This little newsletter about what’s happening with various screenwriting contests appeared in my e-mail inbox over the weekend so I thought I’d pass it on.
Screenwriters Filmmakers Producers Moviegoers
Greetings!www.ScreenplayContests.com is the #1 rated site for screenplay contests and we are pleased to bring you the November issue of Scriptdoodle, fettering the top rated screenplay contests among other great festivals and events for the entertainment professional.
Enter The Bankable Script Screenwriting Contest and win $10,000 IN CASH, free promotion, PLUS access to Hollywood agents and industry leaders working together to help you market your script. We want you to succeed, so we make it our goal to vault your screenwriting career.
The Bankable Script contest has no “early” or “late” fees, no deadlines, and no special discounts. You submit your script when it’s ready, and the entry fee is always $29.00.
What makes a script bankable? Mass appeal. That’s why Bankable Script has gathered a team of experienced readers from diverse backgrounds to evaluate your script.
We at Bankable Script care about the quality of our feedback. That’s why we’re the only screenplay competition offering a 100% money-back guarantee!
Better your odds! We only accept 1,000 scripts per contest, so your work receives more attention and consideration than it would in larger contestant pools.
For every 1,000 scripts we read, there is one winner, who gets $10,000. Four runners-up receive $1,000 each.
The Holiday Screenplay Contest is one of the top rated niche contests in the world. — Do you have a screenplay that involves one or more holiday? If you do, then this contest is for you. Winners receive cash prizes and agency contacts.
Set to take place November 1-4, the 15th annual INDIE MEMPHIS FILM FESTIVAL is a two-time Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences grant recipient that has twice been ranked byMovieMaker Magazine (as one of “25 Film Festivals Worth the Entry Fee” in 2011 and one of “25 Coolest Film Festivals” in 2009). Presented by Duncan-Williams, Inc., festival transforms he city best known as the “home of the Blues and the birthplace of Rock ‘n’ Roll” into a connecting point for filmmakers, musicians, artists and audiences. For info: (901) 214-5171 or
The 18th Annual Sedona International Film Festival will take place February 23 – March 3, 2013 in Sedona, Arizona. The nine-day festival features more than 145 films, including features, documentaries, shorts and animation. Filmmakers and audiences from around the world have heralded Sedona’s festival as one of their favorites. The Frank Warner Workshop series brings Academy Award-winning, industry professionals to Sedona to teach, inspire and share their knowledge with the next generation of filmmakers. Students get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work shoulder-to-shoulder with the industry’s finest. For more information, please call the festival office at (928) 282-1177 or
I notice that TVWriter™ ‘s contests, The People’s Pilot and The Spec Scriptacular, aren’t listed on the, um, “Scriptdoodle” site. My guess is that they probably should, but damned if I can find any easily accessed info about how to make that happen.
Anybody have any suggestions? (Yeah, Screenplay Contests.Com, I’m talking to you.)
Well, she doesn’t really call it that ‘cuz she’s a classy lady. Whereas we…hey, you know. Here, from Peggy’s blog, are her thoughts on writing to sell:
Should Writers Write For the Market? – by Peggy Bechko
There you are.
Writers are a funny bunch. We want to be original, unique, outstanding, and at the same time catch that trend that can drag us along to fame and fortune so to speak. Not only can we make a living from that pinnacle, but we can push our creativity in our writing in lots of new directions that acceptance allows.
So the question arises, whether we want it to or not, should we write what the market demands or should we write whatever we want to write and then find a market for that writing?
Well, darn it, both.
Yep, if you come across some opportunity for a kind of writing that pulls at you, intrigues you, sparks the creative drive, then pursue it, take a shot, see what you can come up with to intrigue readers.
Just because a writing project isn’t being created from your original root doesn’t make the project less valid. And if you spark with it, it does take away some of the pressure and makes writing that much more fun for that particular project. If reading a post somewhere or receiving an invitation to join a project, one that’s riding the tide of a fad or a trend, gets your juices flowing and slaps a smile on your face, then that’s the route to go. Every road has many twists and turns so go with it.
But, and it’s another one of those big BUTs, don’t let trend-chasing become your be-all, end-all. Chasing trends, if that’s all you do with your writing, isn’t going to get you far.
If you focus only on the writing trend rising, spin it, put out some great writing and finally get it to market, the trend you originally followed is most likely going to have faded like the sun dropping into the ocean at sunset.
Besides, latching onto a trend that’s already flowered is likely to leave you holding a dead stem.
Keep in mind, every trend was started by a book or a movie or a game that didn’t fit what was then the trend. It became the ‘NEW’ thing – exciting, head-turning, drawing the people looking for entertainment into the next trend.
Readers, producers, editors, they’re all looking for the next big thing.
