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No dice for me as well. I did get top 15%, but I figured they tell everyone this. Is this not true?
If it's genuine, I guess I'm kinda excited. Top 15% is not too shabby for the second draft of my first screenplay ever.
Wow... the cynic in me is wrong for once.... and I probably sounded like an ass to those who didn't get it. Sorry everybody.
You're right, for $400, I could get you two arms and one and a half legs.
"An overwritten script and underdeveloped characters were challenges that kept your script from progressing."
This is the script that got top 15% at Nicholl. Overwritten I can understand. It was my first script ever and I had a lot of unnecessary stuff in there (stuff that I should have left to the actors). That version was 115 pages, and I've since boiled it down to 101.
Underdeveloped characters is a bit of a weird one considering I got a Good check mark in Characters/Dialogue. Also, my script is a horror, so some characters are there just to get killed, but my 6 mains all get plenty of development.
This is moviescriptcontest.com right? Are they posted somewhere on the site and I'm just blind? I found them here:
Is this official?
Never got an email telling me the winners, though I did get a confirmation email after I entered.
Shall I assume they are only emailing the winners and that my script sucked, or shall I assume that they never read my script and just ripped me off on the entry fee?
I was totally ripped off!!!
Anyone else in this contest? They were supposed to announce the semis on 10/31, but then pushed it back to today (11/15) without so much as an email. Anyone heard from them?
I've finally come to terms with the fact that I just can't come up with a good logline for my horror screenplay Dead Head. I've written it and rewritten it so many times, but it's not happening. At one point, I even had the phrase "Heads will roll" in there. I need serious help. Below is the one with the most info:
A young doctor strives to save the inmates that have mysteriously been freed to roam the dark corridors of an asylum for the criminally insane where evil has many faces, most notably, that of Dead Head - the stillborn middle head in a set of conjoined triplets who has come back to life full of murderous rage and taken control of his brothers' shared, muscular body.
There's no way you can say that on a single breath. I also have a bit of a giggle factor to overcome. Conjoined triplets... middle head's dead... you shoulda seen me trying to pitch this at PitchFest. There is humor in the script, but this isn't Scary Movie. I actually want it to be a serious horror movie, but fun.
Any help would be greatly appreciated. I have the script up on TriggerStreet if you care to read: http://posting.triggerstreet.com/gyrobase/Submission?oid=oid:2803236
Well, again no love for Dead Head, but my sitcom pilot made it!!! Come on finals. Big money, no whammies.
Terry excellent point about no one caring for the criminals. In the screenplay, I make them very sympathetic by having the character with the most heart really care for them. When they die, she gets upset, so I think the audience will feel for them. That definitely won't make it into a log line though. And I just have to leave it in the insane asylum because some of the other inmates really are monsters. In fact they aren't sure for a long time that Dead Head is even the bad guy. There is just too much information for a single sentence!
And Mike, I really like your suggestion so I'm going to work on it a bit. I really want to keep the young doctor the main subject of the logline because this is really his story of reconciling his hero complex with impossible obstacle after impossible obstacle. The last of which just happens to be Dead Head. I think yours keeps the focus on the doctor, but implies that Dead Head is the only bad guy. I'll see if I can't tweak it.
Also, I was thinking of delivery. If it's anything other than a simple logline, I think the giggle factor will take over and people will assume it's a comedy.
Crap, I kinda misspoke before. I have a group of good guys trying to save everyone.
Dr. James Braid - the hero "Nurse" Eliza - the heart Nurse Mary - the bitter hag Virgil - Samuel L Jackson, the handyman
Eliza is a young black woman who is the only one who really cares about the patients other than Braid. (Braid fixates on Eva who reminds him of his sister.) Anyway, Eliza is supposed to be hired help, but becomes the best nurse in the asylum. And that brings up another kicker... brace yourselves... this takes place in the 1850s. I know, I know, period horror. But it really works. I keep all but 5 pages inside the asylum.
As for my potential bad guys, there are quite a few throughout, and most end up helping the good guys in some way.
Eva - mute screamer Hadfield - psycho killer Dr. Klingman - disappeared, could be pulling the strings Dead Head - scary deformed head on a huge muscular body
So Terry, there are female good guys, but this is mainly Braid's story. I did enter a script savvy monthly a few months ago. I got mainly knocked for having Dead Head attack too much in Act 3. Braid couldn't lead the story when he's trying to just survive. I made some changes to have Braid make more decisions instead of just reacting. I've heard a lot of good things about Barb, so I will definitely look into Xtreme Screenplay.
