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SimplyScripts Screenwriting Discussion Board  /   General Chat  /  Coverfly scam?
Posted by: Angry Bear, June 1st, 2018, 12:09pm
Thanks to CJ at Script Revolution, I came across this today. It might be of interest to anyone that has entered script competitions or hired coverage services.

Quite outrageous IMO.

https://coverfly-scam.blogspot.com/2018/05/unmasking-coverfly-network-i-recently.html

+++++++++++++++++++
Don's edit.  The original blogpost has been removed.  Here is Coverfly's response to it:

https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriting/comments/8o5yul/open_letter_from_coverfly_to_screenwriters/

and here is a paragraph by paragraph refutation of the claims of the original blog post

https://www.coverfly.com/an-open-letter-to-our-community-1/

++Additional Edit++

I trust and continue to trust MovieBytes.Com for information related to screenwriting contests where one can see crowd sourced feedback about various contests.

- Don
Posted by: Don, June 1st, 2018, 12:29pm; Reply: 1

Quoted from Angry Bear
Thanks to CJ at Script Revolution, I came across this today. It might be of interest to anyone that has entered script competitions or hired coverage services.

Quite outrageous IMO.

https://coverfly-scam.blogspot.com/2018/05/unmasking-coverfly-network-i-recently.html



I am still reading the information represented in the article.  I am not weighing in, yet.  I encourage anyone who has used the services of or entered a contest with Coverfly, Red Ampersand, WeScreenplay, Screencraft, or Script Lab network to read the article as well as the Reddit AMA with the Coverfly founder Scot Lawrie.

- Don
Posted by: Dustin, June 1st, 2018, 1:05pm; Reply: 2

Quoted Text
Don't let any more naive screenwriters fall victim to these predators!


I don't see what these guys are doing that's different to all the other businesses out there doing the same thing.

The bottom feeders too. Festivals charging small amounts of money on film freeway for entries. The majority do not exist and are simply taking your money. Half of them don't even bother with decent websites and have Lorem Ipsum everywhere. Even the free ones are set up to sell expensive tickets to 'VIP events'.

The business model they are all following is the one shown them by the original scammers, the big competitions. They all need sucker money to grow and maybe even one day, steal so much cash they can become legit - like the Mafia. That's why these big comps have no care who are reading your scripts. They really don't. Yes, good writers will have a better chance of winning, but the winners are not who the comps care about, it's the dreamers. The multitudes of dreamers.
Posted by: Angry Bear, June 1st, 2018, 1:45pm; Reply: 3
Lots of outrageous things in this article. Going out of their way to cover up how they own other companies and competitions, stealing personal information, but also giving one of the Screencraft Fellowships, including $1000, to the owner is about as unethical as it gets, IMO.
Posted by: RJP, June 1st, 2018, 5:48pm; Reply: 4
I don't know. Screencraft owns Coverfly, which is their business for reading scripts...woopity doo. They "stole" your identity? Why, because you gave it to them when you signed up for the Screencraft contest? What do you think Facebook does with your info? What do you think Google does with your Youtube video history? What do you think your web provider does with your search history? They use it to advertise to you!

This guys is really, REALLY, naive.

The only thing sketchy is the fellowship award that went to one of their own founders...and it's not that scandalous. They hand out multiple fellowships so it's not like the guy took home all the prizes. Not a smart move by Screencraft, but they probably didn't feel their were enough quality participants to get the award that year. All fellowships have the right to do that BTW. Nicholl could give 4 instead of 5 one year if they felt their weren't 5 worthy.

Oh, and companies don't need to be transparent about what they own. Come on. This dude been living under a rock? Welcome to the world. TV networks...BestBuy and Futureshop...lists go on.
Posted by: eldave1, June 1st, 2018, 6:00pm; Reply: 5
Quite an article
Posted by: GM, June 1st, 2018, 6:33pm; Reply: 6
I believe I entered a screen craft once and never received anything from coverfly. They apparently look for great scripts to abuse. Lol

Gabe
Posted by: MarkItZero, June 1st, 2018, 7:19pm; Reply: 7
I deleted my post. I'm 95% sure that email just showed up in my inbox. But there's a 5% chance I'm a complete idiot and signed up for the site out of curiosity, forgot about it completely, and that's just the confirmation email lol.
Posted by: LC, June 1st, 2018, 7:40pm; Reply: 8
Response at bottom of page:


Co-founder of Coverfly here. The claims made anonymously in this post (and some before) are blatantly false. We have evidence that suggests this misinformation is being spread maliciously by an organization incentivized to see us fail. Weíre in talks with our legal team to address this defamation directly.

The one thing I'd be suss about is any employee of any organisation winning a prize etc. Terms and Conditions always state a blurb similar to: You are not eligible to enter a competition if You are a current employee or immediate family member ... etcetera. That's standard practice.

Anyway, we don't really know fact from fiction here, do we?
Posted by: RJP, June 1st, 2018, 9:21pm; Reply: 9

Quoted from LC
Response at bottom of page:


Co-founder of Coverfly here. The claims made anonymously in this post (and some before) are blatantly false. We have evidence that suggests this misinformation is being spread maliciously by an organization incentivized to see us fail. Weíre in talks with our legal team to address this defamation directly.

The one thing I'd be suss about is any employee of any organisation winning a prize etc. Terms and Conditions always state a blurb similar to: You are not eligible to enter a competition if You are a current employee or immediate family member ... etcetera. That's standard practice.

Anyway, we don't really know fact from fiction here, do we?


He also said this in regards to the fellowship win:

"Correct - he won the ScreenCraft Fellowship in the beginning of 2015. Mark's first encounter with ScreenCraft was when they called him to notify him that he had won the contest, and there's a back-and-forth email thread to prove it. Personally, I never met John or Cam from ScreenCraft until mid-2016, about a year and a half after Mark won their contest, to show them Coverfly.
In the beginning of 2017, about two years later, ScreenCraft partnered up with us under the Red Ampersand umbrella.
In other words, Red Ampersand came to be two years after Mark won the Fellowship. The only reason we came to know ScreenCraft is because of Mark's interactions with John and Cameron after he won. By the way, he also won Francis Ford Coppola's Zoetrope competition (in the same month!) with a different script, so he's a pretty talented writer."
Posted by: Angry Bear, June 1st, 2018, 9:44pm; Reply: 10

Quoted from LC


The one thing I'd be suss about is any employee of any organisation winning a prize etc. Terms and Conditions always state a blurb similar to: You are not eligible to enter a competition if You are a current employee or immediate family member ... etcetera. That's standard practice.

Agree. All competitions have strict rules.

Wether this is 100% true or not, it definitely leaves a sour taste in my mouth as far as some of those comps go. Especially Screencraft that I thought seemed pretty legit.
Posted by: Dustin, June 2nd, 2018, 2:39am; Reply: 11
It has been established, and I also gathered this from the article, that he won the comp before setting up Coverfly.

