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Me thinks thou doth protest too much!
I'm just not understanding the conflict in this thread. Is there an argument here that pros should enter their scripts into screenplay contests? If this is the argument, I can provide a crystal clear answer. If it is an amateur contest, the answer is NO. If pros are allowed, then the answer is YES.
So it's not that but what then is it? Why such vigor attacking a poster who happens to have the time and energy to track down the cheaters. Why would anyone care so much how a random person on the boards spends their time? Maybe she will research a thousand names, maybe ten thousand? Is it your benevolence that wishes to protect her from this awful fate. She didn't ask anyone else to do this work. So what exactly is your argument against letting this woman do what she wants with her own free time. If she wishes to track down dishonest contest participants so be it... I thank her for it.
Script dude, thanks for taking the time to comment. Really good posts, have no doubt they're on the money!
I'm relatively new to Moviebytes and recently posted 2 titles on WinningScripts. I must say the traffic to my projects is impressive, even when they're not on the front page. I assume other writers are curious and check out the new loglines but I really have no idea because, personally, I don't have much motivation to search through random scripts on the site and read about them in detail. So then the question is who else is looking? I'm getting a little OCD about checking my reports button:) Does anyone have any good stories about contacts they've made by posting on Winning Scripts?
Wow. I just went to the site myself and the ad is there, plain as day. That's pretty shocking. Why would a reader do that for $10 a script? Maybe so they can put that on their writing resume? It does insure that the feedback is from amateurs, desperate for enough money to buy a happy meal for lunch. I would prefer they skip the feedback and give entrants 1 quality read. My feedback wasn't terrible (though I view it with much more skepticism now) but it varied wildly between the two readers and both contained minor factual mistakes re: my script. Quality was no different than a random review from a site like Triggerstreet. I may be wrong but the only contests in which I have confidence in the readers are PAGE and Nicholl.
Neat story, Irin. Thanks for sharing. We put our scripts out there to be judged. If we're lucky, someone with more expertise and experience will actually read it, give notes, rank it, help us to become better writers, etc. No guarantees it will happen, though. Unlikely to happen at $10 a script.
To my favs... thanks!
Hate to see 'em go.
Thanks for sharing that, Irin. As a relative newbie, I have wondered the same thing about some members here who have placed in innumerable contests. From reading your post, I assume that your contest placements have led, directly or indirectly, to obtaining a manager, agent, and 2 options. That obviously makes it much more likely your work will be sold or produced so they have made a difference in your case, outside of personal validation. I will take your heed, though, that you could have had the same results if you were more selective about the contests you entered. On the other hand, I still can't promise I won't use a lesser contest on a whim to guage the general response to a script or rewrite. Sometimes I'm not patient enough to wait for the big ones once a year. :)
I would consider that but it still is just one opinion, however educated. A paid reader is more expensive, not as fun and unfortunately for me, a black box at this point. Who is the right person to pay $200-300 to give notes on my script?
To turn this around, I wonder how many NEW pro writers have contest placements under their belt. My guess is many writers probably submit prior to getting their big break, which in some instances may be the reason for their big break.
I don't know how many of us believe that competition winners actually get made by major studios but that's not the point. Nicholls winners have a shot and there are rare cases like the well publicized Snow White and the Huntsman that do get made. I'm sure many indies are made from contest winners.
The point is winning the larger competitions creates opportunities for writers to get paying gigs. The authors of Blacklist scripts are, by definition, getting plenty of industry reads and therefore are at a level above 99.9% of contest applicants. Most of those authors have likely made enough money in the business to be ineligible for contests. That's why Blacklist scripts are not contest winners. I wouldn't send my script to a contest if I were getting reads at Sony and Paramount. I would bet most of those authors have entered and placed in contests as they were coming up the ranks, though.
Lol! This MB would be a boring place without you, Mr. Anonymous S. Dude.
Irin, thanks so much for that! That's the kind of info I wondered about and you are certainly an authority on this subject. Unfortunately, the thread shifted into personal attacks/ flaming which made it more interesting but ultimately less useful to people interested in screenwriting. This is VERY helpful, though, and drew me back into the thread.
Re: my previous point which, in my mind, you have proven was that this issue isn't completely black and white. I understand, contests are long shots like anything else in this business and most contest scripts aren't very marketable, BUT... writers HAVE obtained paid writing gigs/ options/ even sales and production by major studios in association with contest results. Arlington Road, Finding Forrester, Akeelah and the Bee, Snow White and The Huntsman are all contest scripts.
I'm not even saying contests are the best way to go about becoming a pro. There are probably stories of scripts found on a park bench somewhere that was eventually made. Crazy things happen and among them are that contest winners or high placers get a foot in the door.
