Hey guys! First of all, I'm beyond happy to be a spectator on this one. I hope one (or more) of you becomes a fellow this year - I'm rooting for you! My script that won last year (and also won Austin) was indeed what I would consider more niche or independent due to the setting, characters and subject matter. However, I've heard from so many people that it's a thriller at heart and a "page turner" and has served as an incredible calling card/writing sample for me. Winning the Nicholl has changed my life. I am currently repped by UTA who read my Nicholl script and asked what else I had. Because I've been writing for so long and have a big body of work in multiple genres I was able to send them a high concept comedy (which won PAGE gold in 2011) and those two scripts landed me my feature agents. I also had a tv pilot that was a finalist in the sundance episodic labs and that added a tv agent in the same company.
During the Nicholl week (and the week following) last November I went on 30 general meetings with all the major studios and many amazing production companies with these three writing samples. I subsequently went on another 15 generals in Juanuary. Needless to say I went from never meeting a producer to having 45 meetings under my belt. It's been an incredibly surreal, exciting, exhausting and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. (I'm a full blown introvert)
In the last 3 months, I've pitched on an open assignment to a major studio (my first pitch.) I've read half a dozen books sent to me to consider for adaptation. I've had multiple producers reach out to me to work on their tv projects and (knock on wood) I think I'm optioning one of my specs next week. I love my agents, they work extremely hard for me and I feel they have my back. I don't have a manager. I am not yet in the union.
As far as the Nicholl goes, I've been applying since 2003 and rarely with the same script twice. I've submitted dramas, comedies, horror, family adventure, etc. The main thing I've noticed is that I slowly started going from no placement to QF to SF to a win over the course of the years, no matter what genre. I became a better writer, chose better scripts and maybe just got a little luckier this time around.
I'm very proud of myself and my accomplishments. My family is proud of me. I'm excited to transition to a working professional writer and I'm ready to do the work. I struggle with anxiety and self-doubt and the hustle is not easy for this old lady but I've worked hard to get here and I'm going to ride this opportunity out to the fullest.
Good luck to all of you.