Screenwriting : Nicholls Competition 2014 by Demiurgic Endeavors

Demiurgic Endeavors

Nicholls Competition 2014

Did anybody else feel the sting of not making the cut of the quarterfinal round? I'm seriously trying not to give weight to the probabilities of breaking in as a screenwriter. But real world factors are starting to make me a believer. Anybody else attempt to climb the Nicholls prestige mountain?

Demiurgic Endeavors

That's cool you have other well known prod-cos to giving you a read. I still have Final Draft and Blood List to hear back from. After that I'm going in a different direction other than entering contests.

Sanjeev Kakkar

Yes, didn't make it also. I had a horror spec and maybe I was betting against the trend. But kudos to all who made it .

Cherie Grant

yup just because your script didn't make it in a comp doesn't mean it can't make it though the odds are stacked against you either way.

Paul Zeidman

Didn't make the QFs, but was in the top 20%. Was hoping for better, but already planning on rewriting the script and potentially trying again next year. Same script is also being read at a handful of agencies, so hoping for the best either way. Still, congrats and good luck to those who are still in it.

Cheing Winston

I did not make it either , they 7232 scripts to choice from. I still each of your scripts are good just hard to penetrate that glass door. Still congrats on the discipline to get a script ready for the contest ,

Monique McGee

Me either. I wallowed in self pity for about 10 minutes and started planning for next year.

Ingrid Abrams

I think it's great training. But, I just found out tonight one of my scripts is a semi-Finalist in the 72 hr Film Festival. If it wins, I can choose one of the participating production teams and they will make the film, and premiere it at the Film festival in October. i used my pen name to submit it. Fingers crossed, baby steps.

Cherie Grant

I think the point of comps is gaining representation in some form, which is a step in the right direction.

Chanel Ashley

You should all be congratulated for participating, do not be dismayed, the Nicholls would have to be one of the toughest screenplay competitions around, you competed against some excellent competitors, this is no small thing - 7,232 entries, Paul Zeidman made the top 20%, so it is possible - just think, it all happens again next year, LOL.

Anastasia Rudakova-Aquil

I entered this year and ended in the top 20% - I still went on to having a day of mini-crisis about it, but it made me look at the whole thing differently. I will wait to receive all of my contest results for this year and after that I'm following a different path. I would only ever considering a contest that offers reasonably priced feedback of your work. Getting rejected without knowing why just hurts too much- and what good is it? No good at all, if you don't even know what direction you should take to improve : )

CJ Walley

Didn't sleep the night I got my rejection email. Hate it.

Chanel Ashley

I guess one thing we all have in common is having tasted rejection, it can be bitter and certainly hurts.

Chanel Ashley

Anastasia, 20% is still an admirable achievement, you are to be congratulated, well done - it still created a mini-crisis for you, but consider the other 80% - me thinks they would prefer to be in your shoes.

James David Sullivan

@DE - If you thought climbing this mountain was easy, think again. And then figure out how to improve your scripts and try again. And don't think it takes Nicholls Quarter Finalist status to sell your script. All it takes it finding the right producer who believes in your work.

Benson Descartes

Alle, you know your 'Hollywood awards', did they mostly come from the Filmaka competitions?

James David Sullivan

"All hail, Macbeth, hail to thee, Thane of Cawdor!"

James David Sullivan

"Filmaka.com film competition is a platform for undiscovered filmmakers to show their work to industry professionals." www.filmaka.com/

James David Sullivan

@DE - look at the second paragraph of your email from Nicholl - does it read like this: "A little bit of good news: one of the two first round readers gave your script a positive score, though the score was not high enough to qualify for a third read. "

Benson Descartes

Hey James, I don't know the facts yet, hence me asking Alle the question. Alle lists six awards on her Stage 32 profile, all from Filmaka competitions. Filmaka are I believe based in LA (Hollywood?) and the judges of the jury level competions are respected and well known in the industry. Filmaka also gave 'peer level' awards in which other undiscovered film makers can vote. What I'm curious to know if the 'Hollywood awards' Alle talks about are in fact ALL from Filmaka competitions, how many are jury level and how many at peer level, or if she has any other awards from other bodies. Don't get me wrong, I'd be very happy and proud if I'd won jury level prizes from Filmaka for anything I did, but I probably wouldn't go round announcing myself as 'multiple Hollywood award winning' on the basis of it.

