, listed here on Moviebytes), as opposed to the Great American Short Screenplay Competition (your link).
Does anyone have experience of, or good things to say about, Acefest?
Thanks for the information regarding SCRIPTOID. I checked out your website and it all sounds interesting, except I found one clause in your rules that would keep me from entering:
"If at any time SCRIPTOID does not receive its entry quota, SCRIPTOID reserves the right to cancel the competition without prior notice, with refunds, or minimize/diminish cash prizes."
Canceling is fine with me, as long as I get a refund, but diminishing the cash prizes really does not seem fair. If you do not receive enough entries to pay out the cash prizes, by all means cancel. But as long as you go forward with the contest, you should be prepared to deliver the exact awards you have promised initially to entrants. Moreover, I believe this clause (of possibly lowered prize amounts) is mentioned only on the Rules page, not the Prizes page, so it's possible some entrants would not even notice it.
I know of no legitimate contest that gives itself carte blanche to modify its prize amounts after submissions have been made.
I'm not sure why my post would be seen as "picking a fight." I merely pointed out a clause I personally find objectionable. Yes, you are correct, I can simply choose not to enter the contest. However, I chose to point it out because Andrea sounded very nice and reasonable, and I thought that if I pointed out what may be seen as a problem by some entrants, the contest organizers might see fit to change it.
I did not mean to imply that SCRIPTOID is not a legitimate contest. I certainly don't know one way or the other. I meant to say that if SCRIPTOID hopes to join the ranks of those contests that are viewed as legitimate, perhaps it should employ the rules that most legitimate contests currently operate under.
You don't have a problem with the rule. I do. So what? Why go so far as to adopt a pseudonym to argue your point? I have posted under my real name.
Thank you, Andrea. I'm impressed by your fair and reasonable response, and will seriously consider entering in this, your inaugural, year:-)
Steve, in Bluecat's contest last year I received very positive notes on a script, basically saying that if I made one or two changes to my script, it would be ready to be made into a movie. And then the script did not even place as a quarterfinalist.
That seemed inconsistent to me. I would've understood not placing if they felt the script had real problems. Anyway, after that I decided Bluecat was not a contest for me and I no longer enter.
On the other hand, the prizes are good and I do think Gordy wants to help screenwriters, so best of luck to all those who advanced.
Thanks for the recommendation, Peter. Best of luck as you move forward. Sounds like you will be selling something soon:-)
Does anyone have any experience with this website (screenplay2sell.com)? I have received a lot of emails lately (from Creative Screenwriting, PAGE, etc.) recommending their service. It's only $25 for lifetime, which sounds like a great deal, but on the other hand, all those small checks for screenwriting services tend to add up if I'm not careful. Has anyone gotten reads from agents or production companies after contacting them through this website?
Yes, thanks for your replies. It does seem that it is probably too soon to get much feedback on this site. Nick, your experience doesn't sound good so far, but maybe you will hear something back soon. Good luck!
Julia Gray of Silver Screenwriting posted this in her blog (before any of this blew up):
''I Do Not Have Time to Read This Script So I'm judging my behind off today as I prepare to announce the top 50 quarterfinalists in the Silver Screenwriting Competition tomorrow. I have 70 scripts in this round and 20 scripts have to go. How do I choose? Well, I have to vet the notes on the top 70 that the earlier judges and readers left for me and I have to go through them quickly and compare them side by side in rapid succession. The scripts that engage me I keep putting in the ''maybe'' pile and script that don't are an easy elimination. I keep adding maybes. But is THIS maybe better than THAT maybe? What's the page count? Are the first few pages engaging? Why did it make the cut thus far at all? How is the dialogue, how are the characters? I have to work quickly. I don't have all day. Well, I do have all day but the deadline looms. And this there's one script — this ONE script that I can't stop reading. I mean, it's hypnotic. It's clearly going into the quarterfinalist pile and probably will be considered upward of that. But I need to put it down. I need to keep judging. But this writer — man, this writer — I just want to say to you, and you don't know who you are — THANKS for slowing me down. I say that with love. Wow.''
It's nice that she fell in love with one of the scripts. But the way she talks about the others: how fast she has to judge them, and how she may be eliminating according to page count or by reading no more than the first few pages, and how she is using the notes of the earlier judges (shouldn't each round judge come to his or her own conclusions?)& this seems quite similar to, though not as snarky as, Margaux's attitude.
Also, I think it's a real problem when contests do not insist on anonymous judging. The judges should see a title and nothing else. Nicholl's states very strongly that they want to see the title only, because all judges have prejudices, whether they try to suppress them or not, regarding where people come from, what the writer's gender is, whether there are one or two writers, and so on.
Irin, this is from Margeaux's apology blog:
"I would also like to point out that my post in no way reflects the attitude and business philosophy of my colleague Julie Gray or the Silver Screenwriting contest or The Script Department. Julie is a dedicated mamma hen to writers everywhere, a well-versed businesswoman, and I know how much she truly cares about all writers she works with. She does not work or approach writing in any of the ways my post may have assumed. Dragging her good name and reputation into this is a personal and professional dark spot that is entirely my fault."
Doesn't that sound as if her original post must have referred to the Silver Screenwriting contest? And if not, why not say so here without identifying what the "actual" contest was? She could immediately reinstate Silver's good name by stating that she was referring to another contest... if that were the case.
I recently re-watched ''To Kill a Mockingbird.'' To judge from the first 20-30 minutes, it appears to be a story about kids growing up in the south. If, on first viewing, I had given up after the first few minutes, I might never have known it was a powerful drama about racism and prejudice.
In my opinion, contest readers should read the entire script because this is what entrants have paid for. But at the very minimum, they ought to read up to the first thirty pages. Stopping after page two or three is absurd.
When I enter a contest, it is with the expectation that the contest will select the most compelling and well-written story as the winner, not the one most likely to be the next Hollywood blockbuster. Independent films often have slower beginnings than studio films. Does that mean we should not bother entering scripts intended for the independent market?
If the reader covered 75 scripts in 3 hours and selected 20, how many of those 20 could she have read all the way through? One maybe? I've read many a script that had an exciting opening and then died in the 2nd act. There easily could've been one or two from the rejected pile that opened slowly and then soared in the 2nd act.
I think it's pretty clear which contest was involved, and I don't plan to enter it in the future.
I would say the first 10-15 minutes of To Kill a Mockingbird are not terribly compelling, and perhaps I would not have stuck around to watch more if I had not known it was based on a Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. And it would have been my loss; I would have missed out on a great drama. The point is, contest readers are going to assume none of our scripts are based on Pulitzer Prize-winning novels, so what will keep them reading past page two? The fact that we paid $60 or so (typical late entry fee) to have our scripts seriously considered should guarantee readers at least withhold judgment until page 30. Hey, if after 30 pages they still feel the story unfolds much too slowly and will not make a compelling film, I'm fine with that. I just feel the pacing cannot accurately be judged without a reading that includes the first act at a minimum.
I have no problem with contests doing whatever they want to do to judge scripts, as long as it's clear that's the way they operate. If in some cases they will not read past page two, I'd like to know that so I can choose not to enter.
I mentioned To Kill a Mockingbird only because I happened to re-watch it recently. I'm sure many other examples can be found in current movies wherein it is not clear what the genre is or how exciting the plot will become by the end of page two.
Agreed that the opening pages (in fact, every page of the script) need to be as strong and compelling as possible. But when someone quits after only 2 pages, it may be because the reader is making some incorrect assumptions about the upcoming story.
Greg, since you have kindly joined in, can you clarify the Nicholl's policy? Are your readers expected to read all scripts in their entirety, or do you have a minimum page number you expect them to reach, or do you leave it up to the reader?
At the risk of appearing to switch sides, I'd have to disagree with you, Paula. That first scene in Inglorious Basterds is masterful (and I'm not generally a Tarantino fan). I believe we get a glimpse very quickly of the family under the floor, so we know the stakes right off the bat. The German commander could talk for hours about laundry soap and we are on the edge of our seats because we are afraid they'll be discovered. At least, it seemed that way to me.
Greg, thank you for answering the question and for the respect given screenwriters by you and the contest you represent.
James, I completely agree with your assessment of the ''two weeks earlier'' syndrome. Unfortunately, we all do it because we feel like we have to, particularly after finding out that some readers dismiss scripts after two pages. I too wish it would stop.
Stephen, I think what was so upsetting about Margaux's post is that I, and I think, many of the people here on Moviebytes, are not submitting our first scripts and have indeed done much if not all of what you suggest to improve our screenplays. Many of us have placed highly in other contests, have optioned scripts, etc., so I don't think we're simply delusional. Therefore when a contest reader like Margaux says she is flying through her judging, dismissing scripts right and left as if the writer has no idea how to put together a sentence, let alone an entire screenplay, it hurts. And when a contest organizer like Julie states that all the scripts that didn't make the cut (top 50, or 5%) are much worse than last year's, it hurts. It's a big slap in the face to all of us who have worked very hard over the past year to improve our craft.
And yes, I will suck it up and persevere, because I'm determined to the brink of insanity, but I thought now would be a good time to pause and point out that if you don't demand respect, oftentimes you don't get it. Greg and the Nicholl's manage to show respect for the writer; so do quite a few other contests. How about the rest?
Stephen, can you point us to where she says it was not Silver she was reading for? I don't see that in her retraction.
This is all very good advice, but it's off-topic. The question was, ''Should contest judges decide after 2 pages?'' I believe the answer is no. An exciting beginning does not guarantee an engrossing read. Moreover, since two pages are too little to give a real sense of the story, the reader is likely to form opinions based on prejudices. For example, let's say the protagonist is mentally challenged, and the reader doesn't believe a mentally challenged protagonist can carry a story for 120 pages (or that such a story will be commercial). Or maybe the script is set in Appalachia and the reader doesn't like ''hillbilly'' stories. Given the tone of Margaux's blog, it doesn't seem at all unlikely that such snap judgments were made.
Some of you seem to be assuming that scripts passed over by a two-page scan must be poorly written. I don't think that's a valid assumption. Yes, it's easy to tell in two pages when the author really can't write, or has not bothered to master formatting rules. But I don't believe 95% of contest entrants are like that, as Margaux implies. My guess is that at least half of the entrants can produce an exciting first two pages, but they may not be followed up by anything great after that. Which is why one needs to read more&
I have, by the way, been a contest judge, have belonged to five different writers' groups at various times and have received professional feedback on many occasions, so I know what other people's scripts look like and have heard the worst about my own.
Here are some responses from the Done Deal Pro board that say it better than I could've:
From mariot: ''According to your post, scores of 11 to 18 don't get a second look but scores of 0-10 do get a second look (albeit a lightning fast one).
Which scripts would really have a chance of getting the 19 points needed to advance?
The ones that scored 17-18 or the ones that scored 0-10?
How could anyone expect to "make sure the particularly low scores had been fairly judged" by reading only the first few pages?
Makes no sense.''
Also from mariot: ''And of those 75 scripts Margaux posted about reading, she stated she advanced 20 to the next round.
So 20 scripts that had a score of 0-10 deserved to go through while all of the scripts originally scoring 11-18 were eliminated without a second look.''
From lordmanji: ''wait so 20 out of the 75 0-10 low scoring scripts advanced to the next round while 30 out of 925 scripts were advanced by the other first round readers. that is a tale of epic disproportion. no wonder margaux acts like she's god with that much influence for doing so little.''
Decide for yourself whether you would like to enter this contest in future.
Interpret it however you like, ''David.'' I personally detect signs that truth is being twisted. Julie says: ''Margaux did not read for the Silver Screenwriting Competition this year, nor is she involved with the judging.'' She goes on to say: ''Rather, Margaux read the 75 scripts that received 10 points or less in the 1st Cut round as a favor to me, to make sure the particularly low scores had been fairly judged.''
How is reading 75 scripts and possibly deciding their fates (to advance or not) not ''judging''? Moreover, at Julie's own website it states that Margaux is a finalist judge in the contest. So how can Julie say she's ''not involved with the judging''?
If Julie had simply said, Margaux was an early round judge, I'm sorry, I didn't know she'd be reading like that, I'd be much more inclined to forgive and forget. But the continued prevarication is troubling.
And by the way, Margaux's post said: ''I advanced 20 to the next round.''
Robert, I never meant for a minute to question the worthiness of the top 50, and I apologize if that's the way it seemed. I only meant to say that there could've been other worthies that were bypassed. I do wish you and the other 49 quarterfinalists the best, and if placing in this contest gives a big boost to your careers, I think that's wonderful.
Moreover, I don't believe for a minute that 20 scripts were plucked from the bottom of the heap. I think that description was a weak attempt to explain away Margaux's role in the judging.
However, I find your words troubling in that they suggest we can never question the inner workings of a contest, for fear that it might be upsetting to those among the group who have placed.
I'll try not to rain on anyone else's parade. In fact, I think I'll be staying off the board from now on. It's not worth the time and the headache.
Thank you, Janet. This was sweet of you. I'm sure I'll still hang out from time to time.
Thank you, Susan. And thanks for starting this topic. I've learned some things.
And James, thanks for confirming you Brits are exactly as we Yanks imagine:-)
Thanks for the encouragement, all. Paula, you are so right about "womaning up," lol.
Stephen, I disagree with most of what you say, but that's okay, I've had my say on the other thread and we're both entitled to our opinions. I wish you the best of luck too.
Guess I'll be sticking around after all:-)
It's just getting funny at this point. And the new Silverscreenwriting (winners only) thread? Colbert Platinum, anyone? Poor people (or losers), keep out!
Sorry, couldn't resist.
Regarding Inktip, I posted my short script logline there and got a number of requests to read it. I ended up optioning it to a filmmaker in Utah and he made the film very quickly. I'm happy with the job he did and it's my first produced film (have a 2nd in post right now). So I was very pleased with the Inktip service.