Paul, you actually suggested the logline that I normally go with, but I'm worried I'm not conveying enough of the information.
James, I really like your suggestion. It lets me keep Dead Head in there, but I don't have to get bogged down explaining the whole stillborn middle head conjoined triplets thing. That's when I lose everyone.
Thanks again everyone for all the suggestions.
Paul, I'm not the Mike from Philly. I've googled my name a few times and it is always surprising how many of us there are. In the end though, there can be only one.
Thanks everyone for your inputs. I'm gonna go through a few more iterations here, and when I finally decide on something, I'll post for more feedback. Thanks again.
I was already counting my grand prize money, but then I saw that your scripts where in there Irin. Best of luck.
Anyone have any idea how long until the finals are announced? My F5 key is wearing out from refreshing the homepage so many times.
Dead Head finally got some love. (That sounds a bit dirty.)
Good luck all.
Saw this at a pre-screening. I really don't see how anyone could not have seen what was going to happen. I had a notion of what the ending was going to be from the previews, and it was confirmed in the first 5 minutes. I didn't know the details of the back story or anything, but I had all the major roles pegged. I hardly ever fault a movie when it has a predictable ending because it's usually the most logical and satisfying, but I do like surprises.
That said, this movie is a Dead Head rip off (yes, even though the original novel was written well before my screenplay - the guy has a time machine). I'm straight horror while this was psychological thriller, but my movie also takes place in the past, in an insane asylum that is relatively isolated, and the really violent crazy people escape. Every scene transition, I was expecting a set of conjoined triplets to burst onto the screen and start running amok.
"So Like, I'm A Merwolf" or whatever line she says when she finally tells him.
Dead Head made the cut as well. This was great news because I completely forgot about this contest. Good luck to all still in the running.
It turns out that a friend of a friend of mine is CEO of a small production company in not California. They do mostly music videos and commercials and are looking to branch into TV and film. It just so happens I've written a sitcom and a feature, so I sent them in. They liked them... both. They want to make both. Yes, I freaked out.
I just finished a telecon with the company and they say they aren't in a position to offer me the standard option agreement. Instead, they want to bring me on as a producer/partner. Has anyone done this type of thing before? We haven't negotiated specifics yet, but what should I be asking for? What do I do?!? I am freaking out again!
Irin and Stephen,
Thanks for the advice.
I never thought I'd need an entertainment lawyer so soon. I'll definitely look into Jesse, but I'm worried about how to pay him. Don't they want their fees upfront? This thing isn't quite a done deal at the moment.
Walter, you've hit on many things that have gone through my mind. And Robert, you're comment has made me much less excited.
Their resources and experience were my biggest concern when I talked with them. For resources, they made it clear that they were going to have to seek financing for the feature. Apparently they've been through this process before with a specific company for other projects and think they can make it work. For the sitcom, I got the impression they wouldn't have to go this route, but it was a bit unclear. I'll definitely get more clarification on this next meeting. Since I wasn't actively shopping the material around anyway, I'm not super concerned about a lack of time limit. My tune will definitely change if I get any other nibbles from contests.
For experience, the producer that I was mainly talking with today has 20 years experience with music videos and commercials. He has worked on a lot of high budget stuff according to his reels, but my google-fu isn't up to par to confirm. Anyone know how to find out who produced certain music videos and commercials? He isn't in imdb which is worrying, but I wrote it off to no TV or movie work yet.
I liked the producer/partner bit and no $1 option a lot because I think that means I keep more of the rights to my work (like sequels), but means I don't get paid unless the thing makes money. If it makes a lot, I'd make a lot more than a normal option purchase agreement. Perhaps they aren't experienced enough to know writer's are supposed to get a very tiny sliver of the pie? I don't particularly mind that so long as they can make a good movie. Also, I'm not clear on what they meant by partner. I was going a bit crazy when I heard partner and producer in the same sentence. I'm not getting a stake in the company... though that would be nice. In my day job business, people get paid by start-ups with stock all the time. Most of the time it flops, but then there is google.
I think I just caught these guys at the right time. They mentioned they were trying to come up with their own material, but couldn't make it happen. They wanted to do horror, wanted a big bad guy, and actually were toying with it being set in a prison. A bit of facebook chatter about my placing in the finals of Screenplay Festival caught somebody's attention, and I sent them the scripts, and here we are.
At this point, we haven't negotiated anything and I still have all rights to the scripts. I'll definitely be getting a lawyer to look over anything before I sign it, and since I have this kinda informal relationship with the guys now, I might be able to negotiate better terms for myself. Of course this could all be for nothing if they can't get it made. Thanks a lot for your thoughts and advice. It's better I go into this thinking as realistically as possible.