Monique Mata

I made the QFs, and while that is exciting and fun, I don't expect it to lead to anything other than a nice self-congratulatory pat on my back and an opportunity to promote that when querying.

John E. Bias

I submitted 2 screenplays, which one received three awards from three different contests, including Worldfest Houston, and that one wasn't selected. So I figure submit to the contest that fit your work. I'm mostly sci fi, fantasy, action, and work for animation writing so that's what I'll be looking for mostly from now on.

Ingrid Abrams

I know that winning A competition like Nicholl probably doesn't mean your script will be produced, but to me, a win would mean that you are recognized by your "peers" for excellent writing. If you are a teacher, doctor, playwright, whatever, peer respect can be an important thing, and should be. It says you have mastered the craft, whatever the studio does later to it to phug it up, is their problem. So in essence to me, it does matter. Joe the plumber can say "I love your script" and somehow that doesn't mean as much as The Academy saying it. Money from a "produced" film does not always equal success. If your goal is to be a screenwriter, why not strive to be great at the craft. Lots of people have produced scripts, and yet when you find it in some obscure dvd store and watch it, it really sucks.

Ingrid Abrams

Oh yeah, A big congratulations to the quarter finalists, any one of us who won would be just as excited- not sour grapes.

Ingrid Abrams

Not to mention the solid, awesome contacts they will make for their future scripts.

Ingrid Abrams

@Anastasia, you said: "Getting rejected without knowing why just hurts too much- and what good is it? No good at all, if you don't even know what direction you should take to improve" Question: If you entered the Olympics and didn't make it, they wouldn't give you a reason why either, just a score or percentile. It is up to your coach (mentor, script consultant, etc) to tell you what your doing wrong. It's not the competition holders job. Yup, it stinks big time, don't be discouraged. Cry for an hour and get back to writing. I did. Lol

Chanel Ashley

Why does everyone presume they didn't rate because their script was somehow flawed - you could have an excellent script, worthy of progression, but sometimes someone else will write a better/superior script and will be the one to progress - don't be so hard on yourselves.

Ingrid Abrams

Remember John Logan, who wrote Any Given Sunday, Sweeny Todd, Skyfall, Hugo, The Gladiator, The Aviator, ate tuna sandwiches and lived in a rat hole and studied Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekov, the Greek tragedies for TEN years studying what makes drama/conflict work, structure, etc before he made his first successful screenplay. He was a tiny playwright. Maybe we still have more studying to do?

Cherie Grant

absolutely chanel. that said i don't doubt there were some shockers.

Steve Sherman

Agreed, John! Every contest has its own culture, biases, quirks and so forth. Some are stated up front. Others, not so much. Also, we assume there is high correlation between quality of script, contest results and getting a screenplay to the screen. I believe these assumptions are generally mistaken. FWIW, I enjoyed Alle's rants about some of the contests. It seems to me that some of the folks that run some of these contests resemble guppies. In addition to seeming a little "fishy", they are mostly mediocre, look pretty much the same, insist on swimming in the safety of the group, compete selfishly for scant opportunities and eat their young.

Lendell Wallace

I did not get stung on this contest but did on Page Awards, I did not make the quarter finalist list. One thing is I won't re-enter a contest twice, they are making a lot of money but only a few are lucky. I think I will go with pitching to managers, producers, agents next.