Also, I think you're wise to try to place in a few contests first. I had several finalist placements (one was a 2nd place finish) before I posted. I put that info in parentheses after the logline, and I'm sure it helped make my logline stand out from the pack.
However, I thought you had to have a feature listing on Inktip to use this service (I had one). If not, that's great. If so, it might still be worth paying for a feature listing in order to list your short.
Finally, I believe WGA registration is sufficient (in lieu of copyright). That's super easy to do online at wga.org.
I don't actually have anything to say, I just reject the idea of a private thread on a public board. Who's to keep us pesky posters out?
If you want to pat each other on the back without having to field the snide comments of the disenfranchised, you can form a private Yahoo or Gmail group.
Yay, I made someone laugh today!
Now back to work and see if I can do that with my screenplay (although it's a dark thriller).
Kudos to all of us!
Congratulations on your success, James M. To second what you just said, I also have been approaching other avenues of breaking in (besides contests). As I mentioned on another thread, my first short script was picked up by a filmmaker after it placed in some contests and I posted it on Inktip. He did a great job making the film, and it debuted at the Seattle True Independent Film Festival in June.
My second short script was picked up by a local filmmaker (Northern Cal), was shot locally in April using talent brought in from L.A., and is now in post-production. Because it was a local production I was able to be on set for the filming. It was a fascinating experience for me.
As a result of this activity, I now have a director attached to one of my features. He does not have a big name (yet), but he is someone whose talents I admire immensely. He also has much better contacts in the industry than I do, so I have hopes that he can get our project to the people who will attract or provide funding for an independent film.
There is no money to speak of in writing a short script, but at the very least, you may get the satisfaction of seeing your work produced. Filmmakers everywhere are hungry for good short scripts as a way to showcase their talents. And at best, getting a short script produced can lead to greater contacts in the industry, which can lead to someone wanting to make your feature, which can lead to a well-known Hollywood actor wanting to play your lead. Way to go, James!
Robert, I got 2-3 reads from Movie Script sponsers when my suspense drama tied for 9th place. And the winner of that particular contest got an agent out of it.
Congrats, Mike, and thank you for the Moviebytes articles. Really enjoy your sense of humor (which everyone needs to survive this business). Looking forward to the next one.
I'm not cool at all. I just wanted to crash the party.
My two both made it. Congrats and good luck to all!
I think Nicholl's is run in about as fair a manner as possible.
But you do understand, from this description, that more than half the scripts entered are eliminated by a single read? Only if the script gets a high enough rating to enter the 2nd round does it then have a chance for a third read, if one of its first two ratings is quite high. But it seems to me its very first rating cannot be terribly low, or it would not have gotten a second read.
Anyway, that's how I interpret it.
I'd second what Timothy said.
And I optioned my first short script to a filmmaker who found my short script logline listing on Inktip.
Best of luck to you, Susan!
Sorry your news wasn't positive, Cordell.
I submitted one short and just heard back today. Barb gave it a RECOMMEND and said it was "f**king brilliant." That made my day.
My script is only 6 pages long, but I figured when I submitted, that at the very least, I would get some good suggestions for improvement from Barb, and at best, I'd get a Recommend that I could use when courting filmmakers (if Barb's connections weren't interested).
Overall, I have tried several of the lower cost coverage services (though not afilmwriter.com yet) and I find Barb's feedback to be the most extensive and detailed. Typically her review is 7-8 pages long, compared to three from most others. I love her checklists, which show me in detail where in the script I have failed at something. And the accompanying comments often include specific suggestions for fixing stuff.
In short, I think Xtreme Screenwriting is doing a great job helping writers at a reasonable cost.
Hope you get lots of reads. Great job!
Even if you are not planning to make the short yourself, I recommend keeping it at 10 pages or less. Most filmmakers who are making shorts don't have much money and they will be more likely to option your script if it will be quite inexpensive to make. I've also read that a 10-min or less short is more likely to be accepted into a film festival, because it's easier to fit into the schedule.
I've written 3 shorts, at 15 pgs, 9 pgs, and now 6 pgs. I guess the next will have to be 3:-) The first two have been produced (not by me), and there is interest in the 3rd. So... keep it short! Good luck!
Feeling really lucky to still be in with two: a thriller and a short. Congrats and good luck to all!
It's great to hear some good news. Congratulations!
You've probably thought of this, but just in case. There are grants out there. The Women in Film fund, can't remember the requirements, but you can look it up. The San Francisco Film Society has a few different grants. For at least one of them you need to be a Bay Area resident, but I don't think that's true for all of them. You can check it out at sffs.org.
Great idea, Irin. I think I'll try that too. Good luck!
I wrote last night requesting a refund for the three scripts I had entered. The refund was delivered to my PayPal account by this morning.
I no longer have any cause for complaint against Silver Screenwriting, and will refrain from doing so in future.
Congrats, Robert. Good luck!
I just got my second round notification. I live in CA.
I haven't heard that anyone has gotten a call yet. Since you didn't get your letter today, Irin... maybe you're getting a call soon:-)
Last time I made the 2nd round, I didn't go and regretted it. I'm thinking I may go this year, although it sure is a heap of money.
Sounds like something I would do:-)
But surely, Robert, you have so many impressive contest credits that will give you bragging rights at Austin. Plus the one script that you can say placed in the second round, no reason to mention which year.
It seems to me that most events at Austin are open to all, except for maybe a couple of round table discussions for 2nd rounders and whatever special events are planned for semifinal and above. But Irin, for ex., went as a 2nd rounder and is raving about the experience. You ought to be able to get as much out of it, even if you're not a 2nd rounder THIS year.
I've decided to go! Steve, Robert: would love to meet you and other M'byters.
Robert, I'll be the woman passed out at the table next to you.
I booked the Stephen J. Austin Intercontinental (or whatever it's called) because it costs a bit less and it's also one of the conference hotels. The Driskill looks like it's practically across the street, so if no one's at the Austin, I'll just mosey over to the Driskill bar.
David Barkley derails any serious discussion of contests or other screenwriting issues just as surely as Dan Gomez once did, but for opposite reasons. Dan hated every contest, and could tolerate no argument in their favor. David thinks every contest is the best contest in the best of all possible worlds. Both David and Dan reject reasonable and valid arguments that question their zealous beliefs.
Karen, you and Jack and Chris (and I for one believe you are all different people) have presented reasoned arguments for any point of view you have put forth on this board, and I admire you all for that.
I do not admire zealotry that attempts to silence free speech.
Now I will be accused of being Karen/Jack/Chris.
Thanks, Heather! Hope I get to meet you in Austin.
Congrats to S. and Robert on Slamdance!
Congrats and good luck to all who placed!
Heather, thanks from me too for the article you wrote about Austin. It was very helpful, and I look forward to the update.
Like the t-shirt idea, Steve, except I need one that says "wife" instead of "husband."
Congrats, Melisa!! See you there!
I really think Austin ought to reconsider their notification process. I mean, at this point anybody is going to figure that they must be getting the call, not the letter. And then to find out it was a glitch!!! That is just not fair.
But I hope after you get over this annoyance, you will decide to come. A 2nd round placement is great, and like you implied, it's only that having had the expectation of a semifinal placement, it now seems a bit disappointing.
Thanks, and congratulations to Mike, Chris, John, Scott, and Patrick!
Thank you, and congratulations, Robert. Your screenplay is on a roll. It must be great!
The prize for the shorts category is that Slamdance will make my film and premiere it at Slamdance 2011. Very exciting!
Congratulations, Irin! That really is awesome news. And good to know that career-changing things can happen at film festivals.
Thanks very much for the encouragement, Irin.
Cool. Thanks for these great tips, Heather.
Not a peep yet. I understand your issues with the Expo, Irin, but I'm trying to adopt a Zen attitude:-). The prizes are awfully good, so for me it's worth it to enter, with the understanding that results are not likely to come in sooner than a day or so before the Expo. I live in northern Cal, so it's easy for me to pop down there at a moment's notice should I be so lucky. But I do understand the frustration of those who live farther away and cannot so quickly rearrange their plans.
Congrats, Julia! And congrats to the many other MBers in the list.
I'm in with a feature and a short.
Can someone who knows Austin propose where and when for our meetup?
I get in Wed. late afternoon (but will be attending Film and Food that evening).
The more the merrier! Can't wait to see all those bats, followed by food plus film. I suppose a wide-brimmed hat might be a good idea. Maybe sunglasses and a face mask too since we'll be looking up.
You've come to the right place for script contest listings. Click on the contest tab and you will find tons of contests for features and short scripts. Check the comments to see what prior entrants have to say about them. Some are definitely better run and more reputable than others.
As for short story contests, you should check out the Writers Market, although you may have to pay money to be able to browse their listings. You could check writersdigest.com, or maybe someone else has a suggestion regarding where to find a free list of short story contests.
The winners are now up on their website:
I don't see any list of finalists (or the list of semis that was emailed).
On DDP, someone said that Bill D. told them the job of updating the website has been outsourced to India, and thereby the delay. Amazing.
I think my attempt at Zen-like patience has expired. Expo said they were going to try to do better this year and post results earlier than in recent years past. They didn't. I don't think I'll be entering again.
Thanks, Julia! Indeed, PAGE really knows how to put on a show. My short script, Dearly Departed, won the Silver for Short Film. It has, in fact, already been made (I submitted it before optioning it, which is within the PAGE rules) and I'm so proud of the film, brought to life by an extremely talented director, cast, and crew.
Hopefully the PAGE bump will help get my other work in front of industry eyes.
Congrats to all who placed in this contest!
Way to go, TJ! Script Savvy should get you lots of reads!
Thanks, everybody! I have already received a long email from PAGE about what to expect, and just got an email from sellascript.com inviting me to sign up for the free services I won. PAGE is a well-run contest, that's for sure.
Just back from Austin last night. It's been a wonderful experience. So great to meet the other M'Byters. The fest itself provides amazing access to screenwriters, agents, managers, and producers working in the industry. Unfortunately, many cannot take your unsolicited submission, but the advice they give is still very useful and I have lots of ideas now about new strategies I may try. So overall the experience has been energizing and inspiring and just plain fun. Hope I can keep going every year!
Thanks, everyone. Slamdance is a class act. I went to the awards ceremony at the end of October at the WGA building in LA. The top five finalists in each of the five categories were invited, plus other Slamdance friends and judges from their contest. Robert Watson and R. Ian Simpson (who also won Bluecat) were there. We had time for lots of mingling plus food and wine. Peter Baxter (Slamdance founder) announced the awards and called us up one by one to receive them. It felt great to be honored.
I received an envelope containing my prize list: most importantly, that Slamdance is producing my script. Also there will be an all access festival pass waiting for me, along with some Slamdance merchandise (T-shirts and DVDs) to pick up at the fest. Additionally, I won a free copy of Final Draft, which I'm actually quite happy to get because it's FD 8 (I have 7) and it looks like it has some whizzy new features.
Regarding the short film, Slamdance started work on it within a week of the contest results being announced. They quickly rounded up a highly qualified director, casting director, line producer, and so on. The director got in touch with me right away and we talked about casting and some additions the director wants to make to the script. I love his ideas; they're going to improve the film a lot. Anyway, they are off and running and I plan to be there for rehearsals and possibly the filming, so I couldn't be happier with the way this is shaping up.
I'll give another update following the premiere in January. In the meantime, I highly recommend Slamdance as a contest to enter!
Thanks, Heather! I saw Kate's name and wondered if that was a solo effort or if you were involved too. Now I know. Congrats to both of you!
Also saw some other names I recognized. Congrats to James Pickering, Mike Donald, T.J. Smith, and all other M'byters on the list!
Thank you, Robert, James, Michael, Janet! Best of luck to everyone still in the running for the top 20 features!
Gary, at their website where they list the names, you have to scroll down and then click another link to the list with screenplay titles. But I'll save you the trouble by posting the link here: http://scriptoidchallenge.com/yahoo_site_admin/assets/docs/SemiFinalistList.31372343.pdf
Congrats on advancing!
Heather, that's so funny. Maybe I mentioned the title in Austin and you vaguely remembered it? Anyway, thanks for watching!
For anyone else who'd like to watch, here's the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wFvpfnlPNpE
It's in two parts because YouTube used to have a ten minute limit and this is 18.
Wait, you can watch Aces Over Eights in one part at Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/7235838
Congrats, Robert, Stephen, and Patricia! Have a great time at the awards dinner!
Irin, I can't answer your question. My title was "Raise You One Dead Body," and the filmmaker changed it. He described it to me as two aces and two eights, even though he used "over". Maybe Mike or Jim can help us out here.
Mike, thanks for watching and I'm so glad it passed the test of being credible to a real poker player.
Congrats and good luck all!
In this case, I'm happy to admit that Irin is right:-)
Thanks for your support, Mike. I'll have to start thinking about that sequel:-)
OMG, that contest has a lot of rules! Frederick, I'm with you. It's one thing to option your script if it's a monthly winner. If I understand correctly after skimming the mountain of rules, you're guaranteed at least 10k if you are the original writer of the winning project. That would certainly be worth an 18 month option and the possibility that your film might actually get made (by Warner Brothers!). But what if your script turns out not to be a winner, and in fact a much bigger loser than you thought in your first rush of excitement when you uploaded it to the Amazon site? Or if it's a project that's not popular with the Amazon crowd but that an indie filmmaker might've liked? Then your project idea is tied up for 18 months with no money for you and no chance of going anywhere until the 18 months have expired.
Look, I love the idea that Amazon is offering heaps of money to filmmakers and screenwriters, but I'm not sure I'd want to try this myself unless I had exhausted all other means of getting my script made.
What do other folks think?
