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Got a call a few weeks ago that I had made some final shortlist of twelve -- but when the list was pared to eight (for face-to-face interviews), I was NOT one of them.
Not sure if this was the information you're after, on the off-chance that you had advanced to the later rounds, because since the gentle rejection, I've been (sadly) out of the loop on the remainder of the competition.
Here's what I know -- and admittedly, it's a bit incomplete, so take it for what it's worth:
Of the eight interviewees, I think they are selecting a small number of "winners" (something like four or so). However, I think this is just on the "film" side of the competition. I would speculate that a similar arrangement is taking place on the TV side.
Having said that, when they phoned and said I wasn't on the shortlist for face-to-face interviews, they used a funny term, saying that I was "being bumped" so maybe the tweleve gets pared a bit by their phone interviews, and after someone is "bumped," maybe they add and subtract a bit.
It's a pity because during the phone chat, I didn't know I needed to be "on" (in the interview sense of the term) because it just seemed like a friendly notification phone call. I have no idea what I may have said during the phone chat that got me "bumped" but there ya go.
Might have been when I referred to Mickey Mouse as the anti-Christ, not sure.
Still nothing on their Website, but I did get a call on my phone machine around 9am PST informing me that a couple of scripes advanced to the quarterfinalist round. I assumed the others that I entered were toast.
I hope they don't have a list of something like 200+ quarterfinalists. Depending on entries, it'd be nice if it's somewhere within one hundred or so.
Anyway, that's the only information that I have . . .
Oh, great. "The Paper Route" is one of the entries. Mister Howell, I need to start knowing in advance what contests you're entered in, so I can flip a coin regarding whether or not to enter. But good luck and give 'em hell.
Danny/Paula et al:
It's all good. The advancement, the feedback, and even the DINK for us insecure writers whose neurotic defense mechanisms (if they're anything like mine) work something like this:
- I FIND OUT I ADVANCE (while convincing myself not to get excited, I assume there were surely minimal entries all with questionable quality/merit) and/or dumb readers who don't know any better.
- I FIND OUT I DON't ADVANCE (while convincing myself not to get depressed, I assume there were a lot of hotshot entries -- in fact, too many to count -- and/or dumb readers who don't know any better)
Hmm, let me weigh in here, offering a counterpoint because I originally didn't recognize the name under the "& Associates" moniker.
I used to be part of a local group called the Northwest Screenwriters Guild (obviously not based in LA). I recall we had Neal Stevens up about 3-4 years ago as a guest speaker and some people sent him scripts (after pitching I think), but I don't recall anyone saying anything negative, other than bemoaning that their project(s) never went anywhere.
My experience: Last year around September 2004, I heard through the NWSG that Neal Stevens had sent out a feeler that he was looking for projects and after going through the logline evaluation process, ended up sending a script that he/they seemed to really like. I went through a rewrite or two before deciding (of my own volition) to go my own way. Here's how I would sum up my experience:
- Neal always seemed generally over board in his dealings. He certainly never asked for any money or fees. Mind you, I guess I never reached a point where it could be characterized as an "opportunity to move the project into development" as you described. Maybe that was the next phase. - Neal's feedback for rewrites and improvements was piss-poor. The only two suggestions I ever recalled were "make it less like a Coen Brothers movie" and the always popular "raise the stakes" more. Nothing specific. But maybe that's common since I have had limited experience with doing rewrites for other producers/mgrs et al. - I sometimes got the impression that his reader read the script more closely than Neal did. Either that, or Neal didn't read the script much at all. But the reader loved the script (original version and rewritten one), though Neal was always ambivalent.
SUMMATION Maybe Neal Stevens is now desperate for money because I'm surprised to read what can only be described as either a "scam" or a shameless attempt at exploiting unsuspecting writers. Mind you, there's no doubt nothing illegal about this, but I wouldn't bite on this. And that's not because of Neal Stevens because I have nothing necessarily negative to say about him. If I knew him better, I'd be tempted to send an email and ask him: "What's up with this?" But I'll ask around and see what other people have to say and if I hear anything relevant, I'll pass it along.
P.S. I don't have access to all my email exchanges with Neal (I'm here at work) so I'll check later for anything that might be relevant or helpful.
A lot of them combine horror with sci-fi and/of fantasy. I had a sci-fi script that did very well (won ScreamFest and Shockerfest).
But I can't say enough about the people at ScreamFest (Rudy Scalese and Rachel Belofsky) and how helpful they've been regarding getting me exposure, offering advice, helping to coordinate requests for the script, etc. Moreover, I think it's got a fairly solid reputation behind it, though you ought to give them all a shot.
There may be others, but these are the ones that I found when looking a year ago for competitions that also included sci-fi.
Okay, I did a quick and fairly comprehensive check on this site. Here's a few more though I don't have any experience with either of them. But I see one that I plan to investigate.
2005 Eerie Horror Screenplay Competition http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=859
Breakthrough with a Scream http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=458
Cinescape Magazine's Genre Screenwriting Competition http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=525
PAGE International Screenwriting Awards (has a "horror" category) http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=750
Project Greenlight (has a "horror" category I think) http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=356
-- -- -- SHORTS -- -- -- DEADlight Horror Short Script contest http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=598
Hellfire's Short Horror Screenplay Competition http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?contestnumber=681
This probably won't help:
I was in the film portion of the competition. Had a phone interview last month. Was told later that I wouldn't be invited for a face-to-face interview. I took that as my "rejection" and don't recall anything further about additional correspondence or emails.
Anyway, for what it's worth.
What did I enter? You mean the script title?
It was a feature-length film screenplay called "The Domain." A sci-fi story, of all things. Go figure.
One final bit of background from a 2002 MovieMaker article/interview. Perhaps a bit dated, but you may find it useful, if the contest route is still something you want to consider.
Talking Horror with Experts at Five "Genre Fests" http://www.moviemaker.com/hop/17/festivals.html
Now, now, Mister Howell. I certainly appreciate the acknowledgement, but history has proven that my scripts tend to have a decent track record, but never quite make it to that next level. Like something along the lines of "Paper Route" status.
At any rate, I remain just a humble, unknown, unrepresented, and unproduced screenwriter in Seattle, WA. (sigh)
But all that aside, let's go kick some butt in the TFI. Tally ho! Tonight we ride!
Thanks for the congrats.
Truth be told, I'm a transplanted Pittsburgh native (been here 8 years) and tend to bleed black-n-gold when it comes to the NFL. I keep telling my NZ expat wife that I don't care about football, but she knows I'm a complete fraud.
Some of the contests mentioned in this posting have a combination of horror and sci-fi genres.
Check 'em out and see if any are what you're looking for.
I received an email last night regarding the advancement of one of my entries. As for the ones that didn't advance, I didn't hear anything and when I queried them via email, they confirmed that the others were knocked out. They did say something about the website being updated later in the week.
And here's a variation that I once did (not sure how correct it is by industry standards):
INSET – COMPUTER SCREEN TEXT – MAN BITES DOG
Is the correct heading "INSERT" instead of "INSET"?
Check this site out perhaps.
When I won HSI a few months ago, there was a guy named Earl Blakesley, Jr who was affiliated with the contest (literary mgr I think) and when I Google'd him, I found an article about him on the website I listed above. Maybe this will help. http://www.faithfilm.com/articles/brad.html
Oh yeah, and regarding Earl Blakesley Jr., here's his contact details:
Earl Blakesley, Jr., American International Media 1605 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Suite 216 Hollywood, CA 90028 Phone: 323-461-8333 e-mail: EBlakes297@aol.com
Well, they're a hybrid mgt/prod company, as a lot of these places are nowadays.
