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Old 01-23-2017, 11:28 PM   #11
nativeson
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

Anything you can do to get traction helps, and frankly, early-bird entry fees between $39-50 are very reasonable (IF, you have a hot script). I've used placements to help get query reads. But then, maybe it's my rockin' loglines (-hah!). All the best
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Old 01-24-2017, 12:21 AM   #12
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

I had multiple placements in a few contests (semifinalist or higher.) The traction really helped me in getting a great management team and setting up meetings with production companies.

Personal favs are Austin, ScreenCraft, The Tracking Board, and of course my own white whale - the Nicholl.
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:22 AM   #13
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

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What about VP?
What is VP?
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Old 01-24-2017, 07:47 AM   #14
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

Virtual Pitchfest.
http://www.virtualpitchfest.com
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Old 01-25-2017, 05:25 PM   #15
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

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Originally Posted by BKDodger View Post
I had multiple placements in a few contests (semifinalist or higher.) The traction really helped me in getting a great management team and setting up meetings with production companies.

Personal favs are Austin, ScreenCraft, The Tracking Board, and of course my own white whale - the Nicholl.
I'm gonna agree here. I've had multiple placements and it's definitely given me traction. Contests are legit. If you're not getting anything out of them, you're not entering/placing in the right ones. Caveat is, you have to capitalize on that traction. You need to form the relationships, but contests can get you in rooms.

I'll add PAGE to your list (and possibly remove Screencraft, but that's me).
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Old 01-25-2017, 09:52 PM   #16
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

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Mitchell, Uneducated,

I've tried VPF, and maybe dropped $150 for 15 pitches. I got maybe one(?) "send it" requests, and it was a manager who always says "send it." Certainly could have been a lackluster logline and/or query on my part to blame for the poor success ratio.

I must say the ease of making queries via VPF does make it attractive. They have the names and info about the managers, agents, prodcos, etc all laid out with what they've done and what they're interested in, and you simply click on it to query them. It's easier than individually looking up managers, seeing what they've done, finding their e-mail, sending them a query, keeping track of it, etc.

PM me if you want more info on my experience.
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:39 AM   #17
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Not a fan of Virtual Pitch. I've done it a few times which counters the first sentence (I know), but each time you think you can crack the system. Then when you do it you remember why you didn't like it. Before I bitch I'll start off with having a solid query really helps. I mean it can't hurt. Obviously if you have a weak pitch/query you are throwing money away. They have a formula on how to write a query. It's competent yet cookie cutter...

Whether I made the query my own wonderfully creative way or their way my success rate was usually 1 for 10. Okay, maybe the script/idea sucked. So I did two other scripts in other attempts - sometimes mixing a package of 10 with various scripts to companies I thought were begging for my stuff. I think one time I got 2 requests but they were from companies that always ask for everything. Once in a blue moon I got a nice note that seemed like the person read the query.

Here's the problems I found. There were times I sent the query and the company was not looking for scripts at all anymore. Some sort of miscommunication with VP and the company. VP would allow a substitute pitch. That wasn't the problem. The problem was you paid with that particular company in mind. It's like you are casting a film that would be perfect for say Clooney and somebody says you can get an actor who does a bit part on a not popular CW show. I also ran into with every pitch package companies who did not respond at all to the pitch. They have 5 business days to respond. Some companies didn't respond. This nonresponse varied with each time I got a package. Again VP allowed substitution. Let me put it to you this way... When you send out your pitches, say 10, in 5 days you are to get a response. Half will respond in the first 24 hours. Usually with stock answers VP provides the industry pros. You have a script with a protagonist who is a circus clown who is also a spy and a superhero and a surgeon and the archbishop of Paris rolled into one with a diverse supporting cast of a Chinese dragon, an Irish mummy, an Australian mouse and a cartoon emu who band together to fight a Starbucks opening... You will get a lot of responses like "we have a similar project in the works." Huh? Really? Whether it's true or not I suspect the intern or assistant to the assistant reading the query even looked at more then the log line if that...