Not that I'm suggesting they're not a bunch of scamming bastards, because they are. Well, they are if you don't need them. If they're all you have that help you cling to the dream of being a writer then it's probably worth paying for.
Posted by: RJP, June 2nd, 2018, 4:43pm; Reply: 12
So I just read Coverfly's official response, and this shit gets crazier. They're pretty certain that one of their competitors (they won't say who) created the blog and a bunch of other fake accounts to tarnish their companies name.

Check this: Months prior they were given shit by this "competitor" who sent them an email with a screenshot...apparently this email had to do with something else. Turns out that you can get information about a computer screenshot such as the make and model of the computer monitor.

Anyways, in the blog that was created to spread the accusations, there were screenshots taken and posted. They so happen to be from the same and apparently rare and out-of-prodiction large-screen Apple display of the disgruntled "competitor".

Also, somehow they are able to track the IP of the blog to the base of operations of this "competitor".

So they're getting ready to react with their legal team. We might be witnessing a major law suit agains one of Coverfly's competitors... could be blacklist, withoutabox, film freeway...who knows.
Posted by: Colkurtz8, June 3rd, 2018, 4:42am; Reply: 13
Shit, this doesn't sound good at all right now but I'll keep track of the story to see how it shakes out.

I entered a competition recently who had hired Coverfly to do their reading. I barely remember signing up to them to be honest. I haven't paid any money so I'd no reason to be suspicious.

My script didn't progress and it was through Coverfly that I got see how it fared score-wise...then I get another email a few days later saying that my script's "Industry score" had increased. Which, from what I can gather, is seemingly arbitrary as they are at pains to make it clear that its not connected to the script's performance in the competition. Yet, that was the only competition to which I submitted this script. Its all a bit confusing.

Anyway, whatever about the timeline of when their CEO won Screencraft it does leave one with a bad taste. Yes, I'm resigned to the fact that my information has been sold a thousand times already online by various companies but the whole idea of a competition farming out its judging to a seperate company doesn't sit well with me either. Doesn't that totally call into question the validity of that competition? Don't they pride themselves on having the best readers, judges, etc.

I'm not naive, I know this is just a marketing ploy but how can they even pretend to say that if their reading and judging is been outsourced?

Yep, the whole thing smells more than a bit fishy but I'll reserve judgement until I see where the story goes.

Thanks for the heads up, Pia...but who do you work for? What's your angle in all this? :P
Posted by: Angry Bear, June 3rd, 2018, 7:08am; Reply: 14

Quoted from Colkurtz8

Thanks for the heads up, Pia...but who do you work for? What's your angle in all this? :P


Lol! I first came across this from CJ Walley when he listed a a bunch of comps, many of which are well known, that he no longer allow as being mentioned as award winners at Script Revolution. I figured he must have done extensive research to come to that conclusion, so I figured it was worth mentioning here and see what others thought. I usually never enter comps, but I did this year and that comp was mentioned in this mess. We'll see what happens with this. I'm sure it's not over yet.  :)
Posted by: Zombie Sean, June 3rd, 2018, 11:44am; Reply: 15
Apparently the blog post has been removed and Coverfly sent out an open letter explaining things: https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriting/comments/8o5yul/open_letter_from_coverfly_to_screenwriters/
Posted by: ajr, June 3rd, 2018, 3:23pm; Reply: 16
My two cents - I've never entered contests.

What I do try sometimes, if I'm sent a invite to a contest, is I look at who's reading / judging, or who's promised to read or judge as a prize, and I write to the individual or company directly.

If he / she is willing to take part or become a prize in a contest, then they are certainly willing to read a script that is pitched well.

AJR
Posted by: Don, June 3rd, 2018, 5:34pm; Reply: 17

Quoted from Zombie Sean
Apparently the blog post has been removed and Coverfly sent out an open letter explaining things: https://www.reddit.com/r/Screenwriting/comments/8o5yul/open_letter_from_coverfly_to_screenwriters/


Sean,

Thanks for this.  I'll add it to the top.

- Don
Posted by: Don, June 4th, 2018, 9:55am; Reply: 18
I trust and continue to trust MovieBytes.Com for information related to screenwriting contests where one can see crowd sourced feedback about various contests.

- Don
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, June 5th, 2018, 10:06am; Reply: 19
I'm not sure if you guys can see this as it's from a Facebook writer's group, but the guy who runs Screencraft is taking open questions about this today live between 6Pm and 7PM (UK Time) but you can post questions now. I've already posted a load.

https://www.facebook.com/events/1933723280291300/

If you can't see this, I can post the questions and answers tomorrow if people are interested.
Posted by: Don, June 5th, 2018, 12:51pm; Reply: 20
CJ,

Thanks for the clarification on what has been going on with Coverfly and other screenplay contests and coverage services. I admire your passion for this.  

I've backed off a bit on allowing coverage services to advertise on SimplyScripts as I just can't judge the quality of work being done. As for contests, I continue to urge folks who may consider entering a contest to check out https://moviebytes.com and look up the contest information there.

Mark,

Thanks for being the conduit on this.  One cannot see the thread unless one joins that person's Facebook group which I find somewhat suspect...  Would love to hear your views on this, also.  

In general,

Like CJ, I don't have a dog in this fight and I'm just trying to present the facts to folks and them each person come to his/her conclusion.  

- Don
Posted by: jayrex, June 5th, 2018, 1:27pm; Reply: 21
Reading all this stuff about Coverfly can be a bit scary, not knowing who to trust.  If itís true, it sounds like what they did was like what Cambridge Analytica did to Facebook to draw a comparison.
Posted by: RJP, June 5th, 2018, 4:57pm; Reply: 22
CJ, glad to hear that you've been exonerated.

If you're still listening, can I chyme in on the contest debate? Just one guy's opinion.

When you were throwing money at contests and the Blacklist, you were probably doing it for the same reason I have. Because you're just some guy that lives nowhere near Hollywood. And you had no contacts...no reputation.

I mean, put yourself in the Producers shoes. When a producer goes on Script Revolution, how do they sort the good from the bad? They can't read through thousands of scripts to find a needle in a haystack. Contest placement (even non-nichol/ Austin IMO) helps with that.

Now you've got a name for yourself, you have lots of followers on Twitter, but what about a guy like me? I'm just a nobody living in butt-fuck nowhere, Canada. I haven't posted my scripts yet to Script Revolution, but I was planning to after this contest season.

I'm a big boy, I know what I was doing when I spent the entry fee. I want to gauge my skills against other amateurs so I can improve my craft...I don't see a crime with that.

My vote is to keep contest placements on Script Revolution...but in the end it's your baby. I can respect your decision either way, CJ.