I don't know much about them other than recently being contacted by a story editor named Ryan Cunningham, who requested to read one of my scripts. He eventually passed on it, but the turnaround was quick.
I can't imagine why anyone would not enter Nicholl. It's cheap and despite some dissenting opinion in certain writer camps regarding the "type" of story that does well there, it's the grandaddy of the comps and the spotlight on the scripts that do well is a tad brighter and more far-reaching than most others.
On the other hand, to each his own, but since I was once a Nicholl Fellowship Finalist, I suppose I might be a bit biased.
Is Nicholl really, really worth it if you're a finalist? Is this a trick question perhaps?
If I say that ultimately, nothing happened with my script, I suppose you'll assume the answer is "No."
I suppose it's all a relative term and I guess if you have to ask the question, maybe you oughta skip Nicholl. What is it you're after? Exposure? Money? Getting a production deal, even if it's peanuts?
I'll just say it's worth it and leave it at that. You have no idea. It's like trying to tell new parents how their life will change when the newborn comes along.
All I'm saying is that different contests offer different things (as we all know). For Nicholl, it's all about exposure and because it's Nicholl, the exposure or "heat" is magnified exponentially. Based on Connie's "all I want" then I dare say that any contest is worth pursuing, since nobody really knows what sort of byproduct will result from a high placement.
Specific to the "Is it worth it to enter Nicholl?' I mean, come on. We all know about Nicholl and what could eventuate if one were fortunate enough to slip through to the later rounds, so if a person thinks Nicholl is a waste of time, then they probably shouldn't enter contests in the first place, or I assume they're after something else maybe -- different from exposure.
I had 80-100 requests to read my little character-driven drama. For a while, I had representation. I had meetings. I had fledgling interest, but mostly a succession of "what else are you working on?" Eventually, the heat died down and I fired my manager. I'm still a struggling writer who doesn't live in LA.
So when someone on this board asks "Did anything come out of your finalist script?" and "Is Nicholl worth it?" -- how exactly do I answer that and it depends on so many variables and one's definition of "anything" or "worth it." Some might read this and say, "What a waste of time. Phooy on Nicholl." I beg to differ, and I recognize that screenplay contests and evaluations are subjective animals and that a fair amount of luck was involved (just as easily could have been tossed aside in an early round of judging).
So sure, there are still plenty of people in Hollywood who wouldn't give me the time of the day or return my calls (not surprising). On the other hand, the Nicholl accolade has provided some intangible benefits that shouldn't be under-estimated. I can get myself read at a lot of places that before Nicholl, probably wouldn't return phone calls, emails, or give me the time of the day. It does help separate me from the pile sometimes (rightly or wrongly) and dare I say -- legitimzie me in the eyes of some people. And yup, I leverage it any time I can.
For my part, I don't think any other contest can provide the sort of heat and unprecedented land rush that Nicholl can. Yes, the odds are long. Yes, every year, your script is one among nearly 5,000. And sure, there are still no guarantees even after something like being a Finalist. But why the hell would anyone not enter? I just don't get that. I guess a person can always enter the Omaha Challenge or Aunt Mary's Family Screenplay Contest, but jeepers -- Nicholl? Austin? Is it worth it? I thought that was a trick question.
Cheers (I'm exhausted), Michael
P.S. The newborn/parent remark was simply an example or analogy of not knowing how to verbalize or explain the Nicholl experience in a you-have-to-be-there kinda way. Like trying to explain to a couple who are about to become new parents for the first time how they're life is going to change. You can't possibly convey to them how different everything is about to become, any more than I try and explain the Nicholl thing, other than the way I just did, I suppose. Tonsgard, how you twisted that into something about your parents and your reaction as a sibling to a new family member is a bit mystifying.
I didn't mean to sound dismissive or annoyed. I hadn't been back to this site in over a week and I didn't wanna wait to respond, even though things at work are super hectic.
For Connie, I certainly didn't mean any disrespect and hope she takes my reply in the spirit in which it was intended -- without any ill will or malice whatsoever. As we all know, sometimes written communication without the benefit of knowing the individual or seeing body language and facial expressions can lead to unfortunate interpretations and misunderstandings.
Suffice it to say that my obvious intent was to just try and describe the experience as succinctly and vividly as I could.
In other words, I think Nicholl is worth it and as long as I'm eligible and have a script that I think has sufficient merit, I'll enter it every year. Even if their people who handle submissions, rolls their eyes and says, "It's him again. Why doesn't he just give up?"
I just thought I'd post one more follow-up related to the whole contest debate as well as the Nicholl value in relation to other contests in general.
It's an interesting read and I think everyone can access the link.
I found this interesting when I recently read it -- an interview with a producer or agent. I can't remember.
Q: What do you look for in a writer?
A: Somebody who knows everything I just told you and has a really distinctive voice when they write. There are a couple of tip-offs when I am reading something that tells me I am not interested. If a character description has the word "typical," "obvious," "stereotypical," "handsome," or "beautiful," I immediately close the script because that doesn't tell me anything. My favorite character description I ever read--and I haven't actually read the script for 20 years and I still remember the character description--told me that this guy could write. It goes like this: "Her name was Abbey. She had a jaw line that could cut paper and eyes that could scare a wolf in a stare-down." You know everything you need to know about that girl, right?
I don't think the absence of recognizable names from this forum is any reflection on the quality of the contest.
Every contest lists the eligibility requirements so I'm not sure what the big deal is.
I think there's a tendency to forget that placing in one of the more competitive screenwriting contest is not supposed to be easy. Nor is it a reflection of any perceived lack of talent. At the end of the day, it's still subjective, but also damn hard.
Let it go.
Far too much wasted energy. I don't have enough time to worry about things I can't control with regard to the few contests that I choose to enter.
I glance at the list of names, shrug my shoulders, and move on. The policing and monitoring of rules compliance I leave to the organizers.
Personally, I don't think Noah should have felt like he needed to clear anything up. Unfortunately, he was thrust into that position by a rush to judgment and a bit of mass hysteria based on incomplete information and general assumptions.
Be rest assured if my name ever appears on a finalist list and some subscriber on a screenwriting forum gets it in their head that I'm not deserving or violated the contest rules, they can go stand on a street corner and shout about the injustices of the world at the top of their lungs for all I care. The organizers of the contest will know all the required and necessary details.
So congrats to Noah on a job well done and undoubtedly, a fine script.
I know I shouldn't say anything, but what the hell. I'm procrastinating on my latest rewrite, but my reaction:
* I read the logline and didn't give the premise a second thought. I "got it" and figured more would be fleshed in the script (as you would expect).
* I think the discussion "about the logline" has reached a point where one would be encouraged to read the script if any further clarification or embellishment seems to be required (my opinion of course).
* Haven't seen the term "oriental" used in a long time. Just an observation.
I recommend doing more than just getting the script ready for requests. Be even more proactive and start thinking of how to leverage the current (and pending) achievement in your queries and what-not.
You must (absolutely must) be ready to maximize the buzz if and when it hits. Semi's will be nice buzz and a bit of attention . . . but if you get the Greg Beal phone call late next month, you're through the looking glass and must be ready.
Not sure how this will display . . . and I rounded up numbers to elmiminate clutter.