Good luck to both of you! I'll download your scripts, though I'm not sure how soon I'll get to read them.
Ron, I agree with you (and John and Craig and others). After much deliberation, I feel that entering the Amazon contest would only encourage them (and others) to continue to take advantage of writers. I don't want to be a part of saying that it's all right to option my script for 18 months with no compensation, or that it's all right for any random person off the street to modify my story. I don't want to be a part of a contest that, so far, has nothing to do with the quality of writing, and everything to do with the popularity of the author. How many ratings do you think are the result of a serious read of the scripts, a comparison with other submitted scripts, and a desire to rate the works honestly? And how many do you think are given as a favor to a friend, or conversely, to purposely lower someone else's standing in order to raise one's own?
I'm all for progress that helps writers. This does not.
Congrats, Irin! I saw that too.
Fantastic, Irin and Mike! Hope this brings lots of attention for your scripts.
Thank you! And congrats to Heather, Kate, and Hallie!
Way to go, Bob! Congrats!!
If you have applied to festivals with your short film, you can get them on IMDB, even before they receive any acceptances.
Also, if you subscribe to IMDBPro there is no charge for posting your resume. The Pro version does give quite a bit more information (when you're looking up prodcos, etc.), so I recommend it if you can afford it. I think it's around a hundred bucks.
Thank you, James, and same to you.
Best of luck to all in achieving our writing dreams in the coming year!
Big congratulations to Steve Hochman for placing 3rd in The Writers Place shorts category with Whacked!
Hi all, I wanted to give an update on what's been going on with Slamdance since I won the short category last September.
The short was filmed in December at a synagogue in Woodland Hills, and I attended the shoot. Slamdance rolled out the red carpet for me on set (with Slamdance founder and producer Peter Baxter telling everyone in advance that this was all "for the writer"). Everyone was as friendly and welcoming as can be. The film stars three experienced film and television actors (Patrick J. Adams, Andrew Borba, and Brad Culver). Watching them perform under the helm of Oscar-nominated director, Adam Pertofsky, was an education. I also got to play an extra in the film, at the table right next to the actors. Very fun.
Slamdance has been moving lightning fast on this, and the film will premiere at 8 pm on 1/21/11 (opening night) at the Slamdance fest, along with a new feature called Pete Smalls Is Dead, directed by Alexandre Rockwell and starring Peter Dinklage, Tim Roth, Steve Buscemi and Rosie Perez.
Here's a link to the film on the Slamdance schedule, in case you are in Park City on 1/21 and would like to catch it: http://slamdance.bside.com/2011/films/deadintheroom_adampertofsky_slamdance2011
If you look at the pictures, I'm the woman under the clock in the 3rd one:-)
Anyway, all this is to say that Slamdance has followed through on the promise of producing my film with flying colors, and I highly recommend their contests to everyone!
Congrats, Robert! They sound like a class act. Please keep us informed as the project proceeds!
Congratulations and good luck, Janet!
I too have fretted over the question of one space or two. Two used to be standard, and then it gradually switched to one in prose writing. Like you and for the same reason, I switched to one in my screenplays. And like you, I was taken to task for this in a contest. So I checked some pro screenplays posted online, and found that about half used 2 spaces and the other half, one.
I've stuck with one. It's rare that you come upon a reader who will judge your script by the number of spaces between sentences. Although who knows, maybe that has kept my scripts from winning sometimes:-) Hmmm. I'll be interested to hear what others have to say on this topic.
And why would you expect that your "most deformed and ugliest" creative property might win the contest? Because it might be less ugly and deformed than the scripts other writers are pulling out of drawers? But then, would you really expect Warner Brothers to want to produce such a script? So, is it worth 20k to have one of the worst examples of your work posted for all to see for 18 months?
Moreover, you'll be killing that script for 18 months in the most likely case that it doesn't win. I have to agree with "the auditorz" that there is little likelihood Amazon will read new versions of a script they passed over one month, to consider it for winning the next month. It seems to me all those passed-over scripts on Amazon are now dead to the world.
Really sorry I won't get to see you there, Robert. I'll let you know how it goes.
It sounds like it's all coming together now, Irin. That's fantastic!
I'm really starting to think I should switch back to two. Also like Timothy's idea about a blank document with a period on either end. Sigh.
"The Dirty Little Secret Ms. February wants to Share:
Spelling and grammar does count."
Clearly, Miss February do know her grammar well.
(Sorry, just couldn't resist.)
This may be more than you were looking for, Robert, but here you go!
Regarding the film that Slamdance produced from my script, Dead in the Room, I couldn't be happier with it. I saw it for the first time with the audience on opening night. The production values are top notch: sound, editing, cinematography. The acting is fantastic. The music score, with its pulsing beat and undercurrent of ticking clock, is perfect for the story. The director did an outstanding job putting it all together and remaining faithful to my script while at the same time adding or adjusting in places to make the story that much stronger.
Slamdance rolled out the red carpet for the film and for me. It premiered in a packed house (there were people sitting on the floor) on opening night alongside a film starring Peter Dinklage and Steve Buscemi, among others. Peter Baxter, the film's producer and Slamdance co-founder, called me up to the stage along with our director, Adam Pertofsky, our other producer, Richard Berman, and our casting director. Peter made a point of acknowledging my contest-winning script. Also, along with my free festival pass, I received six free tickets to the premiere, which I shared with my husband and several friends who accompanied me to Park City.
Regarding the Slamdance festival itself, I enjoyed the fact that it is very self-contained. Every event, except for the opening night party, took place at the Treasure Mountain Inn. There were two screening rooms and a filmmakers' lounge. It's very easy, when you have a pass ($200-$300 to purchase) to spend your day at the TMI, alternating between attending panels and watching films. My favorite part was the daily Happy Hour. The Happy Hours usually lasted a couple of hours, providing a great opportunity to mingle and meet with other attendees.
Slamdance stays true to its mission of finding and developing new talent in the independent world. I believe all of the features are by first-time filmmakers, and many of the shorts as well. Honestly, I didn't like every film I saw, but I thought they were all original or heartfelt or unique in some way. I love that Slamdance takes its mission to help filmmakers (and writers) break in so seriously.
I ended up not attending any events at Sundance. If you haven't bought tickets in advance, you have to get in line at the theater two hours in advance just to get on the wait list, then return a half hour before the film to see if you actually have a ticket. It felt like way too much trouble. And passes are very expensive (cheapest, for just part of the fest, starting at around $600). I would've like to attend some of their panels and parties, but I would've needed to buy a pass.
Lodging is extremely expensive in Park City at this time, as you might imagine. So I found a two-bedroom condo about 7 miles from Main Street and five of us shared it. The condo was very nice, and had a kitchen so we could save cash on some of our meals. It was also quiet and lovely looking out the window at the snow outside. There was a free shuttle bus very nearby that we could take to and from Main Street, where Slamdance and Sundance headquarters are. However, on the weekends the traffic going into town becomes extremely congested and the bus ride took an hour! We ended up taking a cab some of the time, which was not bad given we split the cost. Overall, we spent about half the money on lodging and cab rides that some other friends spent on getting a condo right in town. Still, if I do this again I think I would splurge for a more expensive place closer to town, but still not right in town. The nice thing about riding the shuttle buses is that you meet lots of other people attending the festivals.
If you place in the top five of any of the Slamdance writing contests (shorts, features, horror, script accessible, and teleplay), you receive a free pass to the fest. I met at least four other finalists taking advantage of this. Overall, it's a wonderful opportunity to meet filmmakers, some of whom are definitely looking for scripts. It can be expensive, though, so if you decide to go you may want to plan carefully and book your trip as early as September. Moreover, if you love snow as I do, you'll want to bring along your skis as well. I managed to get in quite a bit of cross-country skiing.
In summary, Slamdance represents a great opportunity for writers, and if you're lucky enough to win the shorts competition, you'll get a first class film out of it as well!
Thanks, Patrick, Michael, and Irin!
James, you're right, that's a ghastly sentence which concludes as a question. I would rewrite it entirely as:
"If the writer doesn't care enough about his or her own work to correct spelling errors on the first page, how can an agent hope to convince anyone else to care?"
By this same token, I'm finding it hard to care about the Ms. Feb article.
My script was an honorable mention in their "winners' circle" a few years ago. There were no prizes to receive other than industry contacts, and MovieScript posting my interview on their site. They posted the interviews pretty quickly. Also, I contacted Jason a few times and his responses were prompt. Lastly, I did receive 2-3 requests from producers to read my script. So overall I was happy with my MovieScript experience.
Unfortunately, I don't have any other contact email besides the "info" one. My impression is that this contest has slowed down considerably since those early years. I believe there have been many delays when it comes to reporting their results. I can only suggest that you keep after them and I hope they come through for you soon. Please keep us posted.
Donna's a great person and I think she's going through a rough time right now with family illness. But the sad thing is, people are losing confidence in the contest as a result. I myself am waiting on October feedback, and I have sent three emails that have gone unanswered. I would respectfully suggest to Donna that she stop running any new monthly contests until all the work is caught up on past contests. Also, it may be that if she wishes to also accept TV and short scripts, that it's too much to get through in a single month. Entrants would be much happier if she promised to deliver results in, say, two months, and then made all her deadlines, instead of trying to do it in one month and constantly running late. Customer satisfaction is all about delivering what you promise to deliver. If that is not happening, people will stop entering the contest and will start grumbling on boards like this one. Script Savvy has been a terrific contest in the past, and I hope it can continue to be so. I hope this post will be taken in the spirit in which it is meant, i.e., constructive criticism.
Sure, Timothy, there are lots of contests and most have little significance. But each one charges an entry fee, which begins to add up after a while. Maybe that's not an issue for you, but it is to many. So if I hear that a contest, at the end of March, still has not delivered a prize from the October contest, I would normally cross that contest off my list. If it wasn't Script Savvy, I would wonder if that winner was ever going to receive the prize at all. And by prize, I mean the industry reads, which in my opinion are the only real reason to enter any contest.
Whether or not you think Script Savvy's feedback is worth paying for, the fact is that if someone DID pay for it, it's of little use to receive it six months after the fact. I generally have already made so many changes to my script by then, that the feedback would no longer apply. The money I paid for feedback, wasted. Again, I would normally cross the contest, and its feedback, off my list.
The reason I haven't done so with Script Savvy is because of their past performance and follow-through. But the current delays are beginning to threaten their stellar reputation. I think that's a shame. Especially since it seems like, if they would only pause for a month or two, they could get caught up and back on track, and most of us would forget all about this temporary snafu.
Thanks, Irin and Don!
I read it that way too. But maybe not doing feedback next month will give them the time they need to catch up.
Oh man, I just looked at their website and it reads almost as bad as a Nigerian email scam. The English is poor; certainly written by a non-native speaker. That in itself is not enough to condemn a contest, but the complete lack of information about the organizers is. Only that one name, Annette Van Duren, is mentioned, and I'm pretty certain it will turn out they grabbed her name off the Internet and she knows nothing about it.
Here is a huge red flag from the site: ''The main benefit of the contest is winners will be flown in to Los Angeles to pitch to industry executives and promote themselves. All the costs during your two-week stay is on us. All such costs include but are not limited to airlines and hotel.'' They are offering to pay ALL your expenses for a two week trip to LA, with no limitations??? What if you are flying first class from France? What if you like to stay in $500/night hotels? What might your other expenses be?? I can't believe a legitimate company would make such an offer without qualification.
The other red flag is the huge amount of prize money: $5000 for five ''semifinalists'' and $30,000 for the grand prize winner?? That would be a large amount even for a well-established contest. But for a new contest to come out of nowhere and offer those amounts? Pretty much unheard of. My guess is they chose amounts that were very enticing without being quite high enough to be totally ridiculous (like the $20 million you're going to get from the Nigerian prince).
I'm not saying this to make anyone feel bad. We all want to break in so badly and may make the wrong judgment call from time to time. But I gently suggest to those of you who entered that you contact Frederick at MovieBytes, the Better Business Bureau, and whoever else might be helpful in fighting Internet scams. And I really hope I am wrong, but I have a feeling you will hear from Ms. Van Duren soon that she had nothing to do with this.
Sorry to hear the confirmation that this was a scam. I hope people who entered will follow up with the LAPD and with Bertha of the WGA so that these crooks don't get away with it. Scam artists often thrive because people are embarrassed about having been taken, and then they keep silent and don't complain. Please, the shame is on THEM, not the victims of their crime. I hope they are caught and prosecuted so they can't prey on anymore innocent people.
You go, Matthew!!
Did they take withoutabox submissions? That might be another way to track them. At least WAB should be notified if so.
Wanted to let everyone know that I received my October feedback, a letter of apology, and an offer of a free contest entry in future. It looks like they have closed down for the month of May, so hopefully Script Savvy will soon get all caught up.
FYI, if you want to try contacting them again, these are the email addresses that I have: email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. I replied to both addresses and the message didn't bounce.
Thanks for coming on the board to answer our questions. I went to Austin for the first time last year and had a blast; I highly recommend it to everyone. I attended tons of panels and round tables, met A-list writers, and even some producers and managers who agreed to read my script.
My question is, will you consider switching to email notifications this year? Yours is the only contest I'm aware of that still notifies by snail mail. Even Nicholls switched a couple of years ago. And I think if you poll contestants, you will find that virtually everyone is in favor of the switch.
The advantages are: save paper and ink; save time; make contestants happier as they could learn their status a bit earlier; notify everyone within a couple of days, no matter how far they live from Austin; avoid embarrassing snafus like letters getting lost in the mail.
I know of at least one person last year whose letters went to an old address, and that poor person was expecting to be in the semis because we all figured out that you sent out the second rounder letters before the semis. And then he finally talked to you folks on the phone and discovered the mistake. He was a second rounder, which was great, but just not the same as still being in the competition, which was what he'd thought. So whereas usually being informed you're in the second round should be cause for celebration, in this case it was not because of raised expectations.
