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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board    Screenwriting Discussion    Contests - Screenwriting and Filmmaking  ›  Looking for offbeat screenplay competitions Moderators: Don
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  Author    Looking for offbeat screenplay competitions  (currently 1553 views)
RobbidaRobat
Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 3:44pm Report to Moderator
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I submitted my screenplay The Dream Patrol to the Nicholl Fellowship by the May 1st deadline and I already got my reject letter by July 28th.   I have the distinction of being cut in the first go around.

I don't write stuff folks have written before nor derivatives of films I've seen before.  I tend to write crazy original stuff.  In the future, I'll have to stay away from mainstream screenplay competitions.  Are there any competitions for originally weird screenplays???
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mcornetto
Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 6:40pm Report to Moderator
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Robbida,

If you want to enter and win competitions you need to make some effort toward being mainstream.  Competitions tend to be  a bit more about the craft than the art so I would suggest you post some scripts on this board and listen to at least some of the suggestions you get to improve the craft aspects of your work.   Also, read some screenplays and make comments as well.  
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W
Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 7:01pm Report to Moderator
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I hate to say it Robbida but you have to find the right audience/people because even here you will get a divided love and hate for being "different" than the crap you're trying to not be like.

I'd say find people who care about the writing and the story being told and not people who read just to get reads which happens a lot around here. You can see it in some dry emotionless reviews that help the reviewer more than the writer but in most cases the writer eats it up like candy because it's another praise notch on his or her belt.

Good luck with the script.


Practice safe lunch: Use a condiment.
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 8:32pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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I haven't seen your work, but consider that it be in a normal kind of format, (not just p's & q's related to format itself) but how the story moves along-- its components.

After this, my question would be: Do you know the audience that you are writing for?

Are you being clear about your desire to connect with a fringe audience?

There's always room for fringe I think, but it's how you design the package. Perhaps like others have said: Go mainstream first; then you can do more of what you want because you're already broken a trail.

Sandra



A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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dogglebe
Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 8:43pm Report to Moderator
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You may want to look at the posted competitions at MovieBytes.  It lists all the upcoming competitions and includes the opinions of those who've entered them.  You may find something there.


Phil
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Sandra Elstree.
Posted: August 2nd, 2008, 11:03pm Report to Moderator
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What if the Hokey Pokey, IS what it's all about?

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Thanks Phil,

I'm not ready to enter a contest  for a feature length at this time, but I'm saving the link.

I just don't want to send off "junk" and waste my time and other people's too. It doesn't feel right to me.

I guess a person will know when they are ready.

Perhaps I will work on an "easy peasy" style this year for a submission next year somewhere. Unfortunately, my desire for complexity, at the current time, surpasses my skill level.

Sandra








A known mistake is better than an unknown truth.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 6:12am Report to Moderator
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I would disagree with those saying that you should alter your stlye to fit in with the ethos of competitions. I think people should stay true to their own style.

Ultimately competitions and festivals don't mean a great deal. If you're exceptionally lucky the big ones (like the Nicholls) will give you a break, but more often than not they are very hit and miss.

Personally I would make a list of directors and producers who make the kind of film that you write (famous or not) and introduce yourself to them or send them the script and see what they think.

Mainstream is all well and good, but there are already millions of people writing mainstream stuff who have deals in place, so if your treading the beaten path, you've got enormous competition and really unless you're going to move to LA and really start networking, it's going to be very difficult to break into that scene.

A quirky film directed by the right person might be noticed if it is played to the right audience.
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 6:20am Report to Moderator
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BTW

It is common practice for the Judges to merely read the first couple of pages, or even the first scene and then another scene picked at random further into the script.

They don't have time to read the whole script and the thinking is that good writers don't have any fill, so every part of the script should be interesting.

They only read the whole scripts when it gets down to the final few.

That may well have a bearing on the selection of scripts that are off-beat and don't follow usual structures as they may seem to be loosely focussed or whatever if someoen is not following the whole story.
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mcornetto
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 6:38am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
I would disagree with those saying that you should alter your stlye to fit in with the ethos of competitions.

If she? wants to win the competition, then she ought to make some concessions for competing against screenwriters who are going to be much more mainstream.  I'm not saying that she won't win if she doesn't, just that it greatly increases her chances if she does.

Quoted from Scar Tissue Films

I think people should stay true to their own style.

I agree with you but do you know what her style is?  I don't.  Do you know how long she has been writing?  I don't.  What if she writes scripts with purple backgrounds and orange text?  Is that going to get the attention of anyone?  Possibly - maybe I'll try that.  

Quoted from Scar Tissue Films

Ultimately competitions and festivals don't mean a great deal. If you're exceptionally lucky the big ones (like the Nicholls) will give you a break, but more often than not they are very hit and miss.

Obviously they do to her.  She wants to win one of them.

