Greg Beal / Nicholl: Comedies?



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  • #31
    Re: well...

    Thanks, Pooks.


    • #32
      Re: rom-com?

      To follow on from the comments of Ms. Adams...

      The term 'rom-com' is...well...ghastly. It's an undervalued genre as it is, do we really have to belittle it even more by assigning it such a smug contraction?

      Winter in New York


      • #33

        While I find this discussion interesting, I'm wondering if anyone realizes that the deadlines for Austin and Nicholl have both passed. So are you talking about 2005?

        BTW, I entered my romantic comedy in both contests this year. I knew about the odds from reading previous discussions. I also know that contest judges are subjective, yada yada. It really comes down to whether or not I have enough faith in my script and enough money in the bank to take the leap *and* to withstand the fall, if it happens. If I don't advance, I'll go through the usual self-doubt and depression. So the questions then become: Will I get back up? Will I try harder? Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor?...sorry, I got carried away. I think you get my point.



        • #34
          Re: rom-com?

          Winter - just using the terminology of my manager and producers I've worked with...and these are not small-potatoes guys, so I haven't ever had the idea 'rom-com' was an unacceptable term to use.


          • #35
            Re: Um...

            Suz - yeah, I'm aware. Chesterfield hasn't been announced yet though, and I think their approach is more like the Nicholl than the AFF. Good luck with your entries!


            • #36
              Re: Um...

              A couple things --

              1) Nicholls is a great contest. For the money, it's a terrific deal.

              2) Disney may not publicize its fellows, but people who go through that experience get something far more precious than publicity. They are taken seriously by people in the business. I know plenty of writers who've broken into film and TV writing through Disney. The Disney experience is more extended and intensive than that offered by many other contests. And no, it's not easy to get into. But there you go.

              3) What about the Warner Bros. TV workshops? These are hard to get into, but seriously effective paths into TV writing.

              I'm an experienced, working writer with current film and TV projects. For the past couple months I've been reading hundreds of scripts, looking for writers for a project we're doing. I've sat down with about 80 writers for interviews, and I've asked nearly all I've met about how they broke into the business. Most are TV writers, but some are people who work in both features and TV, and a few were feature writers.

              A handful are playwrights who were recruited by major agencies right out of playwriting programs at universities and theater groups. They're being pitched for TV jobs and feature assignments off the strength of their plays and spec scripts.

              During all these discussions, Warner Bros. and Disney are the only two contest/workshop things that came up again and again.

              A major agency submitted a script to us that was from a team discovered through Project Greenlight. The writing didn't come close to hitting the level of most other scripts we read. It wasn't the worst script in the stack, but it was in the bottom 10 percent.

              For the record, most people I've talked to didn't break in through contests or workshops. Most broke in through a combination of great writing and contacts.

              I didn't break in through a contest. I relied on contacts. But if I were starting out all over again, I'd pony up the money for Nicholls. I don't know that I'd bother with any other contests.

              I would mostly look to my writing.


              • #37
                Re: Um...

                Oh, and one small added thing --

                I have never heard anybody actually in the film or TV business use the term "rom-com."

                Another term I've never heard is "prodco."

                Ick to both.


                • #38

                  I work in the biz and use "rom com" all the time.
                  Everyone seems to know what I mean. (The
                  even shorter "ro co" is unacceptable, however,
                  and far more cryptic.)

                  Anybody working in the business who has time
                  to waste on the six syllables of "romantic
                  comedy" - instead of the quicker and more
                  efficient "rom com" - is obviously a slacker or
                  a wannabe.


                  • #39
                    Re: Um...

                    Mini - I don't use "prodco" in speech, it's an abbreviation in writing.


                    • #40
                      Re: Um...

                      You know, there's just something to be said for keeping language graceful.

                      If I think the phrase "rom-com" warrants an ick, then I say "ick."

                      And I am seriously, honestly, trying to think if I have EVER heard anyone utter the word "rom-com." I cannot come up with one instance.

                      I mean, if you don't have time to say "romantic comedy," maybe you need a more efficient assistant?


                      • #41
                        Romcoms, prodcos

                        Its less typing. Anyone who types "romantic comedy" in it's full length is heading for RSI with their limbs eventually freezing up and dropping off - possibly BEFORE they even sell that first script. Those who-- sensibly -- type romcom are more likely to have their limbs drop off AFTER that crucial sale.


                        • #42
                          Re: Romcoms, prodcos

                          There's nothing graceful about "ick."


                          • #43
                            Re: Romcoms, prodcos

                            At least "ick" isn't a silly piece of jargon. It is what it is. As is "eck," "ack" and the ever-popular "yeccch."

                            Romcom is just so -- oy. Do you actually know people who call you up and say, "I just read a great rom-com you should look at." Or, "I think I've got a great idea for a rom-com." Or even, "He's a good writer, but I don't know if he's right for this project because the only sample they sent over is a rom-com."

                            Can I get a -- yikes?

                            (Aside: If you really want to see a professional claim to never have heard a phrase you read all the time on Done Deal message boards, head over to Wordplay and read Dan Petrie's column on getting an agent, in which he says no professionals he knows ever use the phrase "query letter.")

                            ANYWAY -- to yank this thread back to its original subject, more or less:

                            While it is possible that commercial comedy scripts might have a harder time advancing in Nicholls than certain other types of scripts --

                            --I think one explanation for that could be that it's extremely hard to write a great, fresh comedy script. Comedy is hard to pull off. It takes a lot of talent and skill. For a lot of writers, it also takes time, experience and tons of feedback.

                            So one possible reason it might seem that comedy doesn't do as well in competitions could be that there isn't that much great comedy getting written by amateur writers.


                            • #44
                              Re: Romcoms, prodcos...but NICHOLL

                              While it is possible that commercial comedy scripts might have a harder time advancing in Nicholls than certain other types of scripts --
                              If people are going to go off on terms like "rom-com" and "prodco" and complain about a lack of grace in language, etc., I feel obliged to point out that it's NICHOLL, not NICHOLLS. The fellowship is named for Don and Gee Nicholl, who founded the program.

                              I don't write rom-coms and I have meetings with producers, not prodcos...but to a large extent I owe my career to the Nicholl--so I have a thing about people not getting it right.

                              That said, I take my leave again.


                              • #45
                                Re: Romcoms, prodcos

                                So one possible reason it might seem that comedy doesn't do as well in competitions could be that there isn't that much great comedy getting written by amateur writers.
                                So all those great professionals only got great after becoming professionals?

                                Everybody has to start somewheres, is all I'm sayin'. Great writing in any genre is hard. Given that, it seems statistically unlikely that there would be such a drastically lower number of strong amateur comedies as compared to dramas, suspense stories, etc.