GENRE QF HM QF% HM% OVERALL%
Drama 15 9 30% 39% 33% Comedy 10 4 20% 17% 19% Action 4 1 8% 4% 7% Adv 4 1 8% 4% 7% Family 4 1 8% 4% 7% Sci-Fi 4 1 8% 4% 7% Thriller 3 2 6% 9% 7% Fantasy 2 1 4% 4% 4% Anim 1 1 2% 4% 3% Horror 1 1 2% 4% 3% War 1 1 2% 4% 3% Western 1 0 2% 0% 1%
Now I understand your problem.
GENRE QF HM QF% HM% OVERALL%
Drama 15 9 30% 39% 33% Comedy 10 4 20% 17% 19% Action 4 1 8% 4% 7% Adv 4 1 8% 4% 7% Family 4 1 8% 4% 7% Sci-Fi 4 1 8% 4% 7% Thriller 3 2 6% 9% 7% Fantasy 2 1 4% 4% 4% Anim 1 1 2% 4% 3% Horror 1 1 2% 4% 3% War 1 1 2% 4% 3% Western 1 0 2% 0% 1%
The contest Web site has finally posted the list on its Web site.
I might be mistaken but "elevated horror" might rely more on character and suggestion for terror and suspense, as well as graphic horror. Also, it might encapsulate some sort of social commentary about the wider world, either the political or the social climate.
But I think it's more the former rather than the latter.
Here's a link I found, though I don't really know what draft it is or if it's what you're looking for.
I moved it into my Spam folder.
Maybe there's a few letters of the alphabet that screenwriters are supposed to avoid, as well.
"If this thread is so awful why so many hits?"
Uh, hmm. Perhaps a source of entertainment? In the same way people stop to look at a train wreck.
Otherwise, my only hit-n-run comment is a bit of puzzlement as to why we (the writers of all people) need to worry about labels and pigeon-holing everyone into these little boxes. Nationalities, ethnicity, etc. As for questions like that, I don't see the need to dignify it with a response.
Kinda reminds me of the time a producer was so astounded that I wasn't a woman -- after he had just finished reading one of my scripts that had a young empowered woman as the lead role against the backdrop of a mother-daughter storyline.
I've lived and pursueed my writing career in Hong Kong, New Zealand, and Australia -- and the only time anyone ever cared whether or not I was an American was here. Go figure.
Whatever. Just sayin'.
They're legitimate guys and there's certainly nothing wrong with a script request.
I've met with Eric Williams and had communication with him from time to time. He's a straight shooter. If he doesn't like something, he tells you.
They have a management "arm" of the company, if I'm not mistaken (Pierce-Williams), or maybe it's the other way around.
I wouldn't worry about their stature. If they like your script, they'll tell you. And that would be good news.
It's not really all that difficult to figure out. Disney is no different than any other company during the economic downturn.
If they're going through layoffs across the company -- from California to Florida -- the beancounters are probably looking at all sorts of ways to trim overhead. If departments had their Christmas parties canceled as well as cutbacks on non-essential travel, the elminiation of a Fellowship Program, though regrettable, is not too hard to understand.
They obviously did their own due diligence and arrived at a calculated risk/reward decision.
Why did Bill from accounting get laid off, but not Sally over in Facilities?
I know, I know . . . but don't they understand the intrinsic value of how wonderful all these unknown writers are and the ultimate benefit?
Bob Iger is a smart and shrewd man and I'm sure he didn't arrive at the decision lightly.
I'm not a fan of entering dozens of contests. I tend to enter 5-6 contests, but here's my Top Five
1) Nicholl 2) Nicholl 3) Nicholl 4) Nicholl 5) Nicholl
Knock it out of the park with Nicholl and kiss the other contests good-bye. It's as much of a litmus test as you're likely to find because it's not supposed to be easy to get a high placement in a screenwriting contest. Page over Nicholl? You're kidding, right?
It was a truthful assessment in that the woman (can't remember if it was Heather or Marlene) did seem to make a sincere effort to put me ''out there'' so to speak -- even though I was not one of the "winners". So I felt that they did try to ''promote and champion'' the acknowledged writers.
All that being said, like so many contests, it still ends up amounting to one of many voices in the wilderness and ultimately, the exposure windfall was minimal. So I stand by my assertion that (in my opinion) Nicholl is the far and away the most important.
Of course, my key barometer for a contest is all about exposure and heat. I really don't care if a contest offers a big cash prize, informative blogs, etc.
Hope that helps a bit. And by the way, when I mentioned that I typically enter 5-6 contests, Page is one of those contests. I just don't have high expectations win, lose, or draw. I'd love to be proven wrong, though. Maybe I can help things by writing a great script.
Regarding Janet's Page-related comment ''. . .they don't just pick one winner . They pick five.'':
Nicholl selects 10 finalists and 5 fellows. And ask any of the nearly 100 Nicholl semi-finalists how many read requests their placement triggered. I dare say it's considerable. The more scripts you begin to acknowledge, the more it dilutes the achievement in the eyes of the people who might sit up and take notice. Don't get me wrong. I like Page. Just not nearly as much as others on this forum seem to. That's cool.
Categories and genres? I find that a contest with categories can be useful for certain niche genres, which I don't necessarily write, though I have written a couple of sci-fi scripts over the years. However, I tend to believe Greg Beal (at Nicholl) when he says (paraphrasing) that they simply try to select the best stories/scripts. I think he once said that for certain genres (like sci-fi), they give those scripts to readers who have an affinity and/or level of creative expertise in that category. That said, could there be reader bias? Of course. I would think that's true for any contest.
For importance (responding to the original question of this post) and exposure, I still don't think any contest out there can beat Nicholl. Other contests are run by some super people that do a damn fine job in their own right, but I still put Nicholl at #1.
Good stuff, John. Seriously.
If I remember, you're repped by someone, so it'll be interesting to see how (or if) he'll leverage this.
Of course, if you advance to the Finalist round, that'll be a complete paradigm shift -- for both of you.
Congrats to miraculous Ashley.
I was b-slapped by Nicholl, I'm afraid.
Here's hoping that you get that special phone call next month and hear the sound of Greg Beal's soothing, silky smooth voice.
This is my favorite post in the 2-3 years of hangin' out around here. I notice that many people on this board seem to enter every single contest in the database, which has always made me wonder which ones might really be worth it -- in terms of read requests and exposure.
So when one has a budget to consider, it's invaluable to hear that a contest like Script Savvy (probably would never have given it a second thought) holds a certain amount of promise.
Let's see . . . for me, my list is short (and perhaps obvious):
NICHOLL Received around 100 requests as a Finalist a few years ago. Above and beyond the requests was a certain "buzz" factor (albeit temporary) that I don't think I'll be able to replicate in any other competition ever again.
SCREAMFEST Received about a dozen requests for wininng this competition.
DISNEY (no longer active) Received about a dozen requests as a semi-finalist.
And despite being a Finalist in the following competitions, I don't ever recall a single request, though I might be mistaken or perhaps forgot:
- Scriptapalooza - PAGE - Final Draft - Int'l Family - etc.
You get the idea.
Julia might be on to something. I was just thinking this the other day after I was reviewing some notes from Barb Doyon. I realize we've discussed the pros and cons of all the relevant coverage services in other postings and threads, but I wonder what the tradeoff might be for someone who saves their $300-$500 (give or take) from the 10+ contests that I might have entered (with the exception of some of the biggies like Austin, Nicholl, PAGE et al) and invested that money with the likes of Extreme Screenwriting, Scripshark, Coverage, Ink, ScriptPimp, et al. The worst-case scenario is that you spend more money and turn around and enter several contests anyway, but with an arguably tighter and more bulletproof script.
Then again, maybe we should be doing that anyway, though that opens up the other debate regarding coverage services, script reviews, etc.