Phil, they did give me a few things over the phone that they thought needed work on the feature with more details to come later. I, of course, don't agree with their concerns, but we'll cross that bridge when we come to it.
I could push for money upfront, and I think they could get me something, but I'd rather have more negotiating power on my cut as a producer. I don't really need a hundred bucks right now if it might screw me out of a thousand later.
That said, what kind of deal would you try to make? I've got a pretty good in with these guys (the friend of a friend connection here goes back 40 years.) I think I could voice any of these concerns through that friend or personally to them without them trashing the deal or getting horribly offended. If I really push for money now, it'll definitely give us a more professional relationship at the expense of our friendly one. This would be worth it if I thought they weren't serious about getting the film made, but, after talking with my friend, I'd be more than willing to bet $100 bucks that they make it happen.
This little exercise has made me realize that I've seen a lot of bad movies lately. I'm looking at you "The Box."
I guess I'd put "Let The Right One In" in my top 10. The cover art said is was the best vampire movie ever, so I put it to the test. Much to my surprise, it was the best. Go with the subtitles versus the American dub, much better.
Thanks again everyone for your advice in this thread. It kept me grounded throughout this process, but I am again freaking out. Things have definitely picked up.
First, they are threatening to pay me a huge bucket of cash after the film is financed, before production starts. On top of that, they are also offering a percentage of gross profit. I'll get the contract later in the week to see exactly how this option process is going to work. I'm fairly certain I'll be getting nothing before financing comes in. If they deliver on the other things I mentioned and there is a time limit involved, that sounds like a good deal to me. And don't worry, I've got an entertainment lawyer on standby to make sure I'm not signing my life away. I guess I can pony up $300 an hour for that.
I heard about the payment part last week and nearly died. Tonight I heard about potential casting. It's way way too early, but they've already got feelers out for people they are interested in through old contacts and past work. There are two actors I suggested that would be absolutely perfect for the movie. They doubt Samuel L Jackson would be game for such a low price, but they are optimistic that they can get the second actor. One of the producers just worked with him, knows his agent, thinks he's got good availability in the future, and is pretty sure he'll meet the budget requirements. You guessed it. I'm talkin' bout Gary Coleman. Yes, I was a child of the 80s, so this is huge! It's a minor roll, but I'll get to meet him on set (assuming the 5 zillion things that could go wrong before this point go right).
While I think I'm perfectly justified in running around giggling with glee, I'm still waiting for the bottom to fall out on this, so I haven't quit my day job.
Does anyone have any further advice on what I should go for on this contract? Should I ask for like $1000 now, the rest after financing? I do like the idea of them having skin in the game early, but I don't think they have these funds to give to me at this point. Do you think I could keep sequel rights? What sort of time limit should I put on it?
Forgot to include the rest of my top 10. These aren't necessarily in any order.
1. Leon 2. The Usual Suspects 3. True Romance 4. Memento 5. Dial M for Murder 6. Aliens 7. 12 Monkeys 8. The Big Lebowski 9. Rear Window 10. Fight Club
Damn, there's no room for Let The Right One In. Rear Window and Dial M should only take up one spot, then it fits. There are so many others left out. I need a top 20. Ack, Saw didn't even make it. That's one of the movies that inspired me to take up screenwriting.
James, ouch. It causes me physical pain to see LTROI compared to Twilight.
To me Twilight was a horrible movie even if you didn't pick up on the stalker aspects of captain sparkly or the horrible portrayal of women with miss doormat. This movie just screams abusive relationship and tweens are gobbling it up.
LTROI had bad stuff in it (pedophilia if you read the book) but none of it was glorified as the end all be all of relationships. There were scenes in it that just blew my mind. When she enters his apartment uninvited, how her relationship with her first caretaker ends, the finale with the bullies, the continuation of the cycle.
If nothing else, the characters didn't look like they wanted to vomit throughout the entire movie (only once when she eats real food), and people occasionally combed their hair.
Opinions definitely do differ. For instance, I loved Battlefield Earth because I went into it expecting comedy and the movie delivered Travolta in dreads shouting "Craplousy!" Everyone else hated it.
If we just consider vampire movies alone, what's your top few? LTROI wins mine pretty much hands down. Then comes Near Dark, then maybe Interview. I also have a soft spot for some of the Blade movies.
"Scripts may not have been previously entered into any other contest or competition."
