Success Stories: AUG'4 My first screenplay advanced to the Nicholl Quarterfinalists! I'M SHOCKED!

Lisa Russell

My first screenplay advanced to the Nicholl Quarterfinalists! I'M SHOCKED!

I'm so shocked but even more excited. Wondering if there are any other screenwriters who have made it to the Quarterfinalists and what came out of it.

Hussaini Umar

Wish you all the best ahead.

Phil Clarke

Brava, Lisa!

Philip Sedgwick


Artisan James

Wow! Awesome!

Lisa Russell

Thanks everyone. It's a bit surreal. And I feel like I need to get on it to maximize this opportunity. but I don't know what to do next lol.

Philip Sedgwick

You may get some read requests. Word spreads fast with Nicholl... more, you have credibility as a writer!

John Day

You'll get a few emails from managers or producers who are trying to establish themselves. Just be careful not to jump into bed with the first person who asks -- do your research and value your worth as a writer in the long term. Nicholl quarters also gives you something to write about in the first few lines of a written pitch, but even in that case it's truly the logline that wins the day. Good luck!

Martin Reese

That's great! Good luck!

Lisa Russell

John Day - thank you! That's what I was looking for. I actually am excited about career opportunities but I'm also very interested in getting this film made (because the script is based on the true-life story of an interesting friend of mine) so if you have any thoughts about that, let me know. I also don't know if I should be reaching out to anyone know or wait til the list gets circulated.

Lisa Russell

Philip Sedgwick Thank you. Does that usually happen after the list is circulated? I heard they don't send anything out until the Finalists.

John Day

Lisa -- I don't see any reason why you shouldn't go ahead and start pitching it. In my case, I had already signed a shopping agreement with a producer by the time the list came out, so I had to politely turn away those who contacted me about the script. And truthfully, most execs will tell you that they don't care much about contest results. They'll take a logline and script that knocks 'em on their ass, though -- even if nobody's ever heard of you.

Lisa Russell

John Day Thank you - that's what I was thinking. I just don't know how to get through to the execs without a literary manager. But I read that if you use Nicholl in an email subject header it may open doors otherwise. Thank you for your time. I really appreciate it.

Rob Jones

Had a similar experience. Finished up a 1st draft of an early script nearly at the midnight deadline and decided to submit. I received a bunch of unsolicited requests from managers, agencies, producers after. And I found more of the queries that I sent out after mentioning my placing got responses. So it for sure helped me with queries. I've made a little money writing scripts for others, etc nothing produced and I'm not repped but it did give me more confidence and few contacts but nothing big came off it yet

Philip Sedgwick

When I QF'd back in the day, I got calls. Not sure when/how that happened. Back in the day when you had to send a hard copy script!

Lisa Russell

Rob Jones Thank you. I wasn't sure if it was better to put yourself out there (for risk of looking desperate) or sit and have them come to you lol. The only thing that makes me hopeful is I wrote my script (it's based on an exiled Black Panther in Tanzania) before the George Floyd murder and Black Lives Matter protest. I've been working on the script off and on for almost 10 years! So I think the readers got it right when things were escalating and it's very much a deep script about structural racism back in the 60s/70s and today. I want to get the film made because it's personal to me - Pete is my friend. Anyway, thank you. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can.

Lisa Russell


Lisa Russell

Philip Sedgwick With those three bronze clips lol.

Johnny Zito


Robert Russo

Morpheus - She is the one

Daniel Smith

Nice work!

Stephen Thompson

Congratulations Lisa!

Don Collins


Christine Capone

John Day that's great info. on Twitter. Thanks for sharing!

Christine Capone

Congrats Lisa!

Michael Elsey

Congratulations. One of my scripts made it to the quarterfinals a while back and I did get a few emails and calls to read the script.

Ted Sterner


Lisa Russell

Michael Elsey Thanks for sharing. Di dyou also query anyone? If so, did you wait or did you do so immediately. I think I will wait until the contest winners are announced but just wanted advice from folks.

Erick Freitas


David Hall

Congratulations Lisa!

Elena Maro

Congratulations! :)

Warren Eig

I was a Qtr Finalist awhile back. You'll get a few calls of "what else you got?'" Other than that, keep writing.

Tim Morrill

Congratulations Lisa! That's great news!

Sam Borowski

CONGRATS! As we say in New York, Keep Breaking Legs! ;) GOD BLESS and STAY FRESH!!!!

Cannon Rosenau

That's really awesome Lisa Russell You should be pumped and proud! I've never placed in a contest but to highlight what some have said above, it will push your query and pitch to the top with some credibility. So be sure to have your next project on deck (as mentioned by Warren Eig ) because they're going to want to know that you have more than 1 in ya. Now you can keep on writing with confidence!!!!

Philip Sedgwick

You gotta join InkTip's ezine for script posts, but...

5) Seeking Scripts from 2020 Nicholl Fellowship Quarterfinalists or Higher (Preferred Lead 6208)

Jeff Belkin of Zero Gravity Management (OZARK) is looking for scripts from writers who are currently quarterfinalists or higher in this year's Nicholl Fellowship contest. We want to reiterate that this is ONLY for this year's contest. He is specifically looking for writers who are seeking a literary manager (those already with agents or attorneys are also welcome to query). He is open to any genre. When submitting, please only provide the title, logline, and a little information about yourself.

