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Anyone heard any news from them on winners?
Hi, I just quit working the Houston Film festival. I was the person who was doing Loser and Winner letters. Everything was going out Extremely late because the Festival Director kept extending the deadline, because he needed more money. Just so you know the ENTIRE thing is a scam and that's why I quit. I am a filmmker and a screenwriter and I could not stomach what he was doing to all of us. He catered to Big businesses and has no Studio and only one Agent (Andrew Deane) that he deals with. Mostly cause no legitimate people will work with him. R.
Can you tell us more on how scripts are evaluated and winners picked??
Hi Nancy, I'm not exactly sure how many were entered any where from 100 to 120. Three sometime four winners per catagory. I someone paid for the extra catagory, more than likely it didn't get moved to that catagory and judged. I only saw 2 change catagories, even though more paid for it ($25 extra).
Are you Nancy Raven-Smith? Just wondering.
Yes. Have we met? I did have an entry at Houston this year. I attended Flagstaff last year and had some serious questons abut what I heard. Also serious qustions about how writers were treated there as opposed to say Slamdance where they treat you very well.
Guess I won't be doing any more Houstons after what you said.
Feel free to email me at email@example.com
I just spoke to Lenny Juliano, one of the 1998 top twelve Slamdance finalists. His script, Road Rage, won the gold in the Action/Adventure category in the Austin Worldfest. It boasts great dialogue, distinct colorful characters and some exciting action scenes. Also, it's surprisingly bloodless which is kind of refreshing for that genre. I haven't heard word about the other categories.
Hope all is going well.
Allen Glazier (AGlazier@Slamdance.com) Director of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition
Great to hear from you. Lenny is a very dear, close friend and a fabulous writer. We edit each others work. He's very over due for a big win. I think it's Houston, not Austin though. My "THE COUNTERFEIT CONFEDERATE" is doing well. It won several awards last year and is currently a finalist in the Wisconsin Screenwriters competition. Slamdance was good luck for it. It's also currently under serious consideration at a good production company which I won't jinx by naming. Period pieces with female leads are a hard sell, but Christine DeSmett and her partner have done great with theirs.
I have a new thriller I'm just finishing. What are you up to? Doing any writing yourself? Headed for Cannes?
Nancy (e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org)
Oops, you're right! I meant Houston, not Austin. You know Lenny? What a small world! Glad to hear you're doing well with "THE COUNTERFEIT CONFEDERATE". I'll email you to let know how things are going on my end.
Allen Glazier Director of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition
Finally- WORLD FEST ON THE DEFENSIVE- read bottom reply
Date: Mon Aug 24 [3:38 PM] Posted By: Caryn (QnMaeve@aol.com)
In a message dated 98-08-16 22:59:45 EDT, you write: << Subj: WorldFest Date: 98-08-16 22:59:45 EDT From: Worldfest To: QnMaeve Howdy from Houston! Hi Caryn...read your comments, and wanted to share my thoughts with you... First of all, I'm sorry that we have to charge for the dinner...but the hotel charges us lots of money for the food and wine, and we can't get a sponsor willing to pick up the huge ($20,000) bill...and if it was free, even more would come and then this cost would be double...yikes! What to do? We do give out one free VIP passe to all attending filmmakers/production companies.....and in our newest fest in Flagstaff, we have found a partial sponsor, so dinner is just $50, with all the wine you can drink...not a bad deal, plus a free pass. Now to the duplicate awards..gosh, do you really think they should all be free? Even the Academy charges lots more for their dupes. We give you one for free...you earned it if you won! Copies are as little as $25, for the paper and an additional $25 with the frame.. we do make a wee bit on those...but they do help the fest keep going. Is it wrong to charge for a duplicate award? If they were free all we would do is send our free dupe awards...and who would pay for them? When you make a film, I'm sure that you would like to sell it and make some money...raw stock cost money, labs, equipment cost money...why, exactly should film festivals be free? Now I know the euro fest are free, but they are very well funded from their govts...USA fest don't get huge checks from the govt. So we all charge entry fees...by the way, we are not the highest...NY, Chicago, San Fran, Clio's...all charge more than we do...and we have just lowered ours! So, please don't think that this is a scam, we have been trying to help filmmakers for 32 years...and we haven't gotten rich yet doing it... Congrats again on your award...you did get it, didn't you. Call me personally at 800 501 0111 if you have any questions or comments. Thanks for the opportunity to explain our position a wee bit... Cordially, J. Hunter Todd Chairman & Founding