This can't be right. When you click on their full rules, it says: "Scripts must not be: a) currently under development at a network, studio, or major production company; b) currently submitted to any other contest or festival; or c) previously optioned, purchased or produced. "
Hopefully they go by the full rules. I'd love to get my sitcom into someone's hands at Fox.
Thanks Irin and Walter (for his direct email). I'll keep you all informed with the progress. Hopefully it's nothing but good news.
So Cheryl, are we going to chat or are you just going to leave me hanging?
Cheryl, I would be weary about randos emailing you about the script, but, hell, I'd still pursue it. Just stay vigilant.
As for me, I'm about to be officially under contract with the company interested in Dead Head. So far so good. Keep your fingers crossed.
And, I was wearing a smile... only a smile.
The secret to my potential success is pure dumb luck. Turns out a friend of a friend is the CEO of a production company (doing mainly music videos). They had just decided to branch into movies and television when I contacted them. Because of facebook chatter about my Screenplay Festival placement (thanks mom), they asked to read my scripts without me having to pitch.
Dead Head is an awesome horror movie, but it is super hard to pitch. It is basically your standard slasher type flick with an over the top bad guy. The catch is, the bad guy is actually the stillborn middle head in a set of conjoined triplets (one body, three heads, middle head's dead). That's where everyone rolls their eyes, including my wife. Everyone who has gotten past that giggle factor and actually read it is shocked at how well I pulled it off (that includes me). The guys at the production company must've been shocked, too. They contacted me the very next day hoping to produce it.
Dead Head hasn't done too well in contests (compared to some overachievers here). As I said, it made the finals of Screenplay Festival and top 15% of Nicholl in 2009... and nothing else. Both of those entries were practically the first draft of the script, so maybe I screwed things up with subsequent drafts. I posted about both on my facebook and my mom started braggin on me to her friends, and one thing led to another, and now I'm about to sign my first contract.
If you're curious (and your eyes have stopped rolling), you can check out the second draft along with some great reviews here: http://posting.triggerstreet.com/gyrobase/Submission?oid=oid%3A2803236 I will probably have to remove that soon, so hurry.
So in summary, for me, it's mainly been who I know. The contest placement did help me indirectly, but I've gotten no direct nibbles. My sitcom did get an exciting read after a pitchfest, but the guy passed with no reason given. That was a huge let down. Come on, at least tell me it sucked! The sitcom also made the semi-finals of Moviedeal, but that's where it stopped. No nibbles from that either.
I'm saving the best for the sequel. Which sounds better: Dead Head 2: Deadlier, Headlier or Dead Head 2: More Dead, More Head?
The dance version will be called Dead Head 7: You Got Severed.
Cheryl, you will let me know if Dead Head sucks won't you. I can take it. Same goes for anyone else who downloaded it. Any feedback is good.
I'm officially under contract. Short time limit, nice payment when production budget is secured, percentage of gross on the backend, nothing up front. If this doesn't pan out, I've only wasted being super excited for the duration of the time limit and (most of) my contest budget for this year that I blew on the lawyer.
What's this about StoryPros? I don't think I entered that contest. I also can't find mention of it here:
It's not unheard of that I forget about a contest I've entered. I'd completely forgotten about Screenplay Festival until I advanced.
But thanks for your comments on Dead Head. I'm now officially under contract with a production company to actually make Dead Head, but they have to put together financing, so keep your fingers crossed.
Oh wait, found it in Comedy by Mike Doyle... must kill Mike Doyle.
Oh wait, found it in Comedy by Mike Doyle... must kill Mike Doyle.
This angers me greatly... Wish I could have met him.
www.triggerstreet.com - have to give to get though
I was thinking of entering the spike comedy pilot competition but was thrown off by the fine print. In particular:
Assignment of Rights. If Contestant is chosen at the Contest winner, Contestant agrees to execute and deliver an Assignment of Rights in the form attached hereto as Exhibit ''A'' (''Assignment of Rights'') and all Further Documentation requested by Scripped. Furthermore, Scripped may assign, at its sole discretion, all rights in this Agreement, including but not limited to those contained in the Assignment of Rights.
The Assignment of Rights is a bunch of legal mumbo jumbo that I think talks about Scripped giving up all rights to the contest winner's property to a Spike production company. This is odd since they don't get any rights to the property as far as I can tell.
Did anyone else enter this? On the off hand chance I win this, I'm not giving up any rights for a measly $2k am I?
My sitcom is in there. Best of luck to all.
Would anyone who entered want to exchange scripts? I'm always looking for more feedback.
And Stephen, could I read some of your contest winners? My email is in my profile.
