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Topic: Expo Results

Author: Tito Zar Posted: 09/26/06 04:34 PM

I hope all that entered faired better than I. I couldn't make the quarterfinals.

Congratulations and Good luck to the quaterfinalists.

I'm going to sooth my wounds with an alcohol drip and the notion that the religious content of the story could have turned off a reader or two.

I would truly appreciate exchanging scripts and feedback with other writers who frequent this board. If you're interested e-mail me

Author: Richard Franklin Posted: 09/27/06 02:51 AM

Stand by for an email.


Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 09/27/06 11:57 AM

Hey Tito,

In what way was your script too religious? I thought that about my latest script too, but now it's getting a lot of buzz because it is religious.

I did have a professor tell me that sending it out would ruin my career. Not that I have career to ruin yet.

Author: Tito Zar Posted: 09/27/06 12:46 PM


The old adage is not to talk about politics or religion in a social setting because you're bound to offend someone. And, similarly, if a story expresses material that someone could find objectionable then you should anticipate that someone will be put off by it.

I agree that stories dealing with religion are becoming more popular. You might want to consider the Kairos screenwriting contest.

In regards to my script I make an assertion that our culture jeopardizes it's salvation as the result of sacrificing it's faith in religion for the sake of it's affection for science.

The story revolves around a fallen away Christian who becomes a scientist and through a series of events he witnesses what the future becomes when all forms of religion are eliminated.

Now, if the story happens to fall into the lap of a reader who has a certain bias against religion then there's a good chance that the screenplay doesn't get passed forward. I took a chance on the Nicholl and Expo because I thought the story was well written and featured original concepts.

I'm going to give it one more polish and then send it out to prodco's that have produced simalarly themed material.

Best of luck, Tito

Author: Terry Frazier Posted: 09/27/06 01:13 PM


it's = it is

its = possessive

Author: Tito Zar Posted: 09/27/06 08:14 PM

My apologies Terry. I, completely, understand if reading grammatical errors, especially ones repeated, is similar to hearing fingernails scatch a chalkboard.

I'm of the belief that each person has a natural inclination to favor structure or freedom. Those who favor structure are better at grammar, story structure, and the business of writing. On the other hand, those who favor freedom are more imaginative, more skilled at creating story, and dialogue.

I think if you can recognize your strength it makes your more aware of what you need to work on and seek assistance. Even considering a writing partner to be the Yang to your Ying.

It's important to write grammatically well and to understand its importance :)

Author: Terry Frazier Posted: 09/27/06 08:45 PM

Tito, you wrote:

I'm of the belief that each person has a natural inclination to favor structure or freedom. Those who favor structure are better at grammar, story structure, and the business of writing. On the other hand, those who favor freedom are more imaginative, more skilled at creating story, and dialogue.

Personally, I don't buy into that. It escapes me how a familiarity with the rules of grammar and punctuation are necessarily an impediment to creativity and good dialogue. However, I do see how a lack of familiarity can be an impediment to be taken seriously as a professional writer. That is why I offered the correction, because I assume that you want to be regarded as a professional writer.

"It's" for "its" once looks like a typo. "It's" for "its" twice looks like sloppiness. "It's" for "its" three times in a row looks like ignorance. So, please, Tito, do yourself a favor and get it right. You seem like a nice, intelligent, creative man, so don't go on your first date with a big ugly zit on your forehead.

Author: Richard Franklin Posted: 09/28/06 02:07 AM

Hi Tito,

I read your script.

I think you should listen to everyone here. They are telling you good things.

Ego can keep the food off the table, and your script on the shelf, or in someone's bin.

I know I have a lot to learn about everything. So, I don't presume to be, "Mr Know It All"

Creative writers that are weak in certain areas often have the wisdom to find the right person to fix their flaws before submitting subpar work to any contest.

Please let me know where I can enter a contest where grammar is not important, where story structure does not matter. On the contrary, that's what the Judges of these contests are looking for, and if they don't see it by page ten, and they are pressed for time, "NEXT SCRIPT PLEASE!"