I'll beat a dead horse and maintain that by and large, the value (from an extrinsic point of view) is minimal.
From an intrinsic or hard-to-quantify point of view (measuring oneself, psychological boosts, occasional monetary windfall, some networking contacts, etc.), they have low- to moderate value.
Nicholl is still the only contest that matters. As an example, is it John Arends who is a Nicholl semi-finalist this year? Now that the finalists are announced and the list is out, let's ask him how many read requests he's gotten as a semi-finalist. I'll wager between 20-30.
John, your InBox should now be filling up with read requests (I hope).
Give all of us some hope and tell us about the spike one gets from a successful run in the Nicholl competition.
Robert, I suspect a few more requests will continue to trickle in, so this should be interesting to monitor. Best of luck.
Regarding age: I was once repped by a manager who said it was a good thing that I looked so young (I'm in my 40s) and that in my meetings, I shouldn't say anything about my age, being married, or having kids . . . unless somehow it was brought up or I was asked directly. At first, I thought he was joking. Ahh, no.
After reading through this mess, I just gotta say that it's not all good.
Worse yet -- I just wasted perhaps two or three minutes of my life reading through and now responding. I'm accountable, though . . . it's my own fault.
If you'll excuse me, I'm leaving to go do some actual writing now.
I hate to do this, but I'm afraid I'm just going to post one more response and not really continue this. It's actually kinda boring. So I apologize in advance for not advancing the exchange . . . or posting and running . . .
But one point of clarification: Not sure why gender matters. Also not sure why you think anyone is defending anybody, which I don't see. This has nothing to do with defending anyone. I'm a left-leaning bleeding heart liberal pseudo-socialist, not that it matters.
But this isn't about gender. Or defending anyone. But you see what you wanna see. And also take a lot of comments out of context. Whatever.
This could have been a knock-knock joke and I'd still wonder why it was posted and/or why we're all talking about it. But it does remind me why I spend so little time on this forum . . . I mean, I can follow threads like this anywhere on the Internet.
Carry on . . .
I don't quite understand.
If I was Janet, I'd tell Martin to stick it. And I don't know Janet. And I don't know Martin.
What next? Proof regarding her name, sex, or nationality?
Although I've been in something of a contest slump lately ( or I just don't enter very many anymore maybe), a few years ago I had a script that placed in close to 20 contests. No big deal really. But if Martin wants a list or notarized proof, don't hold your breath, mate.
Nicholl Fellowship (as in "Nicholl").
Sorry to be such a dick, but I see this butchered so many times on this site and others . . . by writers, no less. I feel like the Howard Beale character in Network sometimes.
We're a detail-oriented bunch, but every time we talk about the most prestigious and influential screenwriting competition within our own industry, we find a half dozen different ways to spell it or refer to it.
Just sayin'. I'll go away quietly now.
Good question, though.
No worries, Nick. Wasn't trying to pick on you. I just need to get a life.
Hey, wait just a minute. Three years ago (or so), I wrote my Nicholl Finalist script while I was living in New Zealand . . . at the same cafe every day.
You don't suppose?
C'mon everybody. We're all moving to New Zealand!
My cafe was in the Newmarket section of Auckland. If you tell me that's where your cafe was, I'm going to corkscrew my body right into the ground and giggle with delirium.
Not too far off at all. If I rememeber, Lorne Street becomes High Street (or the other way around maybe).
I got the moving vans on speed-dial, which oughta make my Kiwi wife overjoyed. Stay tuned.
But belated congrats.
Even if I wrote a period-piece musical about the world's greatest stamp collector, I would still submit the script to Nicholl.
If it were all about budget and I could only afford one competition (and only one), I would submit to Nicholl.
That's the spirit, Bobbette.
What the hell, right?
Man, you guys really cast the net fairly wide when considering contests. Did it ever occur to anyone that the only people entering these contests year after year are . . . well . . . just us? And it's just a useless round-robin cycle of the same scripts and the same writers (with a few exceptions), which is why we continue to see the same names.
Maybe we should treat our contest shortlist like packing for a trip. Start with what we think is a short list (10-15) and then cut that list some more even if we don't want to. Once you get to less than 10, I think you're on the right track. When you get to less than 5, pour yourself a drink and give yourself a toast on a job well done.
Confession: I've yet to get my list under 10 and I hate myself for it. Frankly, I think any list of 10 is too big.
CURRENT LIST (10) Atlanta Film Festival (per recommendation/curious) Austin Film Festival BlueCat Final Draft Nicholl (note the spelling) PAGE Scriptapalooza Script PIMP Silver Screenwriting Competition Trackingb
ON THE FENCE/PROBABLY WON'T BOTHER/MAYBE/I DON'T KNOW (6) American Zoetrope Screenwriting Expo AAA Creative World Awards (once gave them an endorsement/forget why) Champion Writers on the Storm
Oh, gosh, I didn't mean to necessairly endorse AAA, Expo, or Writers on the Storm . . . rather, they just seem to have a high enough profile and longevity to warrant being mentioned.
I should have added Savvy, but I guess I was more focused on these annual entities, though if Savvy really does get a lot of reads for people, I reckon they shouldn't get lost in the shuffle.
I got a "57" last month, but didn't even get an Honorable Mention, so I was pretty disappointed. Not with the contest itself, just the outcome and the usual "close but no cigar" syndrome.
". . . the next day after the announcement my e-mail was incrediby chock-full . . ."
Well, at least it was full of something. Mine remains empty (relatively speaking). Chock-full as a result or because of the Screenplay Festival announcement?
I'm just surprised that the Screenplay Festival placement generated all this email traffic for you. Mostly because, I was an Honorable Mention as well, and other than a Congratulations email, I haven't received anything as a result . . . marketing spam or otherwise.
On the other hand, it's just another contest and another reminder why I'm usually rather picky about which ones I enter.
For the past few years, I've been leading my rather succinct query letters with " . . . I'm a Nicholl Fellowship Finalist . . ."
And I can say the success ratio regarding responses is mixed . . . and that's putting it kindly. Sometimes there's just no rhyme or reason whatsoever.
Whatever works, I guess.
Cheryl . . .just a quick question:
I was notified by Screenplay Festival of my Honorable Mention placement on April 30th (and that subsequent communication would be forthcoming in the next week or so) . . . have you received any email from them since the initial announcement?
It sounds like you have, though I haven't heard a peep.
Agree with Robert.
Just like when I used to live in NZ or Australia, I'd modify all my spellings accordingly . . . including scripts I had already written in American English.
Actually, what drove me crazy (turned me into a "nutter" -- love that word) back in those days (the American living in NZ or Oz that is) was the A4 size paper and plastic spiral bindings that most companies seemed to prefer.
I'm sure times have changed since then . . . like here . . . with a simple transmission of a PDF file.
Nice first post.
Do you enter screenplay competitions very much?
People usually find me charming, so I'll re-phrase:
Having grown accustomed to significant delays with even the most reputable of screenwriting contests (certainly above and beyond a week out from the deadline), I guess I find your topic title and vitriolic tone a tad over-the-top. Just my opinion, mind you.
And you'll find this a bit ironic, but I don't often post (compared to others) though you've certainly cured me of posting again any time soon. I realize sarcasm is often lost in translation when sent via email or online, but gee whiz.
But hey, you're batting two-for-two so far. Can't wait until you ask someone here for advice and don't like the response.
Mind you, the more I think about this, it's really kinda funny.
MovieBytes lists around 300+ screenwriting competitions in its dropdown. You'll need to save room for another 250 contests to add to your list (give or take).
". . . perverse pleasure in being negative towards you."