Quoted from Scar Tissue Films

Mainstream is all well and good, but there are already millions of people writing mainstream stuff who have deals in place, so if your treading the beaten path, you've got enormous competition and really unless you're going to move to LA and really start networking, it's going to be very difficult to break into that scene.

Once again, you don't need to "go" mainstream. But if you want to win competitions then it makes sense to have your work validated by your peers. You don't need to sell yourself short, take on board only what makes sense to you, but it may give you just the edge you need to get past that judge who isn't going to bend on the "rules" or pacify that judge who is pedantic about story structure.


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mcornetto  -  August 3rd, 2008, 6:53am
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 7:03am Report to Moderator
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She didn't ask "How do I win mainstream writing competitions?"

She asked for competitions that were more friendly to the way she writes.
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dogglebe
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 7:21am Report to Moderator
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There are competitions, out there, that look for scripts of particular genres.  Most of the horror and fantasy competitions, unfortunately, have just past their deadline dates for accepting entries (most are attached to film festivals and are scheduled around Halloween).


Phil
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mcornetto
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 7:28am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
She didn't ask "How do I win mainstream writing competitions?"

She asked for competitions that were more friendly to the way she writes.


Because she wasn't doing well in other competitions.  

She doesn't need to go to other competitions, she just needs feedback on her writing so that she can learn to tell her story in a way that won't cause people to immediately dismiss it.   That doesn't mean she has to compromise her crazy, original stuff.  Though it may mean she might learn to structure her stories differently - or if formatting is a problem then she will develop an acceptable practice.   If she improves her craft, she can still do her art.

I just think telling her that she shouldn't alter her style is very bad advice.  Screenwriting is about concessions.  You have to make concessions to everyone when you are writing directors, producers, and even actors.  Not being willing to bend will very quickly mark you as hard to work with.

If she was going to make her own films then I would have reacted in a different way to your advice.  But I didn't get the impression that she was planning on directing her script.  I could be wrong about that, wouldn't be the first time.    

I also might suggest that she try Movie Poet (www.moviepoet.com).  There are often offbeat scripts submitted there.  She'll get lots of good feedback, however, it is NOT easy to win (unless you are Mr. Z).    
  
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Scar Tissue Films
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 7:45am Report to Moderator
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You haven't read her script.

So how do you know her style is the problem?

Anyway, the point is that the OP is happy with the way they write and are looking for competitions that fit their own style.

All I'm saying is cut out the middle man and take the script straight to someone who has a history of making those kind of films.

Not everybody has to make concessions with the way they write or even in the way they live their life. It doesn't matter if a million people think your script is a pile of shite if Tim Burton thinks it's wonderful. : )
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mcornetto
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 7:56am Report to Moderator
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Quoted from Scar Tissue Films
You haven't read her script.

So how do you know her style is the problem?

Have you read it?  How do you know that style isn't?  I think it's more likely that something is up with the script rather than it's a perfect gem but just off the beaten track. But, of course, it could be the most excellent script in the universe (I'm sure the author thinks that and no offence meant to her of course).

Quoted from Scar Tissue Films

Not everybody has to make concessions with the way they write or even in the way they live their life. It doesn't matter if a million people think your script is a pile of shite if Tim Burton thinks it's wonderful. : )

No argument there.  But you're gonna have a hell of an easier time getting him to read it if it has a prize attached to it.


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dogglebe
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 8:18am Report to Moderator
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If you two are going to fight again, I'm gonna shut the site down....again!


Phil
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bert
Posted: August 3rd, 2008, 10:24am Report to Moderator
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Have either of you guys read RobbidaRobat's post on the BlueCat Feedback page?

I am familiar with that contest -- and reading through their feedback for her(?) entry -- it sounds like there is some wonky format going on that keeps their writing from getting very far, not the choice of "crazy" premise.

It sounds like the reader only skimmed the screenplay, and it sounds as if it were plaugued with typographical errors.

Without having read any of this author's work, it sounds like their "crazy premise" problem is actually taking a back seat to larger issues of presentation.

RobbidaRobat is encouraged to consider this possibility.

And -- in terms of the debate going on here -- unless you are writing a drama -- you absolutely should avoid contests like Nicholl and Bluecat.  They will not select your horror or action script for the top prizes.  They just won't.

Select a contest appropriate to your genre -- if you select a contest at all.


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RobbidaRobat
Posted: August 4th, 2008, 10:30pm Report to Moderator
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Thanks to all the advice.  I've written screenplays for five years and have about seven under my belt.   I'll certainly look out for directors whose vision matches much of my stuff.  I entered Nicholl on advice from a fellow group of writers.  I'll certainly put the horror genre contest on my radar for next year.  

Currently animating (myself with friends) a short I wrote.

Again Your comments have been invaluable.

arm me with harmony,
Robbiedarobot
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