This board likely has the most high contest placers on the web. Contest experts. I would LOVE to hear more stories like Irin's if anyone feels like sharing.
Mick, I couldn't agree with you more. I was serious that I think S.D. has posted some of the most insightful and interesting comments on this board. The ones with the Glasgow quote I could take or leave but some of his others have been gold. I haven't posted here much but I have thanked him for his posts in the past.
Interesting, that's 2 affirmations for Austin. I guess it can't be bad thing to mix with producers and if they ask, "What brings you here?" - it can't be a bad thing to answer, "I have a script that has advanced into the late rounds/ finals of this year's competition." A conversation starter at least.
As an aside, I've read a post by Matt Dy, their contest coordinator, on another board which describes their selection process. 2 readers read every script to 30 pages. If there are 2 passes, the script is put down and never read in it's entirety. With thousands of submissions, I'm sure there is big motivation to put the scripts down but I guess that's not so different from the real world.
Have you taken your own advice and written a BLACK LIST SCRIPT? If so, please tell us about it. If not, this thread gets a lot less interesting.
The semi's are up on this one and "One Hit Wonder" was on the list. I see James and Lana's scripts. Congrats! Anyone else?
I have no idea but that is an awesome story. I can't think of a downside of a creative exec. gushing over your work face to face for an hour. How often does that happen? It may lead to something, it may not but it's great experience and a great opportunity! Which contest?
Nice. Would love to see it!
Enjoyed it. Thanks.
Didn't know this was posted. Thanks. My script snuck in the family category. Best of luck to everyone!
I really enjoyed that. How could I not? Great job!
My script, One Hit Wonder, is 1 of 5 finalists in my homestate film festival's screenwriting competition. 2 free passes to all events all weekend! Has anyone been to this?
Wow, great info, Kevin! I'm even more excited now and I didn't think that was possible. I've never actually been to any film festival. I've already made plans to be there all weekend and would love to meet up. I'll be at the Fri. Cocktail Reception, I'll definitely be at the reading even if it's not my script :) Feel free to e-mail me.
My new MMA script, SUBMISSION was accepted for The First 15 live podcast this Thursday 2/9 8 PM EST. Carter Swan, VP of Triggerstreet Productions, and Phil Eisner, pro screenwriter, director, and UCLA screenwriting professor, will read my first 15 pages and give feedback. I will be joining the show via Skype. Check it out if you have a moment.
Thanks, Irin! Hope they're in a good mood tom :)
Thanks, Marjory! That would be nice but who knows, right? I'll just try to have fun.
2 options - comes in bunches, huh? That is awesome, congrats!
I recently used some reader services and I think it is possible they can help a writer get exposure. Barb Doyon from Extreme Screenwriting has a monthly newsletter that goes out to over 400 producers, directors, etc. I didn't know this when I hired her but if a script earns a RECOMMEND, it will be featured in her newsletter. My new script got a RECOMMEND and will be featured in her April newsletter so I'll let you know if I get any reads from that.
There are other readers for under $100 that use RECOMMEND/ PASS system and I have the feeling a few of them are known in some circles though I don't know this to be true. Some post top ten annual lists, etc. It is possible something like this could help in a query.
My advice, first and foremost, is to hire readers that are most helpful in getting your material where it needs to be. If they like your stuff and it helps in marketing the script, that's a bonus.
I got names from this board (thanks for starting the thread SD)and I used 4 readers. Cost ranged from $49 to $95 per review. The most insightful, thoughtful reviews came from Barb Doyon (Extreme Screenwriting) and RC from Award Winning Screenwriters (thanks Marjory).
I found this to be a very interesting and useful exercise and I will do it again in the future.
Congrats to Ken Pisani for winning the Garden State Film Festival Screenwriting Competition! This is a guy who knows how to promote a script! Check out his website, video, one sheet, etc:
Can't wait for the 3/25 reading with Joseph Gannascoli (Vito from the Sopranos) as Two Ton Tony.
Nice win, Congratulations!
Paul and Marjory, thanks for posting follow up. When a new contest comes out, we never know about the quality. It seems like Fresh Voices met its deadlines and is delivering what was promised and then some. Nice to hear when so many other contests don't. I'll go ahead and put them on my "good guy" list :) Love to hear the follow up stories so keep posting!
Barb Doyon and RC from Award Winning Screenwriters were both very good. I've used both.
Good stuff! I lived in KC for a year a while ago. I remember a great area, Westport, with a bunch of good restaurants and nightlife. You should check it out while you're there.
My script, SUBMISSION, made the Quarters! Congrats everyone!
I've seen this before and it's one of the best shorts I've come across. I like it even more now that I watched it again. It's great they have it up on the Slamdance site - a great advertisement of your work.
Congrats, Danielle! That is a great accomplishment.
