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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /  Contests - Screenwriting and Filmmaking  /  Feature Horror competition, free to enter...
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 14th, 2015, 5:12pm
Found this over on Stage 32 posted by the guys running the competition...  some of the details look a little sketchy so I've sent them an email and asked a few questions, will post updates on here.

In the meantime, if you fancy trying to writer a horror script 70-90 pages and set in the Land of Illusions theme park... well get a move on, you've got 6 weeks!!!

Oh, and the winner gets their script produced, and gets paid for it too...

Posted by: Dustin, December 14th, 2015, 5:42pm; Reply: 1
Looks a good one. I haven't written anything in around a month. May be something worth attempting. The only thing with this is that the script will unlikely be able to be offered anywhere else. It's a do or die type of deal.

You going to have a go at this Anthony?
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 14th, 2015, 5:52pm; Reply: 2
Hey Dustin

I had a couple of ideas for this type of theme park after visiting Halloween Horror Nights at Universal, so I'm hoping I can adapt one of these to this setting...

6 weeks means it may be a little rough and ready but I've just finished the thriller I was working on and the Jameson short is more or less there too...

So yes think I may give it a shot and try make it expandable/adaptable to a more generic setting on the off chance I don't win ;-)


Posted by: Dustin, December 14th, 2015, 6:15pm; Reply: 3
I would like to. Something to get me writing again. With Xmas though I may find myself pushed for time.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 14th, 2015, 6:36pm; Reply: 4
Yeah, it's always a busy period but I'm guessing the competition wont get too many entries due to that and the timescales needed to complete it and the use of the specific setting...

GL if you do decide to enter...

Posted by: Dustin, December 14th, 2015, 6:46pm; Reply: 5
Thanks mate, good luck to you too.
Posted by: Angry Bear, December 14th, 2015, 7:39pm; Reply: 6
You guys can do it! It's just one week less than the 7WC!!!

Why aren't you writing Dustin? You used to crank out a lot of material?

PS: Any of you need a read before sending in your entries, I will try my best to help out in a hurry.  :)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 14th, 2015, 7:44pm; Reply: 7
Thanks Pia - may very well take you up on the read offer!

Posted by: Scar Tissue Films, December 14th, 2015, 7:55pm; Reply: 8

Quoted from Dustin
Looks a good one. I haven't written anything in around a month. May be something worth attempting. The only thing with this is that the script will unlikely be able to be offered anywhere else. It's a do or die type of deal.

You going to have a go at this Anthony?

For copyright reasons, or just because the plot will be based in such a specific place?

We could always make it at Blackpool Pleasure beach, or somewhere similar. ;)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 14th, 2015, 8:09pm; Reply: 9
Think Dustin means due to location, but you're right there's a few Halloween horror type mazes and events in US and UK now, so it'd just be a case of adapting... of and then the usual needle in a haystack chore of finding someone who wants to make it ;-)

Posted by: Dustin, December 15th, 2015, 3:49am; Reply: 10
Yeah it's the specificness of everything. It's not just locations but also props and even antagonists. It would be difficult to tailor this for another park. Not just that, but even if you did tailor it for another park, you would have to find a prod co interested in making such a thing.

A month is a long break, but I don't want to force the issue. I once stopped writing for 10 years, so a month or two isn't much in comparison. I wasn't going to start again until after Xmas, but something like this is tempting. I have a few ideas on where to take this. Not sure if I want to write any of them yet, but at least the ideas are flowing and the itch to write is there.
Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, December 16th, 2015, 12:46pm; Reply: 11
Sounds interesting. If I had to give it a shot, I'd probably aim for the Voodoo bayou thing or the Demon Drop. I've done enough mazes and tunnels.  I'm rewriting The Feed right now (the original draft was lost to the four winds) and then my next planned script was something to do with killer spiders, which has been on my mind for a few months.

I'll investigate some more.
Maybe I'll be in.

Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 16th, 2015, 12:55pm; Reply: 12
I've made a start, have the basic idea in my head and the major plot points more or less mapped too... five pages into act 1 now, figure with a relatively quiet Xmas then it should be okay... thought might have to be an earlier draft than I'd normally like ;-(

Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 17th, 2015, 2:38am; Reply: 13
So I posed these questions to the organisers...

1) It talks about been paid for the winning script, what is the payment and will there be an option payment and then purchase when it goes into production?
2) In terms of Option and Purchase, what are the terms?
3) I assume itís intended that this will also serve as promotional aid for LOI, so will they be looking to film off season?

Below are the answers I got...

Hellos Anthony,

          The payment is not yet fixed in stone.  Based on another film we are doing this year, the writer should make at least the same money as the producer and will receive a percentage ownership of the underlying LLC. These films will be made for budgets 2 million or less.  It will be non-DGA, non-WGA.  It will be a SAG, IATSE film.  The film will be budgeted and that will determine the final payment.

I can tell you that for the last film the 2 producers make 50k each. The exec producer makes the same instead of the standard 10% finders fee for the money. The writer makes 6Ok.

The normal Indy option for a script is 2 dollars for 1 year.  That is because we must spend substantial money to package the film, get actors, directors and investors to agree to participate. Do the legal work, apply for tax credits, etc.  We do this with this film as well as established Hollywood writers.  We do purchase the script prior to official pre-production commencing.

As for Land of Illusion, they are an actual equity partner in the film this is not for their publicity except to sell dvd's there. We will have access to the entire site.  Yes we will film not when they are open, but months earlier.  We will be using many extras.

The earliest we can go into preproduction is July 1, 2015.  The next rounds of tax credits for Ohio become available at that time.

Just also remember that financing people can and do drop out occasionally. These people are providing post production services in New York, and Visual effects in India and China.

Hope this helps,

Richard Uber
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, December 17th, 2015, 10:11am; Reply: 14
Interesting but I'm going to take a little break from screenplays and start writing a novel. Best of luck to those who enter and if you want some feedback before you do, don't forget to pop it on the forums or PM me and I'll review it for you.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 17th, 2015, 12:42pm; Reply: 15
Thanks Mark and good luck with the novel!

Posted by: DarrenJamesSeeley, December 17th, 2015, 1:13pm; Reply: 16

Quoted from AnthonyCawood

The earliest we can go into preproduction is July 1, 2015.  The next rounds of tax credits for Ohio become available at that time.

Lookit, I know some of us might be good, but hell, we aren't THAT good  ;D
Posted by: eldave1, December 17th, 2015, 2:19pm; Reply: 17
I would not enter as the genre is my least favorite and I kind of suck at it. But I find the contest itself intriguing and unique - so kudos to the sponsors for that. I like the framework of this thing.

A bit of a story line did hit my synapses: - after it's last manufacturing plant closes, a small,  mid western, bible belt town faces certain bankruptcy. Over the protests of the more prude citizens, a mysterious wealthy investor convinces the town to build the nation's most realistic horror theme park to save the town from bankruptcy. The park does attracts tourism but also serves as the perfect place for the mysterious investor to enjoy his hobby - fetish killing.

Kind of a JAWS thread - i.e., do they go public with the deaths, close the park and lose the tourism or pretend that the shark just ain't that dangerous.

Random thoughts. Anyway - Back to writing romance/comedy now. -----Wait - a "Murder By Death" like lampoon based in a horror theme park?????????? I can already see Detective Wang's adopted son pushing the broken down car towards the gates of the theme park.  
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 17th, 2015, 4:42pm; Reply: 18
Darren, my script involves a time machine so I can hit July 2015 ;-)

Dave, two decent ideas, why not leave romance for now and dip your toe, it's only 6 weeks!

Posted by: Dustin, December 17th, 2015, 5:01pm; Reply: 19
You definitely have the talent, Dave. A contest with you in it worries me.
Posted by: eldave1, December 17th, 2015, 6:31pm; Reply: 20

Quoted from Dustin
You definitely have the talent, Dave. A contest with you in it worries me.