If you can't get sponsors for such a longstanding festival, what is wrong with your organization and where is the community support? ( for that matter, why are you now moving form Houston to Flagstaff- worn out your welcome?)And why not use "Worldfest" in your Indie wire topic posting? San Diego, as one of many healthy examples, had a first time festival this year with a free hotel dinner, gourmet food, wine sponsorship, and a tribute to Martin Landau and John Frankenheimer, and very informative and fact filled how-to seminars with seasoned indie producers, professional adaptors, Dede Allen -she was worth the trip alone, and film legal advisors. Other festivals just starting out are managing better. After having my film in 19 festivals , and pulling it from one even more exploitative than yours( the Wine Country), so I have had a very chastening education in what constitutes a good and healthy festival after many comparisons. REMEMBER, we are provided FREE programming that you are charging money for (and keeping)and we have just spent our life savings and given up other livelihoods to dedicate ourselves to getting these projects done. and THERE is ABSOLUTELY NO PROFIT MADE ON SHORT FILMS -except what you keep showing them.PERIOD. So your exploitation of the young or first time filmmaker is especially egregious. ( And we all have to do 1-2 shorts at our own expense to even be considered for larger projects- it is a very taxing investment in our futures as filmmakers). Festivals are our lifeline for audiences and feedback about our direction. They can inspire or torpedo our hopes and dreams.
Just came back from Crested Butte Reel fest where community support was everything.A thrilling experience. And they treated the filmmakers like royalty. They provided discount housing and a travel agent to help with bookings, community sponsors greeted us with a reception and a goodie bag full of: a free gourmet restaurant dinner- a free meal at this point is heaven-, a free cafe lunch coupon, festival t- shirt, a bathroom travel packet of goodies, local brewery beer, chips, even salsa! and plenty of local travel and activities packets. They had two industry panels, a Limo to transport the filmmakers to a free wrap party with food and drinks and much comraderie and encouragemant. Feature director Ed Zwick gave out the awards. AND all The SCREENINGS WERE NEAR FULL OR SOLD OUT!!!!!! needless to say , it was hard to leave. Hate to harp on how thriling it was to get hese free little things. But remember we are mostly officially broke and and in deep debt by the time we arrive at this festivals so all these little perks make a huge impact.
As to your awards, first your staff waves the "distinct" possibility that you are in the running for a big award constantly as the carrot to get the impoverished filmmaker to make the expensive trip there. Then you give out a zillion division awards including multiple golds and silvers per division to entice the filmmakers with. And the post festival hustle to sell you a bigger version of the award ( selections ranging from $150 - 400 more!!!) is unprecented in the industry. A bigger version is alot different than a duplicate. And you are not the Academy. It may have been your most insulting ruse.
As to the high entry fee, you are NOT NY or SF or Chicago where there is a great industry presence and visibility ( have you alienated them all!???!!! these industry people all talk disparagingly about your festival-why?) and you don't have any industry or craft seminars to making it a true learning experience. You have no industry sponsors ( or didn't in the 99 Houston version- and your staff was less than vague on the phone about knowledge of any sponsorship). What does that say about your credibilty in this world? Broke indie filmmakers need to be able to network, entice distributors, and furthertheir careers by the exposure of their talent. Who has ever gotten distribution form your fests? It turns out that in LA the imprimatur of your award for a film is something to hide not promote. The word seems to be out.
In fact, many film festivals, after seeing the press and track record of my film GLEEFULLY waive the entry fee to get me to enter as they want quality programming not money.
And on Indiewire, many filmmakers have complained about the hustle letter you send after rejecting their film at Houston but saying it has a "good chance" at Charleston , and many hapless folks reapply at another $90 bucks to get rejected again!!! If you are the person judging of all of the shorts and you reject a film, why say try again?? That is a real hustle if there ever was one: if you genuinely liked the film, you should have waived the fee for the second application.
Well, enough said. Please consider how you can better support these filmmakers who presume to be honoring at your festivals.
Caryn West, director
I see no benefit in bashing Worldfest Houston or Flagstaff. Your comments will have little effect on their staff, except perhaps a lawsuit against you. The major effect I foresee is a diminishing of the value of the award those screenwriters who won or placed received for their labor of love.