Seriously? That's what was derived from my posting?
It must just be me then. I've made two postings in the past 7-10 days and other than this reaction, the other one basically told me to go eff myself.
I'll go see if I can remain a member of this site without being part of the forums. That might help remove some of the negativity.
It's fine everybody. Appreciate the clarification.
Just assumed it was me . . . probably due to being raised Catholic.
I guess I should have quit at least five years ago. I never could take a hint very well.
Regarding "Julie summed it up nicely": Ahh . . . er . . . well, never mind. I wanna say a few things, but I don't post that much and I'm kinda afraid. And I haven't read much of the other controversial thread (I have on another forum), so I'm sure everything's been said enough already. But this site suddenly feels like a cross between a bloodless coup d'etat and state-run television. I'll be quiet now.
I think you mean Jane Doe writes for the Huffington Press.
As a group, we probably have a tendency to trumpet our mini successes moreso than the negative results. I thought about initiating a "losers-only" thread, but was too busy with my own self-loathing and feelings of inadequacy over not advancing in Nicholl et al. Besides, I find it hard to type when I'm wallowing in self-pity and can't read the monitor through all the tears.
I gave up on Sundance a few years ago. Just because, I guess.
A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to have Sundance ask for a script submittal, which was something of a shock. Of course, it was ultimately rejected. They asked for the script in July and notified me of its status in December.
So it's not exactly a story, but here's the basic rejection letter they sent . . . probably no different than what you guys just received (change a few words here-n-there) . . .
"Thank you so much for submitting XXXXXX for our January Screenwriters Lab. Unfortunately I'm writing with the disappointing news that your project was not selected for the Lab. We received many original and compelling projects to consider for very few available spaces; we're sorry that we will not be offering you support as you move forward with this project. We encourage you to consider submitting other material to us for our future labs. Thanks again for your interest in the Feature Film Program."
Usually, it's the other way around . . . win, lose, or draw.
In my opinion, habitual participation in a large number of contests (operative word being "large") is not a recipe for success.
Basically, if a person has entered into more than five contests (let's see hands . . . get 'em up everybody . . . me included . . . yes, that's my hand raised high overhead), that's borderline too many.
Pseudonyms don't bother me. The entire forum can be fake names for all I care.
In fact, I'll bet that none of you are real people . . . just random-generated postings from a large computer, trying to keep me amused until I get to the next level.
It's a good business decision, kinda like a Tylenol product recall or something. Calling her "stunning" seems a tad over the top, but then, you can probably guess which side of the debate I landed on.
On the other hand, I applaud her decision and think this will give it the closure that it needs (for everyone). I don't plan on requesting a refund simply because I have no way of knowing whether my entries were judged fairly or not. For all I know, my scripts simply weren't good enough, so I'm turning the page as well.
But yes, a rock solid gesture on her part . . . restitution for everyone, in more ways than one perhaps.
Agree that it's a great way to get your name out there or some initial exposure that you can leverage.
When I lived in Melbourne years ago, I wrote this Twilight Zone type script for submittals to a 30-minute TV show . . . never got accepted. But a few years ago, I dusted it off for a short script competition at the Seattle Int'l Film Festival (SIFF) and it ended up getting selected by this panel for production (the competition had a "film noir" type of theme . . . kinda dark).
Anyway, the result is SAFE PASSAGE and it was a great experience. Here's the trailer. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7V-DXZT2JTo
Forgot to mention that when I "dusted off" the script, I did edit it down (from its original 20+ pages) to ten pages . . . the maximum number of pages allowed for the competition.
It was an odd little arrangement. SIFF owns the film and I still own the script . . . something in the contractual language allows me (or other filmmakers and investors) to make another version of the script if we ever wanted to. And for anyone who thinks that a 7-10 page script couldn't possible undergo the sort of drastic changes that a feature-length script might . . . well, pull up a chair. But I can't submit the film independently or anything.
Count me among one of the uncounted "upset people" but not one of the six who requested a refund. If this is your barometer, good luck to you.
I wouldn't dismiss them so quickly . . . for being a few days late and not particularly communicative. It's a rare contest that avoids these shortcomings and I realize it's no excuse ("Well, they're all like this . . ."), but if you do well in ScreamFest, you'd be surprised at how much industry exposure is associated with this event. A few years ago, I won ScreamFest and was a bit taken aback at the number of requests . . . and the effort that the organizers took with promoting the material and trying to help.
Anyway, just sayin' . . . mind you, it has been a few years and perhaps it's a differenly run operation now . . . dunno.
So how long, Irin?
Sorry, mate . . . you've got my head spinnin round . . .right round baby right round . . .
For me, I suppose the timeline is about 4 months:
- General idea/logline - Outlining/researching/sketching characters (4-6 wks) - Writing (6-8 wks) - Rewriting (variable time duration)
Can never seem to format these damn things properly or get my manual line breaks to "take" . . . I was trying to say . . .
General idea/logline Outlining/researching/sketching characters (4-6 wks) Writing (6-8 wks) Rewriting (variable time duration)
I've already spoken highly of the contest and a previous year's result. And I'm sure this year's was good, too . . . but it would have been nice if I actually received some form of notification . . . never got an email or Web site posting . . . nothing. I found out the names right here on this board. Makes me wonder if they ever even received my package, which I'm sure they did.
I might ask Rachel about that . . . just some due diligience and polite inquiries.
Just enter a LOT of contests.
There's just something about this that doesn't "feel" right. Dumb, I know. Still pondering and sitting on the fence.
As for the whole "activity" element helping the script (downloads, comments, etc.), it almost seems like the person with the most Facebook friends and bigger network gets a leg up. It'd just be nice to think that everything is ultimately judged on merit, which I certainly hope/presume it is.
No need to be so heavy-handed . . . or at least that's the way you continue to come across. It's probably just the challenge of communicating online vs. face-to-face.
We respect the fact that you find this contest a no-brainer in terms of entering. So please just respect the fact that someone can answer "yes" to your laundry list of questions and still have legitimate concerns or reservations.
It doesn't make them any less dedicated to their craft or their career.
Irin's documentary comment pretty much took the words right out of my mouth.
Reminds me a little bit of a friend's reaction some years ago to Apocolypse Now. He was a Vietnam vet and said something like, "That didn't remind me of any experience I ever had . . . "
Of course, he had this problem with Vietnam War movies in general and I tried to tell him that each story was approached like a different style of painting . . . Apocolypse Now as painted by Salvador Dali . . . Platoon by some realist painter, etc.
Anyway, I digress . . .
I try to stay away from bad movies.
Just curious if anyone knows the current status of this contest. It's the usual drill . . . notification deadline has passed (Apr 12th), ambiguous means of contacting the organizers, nothing communicated, etc.
Anyway, maybe I was the only one foolish enough to enter. It was a temporary moment of weakness. Gets ya every time.
Here's something ominous. I tried to use the "Contact Us" form on their Web site and after clicking Send, this is what I got . . . maybe it's time to investigate a refund.
"The form you have just submitted cannot currently be processed. The owner of this form uses FormMail.com to process this form and their plan has expired. Therefore, we cannot process this submission."
For anyone interested in pursuing or building some momentum for a status update, the only contact information that I find. . .
(1) Email (from my PayPal receipt) email@example.com
(2) Email (associated with the name listed on the site) Annette Van Duren firstname.lastname@example.org
Regarding #2, this assumes that the name on the site is also the name associated with the Annette Van Duren agency (and email) that I ran across with a simple Google search.
Anyway, email #1 didn't bounce so we'll see. Looks bleak.