Wow - thanks for the kind words - but am sitting this one out - rooting for you all
Posted by: IamGlenn, December 17th, 2015, 6:56pm; Reply: 21
Just took a look at this and while it interests me, I'm not sure I like the bit that says we have to include certain locations. Then it goes on to list bloody loads of them! I feel like it may become a little forced. Anyway, going to think on this. Good luck to all who are entering, seems like a great opportunity.

And again, thanks Anthony for the find. You have a knack for finding little gems and sharing them with your rivals ;)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 17th, 2015, 7:07pm; Reply: 22
Hey Glenn

Yeah the locations could prove a test, but the buildings in the place look pretty close together so a psycho killer chasing a victim could hit everything in about 3 minutes ;-)

I'm hoping that helping my 'rivals' will prove useful in a karmic sense at some point ;-)

Posted by: Angry Bear, December 17th, 2015, 8:27pm; Reply: 23
I just checked out this comp. The itch to write something came on strong, but I just won't have time. Also, if I did, I think there would be a strong chance Brett would come after me with a hatchet!  ;D

IMO, though, I actually like the specifics of this comp. Makes it easier since it gets the old rusty wheels turning.

Good Luck all who write one and feel free to hit me up for a read when you have a first draft. :)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 18th, 2015, 2:42am; Reply: 24
The contest organisers sent me a follow up email based on some of the comments in the thread...

Hi Anthony,

I saw the comments on the forum.

  2015 lol thanks autocomplete on the windows phone, nope its 2016...

If you look at the land of illusions  site they are all very close together.  Within 200 yards of each other except for zombie paintball (which is a load of fun) I do hope we do fluorescent paintball, and splatters on the zombies 😊

If you look for the film "the fun house massacre" it was shot there, it might be worth a look.

I can tell you, serious readers will look at each script. We will give each one a fair shot.

All the best,
Posted by: Angry Bear, December 18th, 2015, 7:13am; Reply: 25
One question that occurred to me when checking out the comp was, what rating are they aiming for? That might be helpful for people to know as well.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 18th, 2015, 7:56am; Reply: 26
Good point Pia, I'll ask.

Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 18th, 2015, 9:56am; Reply: 27
The answer to the Rating question is...

Hi Anthony,

Any rating other than X is ok.  PG-13
or R will put more people in the seats

Best wishes
Posted by: pale yellow, December 19th, 2015, 4:42pm; Reply: 28
I wish I had it in me. This type thing interests me and the more the parameters per the producer...the better IMO. It is a great thing to know what they want and where...budget etc IMO. I write best this way as I have for other projects BUT I won't have time for this there are going to be so many entries... slim chance when I can be writing something else.

Good luck to all and if anyone needs a read...I'm avail for that.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 19th, 2015, 4:50pm; Reply: 29
I'm not sure how many entries they'll have for this, it's not widely publicised as yet and timescale to submit are pretty short and over the holidays... on the other hand it's free to enter...

Im 25 pages into mine and I'm also liking the idea of the parameters, it's making it a little easier to write.

Thanks for the read offer Dena, will take you up on that.

Posted by: Angry Bear, December 19th, 2015, 7:42pm; Reply: 30
If anyone has their first draft ready by thursday, send it to me and I'll read on my vacation. know you're going to give it a go.  ;)
Posted by: Dustin, December 20th, 2015, 4:21am; Reply: 31
I'm giving it a go. I had to start again upon reading the preferred age restrictions. I can write PG-13, but I have to admit it's a bit of a dampener. Can you show a female's breasts in PG-13? Can anyone actually die?

I'm not used to writing horror for kids, so to that end, with research being a writer's best friend, I did a little studying on previous PG-13 horrors. So, if you're a little stuck like I was, then this link may help:
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 20th, 2015, 5:30am; Reply: 32
The guys at the comp said PG13 or R, anything other than an X (NC17), so I think violence and/or nudity is fine in an R rated film...