-RJP
Posted by: eldave1, June 5th, 2018, 5:25pm; Reply: 23

Quoted Text
So yesterday, I made the tough choice to remove all confirmed awards other than Nicholl and AFF. This has reduced the number of award winning scripts on Script Revolution down from around 500 to 25 and I'm sure there's some members who will be angry about seemingly losing a form of status - even though these comp awards are borderline participation trophies.


IMO - this is a mistake. Why Nicholl and Austin but not PAGE, Final Draft, Scriptapoolza???? By only listing these two you are essentially endorsing them and discounting the others. Better to have none than two.
Posted by: Scar Tissue Films, June 6th, 2018, 2:02am; Reply: 24
I'm not interested in the ins and outs of Coverfly, but I fully agree that all these paid things are a waste of time. There's possibly some mileage in the top Competitions...the rest are for vanity (if you win) at best.

The actual Industry is tiny and often directly related. Someone who is actually trying to make it seriously needs to be moving in those circles and networking.

An entire pseudo-Industry has developed around the actual Industry, which is far bigger in terms of numbers than the actual Industry. They've managed to convince people it is like a ladder, where you start at the bottom of the pseudo Industry and climb up into the actual Industry. It can happen. Rarely.

It's far more common to actually approach the Industry itself and pitch projects to make it.
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, June 6th, 2018, 5:32am; Reply: 25
As promised, here's the questions and answers from last night's live session. All answers are from John Rhodes, co-founder of Screencraft. All questions are from members of writer's groups, some are from me!

It's lengthy I know but hopefully informative. I've not included every question or comment to try and cut it down a bit!

Q - The recent anonymous blog has brought to light that several competitions and script services are part of the same company that runs Coverfly. What type of processes and monitoring do you have in place to make sure best practices are observed and thereís no conflict of interests?

A - Our guiding principle is to operate each company in the best interests of its customers and the long term sustainability of its business (which includes reputation, customer experience and word-of-mouth reviews and recommendations). There is some overlapping administrative support, but each company has dedicated staff as well - and of course, the competitions each have unique readers, juries, process and network of industry relationships. Please let me know if you have any specific questions on this topic. Hope this helps clarify. Thanks for the question.

Q - Hi John, thanks for lending us your time in the name of transparency for the rumours that are flying about re: Coverfly online. I've read writers on Twitter saying they entered one of your contests, but they 'never' gave permission for the scripts to appear on the site and 'never' created an account. What do you think has happened here?

A - This is a misunderstanding. And I know the root cause of it. The short answer: we have never and will never create accounts for writers.

The longer answer: a handful of early users of our platform were unpleasantly surprised to see one or more of their screenplays already in their dashboard when they signed up. This is because their scripts had already been in the Coverfly administrative accounts of some of the various partnering contests, fellowships, labs and workshops using CF to manage their submissions. Early on, before we changed our messaging to make it more clear, some writers thought we somehow had acquired their scripts without their permission.

Here is an example that might help make our data use clearer (our data policy is listed on our website at Coverfly.com for more detail):
1. Writer submits one or more screenplays to a third party contest, Fellowship, lab or festival which manages submissions on Coverfly.
2. Coverfly does not have the right to use this data as it belongs exclusively to the writer and competition to which the writer submits according to the terms of whatever competition they enter. The entry is managed on CF, but CF has no authorization yet to access, read or share the entry.
3. When and if the writer signs up for a CF account, and specifically agrees to CF terms of service, the writer (and only the writer) will then be able to see and manage their submission data.
4. Optionally, the writer may choose to make their Script discoverable in CFís searchable database, and it may show up on The Red List.

Coverfly is three things:
1. A writer dashboard to manage submissions data, store screenplays and aggregate evaluations and scores.
2. An admin dashboard for partner festivals and competitions to manage their submissions and readers.
3. An Industry dashboard for producers and managers to comb through the scripts and evaluation data (only the scripts and data opted-in to by writers - everything is private and not shared by default).

Q - If we do decide to make our projects public on coverfly, how much control do we have over which industry execs can read our script? Is there a list somewhere that we can see and are they carefully vetted to make sure they are legit and genuinely looking for material? Also would we get to know who has read them, as otherwise we might end up pitching to that company through another route when they have already seen it and passed? Could we be informed like I think they do on other sites?

A -  There are currently over 100 industry professionals which we have carefully vetted before creating their Industry Dashboard. Additionally, we have a full time development executive combing through projects in the system and hand-picking projects for producers, managers, agents and development executives who are either looking for a specific type of project, or are looking for a particular kind of writer. We don't allow writers to see *who* has downloaded or read their script, but each time and industry professional downloads your script you would be notified. You can also see how many industry people have viewed your profile or clicked through to read more about your project. As you can imagine, the majority of our industry partners have expressed that they don't want to be publicly listed, as they aren't interested in receiving unsolicited query letters or submissions - however they are happy to be on Coverfly because they can peruse writers and easily search for projects by genre, log line keyword, format and average Industry Score.

Q - Scores. Can you explain a bit more about them? When a script gets loaded to Coverfly, it seems to get an initial score quite quickly and I donít know how or what criteria is used. Then as it progresses through competitions that score changes. Is there the potential of competitions using this score to skip the script reading process? So for example, If I enter a Screencraft comp via the Coverfly portal and the script already has a score from another competition, could Screencraft use that score as the basis to reject or accept without farming the script out to their own readers?

A - Speaking for ScreenCraft, we would never skip reading and carefully evaluating a screenplay just because it has a pre-existing Coverfly Industry Score, for three main reasons: 1. we expect writers to continuously improve their drafts (writing is re-writing),
2. we want to help writers increase their Industry Score because we really want it to be a genuinely valuable metric to the industry
3. we acknowledge that thereís a degree of subjectivity, so we want the project to be evaluated by a fresh reader whose opinion can be included in the Industry Score algorithm and potentially show a stronger confidence in the aggregate score.

Itís important to understand that we do not want people to interpret the Industry Score as a metric of quality (especially if itís only calculated off of one or two readersí evaluations) ó rather itís a metric of degree of confidence of quality. So, by and large, an Industry Score will start out relatively low until at least 3 evaluations are aggregated. Itís also important to note that while most organizations charge, there are free competitions occasionally on Coverfly that are Industry Score-qualifying.

Q - Some competitions like Bluecat include some feedback notes for free. Although short, I do feel reassured that my script has been at least been read and assessed properly by these notes. I believe readers do write some notes for a report , so why not provide the writer with a brief summary so they have some idea of why they were rejected or even why they were accepted to the next stage of the competition?

A - I love this idea, and I really like BlueCat and its founder Gordy Hoffman. I also like your suggestion for all competitions to provide at least some kind of written feedback, report or score notes so that the writer has some context for why the reader decided to eliminate or advance their project. I can only speak for ScreenCraft, since that has been my sole focus for several years; we decided to provide optional (and strongly recommended) detailed notes, rather than offering cursory feedback to everyone. As you can imagine, it takes a reader a bit more time and effort to write constructive, helpful feedback on screenplay. We strive to keep the cost of evaluating each submission as low as possible, so the competition is accessible to people who don't have as much money to spend on the optional professional feedback. I'll put some more thought into this, as I really love what BlueCat does in offering a page of feedback to every entrant (even if it's at a slightly higher cost).

