Screenwriter Interviews

MovieBytes Interview: Gordy Hoffman

An interview with Gordy Hoffman regarding the BlueCat Writing Competition.

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

A: I founded BlueCat in 1998 after entering several contests myself. I was inspired to start a screenwriting competition from the perspective of a writer, and this fuels the mission of BlueCat today. I continue to write and direct, having recently won the 2006 Domani Vision Award at VisionFest, held at the Tribeca Cinemas, for my directorial debut, A COAT OF SNOW. I won the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at Sundance for LOVE LIZA.

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

A: I am the sole judge, picking all finalists and winners. I hand pick the readers, oversee the quality of the written analysis (which every entrant receives), and generally manage the adjudication of BlueCat. Also, I devise new ideas for BlueCat to develop undiscovered screenwriters.

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

A: Our 2005 Winner, GARY THE TENNIS COACH, was produced by GreeneStreet Films, starring Seann William Scott and directed by Danny Leiner. It will be released in 2007. We discovered this screenplay and gave it to Peter Morgan, a producer with a standing relationship with BlueCat.

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

A: I personally select the team of readers, sincerely dedicated to hiring only the most qualified. Readers are human, thus the work will never be perfect, yet this stokes our diligence to set the bar high. One of our readers from 2006 won the Nicholls a few months later. I personally judge the final round.

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

A: The majority of screenplay competitions do not read your entire screenplay, but we do, as we provide written analysis to every entrant. I am not judging the other contests, but we have a different relationship with BlueCat writers, and their needs are passionate.

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

A: We pick all sorts of screenplays, from all genres. Our 2005 winner was an R-rated studio comedy, and our 2006 winner was a character-driven drama written primarily in Korean. We seek compelling stories.

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

A: Our contest announcements are covered in Variety, and posted throughout the internet. We maintain a high profile of the winners and finalists on our website, filing interviews and loglines alongside contact info for the writers. We also send a direct appeal to our network of producers, agents and managers, which has grown markedly in our eight-year history, and recently in light of our discoveries i.e. GARY THE TENNIS COACH and HYUNG’S OVERTURE.

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

A: Use our deadline to revise your screenplay in earnest. Send us the screenplay you love, not the one you think will win or is more commercial. In the end, we want to develop your voice as a writer. Winning is great, but as an award winning writer, I can attest it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. But growth as a writer, as an artist, this is my goal for you at BlueCat. And remember, you’ll get notes, even on your rough draft! Everybody wins.

Posted Monday, January 29, 2007