Here's the Wiki

Fifty Shades and Mad Max were both Rs this year.

Posted by: Dustin, December 20th, 2015, 5:50am; Reply: 33
I'll see where it goes. I'm still in early stages and thinking of turning the concept into a comedy. I have my characters and the plot basically mapped out. Just not sure on how to deliver the tone yet.
Posted by: pale yellow, December 27th, 2015, 10:38pm; Reply: 34
I'm in....on page 7. It will be a one month vomit draft....but worth a try maybe. :)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 28th, 2015, 6:27am; Reply: 35
Welcome aboard Dena ;-)

That's at least three SSers having a go, here's hoping one of us win!

Posted by: Angry Bear, December 28th, 2015, 6:23pm; Reply: 36
Go Dena!!! If anyone can do a feature in a month, it's you!  8)

I'm out, because it seems I always find more fun things to do. :P
Posted by: Dustin, December 28th, 2015, 6:37pm; Reply: 37
32 days is almost 5 weeks (being very optimistic). At 10 pages a day, that's a tentative draft in 10 days tops. That gives 3 weeks for polishes even if started today. Just got to put the graft in. I'm around 20 pages in, started the actual writing a couple of days ago.

The only comps worth entering are the ones where a film gets made at the end of it. Hopefully more of these types of opportunities come along in the future. Thanks again to Anthony for finding this little gem and sharing it.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, December 28th, 2015, 6:53pm; Reply: 38
Pleasure Dustin (all) and I agree... this type of competition should be encouraged!

I'm 45 pages in and hoping to get a first draft finished by end of the weekend... though that may be hangover dependent.

Have submitted to Jameson short contest, and might get one more draft of Impact 50 script in.

Hoping then to get the first 10 pages done for Red Planet prize before deadline on 22nd.

Didn't expect Xmas and New Year to be quite so busy!

Posted by: Dustin, January 14th, 2016, 9:32am; Reply: 39
Only just finished the first draft. Story is good, just need to tie up a few loose ends and make the writing better in the places where it is weak. Also, surprise, surprise I need to rewrite the first ten to better incorporate where the story goes.

All in all this will be an effort that I'll be very happy with come the deadline. Hope everyone else is on target too.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 14th, 2016, 9:45am; Reply: 40
I'm planning to start 3rd draft next week, kinda like what I've got in concept but want to switch round a few things and inject some more humour... Working in TV script this week.
Posted by: Dustin, January 14th, 2016, 11:51am; Reply: 41
Sounds good. I have a little humour in mine too. If I don't win then I hope you do.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 14th, 2016, 11:56am; Reply: 42
And vice versa!
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 30th, 2016, 3:14am; Reply: 43
Right, I've submitted my Horror/Comedy, Dr Psycho's Night of Terror...

Thanks to Pia, Mark and John for reading early drafts and providing much needed feedback, really appreciated.

Now for the waiting...
Posted by: Dustin, January 30th, 2016, 4:01am; Reply: 44
I'll be submitting mine today as I'm away tomorrow. Interesting that you used that character from the theme park as I have too, albeit by his 'real name', Dr Carver.

Good luck, mate.
Posted by: LC, January 30th, 2016, 4:10am; Reply: 45
Good luck, you guys! :)

Posted by: AnthonyCawood, January 30th, 2016, 4:56am; Reply: 46
LOL - I used him as both Dr Carver and Dr Psycho ;-)

Have we inadvertently written the same scripts?

Does yours feature a 3D printer?
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 2nd, 2016, 4:25am; Reply: 47
For those interested, the below has just come out on email from contest organisers...

Dear Contest Writers-

The contest was an utter success using anyones standards, thanks to you!

Contest Notes
A bit about what you and your fellow writers and their submissions:

Submitted genres ran from standard "cut-n-slash"-horror, to time-traveling-horror, crime-horror, psychological-horror, to romance-horror. Some very cool ideas indeed.

Source of Material
A couple modified what they had, and submitted within 30 days of the contest, while others wrote original works straight through to a couple days before the end.