Q - Are employees excluded from competitions in sister companies?

A - Our full-time employees and owners are of course not eligible to submit to any of Red Ampersand's organizations' competitions (ScreenCraft and WeScreenplay).

Q - Am I right in thinking that the submissions portal does not allow different orgs to see one another's contests and info?

A - Yes that's correct. Each organization's administrator only has access to the projects submitted to their organization.

Q - In general, do your contests allocate and read (first read) scripts as the entries are received, or do you stack them all up until closing date?

A - Yes, each of our competitions' readers claim scripts as they come in. One of the reason we have 2 or 3 deadlines per competition is to encourage a more even distribution of submissions so that our readers can more easily pace their evaluation process.

Q - Can you offer any information about criteria for enrolling industry professionals? How do you evaluate them and how do you apply across-the-board standards (if applicable)?

A - We hire readers with at least two years of experience reading for reputable entertainment industry agencies, studios, management companies and production houses. When readers apply to read for ScreenCraft, for instance, we look at their relevant work experience, but most importantly we read examples of their past professional screenplay analysis (coverage or development notes). If they're up to our standards, we hire them as freelance readers to claim as much (or as little) work as they want. We have just over 30 readers - some of them only claim a couple projects per month, and some of them claim a couple projects per day. By allowing readers to choose what they want to evaluate in our system, we organically allow them to gravitate toward formats and genres that they enjoy reading or that they have relevant professional experience in reading. For instance, some of our readers have a background in comedy TV development, while others are more experienced in developing horror or thriller feature films.

Q - This will sound blunt, so please excuse me. What is the difference between the "quality" of a script, and the "confidence of quality" in a script? Right now, it does my head in.

A - If you're inquiring about Coverfly Industry Score, we emphasize that it's a metric of "confidence of quality" because if a script only has one or two opinions on it, then the Industry Score will skew a bit low because that's not enough data for industry professionals to feel confident in its quality purely based on the score data. As an analogy, if you're familiar with the film and TV review website Rotten Tomatoes which aggregates professional and amateur critics' reviews, a movie with only two reviews could have an aggregate score that's wildly divergent from what the true average review score of the movie will ultimately be when there are lots more reviews taken into account. So we don't want scripts with just one or two reviews getting pushed up the rankings to our industry partners unless we're really sure that they're top quality screenplays, and to be confident in the quality of a script, our Industry Score simply requires several reviews to determine a true weighted average. I hope this helps clarify -- I realize it's a pretty new thing we're trying to do, so please go ahead and ask any other questions that can help me clearly define the purpose and process of Coverfly's Industry Score.


Posted by: MarkRenshaw, June 6th, 2018, 5:33am; Reply: 26
Part 2 - My initial message was too long!

Q - Can you tell us a bit more about The Red List: what it is/means, plus why it's used? Also, can other contests access this information?

A - The Red List is (to me) the most exciting feature of Coverfly, but to some people its the scariest. It's essentially a public leaderboard of projects that writers have opted to make discoverable by the industry pros on our platform and the project description (title, log line, Industry Score, and writer's name) are displayed as a dynamically updated ranking for anyone to see. Some writers love this - to be able to see how their Industry Score stacks up against others in their genre or format category - while others are mortified to have their project ranked and prefer to keep their projects private.

Q - Okay, let's say I'm disenchanted with trying to win contest $$$ because there are hordes of scripts chasing one rabbit. Can Coverfly help me find the producer who is looking for my particular writing skills, rather than buy a spec script from me?

A - Yes, absolutely. In fact, the reason we created Coverfly was to allow great writers a more systematic process for being discovered by industry professionals who are genuinely interested in hiring emerging talent for open writing assignments. In fact, while producers are indeed looking for great scripts, the most popular use of Coverfly from the industry side is literary managers looking for promising writers to develop and sign. As we all know, screenwriting is a competitive career, and it often takes a team of people working together to create momentum in this industry. Managers and agents are a very valuable part of the process for many writers. We wanted a more systematic (and less haphazard and sometimes downright nepotistic) way for emerging talent to be discovered by the industry who desperately needs fresh voices and creative talent.

Q - Are you permitted to reveal what score (%, threshold) allocated to a script, gets it through the first round of a contest, for example, say, to quarter finals? Taking Screencraft, which offers many categories of contest, is there a uniform threshold or do they vary per genre or per other criteria applied?

A - The threshold for ScreenCraft is based on percentage -- every script is read once, then the approximate top 25% advance to a second round of evaluations, and the top 10% receive a third round of evaluations (with each evaluation being averaged with its previous), which in turn determines the top 10 ranked finalists. This system isn't rigid, because we want to account for variations in volume and quality of submissions each cycle. As a frame of reference as to ScreenCraft's volume, on average, each ScreenCraft genre-specific screenplay competitions receives 500-900 submissions. The annual ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship received just over 2,100 applications last year. The threshold for Fellowship tends to be a narrower percentage of scripts advancing because we want "quarter-finalists" and "semi-finalists" to truly merit those placements. The short answer is that after the readers' scores determine the cutoff, we do considerable careful deliberations before we announce the placements because we know that the quality of the scripts we recognize as advancing determines the quality of our taste and ultimately the long-term success of our organization to identify top rising talent.
Posted by: MarkRenshaw, June 6th, 2018, 5:44am; Reply: 27
Here's my two cents after I've waded through the whole thing. To me this isn't a scam but more of an awareness of how big and competitive the script competition industry has become. It seems quite similar to a production line. Writers quite often ask the question, how can a competition go through thousands of entries properly? Well, we are beginning to see how. Centralized portals, automated processes, outsourcing the initial script evaluation and reading to third-parties, a shared scoring system and bigger companies forming who run the entire chain.

Thereís nothing wrong with such practices, itís just business. This makes it convenient for the writer to enter single projects to multiple competitions, easier for script readers to organize their work and easier (and more economical) to run the competition. Itís just as all streamlined businesses, it is less personal, quality may suffer and thereís a huge amount of trust that everything is being done above board behind closed doors.

At the end of the day this is an industry based on writers and filmmakers submitting their hopes and dreams for a fee, yet all the vast majority get is a rejection email. That industry is huge and highly competitive as weíve seen with this smear campaign. Yet, the amount of competitions that agents and producers actually take note of can be counted on with a single hand. This fact doesnít stop loads of competitions springing up each year who do their best to give the impression that winning will give you a way in.