Thanks so much, Annette. An unpleasant situation for anyone involved.
And I know everyone means well when they admonish the unsuspecting writers who entered the contest, but it happens . . . to novices and people who oughta know better and usually stick to an extreme short lsit of tried-n-true competitions (speaking of myself for the latter and feeling really dumb, too).
Anyway, for reference purposes and if it helps, here's the payment details that I received. "Filmmakers" email@example.com
Okay, is it real?
I guess it depends on your definition of "lately" -- given a quick glance at the movies you cited and whether or not a prequel or reboot qualifies as a sequel . . . Aliens (1986), Batman Begins (2005 "reboot"), Godfather II (1974), Empire Strikes Back (1980), Toy Story 2 (1999), LOTR - Two Towers (2002), LOTR - Return of the King (2003).
Of course, it's not a stretch to assert that sequels can be damn fine movies, but I don't think it's a stretch either to maintain that a well-made sequel is the exception rather than the rule. We could play dueling lists if you want, but there isn't enough time to compile a running list of bad sequels.
Hangover II will be a box office smash and that's probably all that matters to the people involved. To each his own, I reckon.
"A dark day in Hollywood"? Seriously? I could post the trailer for Hangover II and probably say the same thing.
So I watched the trailer, expecting the worst and I guess whatever has created the "dark day" went over my head. And yes, I've lost my father to cancer so I suppose I'd be a good candidate as someone who might be offended.
Yeah, it's entirely possible that this movie completely misfires. On the other hand, I'm intrigued at the possibilities of it potentially being a very poignant film (not too unlike some of the dramadies that the Payne Brothers tend to write).
I realize it's human nature to pass judgment on a movie based on the trailer, but I always figured as writers, we might be a bit more discerning and open-minded.
Script Dude - you have way too much time on your hands.
Feel free to take my remarks out of context. You don't have a clue if I'm writing an indie or a tentpole . . . or both. It might even be a comic book adaptation due to my manager owning the rights and repping the writer (or not). Either way, you don't really know.
My mistake for feeding the troll. If you'll excuse me, I have to go act "cool and arty" and "rip Hollywood".
Truth is, we're not ripping Hollywood . . . we're mostly ripping you . . . for contributing nothing but vitriol and bile to this forum. You don't engage anyone in meaningful dialogue . . . you just shout and make noise.
As much as I'd love to go back-n-forth with you, I actually have a busy writing schedule that's a much higher priority, even if I feel like I'm above it all and know that deep down inside, it'll get me nowhere. But it's a skill and a talent that not many people have and is one thing that can never be taken away from me. Now that's cool.
Script Dude . . . some of my comments suddenly seem a bit harsh and uncalled for. A little over-the-top, to say the least.
I still don't agree with just about anything you've said, but I do apologize for my lack of civility. So feel free to flame away. I probably deserve it.
Hilarious. Thanks for sharing.
I hurt my side from laughing, right up until I began to notice myself in some of those descriptions.
I think The Edge (from U2) said something similar the first time he saw "This is Spinal Tap" . . . everyone was laughing in the theatre, but him cause he suddenly felt like he was watching himself on the screen.
Sorry, but I have no intention of Googling my competition. Don't have the time. Not my job. Not my responsibility. That's what the competition organizers are for. Part of my fee.
I've already seen instances where some paranoid serial contest enterer questioned someone's elgibility and that person felt compelled to come on here and explain their circumstances. I would have told the person to stick it.
Yeah, people might try and get away with something and some probably have. I'm not naive. But ya know what? I got more important things to do than worry about the hundreds of people who enter screenwriting contests or whether or not some contest is doing its job.
Actually, if a person only enters about 5-10 contests at the most (reputable ones), that may solve half the problem, assuming there is one.
Google away . . .
I guess I have a fundamental disagreement with your basic premise: "Therefore it is up to us writers to police the contest we enter." Poppycock.
So Google me and you'll find I have a produced short. In your sleuthing, what are you to conclude from this? There are likely dozens of others with similar scenarios.
I have more important things to to police . . . like my own writing, a bad Act II, a flawed logline, a query letter to a producer, etc.
If people stop stating everything as fact ("this is a righteous cause") and/or take the position that they're speaking on my behalf (it is up to "us writers" to police the contest "we" enter, I'll provide a more dispassionate response.
Otherwise, zip your own attitude, especially when taking my remarks out of context. I never said "who cares" . . . I said it's not my responsibility to help someone else police their own enterprise. I could also say it's a righteous cause for us consumers to inspect the kitchens of every restaurant we eat in, was well.
Hey, it's just my opinion and I happen to disagree with you. And if I say I'm too busy to engage in a bunch of online tomfoolery, who the hell are you to argue otherwise? Who the hell am I? Who the hell are you?
Based on a few of this week's announcements alone, here's a rough breakdown of names to research. PAGE (200), CWA (500+), SCRIPTAPALOOZA QFs (500+), FINAL BREAK (118), etc. Divide up the names for the "righteous cause" and go for it. And like the one guy said, use a little imagination.
As for the inference from your comment (". . . for all you ringers out there trying to defend yourself, good luck."), since I'm not sure where you come to draw this sort of conclusion based on the comments in this thread, you better be careful about what you're trying to imply.
The conflict started when I said I didn't need anyone telling me that I needed to Google other writers. And another writer didn't like my attitude. Try re-reading the thread.
I agree wholeheartedly. Amateur contests are for amateurs. But don't expect me to start my own crusade and become the watchdog for every contest under the sun.
And precisely, if she wants to track 'em all down, go for it. Just don't imply that just because I'm a writer entering a contest that I owe to myself and others to do the same. Otherwise, good for her. She's a better human being than I am, I guess. As for your "me thinks thou doth protest too much" comment, if you got something to say, come out and say it.
I assume it's also a place where we can also disagree with each other.
I guess I don't find this nearly as shocking as others do. I mean, yeah, it's mildly surprising in one sense, but at the end of the day, we've heard these sorts of whispered rumors before. And how else will a contest assemble and coordinate a stable of readers for hundreds, if not thousands of scripts that need to be read?
Sure, the likes of Nicholl and a few others may be different, but if people wanna cross Bluecat off their list because of paid readers, I'm sure there's plenty more where this came from.
You make it sound like this is a universal consensus and yet, if you give a cursory glance to the LA Times, NY Times, and Roger Ebert . . . they all seemed to love it.
Sounds to me like the film (and writing) have merit, but I'll reserve judgment until I see it. Otherwise, it sounds like a decent enough start to the holiday film season.
Of course, where it comes to the blame game, I guess if the film is well-received, it's the director's credit . . . and it when it goes in the tank, blame the writer or the material.
For everyone dismissing the movie out of hand due to lack of interest in the subject matter, I guess everyone will keep this in mind the next time they offer up the logline to their well-written and compelling character-driven indie drama and can't figure out why nobody wants to read it.
Yeah, I always figured any movie about ballroom dancing would bore me to tears, too. But I dragged myself to see Strictly Ballroom anyway.
You're taking my comments slightly out of context. I was just trying to draw a parallel between what most of us do on a daily basis (decide on the next story to write, try to get people interested in reading our material, write what we know, SELL our material, etc.) versus our own bias in movie-going . . . and how we're no different than the very producers and managers who sometimes frustrate us over their perceived lack of interest in our material or reluctance to read what we know in our hearts is a damn good script.
Of course, I'm no different in that I do use a certain discernment in my moviegoing choices (for many reasons), but if a particular film that I initially balked at seeing starts generating buzz and receiving accolades, nine times out of ten I'll eventually check it out. A good story is a good story.