All over the world- from Iran, Cameroon, and the UK (Scotland, Wales, and England), to the US (New York, Indiana, California- and of course, Ohio).

From no experience writing at all, to professional with optioned and/or produced works.

The Next Steps

1. Visceral Films staff will read each screenplay- Once for "the read", then again for analytics- how does the screenplay work in terms of overall project fit, characters, locations, props and elements, etc.. Because it's hard to compare someones' "I liked the story" with someone else's "I liked the story", we convert the elements into metrics assigned to help in the scoring. Each time a reader (which could be a staffer, a department head, or a Producer or investor) reads a script, they fill out a reader report and collect metrics. All submissions will be read and a down-selection to a "final 3" will occur by February 10.

2. On February 10, the final 3 scripts will be sent to our partners and our investors for final selection by February 15.

3. Early February 15, we will reach out to the winning writer to go over some last minute details (ensure acceptance, eligibility, schedule, etc..)- if everything is a go, we will announce to the world. If for some reason, we cannot reach the winning writer (we will reach out using email first, then follow-up by phone), or we cannot go forward with the number 1 choice for whatever reason, we will contact the number 2 choice.  A winner of the contest will be announced.

At Visceral Films, we strongly believe in the story and appreciate your efforts.

Good luck to you all!


Scott Wohlstein
Visceral Films
Posted by: Dustin, February 2nd, 2016, 5:43am; Reply: 48
I went for high concept. The mention of the 3D printer leads me to believe you've also gone high concept here.

But no, I wouldn't use the 3D printer idea now, even though I did one day want to write a story where a 3D printer features heavily and I still have the idea card on my board, I kinda see that as yours now. I like to be as original as possible. If I ever do use it, it will be for something completely different.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 2nd, 2016, 6:30am; Reply: 49
yep plenty of ways to use 3D printers and all sorts of modern tech to give things a twist.

And looks like we won't have to wait too long for the results on this one, which makes a pleasant change!
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, February 4th, 2016, 3:17am; Reply: 50
Best of luck guys, keep us posted.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 4th, 2016, 5:27am; Reply: 51
Thanks Mark - will do.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 15th, 2016, 4:58pm; Reply: 52

I'm in the final 3!!!

Thanks to Pia, Mark, John and Liam for notes and feedback.

Fingers crossed!
Posted by: LC, February 15th, 2016, 5:40pm; Reply: 53
Woohoo! Congrats, Anthony.
Posted by: Angry Bear, February 15th, 2016, 5:40pm; Reply: 54

Excellent and exciting news!!!  8)
Posted by: pale yellow, February 15th, 2016, 7:52pm; Reply: 55
Hope you win Anthony!!!
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 16th, 2016, 2:40am; Reply: 56
I came in as runner up...

"Dr. Psycho's Terror Night" placed 2nd in the screenplay competition.

Your screenplay was the reason why the selection process went longer than intended. You did a great job and truly created a serious competition between 1st and 2nd place. In the end it was just 3 points that made the difference.

Oh so close!
Posted by: Dustin, February 16th, 2016, 3:48am; Reply: 57
Well done on making it to second place, mate. I didn't get anywhere.
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, February 16th, 2016, 3:51am; Reply: 58

Oooh that must sting. Who's the winner? Want me to send the boys round with the baseball bats to duff them over?

Congratulations though, as runner-up you should get publicised and hopefully will get some recognition and work off the back of this.

Posted by: LC, February 16th, 2016, 4:23am; Reply: 59
I'd be over the moon regardless - good of them to let you know how close the race was.

Great title too. You should feel very proud.