The advice is always the same - research the competitions, ask yourself what you want to get out of it and if your work is a fit, read all the T&Cís and make sure you understand them. Thatís what logic dictates and it is good advice. But thereís plenty of desperate people out there who rush in with their heart. Then thereís those who are naive and inexperienced. All get taken advantage of. I think this industry could do with some oversight, some governing body that can enforce guidelines, stop monopolies forming etc. but I realise such an entity is an improbability.

Food for thought.
Posted by: eldave1, June 7th, 2018, 11:25am; Reply: 28

Quoted from MarkRenshaw
Here's my two cents after I've waded through the whole thing. To me this isn't a scam but more of an awareness of how big and competitive the script competition industry has become. It seems quite similar to a production line. Writers quite often ask the question, how can a competition go through thousands of entries properly? Well, we are beginning to see how. Centralized portals, automated processes, outsourcing the initial script evaluation and reading to third-parties, a shared scoring system and bigger companies forming who run the entire chain.

Thereís nothing wrong with such practices, itís just business. This makes it convenient for the writer to enter single projects to multiple competitions, easier for script readers to organize their work and easier (and more economical) to run the competition. Itís just as all streamlined businesses, it is less personal, quality may suffer and thereís a huge amount of trust that everything is being done above board behind closed doors.

At the end of the day this is an industry based on writers and filmmakers submitting their hopes and dreams for a fee, yet all the vast majority get is a rejection email. That industry is huge and highly competitive as weíve seen with this smear campaign. Yet, the amount of competitions that agents and producers actually take note of can be counted on with a single hand. This fact doesnít stop loads of competitions springing up each year who do their best to give the impression that winning will give you a way in.

The advice is always the same - research the competitions, ask yourself what you want to get out of it and if your work is a fit, read all the T&Cís and make sure you understand them. Thatís what logic dictates and it is good advice. But thereís plenty of desperate people out there who rush in with their heart. Then thereís those who are naive and inexperienced. All get taken advantage of. I think this industry could do with some oversight, some governing body that can enforce guidelines, stop monopolies forming etc. but I realise such an entity is an improbability.

Food for thought.


Well said.

- Enter them with eyes wide open.

- Enjoy the process. It's a challenge is all. It is not the path to the Oscars.

If you place high enough in most competitions you will get nibbles, requests and maybe even options. That's not a guarantee,  but it's better than nothing. Most of the interaction I have gotten from "the industry" has been a result of contests.  And if I had gotten no nibbles, I still found the competition process fun.

Posted by: Philostrate, June 7th, 2018, 1:00pm; Reply: 29

Quoted Text

- Enter them with eyes wide open.†

- Enjoy the process. It's a challenge is all. It is not the path to the Oscars.†


Wise words, Dave.

I'm just a newby but that's pretty much the way I see it too.
Posted by: AnthonyCawood, June 7th, 2018, 3:21pm; Reply: 30
There are a growing number of platforms that CAN provide writers with valuable exposure and CAN lead to options/sales/connections.

Coverfly could be one that works, they've tweaked the model somewhat, but from what I can see they're a development further down the path from the Blacklist.

If Coverfly works for writer's remains to be seen, and as CJ and other's have commented... kinda depends on if you think comps and arbitrary industry scores are important.

Actually, it depends on if Execs and Producer's think they mean anything!

So as it stands you've got
SimplyScripts
The Blacklist
Inktip
Coverfly
Script Revolution
SYS Select
Stage 32
Network ISA
MovieBytes
(Have I missed any?)

And that's just the places where you can list your scripts, with approx half being paid for services...

I see no reason why a writer shouldn't use all of the free services available, and when/if funds allow try the paid services for themselves.

Just my opinion of course.
Posted by: Angry Bear, June 7th, 2018, 8:27pm; Reply: 31
So, here's a question after having heard different sides here. I personally don't enter contest. I don't do well in them. I did enter one this year though. I have however won and placed well in some long time ago when I was a complete newbie and had no idea what I was doing. Now when I'm more experienced, my scripts get picked up all the time. In fact, one script that I have now optioned twice, a feature, didn't even make QF in Bluecat. Congrats to Khamanna btw!. So, my question is, what matters more, like someone said, buying competition laurels or getting produced, even if not by Hollywood?
Posted by: RJP, June 7th, 2018, 8:56pm; Reply: 32

Quoted from Angry Bear
So, here's a question after having heard different sides here. I personally don't enter contest. I don't do well in them. I did enter one this year though. I have however won and placed well in some long time ago when I was a complete newbie and had no idea what I was doing. Now when I'm more experienced, my scripts get picked up all the time. In fact, one script that I have now optioned twice, a feature, didn't even make QF in Bluecat. Congrats to Khamanna btw!. So, my question is, what matters more, like someone said, buying competition laurels or getting produced, even if not by Hollywood?


Well, you don't seem to need contest placements to succeed :) Congrats on the option. I sort of feel like screenwriters go through phases in their journey. For instance, being a produced writer will open up new work for you. Also, if you have a Hollywood agent, you probably stop entering contests because all of your specs are being sent to the studios anyways.

I tested out Inktip this year with a script and I can tell you that contest placements (any and all) as well as being produced make a HUGE difference in getting attention. The magazine they send out has a section at the front for "contest scripts"...and we're not even talking Nicholl and Austin...Obscure contests even. Then after the contest scripts, the magazine turns into a less appealing inventory of everything else. Droves of scripts...hundreds. So, I think contest placements are definitely worth acquiring.

You have an advantage in that you are produced and experienced. Which BTW is probably better than the contest accolades.

Anyways, long story short, the script I posted was never entered in a contest and I'm somewhat new and have no shorts produced :p I wish I had waited till after this contest season ha ha

I don't think it's a waste for you to try contests though. I think they're great for testing your scripts and improving. As long as you don't get too down on yourself if you don't go far.

Good luck!
Posted by: Angry Bear, June 7th, 2018, 9:21pm; Reply: 33
I guess my question is, do contests favor scripts that somehow filmmakers are not interest in. I know a few writers here at SS who are excellent writers and do VERY well in contests, but are yet to be produced. Do filmmakers and contests look at different things when judging scripts?
Posted by: LC, June 7th, 2018, 9:42pm; Reply: 34
Getting produced is way more important imh, (as long as the Producers are worth their salt) though comp credits can get your script noticed and so ultimately produced.

Results are going to be erratic with 'shorts' in comps, in particular. Once you know how to write a script, format it correctly, have a good story etc., plaudits are always going to be subjective. You only need post a script in the OWC to see how varied feedback can be. Likewise, you could enter a script in five different comps and only place in one. Does that mean the first comp result was wrong and your script is crap? Course not.

Entering feature length screenplays in Nicholl, Page, etc., might be a different kettle of fish though, as these can maybe lead to big opportunities and leads.

Just don't let comp results determine your own self worth.

Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, June 7th, 2018, 10:06pm; Reply: 35

Quoted from Angry Bear
I guess my question is, do contests favor scripts that somehow filmmakers are not interest in. I know a few writers here at SS who are excellent writers and do VERY well in contests, but are yet to be produced. Do filmmakers and contests look at different things when judging scripts?


Yeah the big contests have a grading criteria (objective). Even if filmmakers or producers are on the jury, they still have to follow the contest guidelines. I'm sure if a script finds its way into the hands of a filmmaker, etc. - they judge the work by aligning their vision with the author (subjective).

It's a testament to the community here that the talent is abundant. Most writers who frequent and workshop on this site can compete in any given contest. Partly because a healthy portion of the competition is not as talented. I'd bet the crib that there's no shortage of entries that will ever make the cut without a significant overhaul. Their biggest disadvantage is time. The clock doesn't stop ticking.

I'd imagine there's a competitive advantage/savings for entering 'early bird', you pay less for a fresher set of eyes. But twenty scripts later, two weeks have passed by, potenitally followed with 50+ pages of notes. With thousands of entrants, seems to me like outsourcing readers to get through the first round would be the most efficient use of time and possibly money. From what I've heard - contest readers don't get paid very much - which means volume is key... or they read for the love of the grind. Either way, that equation alone sums up to too many outcomes IMO.

This is just the way I see it, my own assumptions. Someone here said the cream rises to the top and I think that's accurate. If an entrant makes it through later rounds, I feel you're safe from any unfair or volatile assessments.
Posted by: RJP, June 7th, 2018, 10:16pm; Reply: 36

Quoted from Angry Bear
I guess my question is, do contests favor scripts that somehow filmmakers are not interest in. I know a few writers here at SS who are excellent writers and do VERY well in contests, but are yet to be produced. Do filmmakers and contests look at different things when judging scripts?


IMO, contest winning scripts are good scripts. I spent a lot of time reading scripts on Script Revolution this year and the higher the placement, the better the script. And they do get made. Out of the 150 Academy Nicholl fellowship scripts 18 were made into movies. Thatís pretty high for a contest for amateurs. Plus, a lot of the time a contest winning script will lead to an assignment for a movie or TV show ( This happens all the time, just check success stories on the contest sites).

Personally, I donít think amateur scripts that are discovered outside of the contest scene would come close to the success rate. It does sometimes happen though (Meat by Logan Martin)

Now, scripts from writers that have agents is another thing. Most movies that are made are from this camp. But in my opinion, most were plucked from the contest scene for getting far. Ever wonder why you never see Nicholl Finalist or Austin Finalist, or even Screencraft winner on Script Revolution? Because they all have agents.

So, IMO contest judges are in line with the industry. Of course there are diamonds in the rough that go unnoticed, or bad scripts that can make it through.

Posted by: oJOHNNYoNUTSo, June 7th, 2018, 10:26pm; Reply: 37

Quoted from RJP
So, IMO contest judges are in line with the industry.


Brings up a good point about non-contest assessments from filmmakers/producers. I'd imagine most scripts they read are vetted or evaluated in some way before they put eyes on it. Much rather be onboard an agency to filter through. I've never done paid coverage either. Just the comps.
Posted by: jayrex, June 8th, 2018, 1:41am; Reply: 38
If Simplyscripts.com / Don had a list to go by, Iíd trust that above all others.  Based on the opinions from everyone here.
Posted by: Scar Tissue Films, June 8th, 2018, 6:33am; Reply: 39

Quoted from Angry Bear
So, here's a question after having heard different sides here. I personally don't enter contest. I don't do well in them. I did enter one this year though. I have however won and placed well in some long time ago when I was a complete newbie and had no idea what I was doing. Now when I'm more experienced, my scripts get picked up all the time. In fact, one script that I have now optioned twice, a feature, didn't even make QF in Bluecat. Congrats to Khamanna btw!. So, my question is, what matters more, like someone said, buying competition laurels or getting produced, even if not by Hollywood?


The only thing that has value to anybody is something that helps that individual to move towards their own personal goal.

Ultimately, one must decide what they really want, work out the steps required to get there, then make the commitment and sacrifice to complete all those steps.

The more lofty the goal, the more steps, the bigger the necessary sacrifice...and you'll usually have to develop skills you might not already have.

If one's goal is to get paid a real sum for writing horror/thrillers and have their films made by genuine studios, for instance: One must write a good/great, commercially viable script or ten in that genre and then attract the attention, or creatively approach, the small group of people with the ability to make it, distribute it and market it.

Any effort outside of that, is effectively a waste of time.

A well made film by a relative unknown based on one of your scripts that is well marketed and has some impact on the world may be of use in attracting attention for another project.
A script that wins multiple awards and gets on the Bloodlist may similarily do the same.

A few short awards, or several (or even a hundred) mediocre productions is not going to do much.

You have to be pretty specific with what you want, and where you would be happy being.
How much money do you want to receive? Is the goal something else other than money?
Once you've got your target, then you have what you need to do essentially laid out for you...it's just a matter of doing it.

Easier said than done, of course.  ;D
Posted by: Scar Tissue Films, June 8th, 2018, 7:06am; Reply: 40

Quoted from Angry Bear
I guess my question is, do contests favor scripts that somehow filmmakers are not interest in. I know a few writers here at SS who are excellent writers and do VERY well in contests, but are yet to be produced. Do filmmakers and contests look at different things when judging scripts?


Every contest has a different philosophy (for want of a better word) they are all looking for different things.

What Shriekfest wants is different to what the Nicholls wants.

It's the same with Festivals: What Cannes and Berlin want are not the same as what an Action festival wants, or what Hollywood wants.

To succeed in any of them, you have to give them what they want.

Often, what the individual contest wants is in stark contrast to what filmmakers want, or even the Industry at large wants.

There is also a more practical concern: Contests don't have budgets. They evaluate the quality of the story, but a lot of the stories will require far too high a price to actually make.

In the old days, when I was more active online and had my "company" listed on sites like Inktip, I would receive many, many submissions online and offline. Often Nicholls winners  and semi finalists. The standard of writing was remarkably high. But often the scripts were essentially unproduceable. Many of the very best ones were Historical Epics based on the lives of niche individuals. A big studio would lose fortunes making them, and no-one else would have the resources.

Despite them being meticulously researched, beautifully written they had less than zero commercial value.

A less than mediocre, generic, micro budget found footage horror would be more use to most filmmakers. Make it for almost nothing and make it scary, market it well, and you might turn a modest profit.

Basically, even an objectively much worse script can be more useful to a filmmaker.