Nice one, Marjory!
That was a nice surprise to see my name on their list. I didn't know they were announcing yet. Makes next week interesting with CWA and PAGE 2 days later. Good luck to everybody!
Thanks, Marjory! I have one in Action/Adventure. This contest sure has quick turnaround once it starts rolling. It's always a treat to be in a contest that announces when promised!
Best to all MB'ers that advanced!
Congrats to everyone who advanced! A very nice accomplishment in a rock solid contest.
Congrats! That script of yours has accumulated some serious contest cred. Great job!
Those are very interesting points and I thought the same thing myself. I didn't recognize any of those scripts besides yours. Maybe some are pro scripts but why would pros bother? It's a solid contest but, I think for most, it's not in the company of Nicholl, Austin, or PAGE. Objectively, they get a couple thousand less submissions than those contests. Am I too cynical to be suspicious that these were deemed to to be the best scripts written on Final Draft software? Probably not, but I also wonder where these quarterfinalists came from. Is it just that random?
My drink just snorted out through my nose!
After reading that thread "Ringers enter every contest", it appears I haven't become any more enlightened in the last year. I atill believe if a contest takes the effort to write up rules, they should be prepared to enforce said rules - whatever they are. They are the ones that get to make them up! Maybe we can have this conversation again next August and go 2 out of 3.
... Cue to Michael counting up all the place winners in every contest this year and saying he doesn't have time to research all those scripts.
4 year what? When I said I was referring to the "Ringers enter every contest" thread from 1 year ago (after being alerted to it by the previous post by Robert), I must not have been clear. I was referring to the "Ringers enter every contest" thread. The thread where you insulted a member because she wanted to ferret out contest cheats. The thread where you tallied up the place winners of the major contests and said you didn't have time to research them all despite the fact that no one asked you to research anything. The same subject which compelled you to jump in and write insulting posts this year. This subject obviously really gets your undies in a bind.
You paint yourself as the reluctant keyboard warrior but your actions belie your words. You had 3 options when you read this thread and thought it was stupid.
1. Stop reading the thread and go do something else.
2. Read the thread and mumble to yourself, "Effin morons", then go do something else
3. Jump in and start insulting the posters. Posters that just happen to love to write. What did you think was going to happen? I would like to believe that your time is too valuble to be engaged in back and forth posts like this but you write spec screenplays and pay money to enter them into contests. It seems to me you have plenty of discretionary time.
Michael, let me give you some advice. Next time, try one of the first 2 options.
Wow, Awesome review for him! I hope he takes it all the way. Scripts like this make it more likely the rest of us will get read. It will be interesting to see what happens when Carson sticks his neck out for another amateur script.
I was away and just checked my mail and I made it to the Second Round (top 10%) "before being eliminated". Austin doesn't give much time to revel in the placement before they drop the hammer on you, lol. They included a personalized handwritten note at the bottom which was a nice touch.
Austin Film Festival has built a great brand in the industry because it delivers for screenwriters - education, networking opps, and more. It is respected and universally known. How many contests can say that? There are good reasons it only trails Nicholl in # of submissions. To me, it doesn't make any sense to submit scripts to contests and ignore of the very few that can create legitimate opportunities. Although I agree with Marjory that readers shouldn't have work entered, their process is no worse and probably much more fair than the smaller contests. I have no illusions other contests read my scripts cover to cover, especially in the first round.
Take it to the house, Paul and Leone!
I'll be there late Wednes to Sunday. Pretty excited about it as I've never been to AFF before. Best of luck with the Dark Hero Sci- Fi Award, Michael. It makes a lot of sense for you to go with a showing like that. I know they posted the schedule but I haven't had time to go through it yet. I would welcome any insights from a vet like yourself, Heather.
I just checked out that schedule - it's awesome! I just e-mailed myself the link and saved it in my Austin folder.
Now I'm going to be at one of these Texas BBQ parties thinking everyone is Script Dude! Can you wear a Script Dude shirt or something so we can stalk you? :)
Nice one making it to the finals! You need to go down there and pimp that script out. I would put flashing multi-colored lights around my badge.
When a contest recieves a thousand entries and recognizes 8(less than 1%), I just have no confidence they read the other 992 and it feels too much like a lottery. I can see them tossing scripts because of loglines, first pages, titles?, etc. and then cashing my $95 check for the trouble. I do think this contest creates legitimate opportunities for the chosen few. You just need a red hot stand out script... but then again if you had that it would have won or at least finaled in one of the big spring contests (Nicholl, Austin, PAGE) and TrackingB wouldn't really be needed.
And the extra $25 is a cash grab!
Great article, George! Thanks for posting.
Congrats, Jordan! The fact that you have to ask how well they are regarded probably answers your own question but I would like to see them grow. It would be nice to have a relevant east coast contest. I entered one of my features and also was a finalist.
