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Old 10-05-2019, 01:43 PM   #141
gregbeal
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

What I'll state in the next few paragraphs applies to the period 1989-2017 when I administered the Nicholl program.

Over the years, dozens and dozens of big budget action scripts advanced beyond the first round of the Nicholl competition. There were years when two or three big budget scripts reached the finals. One writer had his 100+ million dollar budgeted action script reach the finals in two different years.

Well written, well crafted action scripts, or for that matter well written, well crafted "studio" scripts of any genre, were not mostly left behind in the first round. Those scripts advanced in about the same percentage as did well written, well crafted scripts of any genre (about 5% of entries in any particular genre advance to the quarterfinals each year).

I would love to be proven wrong about the following, but so far as I know no big budget action script that went on to be produced and have significant success in the theatrical marketplace has ever been entered in the Nicholl competition.

In my mind the Nicholl Fellowships has always been a best screenwriter rather than a best screenplay competition (while noting that only through the screenplays could the best writers be identified).

(By the way, dark, troubling scripts in various genres have done quite well in the Nicholl competition over the years. A number of Nicholl-winning scripts fit that description.)
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:04 PM   #142
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbeal View Post
Over the years, dozens and dozens of big budget action scripts advanced beyond the first round of the Nicholl competition. There were years when two or three big budget scripts reached the finals. One writer had his 100+ million dollar budgeted action script reach the finals in two different years.
I'm curious what decade that was. I believe it's happened just seem incredibly rare.

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Originally Posted by gregbeal View Post
Well written, well crafted action scripts, or for that matter well written, well crafted "studio" scripts of any genre, were not mostly left behind in the first round. Those scripts advanced in about the same percentage as did well written, well crafted scripts of any genre (about 5% of entries in any particular genre advance to the quarterfinals each year).
I hope that's true.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gregbeal View Post
I would love to be proven wrong about the following, but so far as I know no big budget action script that went on to be produced and have significant success in the theatrical marketplace has ever been entered in the Nicholl competition.
I believe it, as those scripts are the hardest to get financed. Especially now. However, there's still the option of getting signed/gig using it as a writing sample. The gritty/dark action script I entered that didn't pass round one did both for me. CAA/Matrix producer.

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In my mind the Nicholl Fellowships has always been a best screenwriter rather than a best screenplay competition (while noting that only through the screenplays could the best writers be identified).
The BEST? Or the most liked for that particular competition. I gotta take issue with the idea of finding "the BEST writer." Begs the question: Best writer to who? I think the clarification is in order that it's "The BEST writer to Nicholl, not Hollywood."

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Originally Posted by gregbeal View Post
(By the way, dark, troubling scripts in various genres have done quite well in the Nicholl competition over the years. A number of Nicholl-winning scripts fit that description.)
I hope that's also true, because a lot of what wins Oscar/Globe are dark troubling stories about the ugly underbelly of society that we know is true, but is hard to talk about honestly. And I'd wager a guess (without cheating) that the WGA's 101 Best Screenplays EVER list is littered with those types of stories... Dark/Troubled... And I bet it's the majority of them.

The directive of "HEART" throws me personally. Feels to me like it's meant to imply "Heart-warming." It's a fairly vague directive to describe the emotional connective tissue of a screenplay IMO. I believe the directive should be SOUL. Everyone knows what that is: "Does this script have a SOUL?" That's not the same as HEART in my mind. In the literal, medical sense, many creatures on this planet have a heart... but do they have a soul? Are they capable of self-reflection?

I wonder how many Nicholl winners are on the WGA's 101 list. Not being facetious. Dead serious. Any?
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Old 10-05-2019, 03:05 PM   #143
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

Actually, here's the WGA's 101 Greatest Screenplays list for anyone who wants to skim it.

https://www.wga.org/writers-room/101...reenplays/list
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Old 10-05-2019, 04:40 PM   #144
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Gucci you make a lot of good points. The Nicholl is catering to something specific, it's very obvious that a lot of the scripts that advance deep would not do well (with an audience) if filmed. There have been some amazing novels written that not many people know about, but it's your Patterson novels that are flying off the shelves. There are some amazing hole in the wall restaurants, but it's your big restaurants/franchises that make all the money.

At the end of the day, the only thing the fellowship guarantees is the grant money, that you will get signed, and that you will go on a ton of meetings and you won't have to knock down any doors to try and get 10 pages read.

You've already accomplished more than most Nicholl winners, so I don't think it's something you should be stressing over. The Nicholl winners are amazing writers, to be honest, as I've gotten to read several of them. But I think you are a great writer as well.

It's no different than the Academy Awards. Can you please explain to me how Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture as a superhero flick and The Dark Knight, the greatest superhero movie ever, and in IMDB's top 5 movies ever rating wise, was not? That's a rhetorical question. We know why. Moonlight won best picture of the year. That's the best film of the year? Okay. We know why.

Can someone explain how Chris Nolan, by far the most innovative director in Hollywood today, does not have an oscar? The fact that he did not get a best director nomination for the Dark Knight or Instersteller (I believe) is outrageous. And quite frankly, the fact he didn't win best original screenplay for Inception is even worse. Which is easily the best mind-bending big hit commercial film of the 21st century.

Nowadays, these kind of prestigious awards usually favor culturally diverse material that brings socially relevant taboos and global issues to the forefront.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:21 PM   #145
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

Alfred Hitchcock *never* won an Oscar.


Martin Scorsese won *one* Oscar for directing. One. In 2007, after 35 years of filmmaking (and it wasn't for what many will say is his best).