Steve Sherman

Ouch, Lendell! I know how it feels! But, the pain will subside. I don't know what feedback you got, but I hope that over time you can find something of worth there. (I find that, later, I can rewrite, make it better and I don't have to tell anyone. Besides, a screenplay is never really finished.) Meanwhile, I am a fellow believer in keeping going! And, keep writing, of course! I've read that one of the ways we writers comfort ourselves after rejection is ... to write! I think that is a sign that one really is a writer! :)

Lendell Wallace

I have four more contests to go Steve, so if I don't get anything from those, then I know I need to get feedback and maybe a rewrite.

Thomas J. Herring

THat's why I stopped entering after never getting past the next round and not getting feedback. How am I to know if I'm on the right track or not if no one tells me anything? Anyway, I entered the Table read competition just to see what happens.

David Kurtz

I'm avoiding the Nicholls until my script does VERY well at other somewhat less prestigeous competitions that GIVE FEEDBACK.

Nanette L. Baird

Got to hang in the game for the win. ( I feel your pain.)

Robert Gosnell

Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team. Bruce Springsteen was told he couldn't sing. Clint Eastwood was told he wasn't likeable enough on screen. Anyone can be a critic. It's the easiest thing in the world. Hang in there.

Stephen Lincoln

Hang in there...as the email from Greg Beal says, judging screenplays (like everything else) all depends on the personal likes and dislikes of the judges. The first judge that read mine loved it but the second two weren't as enthusiastic. It's just all about getting your right thing in the right hands...it'll happen!

Kimberly Kaplan

Yep, stung. It hurts for a bit, and then we go back to writing.

Frank Fusco

Screenwriting is like ironing. You move forward a little bit and go back and smooth things out. Don't give up!

Bob Brill

Screenwriting contests are like any other contest; it doesn't translate to anything except someone took your hard earned money and one or two folks got some recognition. It doesn't mean a job, it doesn't mean you are any better or any worse than anyone else out there. It just means the winner got some pub, maybe a few bucks and a chance to pitch someone. If in that pitch you made someone feel really good about you and your talent, it might work into a personal relationship down the road. On Inktip there is an occasional someone who says "only winners of contests or produced scripts apply." In other words, "if you have made a film, apply," and if you won a contest, hey that might mean something too. The author of Save the Cat, the last screenwriting book you'll ever need suggests never entering a screenwriting contest for basically the same above reasons. Save your money for Coverage or something else.

Kimberly Kaplan

Thank you for your comments, Bob.

David Kurtz

I agree pretty much that contests are a waste of money, unless they give professional feedback and QUICKLY which can serve as a sort of 'coverage' (waiting 6-12 months for feedback is useless for those of us who are editing and making new drafts all the time). Winning of making semi-finals at a better competition is more of a surprise for me than not getting that far is a stinging dissapointment - but it never feels good to look for your name and not find it!

Bob Brill

I actually entered the Nichols once and didn't make it to the second round. I said I wouldn't let it effect me but I got so pissed off and angry for some unknown reason I decided the only thing Hollywood would produce is "crap" and anything that looked or smelled like "crap" had a chance to get made. So I sat right down and in three weeks tried to write the worst piece of crap I could write. Turns out it was one of my better and more insightful scripts. Still haven't sold it but it was what I got out of the competition. "Reality Sux" is a pretty dog gone good piece of work if i do say so myself.

Steve Sherman

Good for you, Bob! I figure ANY energy is GREAT for writing! Way to make lemonade out of a sow's ear ... hmmm ... whatever ... :)

Todd Sorrell

Aloha DE. Yes, I was very disappointed too. I entered my 2 strongest scripts which have done repeatedly well in most contests I enter. To not even make the first cut was like a slap. But I have been through this before. I do believe contests are valuable platforms, and huge ones like the Nicholls have to really make some tough decisions from the get-go. I don't feel the sting for too long. I believe in my stories and my work and won't allow one contest's decisions or criteria to deter me from pushing forward, and from writing fresh material. Please don't let the taint of cynicism take root in your spirit. Nicholls is not the be-all end-all for talented writers. Search the contests and film festivals that fit your best writing's genre and enter frequently. Meantime, keep looking for ways to polish what you've got. If your soul just "sings with stories to tell", then you are meant to be a storyteller.