So there's my soap box. Thanks for the opportunity!
Big congratulations to Irin Evers, Robert Watson, and Stephen Hoover, who all made the Cinestory quarterfinalists! Apologies to any m'byters I missed.
Timothy, you make some very good points, for example: "The problem with most contests is that they are commercial enterprises themselves, they want to pick commercial winners because then more people will submit to the contest -- and voila, they make more money."
I'm sure this is quite true, because don't many of us (me included) judge whether or not to enter a contest based on how successful the contest has been at getting options or representation for their winners? And yet as you suggest, that may be possible only because they are selecting the most commercial scripts as opposed to those which would make the most interesting and original films.
One more thing to keep in mind.
I'm afraid we're getting off track from the subject of this thread, but I have to disagree with Script Dude: "If the contests really picked "commercial winners" then they would have a far better track record of bought/produced screenplays. That's the fact."
Don't agree that's a fact. I think most contests try to pick commercial winners, but they also realize that if the execution is poor that script is going nowhere. So they try to select scripts that have both a commercial premise AND well-written story. This is a rare commodity. Even a lot of produced films don't succeed in having both of these components. You really think that contests are full of great scripts with commercial premises that producers would be dying to make if only contests would shine a light on them? Then I've got some lakeside property to sell you in the desert.
Your first message on this thread states: "I don't know this company".
In your second message you say: "I told him I worked on a film project 5 months ago, that had been developed and sold to a major studio by Creative Entertainment & Media. I'm not suggesting he should have gone with CEM, however I did question his logic given the company he chose had nowhere near the experience CEM had."
You've apparently worked with CEM and know the breadth of their industry experience.
I don't think your posts are helping your cause. Just sayin'.
I'd like to second Heather's recommendation of Barb. She gives you a detailed chart plus notes that really let you see where your script needs work, and her price is more than reasonable. I now send every script of mine to her as well.
But I suspect you are more interested in a writing partner or mentor than professional notes. I think the reason you are not getting a response is that people here are so busy trying to break in, they don't have time to mentor anybody. Between writing and marketing what I write and networking and ongoing education& not to mention my family responsibilities& it's hard to find time to breathe. I do help out the screenwriters I have known personally for a number of years, with advice and free notes, but in no way do I have time to expand that circle.
I know you live in a small town, but perhaps Dallas is not too far away. Try attending a writer's group or screenwriting workshop or film festival in Dallas. Be friendly and see if you can meet one or two other writers you like. If you hit it off personally, they may be willing to exchange work at some point, and the writing relationship can develop from there. At that point you can work with each other online; you don't have to keep going into Dallas.
I met my closest writer buddies at a screenwriting workshop. We hit it off as friends, and now we exchange work whenever we need to and help each other with advice. We don't live that near each other, so it's mostly by email. I've also made friends with people at film festivals who have suggested exchanging work after that.
My point is, people are leery to jump into a ''relationship'' with someone they don't personally know. You will have a much better chance if you try to meet people in person, show that you're friendly, easy to get along with, and passionate about your writing, and then a writing friendship may develop out of that.
Good luck! Margie
Congrats on receiving a Consider. That is indeed a good rating, especially if this is your first screenplay.
If I were you, I would test the waters by querying some production companies. Mention that you received a Consider from a coverage service, that you've written a novel, and any other significant writing experience. Most importantly, craft a killer logline for your script and give a brief description. Compare it to a successful film. Also, do some research first on the production companies to make sure they produce the kind of film you've written.
I would not bother to query agents. Nowadays it seems they won't take anyone on unless they already have a sale set up. That's my impression, at any rate.
Do not buy the Porsche or quit your day job. Good luck! Margie
I'd have to agree with Robert that they tend towards edgy. My script that won the short competition last year was an edgy dark comedy. I went to the film festival, and the films they show are also very edgy (if that's indicative of the screenplays they select).
On the other hand, as Robert said they are a great organization that follows through on its prizes and has a great networking awards ceremony. They made my film and premiered it at the fest as promised, and they did a fantastic job.
Congrats, Janet and Susan and Robert, who won the comedy division! Sorry if I missed any of the winners.
Good luck, Julia!
I think it's worth entering because the prizes are really good. The top 3 get significant cash and a networking trip to LA. I think last year's winners all ended up with representation, and maybe one has an option now too. It's been annoying in the past because they only named the top 20 scripts, so if you were close you'd never know it. But last year they started listing quarter- or semi-finalists (can't remember which). At any rate, they are certainly legit and deliver on their promises. I'm sure a lot of people enter and the competition will be stiff, so you may want to weigh that into your decision of whether or not to spend the $65.
Go, Irin! Yay!!!
Johnny, as others have said, most of the important contests have May or June deadlines. These include: Nicholl, Austin, Page, Final Draft, Script Pimp. These contests typically report their final results in September/October. Fall is a GOOD time to pitch your project to the industry, as it follows summer vacation and people seem eager to get back to work.
There are very few well-known/well-regarded contests that have deadlines at the end of the year. Tracking-b is one; Zoetrope closes in September and announces February 1. (But I don't know of any success stories coming out of Zoetrope). I can't really think of others at this point.
Overall, as Irin said, I would not try to "time" your contest entries as you never know how long it will take the contest to get your contest winning status in front of industry pros anyway. Just read reviews on Moviebytes and DoneDealPro, pick the contests that are recommended and sound right for you, and enter them when you can. I typically enter on the last possible day in case I get inspired to do a rewrite before then.
For this season, you still have time to enter Slamdance, Writers on the Storm, and Screenwriting Expo. Then concentrate on getting your script(s) in the best possible shape for next May 1.
For anyone living in (or visiting) Ventura or LA this summer, I have two short films (that I wrote) selected by both the Ventura Film Festival (http://venturafilmfestival.org/) and the LA Shorts Fest (http://lashortsfest.com/content.asp?PageID=2).
Re the Ventura Film Festival, both films screen on Sunday, July 10th at the Ventura Beach Marriott. ''Dead in the Room'' is in the film block from 12-2 pm, and ''Dearly Departed'' follows that, from 2-4 pm. The stars of Dearly Departed will be at the screening and Q&A session after.
Re the LA Shorts Fest, all films are shown at the Laemmle Sunset 5 Hollywood. Dearly Departed screens on 7/24 at 7:45 pm, and Dead in the Room screens on 7/28 at 7:45 pm.
Dearly Departed is a drama about a woman who gets a rare opportunity to escape from her unhappy life. Dead in the Room is a dark comedy/thriller about a screenwriter who turns the tables on a studio exec during a screenwriting pitch event.
I plan to attend the 7/28 screening of Dead in the Room at the LA Shorts Fest.
Thanks, and hope some of you can make it! Margie
Thanks, Irin and Don!
Congrats, Robert! Hope you win it!
Thanks, Robert and Phillip. Yes, it's been great to see my short scripts get made. I've been lucky to have ended up with wonderful directors in each case, and I'm very, very happy with the resulting films.
Ventura has changed their schedule and new dates are: Dead in the Room, Mon, 7/18 from 2-4pm, still at the Mariott. Dearly Departed, Tue, 7/19 from 10pm-12am, now at the Regency, Regency Buenaventura 6, 1440 Eastman Ave.
My three advanced. Congrats and good luck to all!
My thriller, The Precipice, made the qf's. Congrats to all! Steve, so happy to see that Whacked! made it and that you are currently filming it!
Congratulations, June! Please do let us know how it all goes.
I haven't gone for a few years, so I don't know if it's changed much. When I went I found it useful. There were a ton of classes offered for every level. I did some pitching as well, and managed to get my first option from a small production company that I pitched to. From what I hear, that doesn't happen often, but even if you don't have success pitching, it's a useful skill to learn and the feedback you get from industry folk about your idea can be helpful. So, whether or not you go depends on what you want to get out of it. If you feel you still have a lot to learn, Expo is a good way to take a lot of classes in a short amount of time. It's also fun to meet other writers there. In the past they had panels of managers or agents or producers; don't miss those if they offer them. You can pick up a lot of useful information.
Congrats, Patricia! Good luck in the next round.
One of mine got two positive reads, and the other was in the top 10%. Nice of Greg to put the p.s.'s.
Oops, I meant to wish Paula good luck in the next round. But I still mean congrats to you too, Patricia:-).
And congrats to you, Julia!
Congrats, LJ! Thanks and congrats, Phillip. Thanks, Julia. The Precipice got "2 positive reads", which is not as good as the top 10%. Interesting because I thought it was the stronger of my two entries. Go figure. Anyone else in Scriptapalooza? I wish the list was in alphabetical order by author name.
Oh no! Who am I gonna root for in the shorts category? You're both such nice guys. Seriously, congratulations!
And congrats to June and others who moved forward.
Congrats Lana, Philip, Matthew, Ron, and anyone else who made the list. Good luck!
Thanks, Script Dude. I think you're telling it like it is.
Barb at xtremescreenwriting.com provides high quality notes for about $70 per feature script.
I'm in the horror/thriller category too. This is going to be tough! Mine's a thriller. May we all advance to the finals:-).
Valerie, I like your title too, and good luck to you as well.
The genres seem dissimilar to me too, but I guess they have to lump them somehow if they don't want too many categories.
Don't worry, Valerie, decisions have not been made (since nothing has been posted at their site yet). WAB says that when it is past the announcement date. But Expo is typically late. Someone (you?) said Expo emailed them and said announcements are now on 9/1. I wouldn't bank on that either. However, if the past is any indication, they eventually WILL make an announcement. I don't think they are trying to cheat anyone, they just never seem to give themselves the time they need to judge the entries and announce them well before Expo. Typically the announcement comes just days before Expo.
I was wondering about this too, Irin. I haven't received mine yet either.
Julia, can you send me your extra? Just kidding!
Got my CS mag yesterday. Have to say, it feels really dated as all the movies they review came out two months ago. Also, are they losing their columnists? I noticed no Michael Hauge column this issue. They still have Jim Cirile, but didn't they used to have at least 3-4 regular columns?
I just found this in the Expo competition (same people who run AAA) rules:
"Unread Scripts Rule
Occasionally, in this and other screenplay contests, an entry is not judged due to a contest management or judge oversight in managing files, or an unreadable file, or other errors. Such events are rare, and in the vast majority of screenplay contests, such events go undetected because feedback is not provided to entrants.
Because our contest provides free, brief feedback to every entrant, it is more likely that if such an error occurs, it will be noticed. Therefore, contest management has created this policy and rule regarding a script which is not read by the end of the first round of judging.
If we fail to read your script for any reason, you are entitled to the following relief and none other: (1) a full refund of your entry fee for that screenplay; and (2) a free entry into the next screenplay contest sponsored by Creative Screenwriting or the Screenwriting Expo.
If you do not receive feedback by email, the most likely reason is that you did not provide a valid email address on the title page of the screenplay. However, because it is possible that a script may be misplaced and notread, the policy above applies."
I never saw this before and wonder if they added it after the problems with AAA, like not reading Amir's script. They are saying they can't guarantee up front that your script will not be misplaced. Keeping close track of all scripts should be the minimum that any contest manages to do. What if your bank told you they couldn't guarantee that they can keep track of all the money you deposit into your account? And if you noticed some of it missing, sure, they'd refund your money. But what if you didn't notice? Would you choose a bank like this, where there is no assurance of quality and attention to detail?
Last year I did receive feedback from them, but I believe it arrived a few months after the contest was over.
Thanks, and congrats to all! Lana, I don't see your name in there so I assume you are using a pseudonym?
Lana, lol, yours is right above mine:-).
I generally don't put my contact info on the title page because I think judging should be anonymous. That they don't have a system in place to keep track of scripts other than reading the title page is also worrisome.
The only way to ensure that judges are not swayed by factors like where the author lives and what the author's gender is, is to make sure that information is not seen by the judges. The Nicholl contest, for example, is very rigorous about keeping scripts anonymous for this reason.
On Facebook, Austin says they are posting semifinalists and second rounders on their site today. And they are calling the semifinalists right now. Good luck to all!
Congrats Robert, Matt, Lana, Natasha, Stan and anyone else I may have missed.
Thank you! Congrats to Matt, TJ and Shane, who are also still in the running.
Congrats and good luck, Irin!
I don't know the answer to your question. But I can tell you that my short script, Raise You One Dead Body, which came in 2nd in their short contest a couple of years ago, was a dark thriller.
Congrats, TJ!! I saw it too.
Thanks, and congrats to Lana/Linda too. Nice to get some notice, however fleeting. Siamese twins, indeed:-).
Timothy, I understand your frustration with the lack of communication from Cinequest. But the screenplay contest is legit. I attended Cinequest last year with a film, and went to the awards ceremony honoring their ten screenplay finalists. They were indeed given prizes and industry attention during the festival, which is a very well-attended and prestigious festival.
Unfortunately, Cinequest is like ScriptPimp and a few other contests that only name a small number of finalists and don't publish lists of quarterfinalists and semis. And as you say, even finding their finalist list is not easy. But all I'm saying is that they do follow through on awards for finalists, and the winners are recognized in front of an audience of industry folk during the film festival.
Thanks for the recommendation. I tried one year but didn't make it past the qf's. Maybe I'll try again this year.
Jim Cirile posted in his blog that apparently CS mag has filed for bankruptcy:
I hope they can survive; it's been a useful resource. Their contests have been plagued by poor management of late, though. Maybe a well-organized buyer can be found.
I would not hold my breath on receiving feedback for any expo contest entries this year, however.