We are open to reading material at any budget. WGA and non-WGA writers may submit.

To unlock this lead, and find out about this company: Subscribe here

Then after subscribing, go to and use code: y74qbyc3vr

Lisa Russell

Philip Sedgwick THANK YOU!!!

Lisa Russell

Warren Eig thank you and yes, I got that response when I queried a literary manager. But the thing is I became a screenwriter because I wanted to tell this particular story which is based on a true story. I am writing my next script but I want this one to be made. Any advice?

Philip Sedgwick

Lisa Russell A few thoughts more. I checked out your website tonight. Impressive! Totally makes sense that you made this Nicholl cut. As for wanting to tell this story, sometimes it takes years. Typically, you do hear, "What else you got?" as producers are thinking in terms of what story they can tell. Consider writing something shamelessly commercial, which does not mean the script is void of social merit and consciousness impact. Simply something a producer can shop. Getting one thing going will help. Who knows with a few successes behind you - which I believe is well within your grasp - you might find a way to shepherd the script and story you really want to tell. Obviously you have a world of talent and with all the stories you have heard...

Lisa Russell

Philip Sedgwick Thank you so much! Yes I have endless stories I can tell based on my 15 years working around the world for UN/NGO agencies. I actually am thinking of transitioning into screenwriting and helping these stories come out of the docu/journalistic world and get them into the feature world. My script that advanced is about a Black Panther who has been in exile for 50 years. But I think the reason it advanced is I told it in a contemporary, comedic way. So, with that said, the script I'm working on now is a dramady about narcissism. Sadly I know too much about it because I'm a magnet for narcissist lol. It will probably be more commercial and I want to write it with a female lead. I'm actually hoping my Black Panther script has a shot at geting picked up and made bc ironically I've been working on it for 10 years and just happened to submit to Nicholl right before the Black Lives Matter movement so it's incredibly relevant. Anyway, I'm in Kenya right now and am writing - but I really really really want to focus on my current script. That's really my first priority because my friend just turned 80 and I have big ideas for how to use it as a change-making film. Sorry for the rant - thanks for checking out my work. And the advice. I appreciate it.

Wayne Mathias

Congratulations, Lisa! I made the Nicholls quarterfinals many years ago, but the script was not "newbie-marketable", i.e., mega-budget & historical, a hard sell even for established pros. Regardless of the script, though, I strongly encourage putting at least as much effort into crafting the logline & synopsis.

Oliver Thomas

Congrats Lisa! Best of luck!

Warren Eig

Lisa Russell you just have to stick with it. Films can take decades to get produced. You have to find a producer as passionate about the project as you are.

Richard Banton

Hey! I just got a lead from Inktip. A manager at Bellevue Productions, Jeff Belkin, is looking to read quarterfinalists from the 2020 contest. Check him out.

Catarina S. César

Congratulations Lisa! A friend of mine is also a quarterfinalist from Nichols fellowship. Ahahah small world. I wish you all the success!

John Day

To avoid confusion, Jeff Belkin is with Zero Gravity and Jeff Portnoy is with Bellevue. Too many Jeffs :)

Richard Baker

Congratulations! I attended last year as a guest, may you get to the top!

Hussaini Umar

Hello everybody. I am from Nigeria West Africa please point me to the right direction on how to get support to produce my documentary that I started about widows in northern Nigeria and the difficulties they are into as a result of divorce and other problems in our societies. My fellow friends our women need your support to know their stories, my documentary will expose how they are being maltreated like animals. But I don't have enough funding to continue the production. Please guide me on how to get support please.

Lisa Russell

John Day I queried him and he requested my script! Fingers crossed! THank you for sharing the info Philip Sedgwick Richard Banton John Day . I'll let you know how it goes. YIKES.

Kinney Scott

wow !!

Myriam B

Congrats! So cool

Gerardo Barcala

Congrats! Well done!

Jack Binder

Congratulations Lisa! That is a great achievement!

Stephanie Madison

Congrats! That's amazing!

Alan Eddie

Yes, I won many semi-finalists from so-called paid award online companies a few years back. But it didn't take me anywhere as well as the finalist winners for the last few years. If you have a doubt please Google their name to find their fate.

But it is a commendable feat though so you can be proud of yourself.

Congratulations, hope you win.

Good luck.

Edward A

Lisa Russell

Hi everyone, I'm not sure why this post kicked up again after laying dormant for a while so I guess I can give an update. I went on to place in several more contests - never won any - but becuase of that I got approached by a well known producer who works in the genre and theme my script is based on. We are moving forward to getting it shopped around and everyone is feeling hopeful. I've done several rewrites of my script so am planning to resubmit to Nicholl but am also trying to finish a new script to submit there also. Thanks for all the encouraging words. It means a lot considering I'm quite new to the community! Lisa'

Brad Mason

That is still incredibly amazing within the incredibly difficult high-standards of Hollywood, so congratulations on progressing as far as you have.

Don't let Producers coerce you into changing and rewriting your art too much - there'll be a point where you won't recognize it any longer. If there is a solid case for how you crafted it in the first place, it should remain that way. Cheers!

Kinney Scott


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