Otherwise, most of my limited choices are based around babysitting availability, sad to say.
Though I must say you really should see Lars and the Real Girl.
Bobbette, I don't think it's been all that bad, has it? I've seen worse.
Other than some strong opinions, we've been fairly civil about the whole thing.
This did remind me of a friend who once told me that he would never see any prison movies. Maybe it gave him the willies or something. But I'd say, "But what about Shawshenk Redemption"? And he simply say, "If it's in a prison, I'm not seeing it."
Another friend refused to see any Jane Fonda movies. Of course, my mother will only see movies that "re-affirm the love of our Lord Jesus Christ" (her words, not mine).
I wrote a treatment for my manager, based on some of our discussions and email exchanges regarding a new project. The reason for doing so was kinda obvious . . . ensure that we were both on the same page, so to speak (no surprises). I also gave him a detailed outline (something I do all the time anyway).
The only other time was a project I was working on with someone else. He was going to use the treatment as a "selling document" to try and dig up funding.
Otherwise, I don't tend to bother with treatments and agree that either (or no) combination of synopsis and/or logline should be a good enough starting point for any potentially interested readers.
Footnote: The treatment/outline was successful from the standpoint that the completed first draft of the script was well-received and we're now working through some story notes (from the manager). Not much heavy-lifting or any show-stoppers, though.
PAGE does that. I wanna also say that either Bluecat or Slamdance might, but I'm speaking out of turn, so I should just leave it with PAGE.
I'm only familiar with just a few (usually higher profile) contests so there might be others, so this is based on my rather limited exposure.
I hope that helps.
But ScriptDude, I was quarterfinalist at the Ozark Foothills FilmFest Screenwriting Competition and Honorable Mention at Kuzmacinema Feature Script Competition and Alaska International Film Festival.
Glibness and poor attempts at humor aside, I'm just trying to beat a dead horse and reiterate the point. Hey, I'm an offender as much as anyone else. Well, given my shortlist of contests, maybe less so than most.
I can vouch for the Shoreline email since my multiple entries were all DOA at the quarterfinalist announcement.
Mind you, worth noting (to the Shoreline contact here) is that sometimes, people don't use their real names on this forum. Not sure about Michael . . .
As an entrant, I'll simply add that I didn't advance (a bit disappointed). I recognized when I entered that they were a newby contest, but gave it a shot.
My biggest complaint was that communication could have been better or improved, but nothing out of the ordinary that would cause me to raise any red flags. No acknowledgment of the initial submittal, but then there was an email/website announcement (on time I might add . . . pretty sure) . . . nothing particularly unusual there, I reckon.
No feedback was part of the contest that I'm aware of.
Overall impression of the administration of the contest is probably a "meh" but I wouldn't necessarily dissuade nor recommend it to anyone. Mind you, I'll be monitoring the final rounds just out of morbid curiosity.
How's that for general ambivalence?
ScriptDude is spot-on. A few years ago, I had a nice little script that didn't advance in 95% of the contests I entered (about 15 total). However,it somehow ended up being a Nicholl Fellowship Finalist script. Go figure.
This year, I had a family adventure script (at PAGE) that has gotten me more than a few meetings the past seveal weeks, but didn't advance at PAGE, much to the chagrin and surprise of my mgr.
It's just the nature of the beast. Deep down inside, we all know this, but it still doesn't lessen the sting when it happens. The universe is chaos.
Okay, we get it. You don't like the Shoreline contest. We also realize it's a free country with free speech, but can you at least allow them the professional courtesy of posting an announcement on this forum?
And this all because your name somehow dropped off their email distribution list or due to some sort of miscommunication? Boy, I'd hate to see what sort of ax you might wanna grind for worse transgressions cause I've seen quite a few on the contest circuit over the years.
Michael: Although I acknowledge that the Nicholl Fellowships present a daunting challenge for anyone's chances and hopes of getting their script past the first cut (and beyond), but I think your metaphors of "winning the lottery or getting struck by lightning" might be overstating things just a bit, as humorous as they might be.
Afterall, this is why a significant Nicholl placement generates such heat and provides high-profile visibility . . . it's difficult, as it's supposed to be.
I suppose it's a good thing a few years ago I was willing to give it a shot or else I never would have been a Nicholl Finalist.
But to your larger point, I certainly understand that one needs to be rather judicious in how they wanna play this contest game. For my part, I have an extreme shortlist when it comes to contests, but to me, Nicholl is (and always has been) worth the time, effort, and entry fee.
You guys have way too much time on your hands. The same scripts aren't advancing across multiple contests? Sounds scandalous to me.
Way to keep it classy, pal.
I guess we'll all sleep better tonight knowing we have you on patrol as the self-appointed vigilante. Maybe Greg Beal will give you a sneak peek at his Quarterfinalist list so you can help him out with those writers, too.
Enjoy the witch hunt and thanks for reminding me why I don't visit this forum very often.
We'll rename it Paul's black ass blog. Your way or the highway. Everyone bow down to Paul.
Dude, I have no idea what you're talking about.
Bruce: You're referring to a 4-year old post where I copied and pasted the CWA results. Or maybe four years ago, I did have the time to compile one contest worth of quarterfinalists. Can't quite recall. Maybe Paul can tell you. All I know is, at the time, it seemed to be important to my fellow writers.
And yes Paul, it was painfully obvious that you were trolling through 8 years worth of posts. I knew that. I didn't quite see the point, so maybe I should have re-phrased the question.
I guess 130 posts over eight years (roughly 1-2 posts per month) represents a lot of time on this site to you guys. That's about 16 posts per year . . . a good week for you guys.
Look, I don't really give a damn what you guys do with all the contest announcements. Knock yourselves out. Pat each other on the back every chance you get. And while you're at it (Paul and Bruce), feel free to piss off, as well.
Great points, Irin.
I mean, gosh, I realize these contests are all flawed in some very fundamental ways, but if we're gonna throw arguably the most writer-friendly festival under the bus, then I just don't know.
And Austin does provide some sort of "pitch" event, almost for entertainment and spectator sport, though I don't completely understand it (yet).
I'm going (Thur-Sun). Staying at the Marriott. Never been before. I've perused DoneDeal for general advice and pearls of wisdom, so I'd appreciate any veteran insights and/or hints-n-tips you might have. In the meantime, lemme formulate a few specific questions as well. Mind you, I can also continue offline, just in case this thread gets hijacked and sent off on an unrelated tangent.
Thanks Bruce. I tried to summarize the Fri-Sun schedule into a little table/matrix. Let's see if I can figure out a way to upload it somewhere.
Of course, it's annotated on the AFF website, but I wanted to consolidate the information into more of a "snapshot" at-a-glance form.
Austin should be fun, Julie. I'm sharing my room with a filmmaker friend that I know here in Seattle. Mind you, he's been awfully quiet lately ever since I finalized my travel plans, so I hope he hasn't changed his mind.
Glad you liked it Bruce. Do keep in mind something I just found out and that is the AFF people continue to update the conference schedule, including panels and roundtables. So the usual "check your local listings" disclaimer applies, double-check everything just in case.
Heather: Are you referring to the article that was posted on the AFF site? Wait a minute . . . Seattle?
We might have crossed paths somewhere along the way. NWSG is possible, but I haven't attended a function in a few years at least.
I'll shoot you a LinkedIn note since we seem to have a dozen or so shared connections according to the site.
Heather: Actually, we're already connected (back in June). Go figure.
Tagline request is weird since I think of a tagline as the marketing blurb on the movie poster. Like for ALIEN: "In space, no one can hear you scream." Certainly different than the logline.