These are the Nicholl's guidlines:

Does the story have an original premise?
Does that story idea start the movie forward?
Does the story itself have a strong beginning, middle & end? How about two out of three? If the story is non-linear, does it make sense?
Does this script make you feel that the writer is taking you on a journey?
Does the story connect with you emotionally, whether it's a comedy or drama or another genre?
Voice
Does the script have a distinctive and original voice? (Or do you feel that you've read or seen this movie before?)
Are the premise, story and characters new or fresh for you?
Does reading the script make you think, 'This person genuinely has the potential to develop into a professional writer'?
Characters
Does this script have vivid characters who each speak in their own voice?
Do you want to know what happens to them?
Does the central character change over the course of the story? If it's an ensemble film, does more than one character change?
Do the dialogue and tone seem consistent from scene to scene?
Does the way the people speak fit the tone and setting of the story?
Craft
Does this writer know how to use description and dialogue to create suspense, tension, drama, comedy and conflict? Does the conflict propel the story forward?
Do the main characters take actions that move the story along?
Are these actions in keeping with who these people are? Or do they happen 'conveniently'?
Meaning and Magic
Does this script genuinely make you want to keep reading? Are the themes of the story thought-provoking, across genres? Is the story 'about something' that might spark discussion among friends?
When you finish reading the script, even if it has flaws, do you still feel that there's something special about it? Is there an indescribable 'something' that elevates this script above the ordinary?


Note, there is absolutely no judgement on whether the script is a viable commercial product.
So you could win, but have an essentially useless script.

Here's a pretty good discussion:

https://medium.com/art-science/what-it-takes-to-win-the-movie-industry-s-most-prestigious-screenwriting-competition-cd98f6602d35

This guy pretty much sums up what I was trying to say:

Peter Samuelson: I think I read it differently as a producer than if I had another professional background. As a producer, I'm looking for stories that will actually work as a film. There's no great merit in writing a script that never gets made, and therefore I'm looking for feasibility. I'm looking for finance-ability and I'm looking for commerciality, as well as just a cracking good story in any genre.

A lot of the other people are looking for different things...they are looking for writers, not scripts.
Posted by: Don, June 8th, 2018, 2:29pm; Reply: 41

Quoted from jayrex
If Simplyscripts.com / Don had a list to go by, Iíd trust that above all others.  Based on the opinions from everyone here.


Alas, I have no list.  I, too, rely on the opinions of those on this site.

- Don
Posted by: RJP, June 8th, 2018, 4:17pm; Reply: 42

Quoted from jayrex
If Simplyscripts.com / Don had a list to go by, Iíd trust that above all others.  Based on the opinions from everyone here.


Don does have a list, Jay. It's called One week challenge! Get your @$$ in that! GoGo!
Posted by: PrussianMosby, June 8th, 2018, 4:41pm; Reply: 43
Wow, so many defend this garbage. And they/you don't even realize that those companies wish that free sites as Simplyscripts go down and disappear.
Posted by: RJP, June 8th, 2018, 10:25pm; Reply: 44

Quoted from PrussianMosby
Wow, so many defend this garbage. And they/you don't even realize that those companies wish that free sites as Simplyscripts go down and disappear.


Look, we can't all be screenwriters. It's a super competitive and sought after field. Think of Actors...they go to acting school. They move to LA. They go on cattle calls where they COMPETE with hundreds of other actors for the role. They don't pay an entry fee, but it does cost them. They have to pay their rent...transportation. And in the end, they all can't get the part can they? Less than 1% of them will make a living as an actor. Now, are you going to stand outside the university with a picket sign demanding that all acting schools be closed because it "preys on the dreams" of aspiring actors. Who are you to tell them they can't try to pursue that dream?

Let's go back to screenwriting. This idea that screenplay contests "prey" on the dreams of aspiring writers. How do you propose finding talent? Hold contests with zero entry fee? They don't have the manpower to do that...do you have any idea how many thousands of scripts are floating around? 110 pages that need to be read and evaluated... It's a harsh system...but if you submit to a dozen contest and you don't make quarters in any of them, you need a better script. You need to get better.

Then people say "Getting far in a contest doesn't mean anything" or "The readers don't know what they're doing." Well, they're THE SAME readers that are filtering through the slush at all the biggest studios. They read contests in their spare time.

I will just end with one thing. CJ Walley is one of the big proponents against contests. I believe 100% that the guy means well by this. However, when he built Script Revolution, he curated a list of scripts that were featured on the front page. They were given posters and such. Almost ALL of those scripts were contest winning/placing scripts. I'm pretty sure every feature length was a contest script...why did he do that? Just take some time to let that sink in...why? Why didn't he read through the other hundreds of uploaded scripts (and 90% of those other scripts had NO contest placements) and choose just as many of those to be featured? Why did he place value in the contest scripts?
Posted by: LC, June 9th, 2018, 12:57am; Reply: 45
So, I notice Dave's: The Beginning Of The End Of The End screenplay is listed number 7 on Coverfly's 'Red List.'. Number 1 is a Nicholl Quarter Finalist of 2012.

I might start a Blue List...  :D

I don't like this prefabricated based-on-averages, piggybacking for profit business for so many reasons.
Posted by: LC, June 9th, 2018, 1:02am; Reply: 46

Quoted from RJP
... Then people say "Getting far in a contest doesn't mean anything" or "The readers don't know what they're doing." Well, they're THE SAME readers that are filtering through the slush at all the biggest studios. They read contests in their spare time.

Readers of contests read for the big studios? And you know this definitively how?


Posted by: eldave1, June 9th, 2018, 10:29am; Reply: 47

Quoted from Angry Bear
So, here's a question after having heard different sides here. I personally don't enter contest. I don't do well in them. I did enter one this year though. I have however won and placed well in some long time ago when I was a complete newbie and had no idea what I was doing. Now when I'm more experienced, my scripts get picked up all the time. In fact, one script that I have now optioned twice, a feature, didn't even make QF in Bluecat. Congrats to Khamanna btw!. So, my question is, what matters more, like someone said, buying competition laurels or getting produced, even if not by Hollywood?


A really odd framing of the question. People don't buy competition laurels - they compete for them.

And of course it matters more to be produced. But they are not mutually exclusive things.  One is part of the chain and one is the desired result.

Things that may help you get produced:

- Enter contests
- Send out pitch letters
- List scripts on public sites
- Get a related job in the industry
- Get an Agent
- etc. friggin etc.

Do one or more of the above to get produced. The way you framed the question is akin to - what's really more important - diet and exercise or just being fit?


Posted by: eldave1, June 9th, 2018, 10:37am; Reply: 48

Quoted from LC
So, I notice Dave's: The Beginning Of The End Of The End screenplay is listed number 7 on Coverfly's 'Red List.'. Number 1 is a Nicholl Quarter Finalist of 2012.

I might start a Blue List...  :D

I don't like this prefabricated based-on-averages, piggybacking for profit business for so many reasons.


Hmm - Just checked out the Red List top ten for the year in the Comedy Genre.

The Last Statesman is number 1.
The Beginning of The End and The End is number 2.

On the all genre lists they are 7 and 10, respectively.  Seems to be that this will be a good test case if this type of visibility means anything.  I can report, that at least to date, that it does not :).  