Welcome to the big leagues baby. ;)


Author: Randy Roberts Posted: 09/28/06 09:41 AM


In reference to another point, I like the premise of your script. Sounds like it might elicit a read from some prodco's with some guts.

Good luck.


Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 09/28/06 10:38 AM

Hey Tito,

Thanks for your response. I actually won 2nd place ($15,000) in the Kairos Prize last year.

I was told the script would damage my career, but the same script made it to the 2nd round at Austin and a well respected LA agent loves it.

Keep polishing, and I can tell you that agents relly DO care about grammar.

Take care and good luck!


Author: Heather Hughes Posted: 09/28/06 11:32 AM

Oops, I meant I won it this year.

Author: Tito Zar Posted: 09/28/06 06:04 PM

I fully agree that poor grammar is a hindrance to anyone who desires to work professionally as a writer. And, it will act as a deterrent when attempting to market your work.

And, I hate the fact that I started this thread to see how others fared with the Expo competition (just trying to keep in touch) and it's degenerated into my writing will never get asked to dance because of it's acne. LOL

I, admittedly, suffer with grammatical deficiency. Some of which comes from sloppy proofing and in other cases the result of having been poor student. Thankfully, it's a treatable disorder.

Terry, I wasn't suggesting that efficiency in grammar and punctuation are impedimenta to creativity. I was just expressing a philosophy that goes back to the ancient Greeks where individuals either favor a freedom based (liberalism) or a structure based (conservatism) perspective and in many instances have an aversion to their opposite.

The point I was attempting to suggest was that an individual's work will often reflect which perspective each individual favors. Naturally developed strengths and weaknesses.

Richard, Thanks very much for reading my screenplay. I intend to read yours tonight. If anyone else would like to share work and feedback please contact me.

Randy, I've got to squeeze the zits out of it before I try to market it. Truth is I've written a number of inventive and crappy scripts in the past when I didn't take the craft and the business seriously. My latest effort I elected to write one for me and as a result it's made me change my perspectives on writing. I've a greater appreciation of the craft and the business.

Heather, I would love to read your screenplay.

Author: Terry Frazier Posted: 09/28/06 11:20 PM


I entered two screenplays in the Expo, but haven't heard back, yet, on either.

By the way, the reason I do pretty well with grammar and spelling is that I took Latin in the 7th and 8th grades. Latin was also a great help with vocabulary, since a large percentage of English words have Latin roots. I can still picture my Latin teacher in my head -- Mrs. Scott. Tall, thin, wide shoulders, dark hair, scary when she wanted to be, soft when we got the answers right. I wish I could thank her for having such a profound effect on my life. (Like my agent, she's now dead. God bless them both. Wonderful, loving, demanding women.) The only reason I pointed out your zit was that "it's" for "its" is considered a "glaring error." Just trying to help you out, pal, in a friendly way. Everything I've read on screenwriting emphasizes getting the errors out of the script. Even the instructions for many contests advise proofing. So, when necessary, engage your left brain to give a little polish to the products of your right brain.

On the subject of creativity, I strongly recommend Arthur Koestler, The Act of Creation, available now, I believe, in paperback from It was out of print for years. He describes the creative act structurally as a collision between two objects or events never before seen together (need to print mechanically vis-a-vis the wine press), and he describes the nature of the creative artifact (humor, poetry, invention) according to the emotions of the creator (aggression, sympathy, detachment). It's brilliant and well worth the investment in time and money.

Author: Randy Roberts Posted: 09/29/06 09:57 AM


I can commiserate with Tito about grammar. I am probably better than most writers, but "it's vs. its" is something that I have always had a hard time with. I have a simple solution: I pay Barb Doyon to catch all the stupid mistakes I make when I use her service. She catches a lot of the big stuff and as a wonderful little added extra (or it seems like it) she catches the dumb typos. Since Barb is a peer and a pro, she never makes you feel dumb.

I once sent out a script to a fellow writer on another MB (filmmaker website) and he ripped me a new one and then couldn't understand why I was upset. He absolutely had no tact and could not understand why his comments offended me. I finally found out he was a college professor (probably just an instructor) in screenwriting, and he considered it a "favor" to me to critique my work. His comments were so rude and critical that it was hard for me to understand how he could not know how harsh his statements were.