Bob Brill

thanx man, it was one giant step for Bob Brill and one little step for mankind.

Candace D Patrick

This was my second time entering the competition with a revised screenplay, and I only made it to the top 20% . I wasn't too disappointed and I'm still waiting to hear back from Final Draft. I know winning this fellowship gets your name out there, and some scripts do get published, but I also wish they offered feedback. It's hard to know what to improve on without feedback. I'm considering not entering next year for that reason.

Michael L. Burris

Heck yeah me too, here's the thing though I just thought of it as a relief. I knew I could make it better and really when I submitted it I did not have many skills I have now. So instead of working on it making it better like a dummy I let it sit idle. I know it is good but as my skills got better every time I reread it I noticed some amateurish errors. The one healthy thing that I did do is keep it under wraps and so publicly it is not well-known. My inspiration comes from knowing things such as A.I. taking ten years to get fully developed and it was kept under wraps for the most part and that was Spielberg's brainchild for Christ's sake. So now I can work on mine and don't have excuses. I also submitted to the "Big Six" television writer's for Universal/NBC if I don't land that in September that may hit me a bit harder. I only bitched and talked to myself for three days. LOL! I feel ya.

Bob Brill

That was always my contention in entering anything you have to pay for. If you paid for it, YOU should get feedback. Otherwise it's just an opportunity for people to sell you something on a dream and take your hard earned money. As writers we get paid well hopefully when we work, but work sometimes is not always on the horizon. I thought it should be illegal to pay for something like that and get NO feedback. It should be part of the package. Otherwise, it's just another way to separate you from your money.

Bob Brill

Candace, can you imagine if we all, and I mean all of us, just said no to these contests? They would all go out of business or become what they should be; a venue to help writers. It would cost you nothing to enter, you got feedback and no one got paid a dime. Now that would be a good script.

Bob Brill

when I was at UPI Radio Network we were occasionally asked to judge the contests for radio station awards. we were paid nothing. We might get pizza if we were lucky, but we did it for free. There was an entry fee for the entrants, but it was small and it basically covered the cost of the trophies and plaques which were given out to the winners. That was in a bygone era.

Michael L. Burris

I just figure it the nature of the beast Bob but your right it is sorta crappy we don't get some feedback. All in all though I do think Nicholl is integral. The Writer's On the Verge is free but of course you want to copyright and register it with the WGAW and it is television. So is Nicholl Fellowship worth 80 bucks to get the copyright, register it with the guild and pay the entry fee? I say yeah still. I think if it were feasible for the Nicholl Fellowship they would give the feedback but we are talking roughly 7500 screenplays and probably 5000 plus writer's they are trying to help. At least we were smart enough to research and find one that is extremely integral. Do bygone era's suck, yep but I guess we just have to adapt to it. I still think the best way to get a screenplay out there is in-person networking. I know I have the talent but location is also unfortunate for me currently.

Rick Meyer

We didn't make the quarters either, but actually go a little encouraging feedback. Keep swinging for the fences, can't hit a homer if you don't

Alex Bloom

What genre's your script? Because they're not hot on comedies, sci-fi, action, horror...

Steve Sherman

My policy is not to enter contests without feedback. <- note the period at the end, here.

Laura Tabor-Huerta

Dan you said "Almost no screenplays that win or make it to the finals ever get optioned or made." This is good info, I would if I was serious about researching this- would get those screenwriter's winning names and cross research to see if many later had films made from their next scripts. Often they say your first screenplay never gets produced but that talent may show in the Nichols and the writer's subsequent tries may be gold or possibly copper(being funny)?