To give credit where credit is due: I decided to enter BlueCat on 9/15 after learning I could get feedback from two readers by October 1. I knew about the Mandy ad but figured it was worth a gamble to get a contest entry and two reader responses in only two weeks time. I did receive my feedback as promised on October 1st. And I'd like to say that I'm very pleased with the feedback. Both readers demonstrated that they had read the screenplay through and understood its nuances. The feedback is well-written and clearly stated. The suggestions for improvement are good and I plan to use their advice. There is even some consensus between the two reviews, which is always particularly helpful (instead of two reviewers suggesting I do the exact opposite things). So, whatever else happens in the contest, I received feedback that will help me improve the script. I'm happy I gave this a try.
Irin, have you also posted on their contest comments page? It's important for people to know that past winners have never received their prizes. Personally I will not enter contests that start new rounds without fully satisfying their obligations toward their winners in previous rounds. This applies to the Golden Brads and to Script Savvy. The latter has begun a new contest too, but some people are still saying they are owed feedback and/or awards.
As I mentioned in the other Blue Cat thread, my feedback from them this year from two readers was top notch in both cases.
I agree with others that Script Savvy should deliver all outstanding feedback and prizes before launching new contests. I can't believe this would take much more than a month if all efforts are concentrated on this (and not diffused by reading new entries at the same time). Script Savvy doesn't owe me feedback or anything else, but I'm not going to enter a contest which has not followed through on its obligations for the last year, until the contest proves it's back on track by delivering all that it owes past entrants. Moreover, that no one is even responding to questions about the new contest launch is a strong indicator that customer service is still in a sorry state over there.
Ron, thank you! You are awesome.
Congrats on your placement, Lana. Think of it this way: you can place your script on Inktip for 6 months for roughly the price of one contest entry ($60). Isn't that worth giving it a try? I've had a script on there for 6 months (just renewed). The script has only been downloaded twice during that time, but one of the downloads nearly ended in an option (fell through for reasons unrelated to the script). In the past I've listed other scripts and definitely gotten some reads. I suggest you try it and if nothing happens, don't renew. Also, I got my first short script produced through a contact made on Inktip. If you have a feature listing there, posting short script loglines is free.
Overall I agree with Irin and Script Dude re the relative worthiness of contests, except I think there are a few more that can potentially help you than Script Dude thinks, though I agree with him that you have to WIN for it to mean anything. And I'm not sure people realize what a long shot it is to win. You may have a terrific script that finishes in the finals a lot, but the stars really have to align for a bunch of different people to all agree it's the one that should win. This is why entering contests should never be your only strategy of breaking in.
Like Irin, I believe you have to do your homework before entering contests. Be careful about the ones claiming a success story and see if you can find out if that really came from that contest win or not. Many do not. However, there are some smaller contests that do deliver (at least to their winners). Sadly, Script Savvy used to be one of them. If you just got their email, they tout the success story of winner Sheri Davenport, whose TV movie Lucky Christmas is showing on the Hallmark Channel tonight (7/8 pm on 11/12/11). Sheri's a good friend of mine, and she really did find the producer/director of her script through the email blast of her Script Savvy win. Now she has a TV movie produced and her WGA card. I'm not recommending Script Savvy due to their recent problems; I'm just saying that some smaller contests can help people get produced.
The moral: do your homework. Check out the contest website carefully. See if you recognize any of the names of people providing endorsements. Check this board and the contest listings for people's comments. Check the DDP board for more comments. If it's a brand new contest, you might want to wait a round or two before trying it to see what others have to say. Do they really sound like they have the connections to get your screenplay read should you win? In other words, please don't throw your money at these contests blindly.
I completely agree with Script Dude's strategy of getting coverage. Keep it low cost, get a few, and compare notes looking for consistent complaints. Otherwise you could spend a ton of money just getting one person's opinion, and believe me, you do not want to rewrite your story to please one person, as the next person to come along will prefer it another way.
I've found these two very helpful:
Re Award Winning Screenwriters, I have twice used their analyst RC (you can request a particular analyst), and RC is my favorite of all the people who have done coverage for me. RC can not only offer smart, specific solutions to solve your screenplay problems, he/she also can write a damn good synopsis so you don't have to. Other analysts there may be equally good for all I know, but RC is now my go-to man or woman at AWS.
Additionally I've used Barb at Xtreme Screenwriting, and she does a great job with a checklist of essential screenplay elements and written commentary with suggested fixes. She has given me some terrific suggestions on several different screenplays. She generally offers some kind of coverage discount every month, making her very reasonable.
I've tried other services but these are the two I've been happiest with so I'm recommending them.
Oops, my links are missing a blank line:
I believe that message is automatically generated by WAB after the notification date has passed (which was shown on WAB as 11/3). I've seen the message before when in fact the contest had not yet made their final decisions. You got the email about the new notification date that they sent out a few weeks ago? According to that, it's approximately 11/14, which I realize has also passed but maybe they're still running late. Anyway, I haven't heard anything either. Hope we're still in the running!
Finalists now posted: http://www.atlantafilmfestival.com/2012-fest/2011-atlff-screenplay-competition-finalists/
Thanks, Irin and Bobbette! If I do get selected, I'll be sure to let you all know how it goes.
Congrats, Athena and Lana!
Ted is right. You must query like crazy now. In the subject line, put something like "Query from Just Effing Winner" or just "Screenplay Contest Winner" if you don't want to get specific. You could also put your script on Inktip if you haven't done so already. In the logline field, put your logline followed by "(Just Effing Winner)". A lot of your query targets won't care about contest wins unless it's Nicholl, but some will. Especially if you have a great logline.
Jim Cirile of Coverage Ink/Writers on the Storm interviewed me and Adam Pertofsky, the director of the Slamdance-winning short film I wrote, Dead in the Room. Here's the interview for anyone who's interested: http://coverageink.blogspot.com/2011/12/screenwriter-strikes-back-dead-in-room.html
Thanks, you guys. Lana, currently the film is only being shown at film festivals, but by around March or April of next year we should be done with our festival run and then I'm sure Peter Baxter of Slamdance will be looking into other ways of getting the film out there via distribution and/or the Internet. I'll be sure to let everyone know when that happens:-).
I'm hoping I get to see some floops.
I'll third that. Heather said it so very well!
Here’s one more option: You could apply for a fellowship from Writers Boot Camp (http://www.writersbootcamp.com/Fellowship/). If you’re selected, you are enrolled in their online professional development program at no cost to you. You’re then assigned an instructor who helps teach you their tools for developing a screenplay over the course of 6 months. You become part of the Writers Boot Camp community, which includes ongoing support after the fellowship is over. When your screenplay is done, you’re invited to compete with the other fellows to be awarded a production contract.
I decided to apply after hearing good things from a friend who won a fellowship last year. She told me the Boot Camp is well-connected in the industry. All you need to apply is a title, logline, one 3-pg. scene that illustrates the promise of your premise (i.e., not your first scene), and the commitment to work a minimum of 10 hours/week.
I applied in November and found out I won in the Diversity category right before Christmas (having a female protagonist qualifies in that category). I expect to get started on the program next week. Will let you know how it goes:-).
Congrats, everyone! Good to know, Athena. Thanks.
Thanks, Nathan! Congrats to you and Irin (and his writing partner John) and anyone else we missed.
A short film I wrote, which won the 2010 Slamdance Short Screenplay Competition and was produced by Slamdance, is now up for viewing in its entirety on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/deadintheroom
Here's the logline: "At a screenwriters' pitch event, a vengeful writer turns the tables on an arrogant studio executive, ordering him at gunpoint to pitch a good story or die."
It's directed by the Oscar-nominated Adam Pertofsky and stars Patrick J. Adams of "Suits" (on USA Network) and Andrew Borba.
If you enjoy it please click the Like button and maybe on Facebook too: http://www.facebook.com/#!/deadintheroom
And please share the link with your friends!
Irin, Lana, and Paul: Congratulations and best of luck moving forward!
Thanks for the recommendation, Irin!
Thanks, Bruce, glad you liked it!
Thank you so much, Julia!
Thanks very much, Lana!
That's very cool, Bruce. I hope they love your pages!
Thank you very much, Kevin and Don. Glad you enjoyed it.
Congratulations, Heather and Kate! I'm really happy for your success. Can you give us the titles so we can look for them in the trades? Loglines too, unless they're under wraps.
Congrats, Lana and Patricia!
Thanks, William and Irin. If nothing else comes of it, I'm extremely happy that the film has managed to entertain many of my fellow screenwriters:-)
If the producer has credits in the business (at least one produced feature), I'd consider giving him a free option to shop it for 6 months. I'd also want some evidence of his serious intent and being well-connected and having access to finance.
If he wants revision(s), I would charge him for that. The thing you have to be careful of, is that if you revise your script according to the producer's specifications, there is a chance he can later try to claim co-ownership, based on the fact that he "developed" the story with you. In any case, if revisions are involved I recommend you consult an attorney. Most likely you should consult one anyway.
Finally, if he's a producer with no credits I wouldn't consider optioning it for free.
This is based on my own bad experience.
Good luck to you, Paul. It's not easy to decide these kinds of things. Best to go with your instinct and a good lawyer's advice:)
Anyone able to see the list? The site says the semifinalists are announced, but when I click on the link I get an error page. I tried to send them an email and got an error doing that too.
Please paste the list here if you can. Thanks!
I know, frustrating, right? I tried to email them but got an error msg on that too, so I don't think it went through. Maybe someone else could try emailing.
Stupid me, I used their form before. Just went back and emailed them directly, which was fine. They were probably up late getting the website ready, and will wake to a number of emails in their inbox, I imagine:)
Working now: http://www.fresh-voices.com/2011scsemifinalists.html
Congrats to Paul, Timothy Jay, and any other M'Byters I may have missed!
Paul and I get to slug it out in the thriller category:)
Sorry, Lana, and thanks.
Paul, yes, the odds are good at this point. Fingers crossed that we both place in one of those top slots:-)
This is a relatively new contest (I think they've held it once before), so I really have no idea how they're regarded by the industry.
So far, the contest seems very professionally run so let's hope that bodes well for the efforts they will eventually put out for their winners.
I don't mean to sound discouraging, but my experience is that anything less than a win is not going to impress many people in Hollywood. There are less than a handful of contests, like Nicholl and Austin, that are the exception.
But as I said, I don't know anything about Fresh Voices and their ability to make things happen. And telling people you placed in the top 6 certainly can't hurt.
I know how you feel, Irin; I miss them too.
What I'm doing now is visiting various blogs and random Internet articles as I hear about them. For example, Scott Meyers at gointothestory.com is very prolific, with tons of interesting posts every day. Also if you friend the Nicholl Fellowships on Facebook, they are very active sending out links to interesting articles on the craft, screenwriter interviews, etc. I also enjoy the ScriptShadow blog, which gives you an opportunity to read scripts and compare your reactions to other readers'. I don't always agree with Carson's assessment, but his "what I learned" section in particular is always interesting and insightful.
Unfortunately, there's still way too much material on the Internet to help me procrastinate.
So there are some ideas to get you started:)
Annie, when they first advertised I thought the contest sounded like fun and the website looked professional. I didn't enter at the time, but I considered it. Then I checked back a couple weeks ago and saw the website was gone. I checked WAB and they also said the contest was now inactive or something like that. I immediately sent an email to Frederick here at Moviebytes, and I believe he removed all their advertising then. If you have the time and energy, you should report them. I hope you at least got some feedback out of them or something.
It seems like maybe we should always wait a year before entering any new contest, but if everyone does that there will be no new contests for lack of entrants:) Maybe that would be a good thing, though. How many do we really need?
Annie, I don't know, but I think if you check the threads on the Script Savvy and Golden Brad contests you might get some information about how to report them, as I believe some people did regarding those two contests. Maybe contact police in LA?? Also you should contact your credit card company to try to get your entrance fee back.
I disagree with Paul that this would ever be money well-spent. Some scam artist just stole Annie's money! I hope they're caught and prosecuted. Screenwriters have a hard enough time without being taken advantage of by thieves as well.
Paul (and Peter), you are so right; I wrote in haste. There is no point in spending our time bewailing the bad things that happen; much better to focus on what we learn from each experience and channel that into something good.
I only meant, that doesn't let the people who lied, or cheated, or stole, off the hook. If possible, they need to be prevented from hurting other innocent victims. Annie has helped by warning others of her experience.
Sorry I can't help, having never entered Script Vamp. I'd take Irin's advice and save your money for the big ones.
FYI, a acreenwriting instructor at AFI once told me always mention a detail three times if you want anyone to notice/remember it. And it's true; I've noticed over the years that people rarely pick up on details I mention once, and only sometimes when I mention them twice. Three always seems to be the magic number:)
Congratulations, Paul!! Don't know where I stand as they haven't posted the finalists yet, but I'm guessing I'm out (re 2nd or 3rd place) as I haven't gotten a phone call. Oh well, on to the next!
Thanks, Paul. It was indeed a pleasant surprise to wake up this morning, check the Fresh Voices website, and find my name in third place:-)
Thanks for the congratulations! As Paul said, Fresh Voices is stepping right into gear. Yesterday they requested permission to share my logline, synopsis and script with their industry contacts. I gleefully agreed and sent the latest version of the script. I thought we were going to have to wait till the grand prize winner was announced before they started their promotional activity, so I was very pleased and impressed to see them getting on it only a day after the winners/finalists were announced.
Nathan, thanks for letting us know the announcement was made. Congrats and good luck to all! Lana, may we both reach the winners' list!
I wanted to let you all know that I also have received my complete prize package from Fresh Voices (with the exception of Script mag, which is not their fault). I'll follow up again if the queries or Fresh Voices' promotional efforts lead anywhere. In the meantime, I will be happy to get the free basic analysis on my latest script.