But after the first 24 hours, the responses drop considerably to maybe 1 a day. Then toward the end of the 5 day cycle there's the rest of the stragglers. In my experience the ones who respond fast usually respond with a stock rejection. The ones who chime in after 3 days seemed to be more accepting of the script. This could just be my experience and opinion. I don't think there was a lot of rhyme and reason.

I also found in my experience that querying agents never worked out. A manager might bite but never an agent. Again, might be just me. I got more responses (see response rate above) when I queried producers. I had this one A list agent respond to my query with a note that gave me specific suggestions on how to beef up my query so he'd read it because he thought it might be interesting. I immediately revamped the query to his suggestions. I forked over another 5 bucks to send the revamped query to the guy with a personal note thanking him for taking the time to help me. His response back - 4 days later - was "Thanks, but the query didn't grab me." I could only imagine the assistant who read the revamped query enjoying the power he had over me

So I wouldn't do it again. I doubt you'll find a more thorough report on it. The people who did accept a script from me to read... most got back to me with a rejection within 6 weeks. Some didn't ever get back to me. That's how it is. I know had I gotten optioned or a rep or a sales I would be singing a different tune. People do I guess. I'm just telling my experiences and I had twenty minutes to waste.
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Old 01-26-2017, 08:46 AM   #18
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

By the way I kind of agree with the OP on contests. But if you don't live in or around LA one has to try something and there's a lot of stuff out there to waste your money.
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Old 01-26-2017, 09:49 AM   #19
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

In attempting to be a screenwriter you have to have this unshaken belief in yourself but also this knowledge of what you're up against...

Here's a funny experience. Years ago, maybe around 2000 or 2001, I attended a pitch fest in LA (not to be confused with VP). This was a sit in front of a junior exec or whomever and try for 5 minutes to sell them. Now this story isn't about the legitimacy of the event. I have loads of things to say about my experiences doing that (imagine pitching to someone who is receiving a massage? I did.), but this is about something else...

So I've never been to LA. I'm going to take a chance. I take a flight and book a room in the hotel providing the event. When at the front desk getting a room I meet another traveler also getting a room (This is not a romance by the way). We're both about the same age and we're both not from California. We're both here to conquer the Hollywood system via the pitch festival with several scripts in our luggage(no lap tops) to supply the execs who are waiting for what we have. We go get a drink. We admire the local women. Then he starts talking about his baby - his script. He's very passionate about it. While I give a guarded pitch to him ( I felt odd telling someone I just met about my horror script, but when in Rome, or in this case LA...). He really just wanted to talk about his script and who he had in mind to play the characters. He told me it was "The Crow meets something (I forgot, but I remember "The Crow"). You could tell he loved his project and he truly believed in it...

So after listening for hours how Spielberg and Nicholas Cage (shows how long ago it was) need to do his project it's time to turn in. There's really not enough tequila to want to listen to anymore. I got it. His script is a masterpiece. If I talked 2 minutes about my script. He talked 2 hours about his. At this point he suggests we swap scripts and read each other's babies. Then at breakfast we'll discuss 'em. A few hours later the event would begin so it would be a learning experience. Soooo we swap scripts...

I sit in my room reading his script and it's bad. The dialogue is awful and there's a lot of misspellings. Even some of the main characters names were at times misspelled. I couldn't believe this was what he went on and on about. He also did that thing I hear high paid screenwriters do - the "insert car chase here" instead of describing the car chase. I laughed and started to skim because it was garbage but I knew he'd quiz me...

The next day we meet. There's something now off. I don't respect him, but what's worse his behavior suggests he doesn't respect me either. We each read our scripts and neither enjoyed it. We both gave polite "it's good" remarks. Of course he just wanted to hear how wonderful his script was (would have worked for me as well). It was awkward. For the next 2 days though occasionally seeing each other about we stopped speaking to one another. Only a nod for "hello." It was that experience that made me truly realize how much garbage is out there and how difficult it is to get up the mound of ****. And more importantly I better have my own act together. That moment for me was like the astronaut at the end of "2001" seeing the depth of the universe. And yet most things produced are pretty stupid so what do I know? I just know I learned never to read someone's baby again.
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Old 01-26-2017, 06:27 PM   #20
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Default Re: Why I Hate Script Contests And So Should You

Thanks for the heads up on VP.
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