Posted by: eldave1, June 9th, 2018, 10:41am; Reply: 49

Quoted from RJP


IMO, contest winning scripts are good scripts. I spent a lot of time reading scripts on Script Revolution this year and the higher the placement, the better the script. And they do get made. Out of the 150 Academy Nicholl fellowship scripts 18 were made into movies. Thatís pretty high for a contest for amateurs. Plus, a lot of the time a contest winning script will lead to an assignment for a movie or TV show ( This happens all the time, just check success stories on the contest sites).

Personally, I donít think amateur scripts that are discovered outside of the contest scene would come close to the success rate. It does sometimes happen though (Meat by Logan Martin)

Now, scripts from writers that have agents is another thing. Most movies that are made are from this camp. But in my opinion, most were plucked from the contest scene for getting far. Ever wonder why you never see Nicholl Finalist or Austin Finalist, or even Screencraft winner on Script Revolution? Because they all have agents.

So, IMO contest judges are in line with the industry. Of course there are diamonds in the rough that go unnoticed, or bad scripts that can make it through.



Just an aside - I would say that Meat got exposure because of a contest. Logan competed with other SS submittals to get featured on Amateur Friday. He won that phase - got a glowing review from Reeves and got exposure from that. i.e., it was a contest of sorts that got him the exposure - just happened to be a free one.
Posted by: eldave1, June 9th, 2018, 10:48am; Reply: 50

Quoted from RJP


Look, we can't all be screenwriters. It's a super competitive and sought after field. Think of Actors...they go to acting school. They move to LA. They go on cattle calls where they COMPETE with hundreds of other actors for the role. They don't pay an entry fee, but it does cost them. They have to pay their rent...transportation. And in the end, they all can't get the part can they? Less than 1% of them will make a living as an actor. Now, are you going to stand outside the university with a picket sign demanding that all acting schools be closed because it "preys on the dreams" of aspiring actors. Who are you to tell them they can't try to pursue that dream?

Let's go back to screenwriting. This idea that screenplay contests "prey" on the dreams of aspiring writers. How do you propose finding talent? Hold contests with zero entry fee? They don't have the manpower to do that...do you have any idea how many thousands of scripts are floating around? 110 pages that need to be read and evaluated... It's a harsh system...but if you submit to a dozen contest and you don't make quarters in any of them, you need a better script. You need to get better.

Then people say "Getting far in a contest doesn't mean anything" or "The readers don't know what they're doing." Well, they're THE SAME readers that are filtering through the slush at all the biggest studios. They read contests in their spare time.

I will just end with one thing. CJ Walley is one of the big proponents against contests. I believe 100% that the guy means well by this. However, when he built Script Revolution, he curated a list of scripts that were featured on the front page. They were given posters and such. Almost ALL of those scripts were contest winning/placing scripts. I'm pretty sure every feature length was a contest script...why did he do that? Just take some time to let that sink in...why? Why didn't he read through the other hundreds of uploaded scripts (and 90% of those other scripts had NO contest placements) and choose just as many of those to be featured? Why did he place value in the contest scripts?


I strongly agree.

I would add - contests are fun - especially for hobbyist. If you don't get produced, it's still a kick to compete just as it is in Amateur golf tournaments, poker, chess, etc. etc. All hobbies have contests for amateurs - script writing does is well and if you enter with than mindset I really can't see the downside. It's shits and giggles at worst and so money at best. Don't see the issue.

As a note - CJ does not "give" you a poster - you have to create your own and if you have one it is one of the factors he uses determining feature scripts. I'm not a poster guy so the criteria  doesn't work for me and is an odd criteria for evaluating scripts - but respect that it's his site and the fact that it's free and he's done a hell of a job with it over all.
Posted by: Scar Tissue Films, June 9th, 2018, 11:04am; Reply: 51

Quoted from eldave1


A really odd framing of the question. People don't buy competition laurels - they compete for them.

And of course it matters more to be produced. But they are not mutually exclusive things.  One is part of the chain and one is the desired result.

Things that may help you get produced:

- Enter contests
- Send out pitch letters
- List scripts on public sites
- Get a related job in the industry
- Get an Agent
- etc. friggin etc.

Do one or more of the above to get produced. The way you framed the question is akin to - what's really more important - diet and exercise or just being fit?




She's talking about getting produced at a lower level, and whether that helps to progress your career to a professional level.
Posted by: khamanna, June 9th, 2018, 11:31am; Reply: 52
I submit because I don't believe my scripts might get noticed any other way. At least this way someone somewhere is reading them) I know that sounds funny, but that's my thinking.

Two of my shorts did well in comps and got produced because of that. One gave me IMDB credit (sadly my only IMDB credit). I have a couple of others produced but the productions are a very low quality that the producers themselves didn't take their work seriously. So, mark me crazy, I do believe that nothing will happen to any of my features unless it reaches some higher level in a competition. Which is probably never, but this is to answer the question why I submit.
I know the question was "why to submit" - but I can speak only for myself.

And if the question is "lower level production" vs "professional level" - I aim at a lower level, but does it happen to me? No. I'm very proud to know you, Pia. Have no idea why you would bother with competitions.
Posted by: eldave1, June 9th, 2018, 11:37am; Reply: 53

Quoted from Scar Tissue Films


She's talking about getting produced at a lower level, and whether that helps to progress your career to a professional level.


If that's the case, it's just one more thing on the list of things one can do. My point was that it's not an either - or- situation.
Posted by: RJP, June 9th, 2018, 2:37pm; Reply: 54

Quoted from LC

Readers of contests read for the big studios? And you know this definitively how?




So if you go to the FAQ on contest sites (Nicholl, Austin, Screencraft) you will see that the readers require to have been employed with a major studio as a prerequisite. I know for Screencraft they say that their readers MUST have worked for a studio for at least 1 year; then go on to say that in most cases their readers have much more experience than that. 1 year is just the bare minimum.

I can't remember where I have read it, but I know I've heard multiple times that many contest readers still work at the studios and read for both. And this makes sense to me. The town is only so big. There's only so many qualified readers. (That's why it didn't surprise me at all when it came out that Coverfly's readers are leant out to other contests).

Of course, I can't confirm 100% that every reader in every contest also reads for the major studios. I guess if you enter Screencraft you're at least guaranteed to get someone who did at one point.

Posted by: Angry Bear, June 9th, 2018, 3:07pm; Reply: 55

Quoted from eldave1


A really odd framing of the question. People don't buy competition laurels - they compete for them.

Buying laurels was what someone else in this thread somewhere called entering comps. That person hates comps. That's why I said it like that. I personally have nothing against competitions other than them not liking my scripts. :)  Like I said, I entered twice this year, but don't expect anything to come of it. Nothing can come of it anyway since the script I entered is having a casting call today.

Cheers people! I had a great day with Dena today.  8)
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