I defer to the others, other than to say be completely up front and transparent with the person regarding the current status of the script and what you can happily provide (if and when you have it). Mind you, there's no harm in asking why he wants a tagline, if you ask me.
I agree Marjory (in principle).
If the ending is a surprise (like Paul's), I would find a clever way to whet the appetite of the synopsis reader without giving it away. In other words, if M.Night Shyamalan were sending someone a synopsis to The Sixth Sense, I doubt he'd want to reveal the ending, but perhaps give a hint that "something" rather startling happens.
Heather: I haven't forgotten about picking your brain. The good news is that the script managed to make it to the finals (Dark Hero Studios) so I'm glad I decided to get the luncheon ticket in advance now that it's sold out. Mind you, I'm still trying to figure out how I'll identify Script Dude.
But . . . but . . . I wanna meet Script Dude, too. I can keep a secret. He's becoming more mysterious than Keyser Söze.
Gosh, Heather. When we get to Austin . . . boy, are we gonna have us a good time! (say it like Gene Hackman in "Bonnie and Clyde").
Pity your Sunday night showing is so late cause that was the day I was targeting it. I'm flying out Sunday evening and arriving Thursday evening.
Nevertheless . . . boy, are we gonna have us a good time!
Here’s a super dumb question for Heather or any veteran of attending Austin.
I don’t wanna drag my laptop with me on this trip and since I don’t have any tiny, handy device like an iPad (I do have a smartypants cellphone), I was wondering if during these roundtables and workshops, are people sitting there with their laptops, typing notes or something? I would think not and that they’d simply be engaged with the speaker(s) in the room, listening and making comments and/or asking questions where appropriate.
So please tell me I won’t need to drag my laptop around, particularly since we all know the inevitable destination will be the requisite watering holes.
Thanks so much Marjory/Julia/Heather . . . it confirms pretty much what I've been thinking.
Heather, you are a force of nature with that system. An organizational juggernaut. Can't wait to be one of the names added to your 2012 badge holder. Almost sounds scandalous in a Warren Beatty sorta way. Kidding of course.
My wife's initial reaction: "You mean you didn't win the $25,000?"
My retort (and all of use contest participants will love this): "Yeah, but you don't understand. It'll give me *exposure*."
Suddenly, I feel like Brando talking about a one-way ticket to Palookaville.
All kidding aside, I'm obviously quite pleased. Thanks everyone.
That must be what he's planning to announce at Austin. He's officially on the schedule and it reads like this.
http://www.austinfilmfestival.com/aff2012/conference-schedule/ The Black List 2.0 Friday at 10:45am in the Driskill Hotel, Maximilian Room Black List founder and CEO Franklin Leonard with a very special announcement and Q&A that will be of major interest to every aspiring screenwriter. #blacklist2.0
Boy, are we gonna have us a good time!
Geez, I just can't let go of this Gene Hackman persona from Bonnie and Clyde.
Oh, you guys. And Bruce's voice was so shot for the Wrap Party, it was painful to watch him try and speak.
And I'm still finding it hard to believe that I've never crossed paths with my fellow Seattlite Heather before Austin . . . and then we couldn't shake each other the whole weekend, or at least after we bumped into each other at the BBQ.
It was a real trip (figuratively). I'll never yell at people during awards shows ever again for not being prepared to say something or getting a lump in their throat.
Of all the congratulations everyone kept giving me afterward, my favorite came in the form of a one-word email from my 12 year-old son: "Yippee!"
Thanks, everyone. It was an out-of-body experience to be sure.
These were my sessions, though the 1-2 hours after the awards luncheon were such a blur, I can't remember where I was. At some point, I must have taken the Bronze Typewriter back to the hotel room, which probably explains it.
Anyway . . .
I was randomly picked from the finalists to do a 10-minute pitch to the Pixar woman. Great experience. Learned so much from her.
The Creative Side roundtable was a bit flat for me. Part of it my fellow writers and the othe the luck of the draw.
Really enjoyed How to take a Meeting and the Development Process.
The Saturday "business" roundtable was much better than the previous day's roundtable.
"Writing with an Actor's Viewpoint in Mind" was off the charts terrific.
Both Sunday sessions were extremely illuminating and thought-provoking, which was a good thing, because I was stating to run on fumes by then . . . too much late-night Texas hospitality. Eithe that or Saturday night in general had become one big celebration.
======= FRIDAY ======= Writing a Script that will Stick (David Boxerbaum/Barry Josphenson et al) The Heart of the Matter - Pitching Workshop with Pixar’s Mary Coleman Roundtable Session: The Creative Side (Larry Doyle et al) How to Take a Mtg & the Development Process
======= SATURDAY ======= A Conversation with Eric Roth Roundtable Session: The Business Side (semi-finalist and above only) (Richard Dever/Erica Arvold/Audrey Gordon) ???? Writing with the Actor's Viewpoint in Mind
======= SUNDAY ======= The Throw - Terry Rossio The Psychology of Storytelling - Lindsey Doran
Sorry about the formatting screw-up. I'll try one more time.
FRIDAY Writing a Script that will Stick (David Boxerbaum/Barry Josphenson et al) The Heart of the Matter - Pitching Workshop with Pixar’s Mary Coleman Roundtable Session: The Creative Side (Larry Doyle et al) How to Take a Mtg & the Development Process
SATURDAY A Conversation with Eric Roth Roundtable Session: The Business Side (semi-finalist and above only) (Richard Dever/Erica Arvold/Audrey Gordon) ???? Writing with the Actor's Viewpoint in Mind
SUNDAY The Throw - Terry Rossio The Psychology of Storytelling - Lindsey Doran
Here's an interesting Austin-based article on some of the panels that I ran across.
Heather: Any plans for the next screening of your short?
Here's one other little nugget (or article) regarding some of the Austin conference that some people might find interesting.
15 Quotes From The Austin Film Festival October 23, 2012 By Stephanie Palmer http://goodinaroom.com/blog/15-quotes-from-the-austin-film-festival/
The final scene of The Graduate.
That's great stuff, Dan. Congrats.
And didn't you also win the comedy award at Austin?
What's next? Comedy horror? I was just looking over some of the titles from early in Peter Jackson's career (described as "splatstick horror comedy").
I just saw it, too. I came over here to be the first to congratulate you . . . a damn fine honor. I'm sure we could pass the hat here and find a way to get you a one-way ticket.
Well, if Britain is one of your main requirements, this one would be damn near perfect.
British Short Screenplay Competition http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?ContestNumber=450
Other ones include, but aren't limited to the following: American Gem Short Script Canadian Short Screenplay Competition Fresh Voices LA Neo-Noir PAGE Awards (short) Red Eye Writing Contest Shriekfest Slamdance
Please don't take offense, but here you are on the Moviebytes website and all it takes is a little effort to look some of this stuff up yourself. They have an entire section devoted to short scripts.
Best of luck.
Thanks for the correction, Brian.
In that case, I also noticed that the Shoreline Scripts competition (it might only be their second year) seems to have a short script category and they also seemed to be London-based.
Anyway, check 'em out. http://www.shorelinescripts.com http://www.moviebytes.com/ContestDetail.cfm?ContestNumber=2676
Big congrats to Dan Shea (I'm assuming that's you Daniel), who made the semifinalist cut over at the Tracking Board Launch Pad competition. Fingers crossed for better things to come, though I'll assume your semi placement has already generated a fair bit of buzz. http://www.tracking-board.com/the-2013-launch-pad-competition-announces-the-top-25-semifinalists/
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