Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview: Jane Applegath

An interview with Jane Applegath regarding the Arizona Writing Competition.

Q: Who sponsors this contest, and what is their background in the industry? When was the contest founded?

A: The Arizona Screenplay Challenge, presented by the Phoenix Film Festival and IFP Phoenix was founded in 2001. For the past five years our contest sponsors have included: Final Draft, Script, Inktip.

Q: What role do you play personally in the adminstration of the contest?

A: As director of the screenplay challenge for the past four years I administer all aspects of the competition including the recruitment, management and/or festival relations of our sponsors, our production/management partners, our special VIP judges and attending festival guests, reader coordinator, web page content, marketing and advertising.

Q: Have any of the winning scripts from the contest been sold or produced?

A: Cathleen A. McCarthy’s romantic comedy “Oh, Bother!” won first place in the 2005 Arizona Screenplay Challenge and is currently in development with a major Hollywood production company. She is currently represented by the William Morris agency.

Q: Who judges the early rounds of the competition? What are their qualifications? Who judges the final rounds?

A: Experienced writers, readers and/or filmmakers conduct early-round judging of all submitted screenplays. Every screenplay is read and scored in areas including but not limited to: format/structure, writing style, character, dialogue, plot/premise and cinematic potential. Our Final Judging Panel consists of industry experts, including but not limited to WGA members and industry producers/managers and/or writers.

Q: Do the early-round judges read the entire script, or do they stop after a certain number of pages?

A: The entire script is read through on the first round of early-round judging.

Q: Are the judges looking for any specific type of script? Are scripts of a certain genre more likely to do well?

A: All genres and budgets are welcome.

Q: What do you do promote your winning writers, and to publicize their scripts?

A: All winning writer’s scripts and contact information are forwarded to our Production/Management partners, including but not limited to: LIONSGATE FILMS, JARET ENTERTAINMENT, ENERGY ENTERTAINMENT, CINELIFE PRODUCTIONS & FOREMOST FILM’S JEFF BELKIN. As well, all winning writers are listed on the Phoenix Film Festival website and

Q: What advice can you offer to writers entering your contest?

A: No matter what the genre, write well and write great. By that I mean have a unique voice that conforms to your story’s genre and solid three-act structure and your script is sure to be a winner!

Posted Tuesday, November 28, 2006