Michael L. Burris

Laura here's the facts and available at the submissions or FAQ page of the Nicholl Fellowship. That's a 12-13% Production rate. Pretty damn good comparatively. http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/faqs.html Q: How many Academy Nicholl Fellowship-winning scripts have been produced? A: Of the 133 scripts that have earned their writers fellowships from 1986 to 2013, 17 have been produced. Warren Taylor’s “In the Dark” as “In the Eyes of a Stranger” (CBS-TV), Radha Bharadwaj’s “Closet Land,” Jim McGlynn’s “Traveller,” Mark Lowenthal’s “Where the Elephant Sits,” Myron Goble’s “Down in the Delta,” Ehren Kruger’s “Arlington Road,” Mike Rich’s “Finding Forrester,” Karen Moncrieff’s “Blue Car,” Deborah Pryor’s “Briar Patch” (aka “Plain Dirty”), Jacob Estes’s “Mean Creek,” Dawn O’Leary’s “Island of Brilliance” (as “Admissions”), Doug Atchison’s “Akeelah and the Bee,” Robert Edwards’s “Land of the Blind,” James Mottern’s “Trucker,” Bragi Schut’s “Season of the Witch” and Jason Micallef’s “Butter,” and Destin Cretton's “Short Term 12.”

Frank Fusco

Enter contests that give feedback. BlueCat provides two sets of notes.

David Kurtz

BlueCat: if you have a separate script analysis from them, you may be inelligable to submit that script to the contest (at least in that year) - don't take my word for it - check it out.

Kimberly Kaplan

Nice research, Mitchell. Thanks.

Demiurgic Endeavors

@Monique Congratulations on your accomplishment!

Demiurgic Endeavors

@Todd I read beforehand how Nicholls favor dramas. I critiqued one screenwriter on ScriptShadow. Most people that read his script agreed it wasn't commercial. But he was intentionally writing for the Nicholls competition. He's currently in the QF. If I enter Nicholls again I might specifically write a drama. My main reason for entering and hopefully placing is the prestige factor. Many writers that posted have clearly stated Nicholls doesn't equate success. That may currently hold true. If a particular contest doesn't put "EYES" on your script that's okay. Because the flip side is the validation a impartial third party gives to the ego of a writer is just as valuable.

Demiurgic Endeavors

@Frank Bluecat starting this contest season will only provide one feedback analysis.

Kathaleen M. Brewer

I also entered the Page Awards and didn't place. Although I did notice that a large portion of the scripts submitted were "rewrites" and wondered how many of the winning scripts had been critiqued by Page judges beforehand. I also wondered about my ability to compete with scripts that had been pre-edited by paid "script doctors". I know as an artist that juried exhibits do not allow you to enter a painting done in a class or under direct supervision of an instructor. Thus it must be totally, originally, yours with no outside help. When it comes to screenwriting though, its like the more help you get, the better, although I would consider these scripts collaborative work. BUT, having said all that, since I am at the stage of trying to gain credits as a writer in order to be taken seriously, I paid to have my Page entry professionally critiqued. I am genuinely interested in what they have to say. If I agree and do a total rewrite, I'll enter next year and let you know if this is the secret way to the top. I also wondered if our LOGLINES played a more important role than we thought - like in preliminary sorting.

Kathaleen M. Brewer

Regarding BlueCat - they do give you a "free" first feedback, but then charge you an additional $40 to renter the rewrite.

David Kurtz

I think the people at PAGE are top-notch. Their feedback is worth the reasonable extra cost, and it makes sense to me that you can resubmit rewrites (hopefully improved by their's and other feedback received overtime. This year I finally made the quarter finals on my third year (I've also resubmitted to contests where my 'score' went down!).

Ingrid Abrams

@Kathleen, I made the QF of Page, and my script was not a rewrite, or script doctored, so it is possible. They said they would allow rewrites only for those that make the Semi-Finals, Starting this contest year.