And the next big thing will come along.
So, coming full circle, don’t you think that you, as a writer, will be better off writing what really interests you, what grabs you and sparks your creative juices so strongly you can’t wait to sit down to write, and to write it so well that you create a market for your writing; the next trend, the next big thing. A trend you start and somebody else wants to follow along.
Readers, aren’t you looking for material that is new, exciting, refreshing and not just a part of the latest fading trend?
Give me your opinions on reading, writing and trends. Don’t hold back – lay it right out. All thoughts and opinions encouraged.
As a writer I’m fascinated by the way the brain works, aren’t you?
Just the other day I read that when a story hooks a reader (and I’m a reader as well as a writer) it isn’t the woderful play of words, the gripping characters, the on-the-money dialog or even the vivid images that grabs the brain.
It’s the curiosity, the desire all us human have to find out what happens next. That feeling of pleasure we all get is actually a rush of dopamine. Whee. So, when it all gets boiled down, it’s story that captivates the brain.
Cool, huh? Especially since we write stories. Your English teacher was wrong. It isn’t the words, the wonderful way the writer plays them, that hook the reader, it’s the STORY.
Okay then, so how do we work with that? Well, there are a whole lot of facets but I’ll touch on two of them.
First, no matter what you write – novels, screenplays, short stories – everybody has goals, schemes, an agenda to accomplish. People, it seems, are wired to be goal driven. It’s so deeply embedded that the reader, one reading a novel or one reading your script, wants to know, what does your ‘hero’ want? Why does he want it and of course what does he have to do and overcome to get to where he wants to be? What internal issue does he have to grapple with?
That question is immediate. Really – something you have to get out there right away. Maybe not in the first sentence, but pretty darn soon after it.
Since we’re so goal-oriented and we love story (the words are nice, but the story is the meat), everything that happens in the story you write is underpinned and emotionally invovling because the reader is wrapped up in whether what’s happening is moving that hero closer to his goal or further from it.
So you have to get that goal out there from the beginning. If your reader doesn’t have a clear picture of what the goal is, he or she has no way of knowing what the accumulation of any series of events addes up to. Then the story bogs down. Without a goal the rest of your story is pretty much without meaning.
And the second thing I’ll mention is conflict. You’ve probably been beaten over the head with this – you need conflict. Yes, at your day job you need to work well with others. You need to get along. You don’t want to fight with your spouse and you get tired of the battles with your teenagers.
Yep, we’re trained from an early age to avoid conflict and because of that being stapled into our brains conflict frequently (well almost always really) makes people uncomfortable.
You and me.
And everybody else.
Writers, especially newer writers, frequently avoid dropping the hero into a really nasty situation and instead sort of creep up on it and then quickly rescue him before things really get good (or bad, actually).
In reality the dirty little secret readers harbor in their brains is they’re coming to the book or the movie to live a bit vicariously. They want to experience conflict. They want to take those risks and get out of their comfort zones. They want to examine the possible cost of those risks, emotionally and every other way, and what might be gained through the risk-taking.
It’s escape. It’s fun.
That means the writer has to take him or herself out of that comfort zone first. You have to be mean to that hero you’ve created with all his little quirks (snakes! I hate snakes!) and make him confront his demons, get beaten to an emotional pulp, and finally emerge victorious.
Hey, it’s for his own good.
Probably for the readers’ as well.
Go ahead, try and tell me thats not why you go to the movies or read a book.
We know you don’t need these, but just on the off-chance you’re feeling unjustifiably insecure:
101 Tips on How to Become More Creative – by Michael Michalko
1. Take a walk and look for something interesting.
2. Make metaphorical-analogical connections between that something interesting and your problem.
3. Open a dictionary and find a new word. Use it in a sentence.
4. Make a connection between the word and your problem.
5. How is an iceberg like an idea that might help you solve your problem?
6. Create the dumbest idea you can.
7. Ask a child.
8. Create a prayer asking for help with your problem.
9. What does the sky taste like?
10. Create an idea that will get you fired.
11. Read a different newspaper. If you read the Wall Street Journal, read the Washington Post.
12. What else is like the problem? What other ideas does it suggest?
13. What or who can you copy?
14. What is your most bizarre idea?
15. List all the things that bug you.
16. Take a different route to work.
17. Make up and sing a song about the problem while taking a shower.
18. Listen to a different radio station each day.
19. Ask the most creative person you know.
20. Ask the least creative person you know.
21. Make up new words that describe the problem. E.g., “Warm hugs” to describe a motivation problem and “Painted rain” to describe changing customer perceptions.
23. What is the essence of the problem? Can you find parallel examples of the essence in other worlds?
24. Go for a drive with the windows open. Listen and smell as you drive.
25. Combine your ideas?