Practically speaking, placing in the Nicholl is an amazing opportunity and honor. And as important as it is, it shouldn't be the be-all end-all, and the arbiter for your value as a writer or your script.


I mean, plenty of people don't get into Harvard. Lots of amazing people there. But plenty who didn't even get close have also gone on to do amazing things too.


I don't know much, but like most pursuits in life, you gotta outlast the gatekeepers.
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Old 10-05-2019, 08:56 PM   #146
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

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Alfred Hitchcock *never* won an Oscar.


Martin Scorsese won *one* Oscar for directing. One. In 2007, after 35 years of filmmaking (and it wasn't for what many will say is his best).
Unacceptable! Both have made some of the most legendary movies of all time! It's just mind boggling to me, but at the same time, it is expected from the Academy! LOL!
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:27 PM   #147
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vango View Post
Gucci you make a lot of good points. The Nicholl is catering to something specific, it's very obvious that a lot of the scripts that advance deep would not do well (with an audience) if filmed. There have been some amazing novels written that not many people know about, but it's your Patterson novels that are flying off the shelves. There are some amazing hole in the wall restaurants, but it's your big restaurants/franchises that make all the money.

At the end of the day, the only thing the fellowship guarantees is the grant money, that you will get signed, and that you will go on a ton of meetings and you won't have to knock down any doors to try and get 10 pages read.

You've already accomplished more than most Nicholl winners, so I don't think it's something you should be stressing over. The Nicholl winners are amazing writers, to be honest, as I've gotten to read several of them. But I think you are a great writer as well.

It's no different than the Academy Awards. Can you please explain to me how Black Panther was nominated for Best Picture as a superhero flick and The Dark Knight, the greatest superhero movie ever, and in IMDB's top 5 movies ever rating wise, was not? That's a rhetorical question. We know why. Moonlight won best picture of the year. That's the best film of the year? Okay. We know why.

Can someone explain how Chris Nolan, by far the most innovative director in Hollywood today, does not have an oscar? The fact that he did not get a best director nomination for the Dark Knight or Instersteller (I believe) is outrageous. And quite frankly, the fact he didn't win best original screenplay for Inception is even worse. Which is easily the best mind-bending big hit commercial film of the 21st century.

Nowadays, these kind of prestigious awards usually favor culturally diverse material that brings socially relevant taboos and global issues to the forefront.
I 100% agree with 99% of that. Ha!

I'm not "stressing" over this, I've gotten my shots by bypassing the Nicholl. I'm just "concerned" for other writers that could really use a Nicholl win to break through, but they don't (C'mon, not really) have much of a fighting chance in the most prestigious screenplay competition in the world. Based on genre.

I've said before, I fooled around with one of the judges and well... I think Greg means well, but let's just say I believe what I believe.

I am surprised to hear that they GUARANTEE you'll get repped. Interesting. I wonder if any winner has NOT gotten repped. I'm curious how they can guarantee this aspect. I honestly didn't know that was in their fine print.

Black Panther? - Same thought.

Moonlight? - I have to like it since my acquaintance won. LOL

Chris Nolan? - My ex tried to sign him off the Memento script. Nope. No internal support. Now that script is listed in WGA's 101 Best Screenplays of all times list. I wonder who would admit that they passed on him now? ;-) No one!

So, yes, my gripe is in the vein of that: How the fukk does Chris Nolan's name not even get brought up at the Oscars. But, everyone cheers for the dude who won for best short film about the moving story of him peeling a grape to feed it to a black guy (Made up movie. But, hey fukk it, let's shoot for real!)

I don't believe Interstellar would make it past the 1st round in Nicholl. That's precisely my point. Maybe their directive is getting SAME-Y and STALE and could use a facelift.
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:36 PM   #148
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

Quote:
Originally Posted by redturtle View Post
Alfred Hitchcock *never* won an Oscar.


Martin Scorsese won *one* Oscar for directing. One. In 2007, after 35 years of filmmaking (and it wasn't for what many will say is his best).
Yup, ridiculous. Felt like a participation award. Hadda roll my eyes.

Hitchcock... plain absurdity. Now he's an ICON? But you can't give the guy a statue. C'mon...


Quote:
Originally Posted by redturtle View Post
Practically speaking, placing in the Nicholl is an amazing opportunity and honor. And as important as it is, it shouldn't be the be-all end-all, and the arbiter for your value as a writer or your script.


I mean, plenty of people don't get into Harvard. Lots of amazing people there. But plenty who didn't even get close have also gone on to do amazing things too.


I don't know much, but like most pursuits in life, you gotta outlast the gatekeepers.

YUP!
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Old 10-05-2019, 09:49 PM   #149
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

To be fair, Hitchcock did lose to John Ford, Billy Wilder (twice), and Elia Kazan.
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Old 10-05-2019, 11:25 PM   #150
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Default Re: Nicholl 2019

Star Wars got beat out for best picture. Granted, Annie Hall is a good movie, maybe great, but Star Wars completely rocked the movie industry and changed the business. Back to the Future, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Psycho.... Groundbreaking films.



Sure, it's easy to say that well you can still be successful even if you don't get into Harvard or do not have the type of style that fits Nicholl, but I am sure people would still like those opportunities. It's not like there are so many doors open to new writers that they wouldn't want all of them available. If Nicholl only favors a particular niche, then that shuts out a huge percentage of writers that do not fit that niche. A lot of successful writers did not get past the first round of the Nicholl, but just because they succeeded anyway, doesn't mean they couldn't have used that boost. Sometimes, you lose years out of your life waiting for that big break.
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