Congrats to Jack Messitt, if he happens to stop by here:)
Amazon Studios has announced many new changes in the way it operates: http://studios.amazon.com/. The initial free option is only 45 days, and scripts can now be submitted privately to Amazon. They pay $10000 if they want to extend the option for another 18 months (with a possibility of one more extension). If they exercise the option, the sale price is $200k.
It all sounds quite good. I guess the only downsides are the free 45 day option (still not bad as it's a short amount of time), the paid option period being rather long (but this may be okay considering a lot of places pay a lot less for a 12 or 18-month option), and the fact that they can make your script public if they do the paid option, and can rewrite it however they want (using any writer they want) at that point. They claim all studios will do this anyway, but I thought you could have a contract wherein you have to be offered the rewrite job first. The Amazon rules don't seem to give you any guarantee like that.
Thoughts? Pros and cons?
You all bring up good points. Definitely the contract needs to be read very, very carefully. My take was that those amounts of money: the 200k, and the 400k bonus, are not to be split no matter who they bring in to rewrite your work later; those amounts go to the original author. Also, there is more protection, at least for a while, if you do the private submission. I think at least then, nobody will be able to slice and dice your work for the first 45 days. But after that I think Amazon can post it publicly if they want and invite other writers to have a go at it. I agree with you, Robert, that $10,000 may not be enough to compensate one for that, but $200k is, especially considering any studio can do the same thing once they buy your script.
Anyway, this is all speculation on my part and (disclaimer) does not constitute legal advice, particularly since I'm not a lawyer!
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.
My latest short, "Ten Minutes to the New You," won a staged reading along with the four other finalists of the Kansas City Women in Film and Television Short Screenplay Contest. If you happen to be in Kansas City on Sunday during the AMC/KC film fest, come on over to the Nelson Museum of Art. I'll be there, and Gordy Hoffman of Blue Cat fame is serving as a moderator and judge. Link to more info: http://us4.campaign-archive1.com/?u=533417d9da48dcfe8933b5028&id=11108f11cd
Thanks! Margie Kaptanoglu
Thanks a lot, you guys!
Peters, I'll let you know.
Julia, the method in my script calls for a time machine:)
Philip, you're not the 1st to tell me that. Will have to try it.
Lana, I don't plan to film it (not sure if they'd allow this) but if anyone does I'll let you all know.
Julia, you get to keep what the years taught you!
Just back from Kansas City, where I got treated like royalty (wait, is that a pun?). Seriously, the leaders and other members of Kansas City Women in Film and TV are amazing. One member met me at the airport with an incredible goodie bag filled with specialty chocolates and a free film festival pass. The next day I got to watch a rehearsal and then the actual staged reading of the five finalist scripts from their short screenplay contest. The actors were outstanding and so was the quality of the other finalist scripts. It was a little hard to hone in on the weaknesses in my script because the actors did so well making up for my shortcomings. The reading took place in the Nelson art museum and we got a pretty sizable turnout. Everyone seemed to enjoy it very much.
KCWIFT also presented us with flowers and framed awards and took lots of photos. I am so impressed with this organization... they really know how to make a screenwriter feel special.
I finally got to meet Gordy Hoffman of Bluecat, who was one of the finalist judges. He offered some impromptu advice on my script that I plan to incorporate asap. He also gave a workshop the day before I arrived; unfortunately, I was not able to go earlier.
A lovely script called "The Rest of Her" won the grand prize of $1000. But strangely, I didn't mind not winning at all; the staged reading was worth every penny I spent to get there. Plus KC is a beautiful, clean, friendly place! In conclusion, I highly recommend this contest to women who have written / will write short screenplays. Sorry guys, this one's not for you.
Julia, lol, if only I were an inventor as well as a writer!
Paul, you have my synpathy. No doubt breaking into this business is super-tough for guys as well as for women. But if you look at the names of contest winners, you might notice that men are the top winners a good 75-100% of the time, whereas I believe the female entry rate is said to average at about 30-40%. For example, unless I'm mistaken, in the Austin contest last year, not one of 23 feature finalists was a woman. Is this because women are not writing screenplays as well, or because there's a gender bias in terms of judges preferring the type of material or the pov that might be projected by male writers. I really have no idea and I'm not bringing this up to complain about it. But maybe if people running contests are more aware that this is happening, they might consider trying to analyze why this is.
That should be "sympathy" not "synpathy"!
Ha, Paul, you fooled me. But seriously I really don't like to get on a soapbox about women trying to break in, because I know that it's hard for everybody. Still, glad to hear you are trying to help:-)
Congrats, Paul and Lana/Linda!!!
Hey Philip, I'm glad you had a great time and made some new connections. Congrats to you and the other finalists!
The simple answer is that PAGE wants to encourage contestants to enter early so they won’t be stuck trying to read four thousand or more entries starting on May 15. I understand why they want to do this, but the problem is the way they do it (by not showing the May deadlines on their site) penalizes the new entrants who aren’t familiar with the way PAGE runs their contest. Anyone who has entered for a year or more knows this.
This has never personally affected me as I have emailed Jen or Zoe before to find out the final, final date, and as she says, they always tell you what it is when you ask them.
If you ask me, compared to all the other things PAGE gets right, this is a minor issue.
Still, considering I’ve seen a number of writers complain about this on various websites, I think PAGE would do well to reconsider this policy. I would suggest they try something like instead of increasing the entry price in $10 increments, go from, say, $29 for very early entrants, to $59 for regular entrants, to $89 for final entrants. That’s it; three deadlines, but when they are separated by $30 instead of $10, people may try harder to make the earlier deadlines. PAGE could also have a sliding scale for feedback prices; I know I've sometimes entered other contests early when they offered discounts on the feedback for early entry. This way PAGE could be totally upfront about their dates while still providing an incentive for people to enter early. On the other hand, then there would be some who would complain the last minute fee is gouging them!
Honestly, people complain that PAGE is being “greedy” and so on, but jeez, they have to make some money to keep running the contest. And they offer more prize money than any contest I can think of besides Nicholl. A $25000 grand prize, $1000, $500, and $250 for 10 categories… so there’s another 17,500, right?
And if you’ve been following PAGE on Facebook, you’ll see that they have many, many success stories at this point, far more then most any other contest I can think of. From what I can tell, they work extremely hard to do what’s important: get their winners matched with reps and producers. Do you really want to pass up the possibility of being among them because of this one issue of not posting deadlines? That seems shortsighted to me.
The option came from a production company owned by one of the two women who operate the contest.
Paul, don't feel bad, I was an effing moron too.
Matt, it doesn't matter what the definition of back end is, because the back end of nothing is nothing. And nothing is almost always the amount of money that comes out of these deals (i.e., the film never gets made).
The other problem which I didn't realize at the time, is that the producer will want you to make lots of revisions, and then since these ideas for revisions came from him/her(whether you like the ideas or not), they will then try to claim half ownership of the script when all is said and done. So not only have you written a script that is not getting made, but you can't even try to sell it elsewhere as it's saddled with the "co-authorship" of your producer.
Long story short, do not consider this for an instant unless said producer is super-successful and has a strong track record of completed films with major distribution. Because if this is a fledgling producer, he/she has no more likelihood of setting the project up than you do as a fledgling screenwriter.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer and this represents my personal opinion only:-).
Hi Mike, I believe a score of 7.5 or higher advances. Good luck!
Here’s what I’ve gleaned after doing festival rounds with three shorts:
Apply first to the most important festivals: Sundance, Berlin, and Toronto, because it will be huge for you if your short gets in. They prefer premieres but if you don’t want to wait around trying to guarantee them that (and I don’t advise rejecting other festivals as you wait to hear from them), you should go ahead and apply other places at the same time.
If you feel you have a possible award-winner, submit to festivals where, if your short wins a “Best” award, it qualifies for Oscar consideration. These festivals are listed here: http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/rules/shortsfestivals.html
I went to quite a few festivals last year, and these were my favorites:
1. PORT TOWNSEND (in your neck of the woods). Beautiful location. They find free lodging and airport transportation for all the filmmakers. They have 4-5 theatres and they fill them, every performance. They have cool outdoor movies at night. They’re so friendly they get a high percentage of the filmmakers to show up. They have good taste and pick some great films. Easy walking access to all the venues from your hotel. 2. CINEQUEST, San Jose, CA. Amazing free happy hours and late night parties every night for two weeks or something like that. All the filmmakers show up so there’s great networking. Good film selections. They put on a great fest as they have lots of Silicon Valley money coming into it. Easy walking access to all the venues from your hotel. 3. SLAMDANCE, Park City, UT (takes place concurrently with Sundance). What’s nice is that all the films are shown in one location, at the festival hotel. The happy hours are there every night too. It’s a friendly, close-knit group. Good networking. And since it takes place at the same time as Sundance, you can arrange to attend both fests at the same time.
A couple more:
1. Nashville is very nice and friendly. The only downside is the recommended hotel is quite a ways from the multiplex where all the films are shown. You’ll need to rent a car or make friends with a festival organizer (I can connect you with an extremely nice lady!). 2. Santa Barbara, CA, is a beautiful location and a great fest. They have amazing panels with all the Oscar nominated directors, writers, and producers (3 different panels). But it’s expensive. If your short gets in your team gets two free passes, but any extras will cost over a thousand.
I don’t really recommend…
- Festivals that only show shorts. Networking is much better at festivals that screen both shorts and features, presuming that you have some feature scripts that you want to hook up with filmmakers. - Ventura Film Festival. They sent us huge long emails every few days about needing this and that. Both my films were selected by them, and then at the last minute they changed their screening times. One of my films ended up being shown on a Tuesday around 10 or 11 pm. Trust me, there aren’t a lot of people who will go see shorts at that time. It wouldn’t have been as bad if we’d known up front that was the time, but they changed the time from a very good one (Sunday afternoon) to Tuesday night, with very short notice.
Hope this helps. Let us know how it goes!
The Nomad of Hell sounds the most original to me. The others sound a bit cliche.
Personally, I dislike titles where one of the words is also the character's name ("Saving Grace" and things like that). I'm reminded then that this is a fiction and the character's name was chosen for the convenience of the title (or vice versa). But I'm probably in the minority, as there are a lot of titles that use this device.
Just had another thought... if your character's last name is Nomad, I would call it "Nomad of Hell" instead of "The Nomad of Hell".
You're welcome. Good luck!
I agree with Maryann. Unfortunately, when they say they want the ending you really need to give it to them, otherwise they'll be pissed and will look elsewhere. I've had that happen to me.
And I agree with Robert. Try to deliver the ending in as dramatic a way as possible, within the confines of the synopsis. Though if they want a synopsis, you'll have to include something about the middle as well; you can't simply start with the beginning and jump to the end.
If I ran a studio or prodco, there would be no synopses. I would read the first ten pages and if I liked those, I'd read the rest. Alas, I do not run a studio (and surely never will).
Wow, T.J., the site looks great. Very nicely organized and clearly presented. I've added it to my screenwriting favorites bar. Thank you!
I've also been dinged by coverage and contest readers complaining that my act breaks were too early or too late. I take this as a possible sign that my pacing is off. Maybe I need something exciting to happen sooner. Or maybe I need to take a short breather from the action.
But I agree with Corey. I don't think you should force yourself to do this or that on certain pre-conceived page numbers. I agree with him that you can't even necessarily agree on where the act breaks are in some very successful films. And nobody cares.
Personally, I do use the 3-act structure, and I do think something interesting needs to happen every 8-10 pages (set piece or plot twist or a reveal of some sort). This helps ensure that the story isn't sagging.
If I'm reading someone else's script, as long as the story keeps me turning the pages, I couldn't care less where their act breaks are. However, if someone wants my feedback and their script is a struggle to get through, as part of my feedback I would look at their structure and maybe make a note that they need something happening by page such-and-such because they're losing my interest at that point.
So, I guess it all comes down to, if the script is great, most people will not criticize your structure (there will always be some sticklers, but you can't cater to them). But I would argue that the script will not be great without a solid underlying structure and pacing.
Ha, James, the same thing happened to me in reverse. I had been using Movie Magic Courier and my script was around 105 pages. That script came in 2nd place in a major contest with over 1000 entries that year. Then later I moved it to Final Draft and started using FD Courier, which is their default. The script lost about 20 pages (ended up in the low to mid-80s). So it just goes to show how arbitrary the whole thing is.
Nicholl has it right. I believe the judges are instructed to look for great stories, well told. In my book, that's all that matters.
Absolutely, Irin is right (as usual:). In my book, if you've ever been optioned, you will from then on till the end of time be an "optioned" writer.
Paul, the book’s in my head, but good to know I have one pre-sale should I ever write it down.
I totally agree with this: “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.”
No matter how great some people think your script is, there will always be others who don’t think much of it. To very loosely quote Irin, “I know it’s done when the readers all dislike different things about it.” In other words, if several readers dislike the same thing it probably needs to be fixed. But if everyone picks something different, it’s probably a matter of taste at that point.
And finally, Paul, you win the award for the most creative and varied spellings of my name:-).
Script Dude, I agree with you that concept is king in Hollywood. A great concept and mediocre script is more likely to meet with success than a mediocre concept and great script. In either case, I think you’re right that our scripts are not going to be judged on the details of structure and formatting by studio readers.
Julia, I think it’s a question of which contests. Those that seem to have the best reputation for launching careers include Nicholl, Page, Austin, and Trackingb. Script Dude doesn’t think much of Nicholl, but I don’t think he takes into account all the people who have made the quarterfinals or above (but maybe didn’t become fellows) and got many reads based on that credit, which certainly in some cases must have led to a sale or getting a rep.
I don’t believe any of the top contests are sticklers for structural formulas. My impression is, if you have a great concept and a great execution, your script has a good chance of advancing in these contests. Although even then I’m sure many good scripts slip through the cracks, and many not-so-great scripts advance.