Steve Sherman

David and Ingrid both bring up some good points worthy of my comment. (Ahem ... ) So, I was one of the lucky ones to get to QF in Page. Can't wait until Aug 15 when I can resubmit, if I am that lucky. But, about contest judging ... On the one hand, we want these competitions to be objectively judged with standards, templates, guides and so forth. On the other hand, we want these competitions to be subjectively judged, taking into account novel concepts, fresh ideas and non-standard structures. Unfortunately, it's really hard to have it both ways. Submitting the same screenplay to the same contest can get different results every time. It can't be helped because of the balance to be struck between objective and subjective judging. Also, no two screenplays should be the same. Can you imagine the calamity that would ensue at the box office if, for example, the Wizard of Oz were made into a movie several ... No, wait, bad example. Well, what if King Kong ... no ... What if Spiderman ... dangit! Well, it just wouldn't be the same of all screenplays were the same. Uh ...

Cherie Grant

I don't have anything suitable for nicholls and while my current screenplay might be suitable I'm not sure it would make the grade anyway. More to do with it's style than anything else. I didn't pass in Page, but i'm still waiting on Scriptapalooza.

Chanel Ashley

You and me both, Cherie, we await Scriptapalooza.

Kimberly Kaplan

Yep, keep on hoping.

David Kurtz

A quick and approximate calculation since 1986 show that about 1 in 8,000 entries get produced. I don't know if that's high or low for a competition - I'm guessing it's better than most.

Michael Swiskay

Three times. This year they wrote, after telling me I would not make the quarterfinal cut, '...A little bit of good news: one of the two first round readers gave your script a positive score, though the score was not high enough to qualify for a third read." I guess I'll smile a little.

Rick Meyer

We got the same one positive email. Same script is qf for Page, waiting for Big Break.

Rick Hardin

I didn't make the cut either. Oh well life goes on.

Veronica Taylor

@Rick Meyer. Yeah, I'm waiting on Big Break, too. I do believe everyone gets same cookie cut letter--when they don't make the quarter-finals, though. :-)

Rick Meyer

Did not last year.

Janet Biery

How many people enter? Isn't this one of the most prestigious, thus toughest competitions. Pat yourself on the back, you at least had the guts to try for the brass ring. Better luck next time.

Jonn Lander

I submitted one time to the Nichole competition. Didn't make it. About a year later was looking for a film in a video store and lo and behold came across a film that was a winner at the Nic. screenplay competition. Some name actors were in it. Wanted to see what kind of film would they pick. Seeing the film left me scratching my head: this won "the" award? Amazed me. It was in the style to make these abstract films this way 20 years ago. Unexplainable things happen then it goes to another unexplainable scene and they try to make it meaningful as if something is there except there was nothing there. For the actors, what else could they do. They were stuck with doing this stuff . Often times when you look at their work, you see the people the main ones who put it together and had the final say "this way". In spite of their attitudes, acting like they're big ka-ka's, They really don't know what the hell they're doing. But not all.

Frank Fusco

Why don't you post the script on your page? I think the screenwriters who commented here would give objective feedback. I know I would. Think about it.

Kathaleen M. Brewer

I just got back two critiques from PAGE. They were well worth the money, approximately eight pages each. The judge's comments were clear and each gave examples/reasons behind their views. PAGE also added a brief bio on the judges, although they only used initials. They definitely were not college students!! Very impressive credentials. I also learned this: " Approximately 25% of all entries score below 40. Approximately 50% of all entries score between 40 and 60. Approximately 25% of all entries score 60 or higher. Scripts that score 60 or higher in the first round of the contest advance to the Second Round of competition. Beyond that, depending upon the level of competition in each category, scripts with scores averaging in the mid 70s and above will generally advance to the Quarter-Final, Semi-Final and Final Rounds. " One of my scripts scored 65 and the other 68, so at least both made it to the second round! My lowest score on one script was due to "lack of a strong, sellable LOGLINE" So having a correctly formatted logline that tells the story's premise IS important!! @Michael & Veronica regarding NicholI : also got the letter that I made it through the first two rounds, but missed the QF. My thinking now is: cost of a critique is less than entering a flawed script to all sorts of contest.

