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Old 06-07-2012, 07:10 AM   #1
SundownInRetreat
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Default Am I being too materialistic?

Note: this is not a debate on the worth of contests so let's not bog it down with the usual pro vs anti contest rhetoric.


I look at the contests around and I'm only compelled by those with what I consider to be a decent ROI. Page, Nicholl, TrackingB all have esablished reputations for forwarding careers which alone makes them valuable (they also give out decent prizes as well) but I don't see the point of some of the lesser ones. Granted, the odds of winning any competition with thousands of entries is slim but there has to be that incentive, for me at least.

I won't mention names - and anyone can check them out on the DDP contest page - but for example, I got an email yesterday about a last chance for a small but well known competition. $75 to win $5000 seems nice but the 4 runner up spots weren't even 3x the entry fee (I know it's a late fee but still). Others don't even give out money or anything helpful towards career (software, prod meets, agents) and just hand out trophies.

I know the real prize is being able to put a win/SF/QF on your CV but I still need more. Especially when you consider winning most comps won't make a jot of difference to your career. Even if the comp didn't generate any leads, 4/5 figures would still make it a worthwhile investment.

For those of you who do enter contests, what do you look for (reputation apart)? Am I approaching it in the wrong manner?
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:04 AM   #2
sixridgeroad
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

Morning, Sundown.

My take on script comps: Financial compensation doesn't enter into my thinking. I see them as potential avenues for exposure, period. Cash that comes along with it would be nice, of course, but it's not at all on my radar.

So I don't know that you're being too materialistic, really -- I think it's more "too myopic." Seems to me you're focusing on a foreground return when it's all about the bigger one looming over it.

Having said that, if the cash/prizes keep you writing, then bring on the cash/prizes, and good luck.
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Old 06-07-2012, 09:24 AM   #3
SundownInRetreat
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

Howdy Six,

I'm cool with the exposure - that's why I like the TrackingB contest: no cash but your script in the hands of people that make sh*t happen! However, beyond the top 3 comps, the rest probably don't mean diddly so who cares if you came 2nd in the 2009 ShangriLa Script Hunt? It's not got the cache of Nicholl.

So what I'm saying is, for me:

$50 to win $15k grand prize, several thousand for runner ups, and exposure and kudos from a renowned comp that makes the industry listen - is great!

$50 to win $7500 grand prize in a lesser comp that doesn't get the agents salivating - is also great.

But $75 for a lesser comp's grand prize of $1000, a trophy or a magazine subscription isn't so great.


I don't want to name names and be disrespectful but beyond the top 5 comps, whose names carry weight, I don't see the point in entering unless there's a decent ROI. I admit I could be going about this wrong - maybe a win in even the smallest of competitions is enough to get agent/prod interest - but I don't see the allure in dropping $75 for $5000 1st place and $250 2nd & 3rd. Just like I don't see the incentive in buying a 1 lottery ticket if the main prize is just 250.

But yeah, myopic and narrow minded may be equally as applicable as materialistic.
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:16 AM   #4
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

We're on the same page with this. I think what I was trying to say is that for me, ROI means exposure, period. Anything else is gravy and I seriously never think about it. When it comes to deciding which competitions to enter the prestige/exposure/notoriety factor is the only evaluating principle I employ. If cash were what I was after my money would be better spent buying stocks.

So hells yeah, if some comp is asking $75, which is crazy high, then they'd better have a serious track record they can point to that justifies their borderline-larcenous fee.

If they don't then they're not getting sh*t from me! (he said, as he kicked over the dining room table and shook his fists at the empty room.)
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Old 06-07-2012, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

some competitions offer a different compensation other than cash.
ie - location -- set in Philadelphia (or any other city) for local writers
ie - that 15 pager from my logline (just went huge) and will probably attract a lot more writers
ie - actual production deals for shorts
ie - table ready my script at sundance

if you can't win in the rinky-dink competition then what makes you think you have a shot a winning a Nicholl fellowship? just sayin'
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:16 AM   #6
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

I think either a contest is worth entering, because doing well in it can advance your career, or it's not. The cash and other prizes are irrelevant. The fact that a low-profile contest offered big prizes would not persuade me to enter, nor would the fact that a high-profile contest offered relatively small prizes deter me from entering. If getting a few thousand bucks is your goal, there are better ways to achieve it.
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:19 AM   #7
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by NikeeGoddess View Post

if you can't win in the rinky-dink competition then what makes you think you have a shot a winning a Nicholl fellowship? just sayin'


And doing well in a rinky-dink competition leads some DDers to think maybe, just maybe, you're not a hack and they might actually give you some respect around here... respect that can (and has for me) translate into a referral.

How much is that worth?
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:26 AM   #8
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Aspirant View Post
I think either a contest is worth entering, because doing well in it can advance your career, or it's not. The cash and other prizes are irrelevant. The fact that a low-profile contest offered big prizes would not persuade me to enter, nor would the fact that a high-profile contest offered relatively small prizes deter me from entering. If getting a few thousand bucks is your goal, there are better ways to achieve it.
One of my goals is name/title exposure. I'm hoping the Hollywood types start to notice my name/title on a lot of contest lists, big and small.

Placing in many contests, big and small, means a great many readers found my script worthy of advancement, which should indicate to the Hollywood types potential for mass appeal.

But, hey, I'm still hoping for some prize money (at least enough to pay for a trip to the Austin FF).
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:47 AM   #9
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

Placing in a contest, no matter how small and or low-profile, can do wonders on the encouragement front -- there's absolutely no question about that. If you're like me you'll take any sign, no matter how picayune, that you're not tragically deluded. So that's another factor in the equation, for sure (until it comes up against certain walls).
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Old 06-07-2012, 11:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: Am I being too materialistic?

entering the contests for money is just as valid a reason as trying to get repped or produced. Scott the Reader won $40,000 from Amazon Studios (in addition to getting the script set up with Denise DiNovi for development). money buys a writer time to write when they might otherwise have to be working. as long as the entrant understands that the cash prize is likely all they'll get out of the "lesser" contests if they win, there is nothing to be lost besides the entry fee.
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