Thanks for the kind words. I sent in a band script which is largely set in NYC and mentions places like Arlene's Grocery, The Bitter End, Webster Hall, and ultimately MSG. I didn't know if they would get my story but I thought it was a safe bet they would get my NYC references.
That is surprising you haven't had one read request with 4 contest wins and positive coverage. I sense your frustration but that doesn't help. You have to figure out the reasons or the same results will continue.
I would have to think your log and synopsis need work. Do you write long, rambling queries? Brevity and clarity rule. Why don't you query prod companies directly? Are you targeting people that would be interested in your material? Also, I doubt anyone is going to know much about any of the contests you listed, a couple are downright obscure so that could also be a factor.
I'm no authority. In fact, I'm a relative newbie but I do get read requests and I've never won anything. I'm confident I would get more if I outright won 4 contests. I can't help but think you're doing something wrong.
Heather, That's super impressive! I just looked at the schedule and saw your short listed. I'm going to try to ramble over there after the opening night reception.
Log Line: "This action/comedy finds two feuding sisters facing peril after peril atop a fast moving train as it maneuvers the treacherous Guatemala mountains. If they fail at their quest, their kidnapped, harridan Mother will be killed."
I don't know your script obviously but I'll give this a roll. After reading that, the log I want to see is something like below...
"Quarreling sisters must survive atop a fast moving train long enough to stop a ruthless kidnapper from killing the only person who can settle their fued, their nag mother."
At least that has protag(s), goal, antag, stakes, ticking clock and it reads like a action/ comedy without having to include that right in the log.
This is a shot in the dark but has anyone been to this? My sports drama script is 1 of 8 features remaining in this competition and I'm considering going out to North Hollywood next month for the fest.
I think your script's contest cred + Robert's logline + a concise 3 sentence query about you and your script = read requests.
SD, I guess we'll just have to debate this further at the Driskill Bar. Seriously, I don't doubt your point is valid. Personally, I would still send out a few queries with a decent logline, though, if the script won 4 contests. It may not get made which would put it the good company of just about every other spec out there. Maybe a manager or agent will like the writing/ think it's funny and take interest in the author.
That script is red hot! Nice timing for AFF.
He killed it! Wow!! I was fortunate enough to have congratulated him in person and he is a gracious winner. I heard he got an airfare refund because he floated home. Heather, glad I finally caught up with you, albeit brief before we were corralled out of the BBQ. Script Dude, you escaped my best efforts... this time!!
Yeah, not the ideal weekend for laryngitis, lol. I still can't yell at my kids properly. Still had an awesome time - I met a bunch of cool and interesting people and the panels were great! The whole fest has a great communal vibe.
The pitch finale was my favorite - a good friend of mine won 3rd so I was into it but the event is just plain entertaining. Other stuff I would put on my don't miss list would be the roundtables, BBQ dinner, screenwriter's happy hour, wrap party, & hair of the dog brunch. I was blown away by the unbelievable line-up of panelists. I would listen to writers like Eric Roth and Frank Darabont read ingredients off a cereal box.
I'm in central Jersey 50 miles inland and the winds were extreme but less rain/ local flooding than I expected. It snapped one of our fence posts and blew a section of our wooden fence down. We've been without power for well over 24 hours.
Congrats, Marjory! That sounds like great exposure. Let us know how it goes - I think everybody's curious. The new BL certainly has buzz right now.
I couldn't agree more. This is a great small fest in a prime North Hollywood location. Pat, the fest director, is genuinely committed to making this the best experience possible for the filmmakers and writers involved. A couple of Moviebyters, Mike and myself, took 2 of the top 3 slots in the best original feature screenplay category.
I wrote one up but, sadly, it was not chosen. It was a challenge because they said in the rules they didn't want threatening behavior, invasion of privacy, violence, sex, etc. so it seemed most good sources of conflict were off the table. The production value is very good just as I suspected and I'm sure the winners had a blast and their work will be promoted. They chose 4 out of 1000 entries. I watched all four and I liked the one about internet romance in Doha and the one where the guy produces anything he types. I disliked the other 2. The one in the Maldives was particularly frustrating to watch as it had no narrative I could identify. Overall, it was cool they had this contest (which was free to enter) and it was a good writing exercise.
Marjory, I knew you had good taste. I particularly liked the cinematography and soundtrack for the Doha short. Very stylish. I just watched Roman Coppola's short - it has a nice playful sense of humor. For my money, I'll take DEAD IN THE ROOM over all of them :)
Go Paul, you're a machine!
I have to say, I think JJ Hillard nailed it. That's exactly as I picture her. Both entries are great! I can't choose between the two but I do know I say he wins :)
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