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.
Yes, Scott, they posted this info on their Facebook page.
And yes, Page always sends out emails to contestants whose scripts have advanced into the top 25%. If you receive such an email, your script is in consideration for the quarterfinal round (top 10%). Also, if you have more than one script entered, they will tell you specifically which ones advanced.
So good luck to you and to all the other M'Byters who entered!
Thanks, Scott. I definitely need it:).
I didn't enter this contest, but just from reading this thread, I'm developing a positive impression. Shoreline Scripts appears ready and willing to address Michael's concerns, if he would contact them directly with his real name and script title. Maybe they made a mistake in dealing with his application, but mistakes do happen and what counts is a willingness to make redress if need be, and they seem very open to dealing with it. Also, I don't know what they said on their website, but many contests do not contact entrants directly and simply post results on their site. Michael complains about no feedback, but apparently that was not one of the services offered so it's not a valid complaint.
Shoreline Scripts sounds legit to me, and if so, it would be nice to see them succeed.
Make that ten, Nathan:). My two features and one short made it through. Congrats and good luck to all!
Hey Pall, when I entered a script in 2 categories a few years ago, the email listed both of them as having advanced, as: SCRIPT TITLE 1, and SCRIPT TITLE 2.
I don't know if they still do it that way or not. If I were you, I'd email Page and ask them if both advanced, or if just one, which category was it. They're very responsive to questions.
Here's how I see it, Pale: entering in 2 categories gives you a chance to have your script evaluated by two different readers. For example, if you only entered one category and the reader didn't score the script high enough to advance, you'd be out of luck right now. But if you entered 2 categories and just one of the readers gave you a high enough score, your script would be moving forward. Or maybe both readers scored it high enough to move forward, but one of them is a higher score than the other (unless it's a tie:). So now the higher scoring script has the best chance of moving forward in the competition in its genre. If you had only entered one category, you might've been stuck with the lower score.
To put it in simpler terms, you bought two lottery tickets instead of one and thereby increased your chances of winning:).
Thanks, Paul. Congrats and good luck to you, Mike, Heather, Danielle, Linda, and Robert (Bob) Blacka.
Phillip, I was very surprised not to see your name as you've placed highly in so many other contests... it's just all so subjective. I'm sure your scripts, and those of others here who didn't make this round, will find favor again in other significant contests.
Thanks, Julia. I was also surprised not to see you in there:(. I'm sure you'll have better luck elsewhere.
Congrats Bruce and anyone else I missed!
Hey Paul, sorry to disappoint you, but I don't make shorts, I write them. I have no ambitions to be a filmmaker. My first and fourth short (now in pre-production) were picked up by filmmakers who discovered their loglines posted on Inktip. My second short was produced by a friend. My third short won Slamdance and was produced by them.
My suggestion to you is to post your logline on Inktip. A lot of filmmakers are checking the site for shorts. Ask for their qualifications before agreeing, however.
Julia (and others), you can enter your shorts in some contests for the chance of attracting a filmmaker that way. Also if you win Slamdance, they make the film and do a great job. I think their contest is still open right now.
OR, for free you can post the logline for your short on Inktip. To get more attention, if you have a contest credit put that in parentheses following the logline. Go to Inktip.com, click on Services and Products, then on "short script listing with Inktip." Click on LIST A SHORT SCRIPT for instructions and form to fill out.
Filmmakers will then contact you, and if they sound interesting to you (like they have some experience), send them the script and see if they'd like to make it. Trust me, there are a LOT of filmmakers looking for short scripts. Be patient and someone will appear.
Scott, shorts are screened at film festivals around the world. If you're involved in making the short, you have your name in the credits and you can attend the festivals to network and get to know people in the industry who might be interested in your other scripts. Often you can get a free festival pass but transportation and lodging will be up to you.
After shorts have their festival run, they usually go on the Internet, at YouTube or Vimeo. Some people put there shorts on paying sites, but I believe there's little or no money in this. I've heard that even Oscar-nominated shorts really don't make money.
To me, the value of having my shorts made has been twofold. First, I've found it motivating to get some scripts produced. There's nothing like sitting in a theatre and listening to people laugh or gasp at your story to make you feel like the struggle is all worth it. It keeps me from giving up.
Secondly, shorts serve as a calling card. They've allowed me to make quite a few industry contacts at festivals. Hasn't led to anything specific yet, but there are people who will read my material. Also, I can refer people to my films on Youtube when I send out queries. If they enjoy the short it will sometimes lead to a request for one of my features.
Anyway, I'm not recommending anyone write shorts (because they're a money drain), but I am saying that I personally have enjoyed writing them and seeing them get produced.
If you'd like to check out the short I wrote which won the Slamdance short competition and was subsequently made by them, it's now up for viewing in its entirety at the Slamdance site: http://showcase.slamdance.com/filter/shorts#DEAD-IN-THE-ROOM
It's about a menacing screenwriter at a pitchfest.
Oh, and it stars Patrick J. Adams of SUITS!
Thanks, Paul and Mike. Very happy you liked it!
Thanks, Julia. I sent you the pdf by PM.
If ye ask, ye shall receive. A copy has been sent to Chopped Liver.
Thanks, Mike. I think my version made more sense, but theirs is more dramatic because we can see the actual gun. In my version, he could've been faking it with no gun at all and maybe that would've made the story less tense.
Thanks a million, Julia and Paul! I hope for very big contest wins (or better yet, production deals) to come both your ways soon!
Great send-up, Tim. Nicely done. Very funny.
Thanks, Robert and Bruce!
Yes, Robert, my film shows exactly what to expect at a pitchfest;-).
If you'd like the pdf, email me at marjory at mkaptanoglu.com.
Thanks very much for the congratulations, everyone. And congrats to Irin and Brent (haven't we seen Brent on this board now and then?) and anyone else I missed.
Thanks for the vote of confidence, Philip. I wish it were true; when it comes to Nicholl, I have no constancy.
I hate to blow holes in your theory, Bob and Lana, but my script that went forward was submitted very early in the contest, when they were offering low coverage rates. My script that bombed was submitted almost on the last day.
But honestly, I think we all give too much creedence to these contests. They are extremely subjective. From what I could see, Scriptapalooza picked almost an entirely different group of people for its qf's than Page. And I think Nicholl had yet another list. Everyone has a different opinion about what's good and what's not. Just ask any group of people what they think about any film, and you'll get lots of different opinions that run the gamut from love to hate.
As for me, I got some "positive reads," but when you've finished higher than that before (with what you felt was a lesser version of the same script), it is definitely not something to celebrate.
Aw, shucks. Thanks very much. Paul, I need you as my PR guy. Although you're already doing it out of the kindness of your heart, so how great is that? I'm really touched that you even remembered how to spell my name.
I got a cool email from Scriptapalooza asking for my latest pdf, logline, etc, and promising to promote the semifinalists for the next year, so that sounds pretty wonderful. I'll let you all know how it goes.
Hoping for some great results for M'Byters in the upcoming Page semifinal announcement. With luck we'll all have something to celebrate.
Thanks, you are all awesome! What a warm and friendly board this is. Considering how cold and heartless the industry often feels, it's wonderful to have a place like this.
Congrats, Lana and James and everyone else who made it!!! I submitted my thriller and it got through.
I looked through the lists quickly and I'm pretty sure I saw Julia, Philip, Bruce, and other familiar names. Pipe in and let us know.
Honestly, you all are so kind and I love you all back. I hope we all can inspire each other to keep at it for as long as it takes. If you love what you’re doing, don’t ever give up.
(Sorry if that’s a platitude, but it’s still something I say to myself every single day.)
Scott, re Paul, my thoughts exactly:-)
If you’re reaching the finals or above of, say, a third or half of the contests you enter, then your script’s in excellent shape. Almost no script, no matter how good, is going to finish at the top of all contests.
Paul, you know this, but it has to be said… what you have to be doing, right now, not later… is writing a new script. Even if you find a home for your current one, you’ll want to be ready with new material as soon as possible, to try to sell while you’re the writer of the month. And if you don’t manage to option your current one, you may still establish enough good will by demonstrating your fantastic writing style, that people will be open to reading your next script as soon as it’s done. So you want it to be done soon.
To badly quote a writer friend of mine, you have to keep slinging the mud and sooner or later something will stick. Which is not to equate your writing or anyone else’s with mud.
Congrats Scott, Bruce, Linda, Julia, and anyone else I may have missed.
Congrats to you too, Michael, and to Philip, who I inadvertently left out of my earlier list!
Mike S., I don't think you're right about the judging process. My script that made the finals last year received a feedback score less than 9.
Here's what they say at the site: "If your script advances beyond the preliminary round, it will then be read by multiple industry professionals who will determine which scripts advance to the semifinalist and finalist rounds. The top three in each category will be read by leading industry executives not only for potential consideration, but also to help determine the winners of the 2012 Creative World Awards."
So every script that's made it this far has a chance of moving into the finals or becoming a winner!
I'm out too.
Big congrats to those who made it, and best of luck in the next round!
I hope you all don't mind my shifting back to the original focus of this thread: sincere congratulations to Paul and Leone! Best of luck moving forward in the contest.
And, I don't think anyone should be surprised seeing different names in the various contests. Just proves how subjective it is, folks. Also, not everyone enters the same contests. I've been thinning my list and I didn't enter this one this year.
Re the guy with the script that was optioned in the past... most contests allow entering such scripts as long as they're not currently under option.
Re possible ringers... seriously doubt that pros enter these things. If they lose to amateurs that's not going to help their careers...
Contests are a means to an end, not an end. They're not worth obsessing over. That's my advice, though I can't say I ever follow my own advice.
Stick with what you’re doing, Paul. You need to set the tone to create an emotional experience for your reader, and part of how you do that is by writing unfilmables.
I would only complain about two things in description, both of which I’ve noticed in amateur screenplays, and which detract from the reading.
One is trying so hard to set the scene that you ramble on about insignificant details: The living room had brocade curtains, a couch upholstered in an outdated shade of green, blah, blah…” Instead, if it’s even necessary to describe the room at all, you could say something like, “The room looked like my grandmother decorated it.” In other words, the important thing is being succinct and painting an image with as few words as possible.
The number two problem is writing unfilmables that convey information the actor can’t possibly act and the cinematographer can't shoot, and therefore there is no way the viewer will get this information. For example, having something like this in the description: “Harry dropped out of film school in 1989, then spent a year traveling in Thailand before…”
The above is NOT the same as unfilmables like, “Alice’s heart skips a beat,” which is a line that would actually help an actor to understand Alice’s emotional state in the current situation. Similarly, Paul’s line, “Cleansing, life-affirming,” paints an image of the setting that we can visualize (I picture clear air, a blue sky, vibrant colors).
Anyway, I’m sure you all know this stuff, but I just wanted to reassure Paul that he should keep doing what he’s doing and trust that the people who matter (i.e., producers) are not going to toss his script aside over it.
Congrats Michael and Philip!
I think "swashbuckling rogue" describes him more succinctly. There are different types of pirates: evil scary ones, comical ones, cleverly deceitful ones, etc. But a rogue is just that:-).
@Ken, I do.
I hope there's been some mistake. Austin puts on such a great screenwriters' conference. But in no way would it ever be acceptable for judges to also be entrants.
The problem is, being a judge implies a relationship of some sort with the contest organizers and possibly with other judges. It means the other judges may be familiar with her work and may be tempted to judge her work more generously based on their personal relationship.
Your friend and this other woman may very well have remained honestly impartial. But this kind of thing gives the appearance of impropriety. In any other world (aside from the madcap world of screenwriting), every contest I've ever heard of has a clause stating that no one associated with the organization running the contest may enter. Certainly the judges, of all people, would fall under that category.
Unfortunately, there's little to no oversight in the screenwriting world.
Are entries that don't make the second round read twice?
It’s not just Austin. There’s no way anyone, even the contest organizers, can guarantee that any contest will be conducted without bias. Nicholl comes the closest by exhaustively explaining their process, and by having a good deal of oversight. But even then, they can’t guarantee that every judge will do the job with complete impartiality and due diligence. It’s just not possible.
We can propose all the changes we want, but I don’t think contests have any motivation to listen to us. From what I can tell, contest entries are at an all time high. Despite our reservations, we continue to enter.
For me, contests have served their purpose. Placing at some level has helped keep me motivated. Mentioning contest placements has helped get people to respond to queries. Winning Slamdance got me a short film.
But I think when you reach the point that the only thing better than what you’ve done already is finishing with a feature in 1st place in a big contest, it’s time to quit entering. Because the likelihood of reaching that number one spot involves a lot of luck as well as skill. In that case, I think I’m better off spending my money on more tangible opportunities.
Paul, I think your plan to go pitching is a solid one. I’ve pitched a number of times in the past, and have always gotten a number of script requests from legitimate companies. That’s more than I can say for a lot of contests I’ve placed in. I even got my first option from a company I pitched to at a pitchfest. It never went anywhere, but at least it increased my street cred a bit.
I was just thinking, if I don’t enter any contests next year, I could use the money I save to finance a trip to the Austin conference. Do I really need a contest placement on my badge to make connections with the people in Austin? I don’t think so. I have other achievements I can talk about.
I certainly don’t mean to dump on Austin. Austin the CONTEST has the same problems other contests do, probably no more, no less. Irin described this very well. I’m actually not worried if they only read 30 or even 10 pages; if they don’t like my script by 10 pages in, I don’t think they’ll like it at all. For me it’s more an issue of judges being human and not being able to escape certain biases. There’s really nothing you can do about that, short of hiring robots to read. Though I do think it would help to not allow judges to enter the same contests.