David Kurtz

AMEN!

Stephen Inniss

Takes me back to when I applied fresh out of undergrad; I didn't make the cut, either, but don't let it get you down. Thanks to the internet, there are so many avenues for getting your writing in front of people.

Frank Fusco

Demiurgic: Why not post your screenplay on your home page. I'm sure the screenwriters who have responded to your Nicholls statement would give you objective feedback. I know I would.

Jonn Lander

Just got Prometheus up there. It's 3:03 pm

Demiurgic Endeavors

To everyone that entered PAGE congrats. I was unaware they gave detailed notes on your contest submission. I may enter next year.

Demiurgic Endeavors

@Frank Fusco I'll think about it. I'm not sure exactly where the STAGE 32 screenwriters would post their critiques. I'm not sure if my homepage is the right venue to post opinions on my script.

Bob Brill

I think posting your own script on line anywhere is a bad idea. You want to see someone else take it, refine it and sell it? Not me. Sorry, that is a bad idea.

Jonn Lander

Thanks Bob, I needed that. Opens my eyes a little more.

David Kurtz

Unfortunately, I agree. It's not hubris to think you might have an idea worth stealing. I also think, though I do it, that registering or copyrighting is of little value - are you ready to sue someone?

Jonn Lander

Reminds me when I was still at UCLA (early 70's) in a writing specialization program. I wrote a sci-fi and submitted it for the class. I thought I had nothing to worry about. After all it's UCLA reputable, etc. Plus, I thought my idea was so far out- they wouldn't risk that kind of story, no way. About 16 years later, boom, it's on television. Mom was right, "Don't do it. They'll steal it." And sure enough. It wasn't copyrighted, wasn't registered. They revamped it, gave it another title and another premise. Everything else was the same. I guess you live and learn. Hopefully the learning is not the hard way.

Chanel Ashley

Sixteen years later it's on television, eh, John - name the show/idea that was stolen from you, the one that was revamped, given another title and another premise, I'm intrigued to know..

Jonn Lander

Quantum Leap.

Chanel Ashley

Thanks, John.

Michael L. Burris

Validating fear, David and Bob if you cross your T's and dot your I's the ramification of theft is not just legal it will cause those that you can prove theft of to be mud. Is someone really going to risk such action as a writer? Doubt it. Those that would are so feeble minded that they will soon be recognized as a fraud among writers. Because media is a collective of idea's yes there are inadvertent incidents but those are easily discerned from intentional. I think it is that simple and how I remove what I call writer's paranoia. I also think that is more the reality of the business we are either in or trying to break in to. And no I'm not saying this to relieve conscience and steal, it really is about being reality oriented. Keep copyrighting and registering or you truly are a fool.

Frank Fusco

Since I started this "debate" regarding posting scripts on Stage32, I've e-mailed a query to Stage 32 regarding their take on posting scripts. I am waiting for a reply. I'll keep all of you informed. PS: Stealing from one writer is called plagiarism, stealing from many is called research. I'll leave it there.

Ella Maddox

I was attending a writing seminar, and the teacher told us about his friend who was a working writer, who was in-between jobs. In her spare time, she would write a script strictly for the contest circuit. She knew it would never get produced, but she had learned what the readers for the contests liked, and made money off the contest prizes. When I heard this story, I stopped entering contests. I realized that the contests are their own little world, and sometimes the winners get signed, and or production deals. However, the vast majority just lose their $60 for the hopes of getting validated and noticed. I worry more about what a producer thinks of my script, rather than an invisible reader making $10 an hour to read my script. Just my humble opinion.

CJ Walley

Becoming a writer who writes for readers is one of my biggest fears.