Signed up as kungfu and uploaded my sitcom. It seems like a weird system to me coming from Triggerstreet because there is nothing forcing me to read any screenplays. Seems like you could get a lot of freeloaders that way, but I guess the more you read, the more likely your screenplays become featured, resulting in more feedback.
I'm waiting to win FD in a contest. In other words, I'll be using celtx for the rest of my career. It's nice and free and hasn't given me any major problems.
Aww man, I thought you were talking about having to put FADE IN and FADE OUT at the beginning and end of every script. If it has to be there for every single script, why isn't it just implied?
So a production company is interested in my latest script, and they want to make it on a shoestring budget (100k). They have one film in post production and it looks like it'll come out this summer.
They've offered me a very low amount to purchase the script outright and put it immediately into production. I will get sole writing credit, but they say they have the right to change anything they want.
A bit of cash and a writer's credit on a produced movie isn't too shabby. My only problem here is that I've yet to shop it around or anything (no contests yet). They found it through Triggerstreet (it's still the first draft). I have grand visions that it's the next American Pie, so I don't want to sell it for nothing... but I also want a credit to my name.
I'm going to ask for profit participation on the back end, but I'm thinking they won't go for it. If they say yes, done deal. If not, what the hell should I do?
Thanks for the responses. I asked for profit participation and they were open to negotiation. Now I'm really freakin out.
Go Father's Day!
Thanks guys. I'm just glad someone else actually likes the script. I got very discouraged by some analysis I got in Feb (not from the contest, paid someone else). This person has a good rep and just totally didn't like it. I thought I was going crazy because it was/is my favorite script I've written (so far). But here it is now, top 40ish out of 1600. Maybe I'm not so crazy.
I second David's motion about reducing the ridiculous threads and transparent propaganda. I've pretty much stopped coming to this board because it is so cluttered with topics IN MOSTLY CAPS.
I use single because celtx has a bug with line wrapping when you use double, but I think either way is fine.
Then again: http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/technology/2011/01/space_invaders.html
I was told that everything up to and including the finalists are determined by your first score. "8.0+ gets to quarters. 8.5+ gets to Semis. 9.0+ gets to the finals, and then it receives a second read by industry professionals."
The website seems to indicate that semis and finals are determined by industry professionals. I guess we will know soon enough if my Big Bang script only makes the semis and my horror makes finals.
I thought I had an awesome idea for a ridiculous script, but the more I think about it, the more I think I got the idea by reading a post on this board. Did anyone a few years back write a crime drama that had clowns in it that were a different species from human? It was sort of a magical realism clown crime noir. I could have sworn I read a brief description of it here. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
If someone did write that script, did it go anywhere?
Nevermind, figured out I wasn't using the right search bar. When I did, I found it:
"It's a Big Top World" by William Bienes. You still around William? Any traction on that script?
Isn't it funny how the contests we've placed in are greatly helping our careers, but the ones where we come up empty aren't worth the money? That is definitely true for me.
I recently had dealings with a company that seemed to option scripts from writers, do some rewrites, then sell the option to a studio for a producer credit. They take the role of the agent by making the sale plus the role of a manager by developing the script a bit. Instead of a 10%+15% of the writer's fee, they get a producer credit (even though they do no production work) while paying the writer whatever deal they negotiated on the option agreement. This script flipping procedure was their entire business model.
Has anyone encountered this? It isn't illegal at all because the writer did sign the original option agreement, it just seems unfair. The only thing I can't figure is why a studio would go for this type of deal. Aren't they out to buy scripts for as little as possible? Why share producer credit (doesn't that mean gross profits?) instead of buying directly from a desperate writer who will give it up for a wink and a smile?
The whole prospect of becoming a professional screenwriter looks less and less glamorous the more I experience the business. I think I'm going to have to become my own producer.
It wasn't anything as outrageous as $1. I'm sure the option was free, but if they made a sale, they offered a little bit of money on a sliding scale capped at the writer's guild minimums to the original writer. If true, that's not bad for a first timer, but they certainly will get much, much more in their sale to a studio.
Credit would be shared between the original writer and a rewrite writer (potentially me) based on WGA rules. My payment would have been a very low fraction of what the original writer was going to get, but at the mere suggestion of upping that fraction, I was immediately cut lose. This was after having made it to the end of their weeks long selection process.
All that said, I agree that this could still be a good deal for a first time writer. It just seems unfair when you compare it to the deal the producers are getting for simply doing agent and manager work. When I asked, they made it seem like they do no producer work, like packaging and what not.
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