In any event, I have made sure that any time I read a script that I do not like, I make sure that not only am I honest, but I will not offend the writer just because I do not like or agree with the work. While the grammar points are more factual than opinions, a certain amount of decorum can be used so to point the writer in the right direction for corrections.

Tito, continued good luck with the scripts. Like I stated earlier, I like the premise, even though I might not agree with the findings by the characters at the end of your script, the premise deserves a good story. Best of luck with it.


Author: Terry Frazier Posted: 09/29/06 11:51 AM


Hey, I didn't call Tito dumbass or idiot or anything. I just pointed out that he was misusing the common contraction. I was an English professor for twenty years and I've been the editor or textual editor of a variety of magazines, so I know how to be harsh when it's warranted. What I did was the equivalent of simply circling the mistake on his paper in red ink. (I still get a special pleasure from red ink!) So, everyone, let's drop it, now. I was just trying to be helpful. Case closed.

I don't read other people's scripts. I'm busy enough working on my own. I graded or edited other people's writing for 35 or so years. One of the reasons I quit teaching was so that I could quit reading and commenting on other people's writing. I don't even read the scripts of my favorite movies, anymore. They never match the film and they're always littered with gross violations of the rules we're threatened to follow. Have you ever read the script for American Beauty? It's like a compilation of violations of the "mistakes" we're supposed to avoid. And it's worthless to me to read scripts for style. I create a new style with each script I write, a style which fits that story and that genre. If you read three of my scripts in a row without knowing that I had written them, you'd never guess they were by the same author.

I like writing screenplays because I can disappear into a world inside my itty bitty head. What's really fun is when you're so preoccupied by the current screenplay that you dream the story. I actually dream what I'm writing! Sometimes I find answers or new avenues in my dreams. That's when writing is at its best for me -- when I'm dreaming the screenplay. That way, sleep isn't wasted.

Author: Tito Zar Posted: 09/29/06 12:59 PM

Terry, Here's the link for the Expo quarterfinalists. Best of luck.

And, how did I become the equivalent of Charlie Sheen's character from 'Platoon'. Born of two fathers, on one side is Randy (Sgt. Elias- The worm has definately turn for you, man) and on the other is Terry (Sgt. Barnes- I am reality).

Thanks each for you input. You're both correct.

Author: Terry Frazier Posted: 09/29/06 01:57 PM


Hey, guy, you don't get to be the Charlie Sheen character! That was me!! I dropped out of college to join the Army, volunteer for the airborne, volunteer for Vietnam. I was defiinitely the outsider in my platoon. I wrote a short about an experience I had in Vietnam -- "Combat Ballerina." No, I'm not gay. The title refers to what was in a package I received from my mother, who usually sent chocolate chip cookies. This time, however, it contained two packages of plastic toy soldiers and a ballerina music box. Jumping to the end of the story -- my mother started a firefight in Vietnam!

I checked the EXPO results. Thanks for the link, Tito. Neither one of my screenplays made the cut. I'm not gonna cut my wrists. Contests are subjective and you can't count on any results in any particular contest. Ya takes yer shot and ya hopes fer the best. Between the two screenplays, I have three wins, a top finalist, a third place, finalist many times, semifinalist many times, quartefinalist a bunch of times, both have made the first cut in the Nicholl (one this year), and one made the first cut at Austen this year, and yet the readers at the 20/20 contest couldn't identify the antagonist in either screenplay! Let's see, prehistoric monsters eat humans. That's pretty subtle, huh? In the other, the antagonist appears on 13 of the first 15 pages, including page 1, attacking the protagonist directly or indirectly, even accusing him of treason, yet the reader couldn't identify the antagonist. What can you do? You write your best and hope for the best and don't let the contest readers get under your skin. If you get back comments and they "ring true," make the necessary adjustments and push on. Any win is a gift. Any finalist ranking is an honor. Semifinalist is encouraging. Quarterfinalist means at least you're not an idiot. Not making the cut only means that you wasted your money, like the lottery ticket you buy every week.