P.S. Commiserations, Dustin, but least you were in there too. You got it done, no small feat with that kind of deadline.  :)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 16th, 2016, 4:30am; Reply: 60
Thanks Dustin, Mark, Libby, appreciated... no doubt I'll look positively on this tomorrow when its stopped smarting ;-)

Mark - They've not announced the winner as yet, we'll see if they're in the UK ;-)... of could still be one of us on SS!
Posted by: JonnyBoy, February 16th, 2016, 6:09am; Reply: 61
Oof, so close! Well done on getting that far.
Posted by: Electric Dreamer, February 16th, 2016, 10:54am; Reply: 62
Wow, that's awesome Anthony. Be proud of your accomplishment!
Being a RUNNER-UP on a contest looks pretty damn good on a query letter.

Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 16th, 2016, 1:02pm; Reply: 63
Thanks Jonny, and Brett, yep I'm sure it will.


Posted by: eldave1, February 16th, 2016, 1:17pm; Reply: 64
Great effort there, Anthony - quite a feat!
Posted by: Demento, February 16th, 2016, 1:21pm; Reply: 65
Good job, Anthony. But to be honest, I'm a bit upset that you didn't finish first. It would have been awesome. You're a nice guy and you put in a lot effort on this board. Shame :( Would have been happy to see you snag that 1st place.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, February 16th, 2016, 2:04pm; Reply: 66
Me too ;-)
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, March 2nd, 2016, 8:01pm; Reply: 67
In a late 3rd act twist... they've optioned my script!!!

With a fair wind it'll go into production in 2017.

My first Feature option... buzzing!

Posted by: rendevous, March 2nd, 2016, 9:06pm; Reply: 68
Congrats. Annoying, but congrats anyway. Put a good word in. My scripts are miles better and I never hear a word. Typical. Hope it turns out well.

Posted by: Angry Bear, March 2nd, 2016, 9:26pm; Reply: 69

Having a few in your honor! Let me know how many you'd want me to have.  ;)
Posted by: LC, March 2nd, 2016, 9:27pm; Reply: 70
Wow! Instead of, or as well as...?

Either way, congrats. :)
Posted by: Dustin, March 3rd, 2016, 2:52am; Reply: 71

Quoted from AnthonyCawood
In a late 3rd act twist... they've optioned my script!!!

With a fair wind it'll go into production in 2017.

My first Feature option... buzzing!


Well done, mate.
Posted by: Reef Dreamer, March 3rd, 2016, 4:21am; Reply: 72
Wow, you must be really chuffed with that. Great on the CV as well. Keep going.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, March 3rd, 2016, 4:50am; Reply: 73
Thanks all, for the congrats and the support/help over the last couple of years!

Pia - have many... I did! Given your great notes I think I may owe you a few!!!
Ren - agree ;-) it'll be you next time...
Libby - they've ultimately optioned both 1st and 2nd place (mine) scripts, believe they're planning to shoot 1st this year and mine next.
Bill - TX and yes, I'm gonna keep pushing and pushing.. I did a Skype pitch to an exec at Ghost House last week of the feature version of Graft, I'm hoping that results in a read request.

Again, thanks all for the congrats and help, massively appreciated!
Posted by: stevemiles, March 3rd, 2016, 5:51am; Reply: 74

Good to hear. Congratulations, Anthony.
Posted by: Electric Dreamer, March 3rd, 2016, 9:20am; Reply: 75
Congrats on hitting a new milestone in your career!
When I got my first option it was a big vindication for all my efforts.
I hope it has the same effect for you.
Posted by: Demento, March 3rd, 2016, 10:57am; Reply: 76
Congrats, Anthony. Hope it gets made and I hope you got paid.
Posted by: pale yellow, March 3rd, 2016, 12:46pm; Reply: 77
Super duper congrats Anthony. Hopefully, a beginning to a very successful long career!!! Write on my friend!!!!
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, March 3rd, 2016, 3:38pm; Reply: 78

Quoted from AnthonyCawood
In a late 3rd act twist... they've optioned my script!!!

With a fair wind it'll go into production in 2017.

My first Feature option... buzzing!


Congratulations pal!

Hey can we get this news on the front page? Anthony is one of our own, this needs announcing proper!
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, March 3rd, 2016, 5:34pm; Reply: 79
Thanks for all the kind words everyone... really appreciated!
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