Jonn Lander

You know Ella, I keep coming to - if I want to see it done I'll have to shoot it myself. I'll start small a short little story - for the fun of it.

Jonn Lander

CJ - do you mean writing for what judges in screen competitions are looking for or writing it as a novel for general public?

Lendell Wallace

Like I said in my earlier post, I will only enter contest once, this only could go towards other things like pitches. If I don't win any of the contests at least I can said I tried.

CJ Walley

Just script readers in general, John.

Steve Sherman

Ella, your comment is very thought-provoking. Before entering a contest, one must ponder the motivations. If it's for the money and to win, then write for the contest. I would have trouble doing that. It would be great to win, but the odds of getting what I want make it more like gambling. Placing as any kind of finalist is enough validation for me. Beyond that, it's the feedback that makes it worth it, helping each screenplay inch toward reaching an audience. Currently, I'm learning to take the pain of failed pitches WITH FEEDBACK as good learning experiences and worth it. From that, I can hone the craft and put the odds more in my favor the next time I take a shot. And, there will be a next time, when I can afford it. BTW, anybody else trying "Done Deal Pro?" I am correlating what I learn there now with Joey's excellent work. There, I can see more about the companies he has great connections to. And, I can see what wins with that company, nhere they are headed, what they regard as great loglines and more. In addition to helping me refine my pitches (which I plan to continue with Joey and the excellent feedback offered from pitching) this should help me better target my limited resources toward more success. I think contests, coverage, pitching and networking are all part of finding success. Success means touching hearts and minds. Writing for a contest if only to get the money? No point. My "real" work pays six figures (electrical engineer). So, contest money is not worth it. Helping move more toward influencing hearts and minds for the better? Priceless.

David Kurtz

Steve, I agree with most of what you said, and I think it's great that we have a forum to discuss these issues we all are facing. We should share our contest and pitch experiences. For instance, someone at website x (that has contests and pitching etc) told me once that the only contests really worth doing well at are the Nicholl and the Page. I don't do Nicholl due to lack of feedback. I also do others that offer believable feedback. Am I a pessimist if I reveal I never expect to win $? Occasionally I used other Page Services because i think their readers are for real (who knows?). As far as pitching, I've tried occasionally with limited success: 1) the pitch itself is what's counts and is probably my problem 2) when a pitch succeeds there is no guarantee of feedback on the script itself if the prod. company has no interest in it, and 3) why pitch before you believe you have the best script you can produce (I recognize that we never really stop editing). Thoughts?

Steve Sherman

Hi, David. I heartily agree. Maybe we should start a new thread? FWIW, I do appreciate that Happy Writers encourages folks to share their experiences. And, they do promote the real successes that folks are having with their coverage. These folks are on to something good, IMO.

Frank Fusco

If you can't "see" the poster, don't write the script. Any thoughts?

Demiurgic Endeavors

@Mitchell I read the article on the homepage by the California attorney regarding the WGAW and the copyright office. What he says makes sense as far as losing $150K and getting a lawyer to work on a contingency fee. The main problem is how many writers will diligently register a newer rewrite if you constantly have to pay. There's also the catch-22. How many writers have been told writing your WGAW registration number or copyright number on the title page of your script is considered amateur. Product inventors get to put patent pending on their technical documents and it's perfectly acceptable. The goal is to render the writer to the level of the appendix. At one point it served a purpose, most people go their whole lives ignoring it, only when it ruptures do people take notice.

Jonn Lander

Hi Ella -I liked what Sylvester Stallone did with his first Rocky script. (Read this in an interview with Sylvester) A production company wanted to see his script. He brought it in for them to read and sat in the producer's office reading a book he brought with him. He would not let him make a copy of it. He took the script with him as he left and let this producer discuss it with his partners. And as we all know the deal was made.

Ingrid Abrams

Not sure someone could get away with that in today's world. Maybe though.

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