Austin the CONFERENCE is fantastic and I’d love to go again, which is why I think saving my money for that would be more cost-effective than entering contests. I agree if you have a great screenplay there’s a chance it will connect with enough readers in a contest to rise to the top. But it’s still a risky proposition, so at this point I prefer to go directly to the industry and to the connections I’ve already made to find champions of my work.
This morning I was looking at reviews of the film “A Separation” on Netflix, and they reminded me of this discussion about how subjective the judging process is. This is why I’m skeptical when people say that a “great” screenplay will be recognized by all. Though many found this film to be a “masterpiece,” others found it “ridiculously bad.” Here are five consecutive reviews:
(5 stars) A truly great movie! A universal lesson about domestic decision-making….
(3 stars) This was a very well made foreign film complete w/decent acting and a very good script… The ending was a bit disappointing but did say a great deal about the impact family unity on an adolescent.
(1 star) With out a doubt one of the most inane films ever. A minimal storyline that goes no where. Felt like a fool for sitting through it.
(5 stars) What a beautifully written masterpiece. The story pulls you in from beginning to end. The actors are enormously convincing. Yet another superb and unforgettable drama from Iran.
(1 star) Ridiculously bad film. Boring, strident, pointless. I have no idea what the proponents of this movie thought they were watching. What they wanted to see, I suppose.
You're right, Paul. No contest should allow judges to be entrants. It leaves far too much of an opportunity for potential abuse.
Congrats and good luck, Paul and Leone!
Every producer wants to see a logline, and most want a synopsis. It's annoying, because a story never sounds as good from a synopsis and they generally want you to give away the ending, which lessens the impact if they later read the script. If I were a producer, I'd ask the writer for the first ten pages of his/her script, and if I liked them, I'd request the rest. But I'm not a producer. Unfortunately, you need to give the producer what he or she wants, or you'll never hear from them again.
Re the tagline, I agree that's an unusual request. But I suspect the producer asked for it to get an idea what you see as the marketing hook of your premise. Michael gave a good example of a tagline. My tagline that's on the poster for my short DEAD IN THE ROOM is "One pitch to save your life." It's actually kind of fun to come up with taglines, and does help one focus on what the poster would look like, and what the key marketing hook is. If I were you, I'd do it. I bet it will help you score bonus points with this producer.
I agree, Paul. I usually don't reveal the ending in the synopsis unless the producer specifically asks me to do so. But I've also heard advice that it will piss off producers if you leave out the ending. Anyone else want to weigh in on that? Should a synopsis reveal the ending or not?
Julia, you took the words right out of my mouth.
Paul, the trackingb contest has been debated endlessly on the DoneDealPro forums: go to http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/boards/index.php? and search on trackingb.
A number of people who have been finalists and honorable mentions give their opinion (all positive as far as I could see). Many others who haven't placed and consider it more of a pay-to-be-read situation than a contest also give their opinion.
The contest has few rules and gives little information about its process, so you should be willing to accept that if you choose to enter. I don't have a lot of sympathy for those who enter and then when they don't place, they complain about the lack of oversight. Sorry, but that should've been clear to them from the beginning.
Those who do place almost always get reps, but I'm not sure that definitely leads to success in the industry. I've looked up some of the winners on IMDB a few years later to find that they still have no credits. Which is just to say a rep, like anything else, can't guarantee your success. But we still need them as they have access we don't have.
I have entered a few times in the past (not last year or this year). The last time I entered, the scripts that won sounded very high testosterone. One was something about a guy stuck in a building with a machine gun or something, and he blasts his way through each floor. That's my vague memory of the logline. I suppose that sounds a bit like Die Hard, lol. Anyway, although I do write what I believe to be commercial fiction (thrillers, sci-fi and comedy), I don't write big action or broad, raunchy comedies of the sort that guys are supposed to like. My sense from looking at the loglines was that the scripts more likely to appeal to a (teenaged?) male audience were the ones that placed, so after that I quit entering.
And now I don't need to enter as I have a manager:-).
Fantastic! Congrats, Heather and Kate! I wish I was going to be there. I hope it's the hit of the festival!
Hey Michael, I actually can't remember anyone typing on a laptop (or even iPad) when I attended roundtables a couple of years ago (but maybe there were some at the talks and panels).
I brought a plain old-fashioned pen and notebook and jotted down a few key points. But mostly people are listening and verbally interacting, especially at the roundtables where the speakers generally engage the writers at the table. Do make sure you have something to write on, because some of the speakers don't hand out cards, but will tell you their email address. If that happens, you want to make sure to write it down:-).
Congrats and good luck!
Congrats, Michael! Between this and Austin, this could be the year you crash the gates (if you're not in already).
If anyone has time, wanna tell us about your favorite events this year?
What the Dude said.
Hi M’Byters, I wanted to give a shout out for the new Black List. As probably everyone here knows, you can now upload your own script to the site by paying $25/month for hosting. If you also fork out $50 for a rating (1-10) from a pro reader, you can potentially boost your script’s profile on the site if you get a decent scorecard.
Anyway, my rating was apparently high enough to get my screenplay the number 7 spot on the Top Scripts list for Uploaded scripts. If you filter by rom com as well, mine is number one today.
If you have a pro membership, you can check out my script if you feel like it: https://www.blcklst.com/members/script/4601 It’s called A MATCH MADE IN HELL.
Thanks, you guys. Being on the "Scripts Everyone Likes" list feels good, though I don't know if it will translate to industry reads. So far my script has many "Impressions," meaning people looking at the logline and general info. But I have very few downloads at this point.
Maybe my logline needs improvement. I do suggest the Black List make it easier for one to change one's logline. To do so now, you have to submit a request and wait 24 hours or so. I'm not sure why one can't change the logline on the fly.
So the jury's still out, but I do think this site has potential and that Franklin sincerely wants it to be the great new way screenwriters get discovered. I'm glad I decided to give it a whirl, though as with any approach to getting one's script sold, there are no guarantees.
lol, thanks Julia, I wasn't even thinking about that, even though the story does, in fact, begin on Halloween Day!
Lauren, hopefully you found a solution to your problem, but if not you can email the Black List at email@example.com. They’re usually quick with responses.
Poetist, indeed, now is a good time to take stock as my first month being hosted on the site has just ended.
Here’s what happened: my script received a rating of 8 from one of the pro readers, which meant it was recommended to the industry members in the weekly email that goes out to them. As a result, my script received many impressions, but no downloads. This was discouraging, to say the least.
So I emailed Franklin and asked if he had any explanation. He said part of the reason might be that I had a manager, and therefore other reps on the site would not be interested in downloading it. The other part could be that romcoms are hard sells these days unless they have attachments.
Anyway, I decided to leave the script up there for one more month, because it’s still listed as one of the top romcoms, and you never know if the right person will come along and like the logline.
Also, I have parted ways with my manager (for unrelated reasons) and have removed her name from the project. Unfortunately, the script is no longer getting tons of impressions. I did get one download finally, but that’s all so far.
I wish I had more encouraging results to report. Maybe someone else does? Despite this, I plan to continue trying with one or two more scripts. Now that I’m again in the market for a rep, the site has the potential to be of more use to me. And I just think it’s too soon to give up. I’m willing and able to make the financial investment to try this for another couple of scripts and another couple of months. But at this point, I have no reason to recommend the service to anyone else.
Thank you, Paul. I think you're a winner too. And I agree about perseverance.
Lauren, thank you and best holiday wishes to you too:-)
Poetist, thanks for the suggestion. I've done pitchfests before, and generally do get a number of script requests out of them. I even optioned a script to a producer I met at a pitchfest. But I feel it's necessary to try more than one avenue, and the new Black List is just getting started so I'm not ready to form a definitive judgment on it yet.
Thank you, Nick!
Was your entry one of the winners, Poetist?
I didn't enter because I was a little afraid that if they perceived the two brands (W Hotels and Ultrabooks) as appearing in a not so positive light in my script, that could be grounds for rejection. If a thief breaks into your hotel room, does that mean that security at the W sucks? I just didn't want my script judged on that criteria.
That said, the films look terrific; very high quality. Storywise, I liked two of them; didn't like the other two.
A friend of mine entered, and I have to say I thought his story was far better than the one they picked for that particular hotel. But as we all know, it's subjective.
Anyway, it does look like it would be very cool to win this thing. Hopefully they'll do another one next year.
Bruce, that's interesting, we liked exactly the same ones. The one set in the Maldives completely lost me; I had no idea what was going on. Maybe if I watched it a second time it would make more sense, but sorry, I didn't want to invest the extra time. Kills me because my friend had such a lovely story set in the Maldives.
Bruce, that just goes to show that you're a man of deep insight and EXCELLENT taste!
I would have to say that the Black List has not worked for me, but it might be helpful to others.
I posted two scripts and purchased two ratings for each. The first received a 6 and an 8, and the second received a 5 and a 7. The review that gave the script an overall 7 gave it an 8 for premise and for dialogue. I believe this means it would have been mentioned in an email to the industry members who indicated particular interest in high-scoring premise or dialogue components. And the first script would definitely have been recommended in an email as it received one overall score of 8.
Three out of the four reviews specifically stated that my scripts were well-written. The more favorable reviews on each script felt the script was nearly ready for production. I made the more favorable reviews public on the site.
The script that received an 8 has gotten nearly 400 impressions but only 5 downloads, 2 of which were the paid readers. The script with the 7 has received only 31 impressions and 2 downloads (which means 0 outside of the paid readers). The latter script has not been on the BL as long as the first one.
No one has attempted to contact me re either script. I plan to pause hosting for both of them when the billing cycle is up.
Most likely, I will not post them again. The concepts are obviously not attracting much attention. One is a romcom and the other is a sci-fi comedy. It would be difficult to rewrite them to fix the issues brought up in the reviews (as not much detail is provided), and I’m not sure I’d want to do that, as the other reviewers did not have the same issues. You could spend forever trying to please everyone.
I’m happy that in each case, one out of two reviewers felt that the script was well-written, with a commercial premise, and nearly ready for production. That at least tells me I’m on the right track.
But in a way, this experience has been a wake-up call for me. It’s been interesting to hear of other scripts with 8’s or 9’s that, even with lots of downloads, are not finding homes with producers or offers of representation. Because it’s just so incredibly hard to sell an original script.
I believe another problem is that a system like the new BL supports the status quo to some extent. The people who are already Hollywood insiders are members of this site, and will naturally be setting the trends. It’s likely the majority of these people are male and attracted to the type of material they feel is easiest to sell: material that appeals to teenage males. Because of this, I think material that might appeal to other groups may not be able to rise to the top here.
Sorry for this long post, but I’ll just leave you with this. There are two lists of the top 15 scripts on the main page of the new BL. On the left are those from the original blacklist (writers didn’t pay to upload) and on the right are those that were uploaded and paid for by writers. Almost every time I’ve checked the lists in the last 2-3 months, all the writers’ names on both lists have been male, with the exception of a couple of male-female writing teams.
I don’t think there’s any conspiracy here. I simply think that this supports my supposition above, that the scripts that appeal most to Hollywood’s current tastemakers will rise to the top. And those tastemakers are mostly male.
(I’m not talking about genres, by the way. I think men and women enjoy all the genres. But I believe that, generally speaking, we like different things about them and that our work tends to have a different tone and focus.)
Given this experience, I’m off to try my hand at a novel.
Actually, my concepts are pretty commercial if not super high concept. I’m not writing little indie dramas. Like I said, each premise scored an 8 from one of the readers. But they’re not necessarily concepts that will appeal to Hollywood’s key demographic: 12-24 year-old males. The types of commercial films I like: say, Witness or Chocolat or The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel or The King’s Speech… these are films that found a large audience though they’re not in the key demographic. (Not sayin’ my scripts are at this level, just giving an example of my taste.)
I understand if someone chooses to write a type of film that doesn’t necessarily appeal to them in order to try to break in. But that’s not for me. I’m never going to write Transformers 15 or anything that I wouldn’t want to watch in a theatre myself. And because I’ve made this decision, it makes sense for me to branch out to novels (though I’m sure I’ll keep writing screenplays too; I can’t help myself).
Anyway, good luck to you, Poetist!
I have tried Inktip. My impression is that most producers frequenting the site are looking for quite low budget material: TV movies, direct to video, ultra-low budget indie. Closest I got to success there was a producer who was interested in one of my scripts for a Lifetime movie, but then she backed out as she found out Lifetime was more interested in material based on true stories.
I've tried a lot of different marketing strategies and will continue to do so. I'm not giving up; just branching out.
Yes, Julia, that producer found me through Inktip.
Actually, I'm pretty sure that although Lifetime prefers stuff based on true stories, they also buy thrillers that aren't. There are definitely producers out there who are looking for scripts like that. Just not the one who contacted me:-).
Good luck with your script.
Thanks for the update, Franklin. Despite my own experience, I do believe the new Black List provides more opportunities to get your script read by industry pros than most other options available to us.
And yes, Bob, my reasoning is the same as yours. Finding an audience for our work as novels may prove a better way to get a screenplay sold. Of course, that's a big challenge too, but with all the epublishing options sprouting up, it's getting a bit easier.
Dan Goforth wrote a great article for Script magazine about the benefits of writing a short screenplay and getting it made into a film:
Self-promotion alert: he also talks about my experiences in this arena.
You can view two of my short films here: https://www.youtube.com/deadintheroom https://www.youtube.com/dearlydepartedmovie
Hey Daniel, that's awesome. Congratulations! I hope something concrete comes of it. And if not, you still have validation, which will maybe motivate you to try even harder to market the script.
In fact, now might be the time to send out a bunch of queries stating your BL results.
Best of luck, Margie
Irin, I completely agree with you. I also think it's gotten worse in the last year or two.
But I almost didn't read this as the long title had me thinking it was another message from the Kat Lady:-)
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