If you truly believe that fraud is being committed, should you not seek legal channels instead of dumping your vitriolic words over the net.
I know the first place winner in one of this year's genre categories. So far, he hasn't received a single phone call or letter from the industry in response to his success in the Houston competition. It seems Houston does very little to promote their winners. For example, they've sent press releases to Moviebytes calling for submissions, but then never bother to send a follow-up release announcing the winners. Since prestige and access to the industry are main reasons for entering a screenplay competition, it might make one wonder about their priorities.
However, these problems could be rectified by making more of an effort to promote their winners.
Allen Glazier Director of the Slamdance Screenplay Competition
i think allen is right-on here. i was going to enter a year ago, but that steep entry fee held me back. i'm a smart guy (usually) but i thought, "hey, for that much, it really be prestigous." i should know better. i guess i did cos i didn't enter. and what's with this lawsuit crap? slander is one thing, but pointing out a company's shady dealings is something else...if worldfest was truly concerned, they would be a little more proactive in explaining why one should pay 90 bucks to enter their contest.
What I was trying to do was inform people of what I knew to be true. I don't know what type of legal avenues to take when I've come to realize that what was going on, seems more to run into the ETHICS and MORALS catagory.
PLEASE tell me what does anyone do about that? Who can you tell? Only the people it effects directly. That's what I did. All I could do was put the information out there. Everyone must use there own judgement about what to do with it.
I'm not saying that the people who won were not worthy. Just that I have first hand proof that not all "WINNERS" were actual winners. Also, there is no law suit.
Frederick Mensch mentioned that he might create a button by each competition to give the prospective enterer the chance to review feedback from others. Pro/Con.
If he hasn't got it all nailed down yet then it might be prudent to limit the skinny to posters who submit a bio in order to weed out the numbskulls and of course the nefarious who dwell in the land of phonies making monies.
What do you all think?
What I like about Worldfest (Houston and Flagstaff) is that they have competitions within different genres. This allows me to compete against scripts of my same genre and, I believe, makes judging more consistent as judges are not swayed by their favorite genre. There is not getting around proper formatting, character development, drama, visuals and all that goes into writing and developing a commercially viable script. A few other contests have this genre separation for sci-fi, the category I usually write in but there are not many.
In terms of Worldfest promoting their winners, I did win at Worldfest Flagstaff and found including that information on inquiry letters has opened many a door at prodcos. If you don't have an agent, YOU have to beat the bushes. Normally, they don't come to you. I have also found through my inquiry efforts that the name of Worldfest was well received and respected. Bottomline - it works for me.
Regarding lawsuits, I am not a lawyer. However, anytime one person states in a public form that another entity is a "sham", the economic worth of that entity may have been decreased. I understand this is called a tort or a "wrongful act, damage, or injury done willingly ...". That is why I would have suggested phrasing such a statement, if it needs to be made, as "in my opinion". We all need to communicate. That is why this bulletin board is here. Let us do so with caution and respect for others.
That sounds like a great thing. That way experiences good or bad will be posted. And each perspective entrant has the skinny on the contests.
Only I wonder will people with there own personal war stories be received like the girl who spoke out about Worldfest? (Or are we all waiting on lawsuits to arise) :-)
I couldn't help it, the entire lawsuit thing is ridiculous. Sarah
Going out on a limb to add a more positive note, I entered my screenplay in several categories last year and received enough really nice film festival posters to make my office look like an aspiring screenwriter works there.
Of course, having earned one honorable mention, four quarter-finalist and one semi-finalist notification from other organizations, I simply rewrote and re-submitted, although not to them or any other organization that expressed no interest in my work.
I make it a point never to take lack of interest personally because the process is so subjective in nature. I know there are people out there who do have an interest and I have every intention of finding them.
Meanwhile, I'm grateful for whatever I receive along the way, whether it's a notification letter or a certificate or a few posters with really great graphics that brighten my day when I walk into my office ready to write.
Que sera, sera!
FYI for what it's worth. In '96 my script, "Angel Pass", was a finalist at Houston, a quarter finalist at Nicholl's, and quarter finialist at a couple of other places... the response I got from agents and producers came via Nicholl's and Austin.
Oops.. left out the best part of the above message. This same script won at Austin that year.
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