Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

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  • Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

    Let's try to make this thread more friendly. I'll do my best.

    Overall I'm looking for people's experiences with contests and any other script service they may have used in the past say 5 years. There's tons of threads with the same stuff on them, but maybe we can bring up some new topics.

    CONTESTS

    I'm just wondering which contests you've entered over the years, plan on entering again, and how you did. Maybe you can name a contest you liked that some of us may never have heard of or no experience with.

    I've entered I'd say about 10 contests, some many times over. Some I'm afraid to try or didn't sound the great. But there might be a diamond in the rough that offers notes or money or something else.

    Me

    I made the Semi Finals of Disney Fellowship in 2007 for TV Spec (didn't make it in 2008)

    Just not I'm a QT in Fade In Awards (but I have no experience with this contest... so far it seems good because I did well, but not sure).

    Blue Cat (love that you get feedback... if you win, prizes seem great)

    Nicholl (never moved on, but we all know this one is great)

    Austin (i applied last year, didn't go anywhere. I hear this one is great, but don't know much about it)

    Final Draft Big Break (never moved on. applied 3 times. Not sure about this one either. Anyone?)

    Script Savvy Screenplay Competition (I entered this last year. It was fun because I got coverage. Didn't win or anything though. I think they completely changed their contest though. Seems to be monthly and that seems a bit odd to me)

    Scriptapoolza (I've entered a few times in TV and Film... never moved on)

    SERVICES

    Any experience with these:

    Ink Tip (I did something like this 6 years ago where I put up my logline and people could read it. Not sure it was worth it. Is this one?)

    Script Pimp (I've seen ads for this for years. Not sure I even get what it is. Seems fishy. But then I see legit people with quotes on their ad so I don't know. Do you?)

    Script Shark (Again, what's the deal?)

    and also

    Writer's Boot Camp (someone I met said they were great. I called them up and passed their interview, but to me it seems that anyone can pass and they just wanted 5000 dollars or so to teach me screenwriting. They called me non stop for 3 months after I said no. They may be great, but them calling me all the time made me nervous about them.)


    SCRIPT GURU'S/COVERAGE

    I got coverage from Gordy Hoffman last year. It was decent for 75 bucks (a special he was running).

    Anyone else have anyone they liked/didn't like without being too harsh I guess. Don't want to get this thread locked too.

  • #2
    Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

    Jim Mercurio recently advertised a new proofreading/polish service by giving out free 2-page samples. I was one of the writers who sent one in.

    I was impressed. David, the man who does the service, did a good job. I'll be using the service in the future.
    Sent from my iPhone. Because I'm better than you.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

      Originally posted by Bono View Post
      Let's try to make this thread more friendly. I'll do my best.

      Overall I'm looking for people's experiences with contests and any other script service they may have used in the past say 5 years. There's tons of threads with the same stuff on them, but maybe we can bring up some new topics.

      CONTESTS

      I'm just wondering which contests you've entered over the years, plan on entering again, and how you did. Maybe you can name a contest you liked that some of us may never have heard of or no experience with.

      I've entered I'd say about 10 contests, some many times over. Some I'm afraid to try or didn't sound the great. But there might be a diamond in the rough that offers notes or money or something else.

      Me

      I made the Semi Finals of Disney Fellowship in 2007 for TV Spec (didn't make it in 2008)

      Just not I'm a QT in Fade In Awards (but I have no experience with this contest... so far it seems good because I did well, but not sure).

      Blue Cat (love that you get feedback... if you win, prizes seem great)

      Nicholl (never moved on, but we all know this one is great)

      Austin (i applied last year, didn't go anywhere. I hear this one is great, but don't know much about it)

      Final Draft Big Break (never moved on. applied 3 times. Not sure about this one either. Anyone?)

      Script Savvy Screenplay Competition (I entered this last year. It was fun because I got coverage. Didn't win or anything though. I think they completely changed their contest though. Seems to be monthly and that seems a bit odd to me)

      Scriptapoolza (I've entered a few times in TV and Film... never moved on)

      SERVICES

      Any experience with these:

      Ink Tip (I did something like this 6 years ago where I put up my logline and people could read it. Not sure it was worth it. Is this one?)

      Script Pimp (I've seen ads for this for years. Not sure I even get what it is. Seems fishy. But then I see legit people with quotes on their ad so I don't know. Do you?)

      Script Shark (Again, what's the deal?)

      and also

      Writer's Boot Camp (someone I met said they were great. I called them up and passed their interview, but to me it seems that anyone can pass and they just wanted 5000 dollars or so to teach me screenwriting. They called me non stop for 3 months after I said no. They may be great, but them calling me all the time made me nervous about them.)


      SCRIPT GURU'S/COVERAGE

      I got coverage from Gordy Hoffman last year. It was decent for 75 bucks (a special he was running).

      Anyone else have anyone they liked/didn't like without being too harsh I guess. Don't want to get this thread locked too.
      Okay my experiences:

      Cinequest 18


      I was one of the top 10 finalists invited to attend the festival. There festival is a little different. Once you are chosen to be a finalist, you are given 2 weeks to do a rewrite, or make changes on your script for the final competition.

      They hold what is called "The Day of the Writer." This year there were several lectures attached to that event including a Q&A with Richard Walter (head of the UCLA Screenwriting Program) and Michael Arndt (Oscar winning screenwriter, Little Miss Sunshine).

      They did not pay for airline tickets, but they did cover 2 nights at the Hilton, had small gift bags for us and gave us Filmmaker Passes to all events.

      They held a luncheon for us on "The Day of the Writer" in which we all got to meet each other and I got to talk to Richard Walter and Scott Sutter (San Jose State Screenwriting Program).

      Then we walked over to the San Jose Rep for the Michael Arndt event. We were taken back stage and then brought out on stage where each of us was introduced to the audience. Then they announced the awards. I won 3rd place. I got a card with this announcement and at some time (still haven't) should receive the third place award of $500.

      After that, we were taken to a party held in our honor. Lots of wine and food. There I met Michael Arndt and talked to one woman representing a production company.

      It seems that basically two local people involved in the festival read all of the submissions to the festival along with the head of the festival. They choose the top 10. The top 10 scripts are then given to 10 production companies (mostly in LA). Those companies choose the top 3.

      What was really nice about this festival was the enthusiasm from everyone we met for writers. And having a whole day presented in honor of writing at a film festival (not just a screenplay festival) was really fun and made you feel for that brief moment - like king/queen of the hill.

      Eerie Horror Festival

      I won 3rd place at this festival this year. The guy who runs it - Greg Ropp is nice enough. They notify you by email. No prizes. No t-shirt. Nothing. Just the nice recognition. You are listed on their website. I did not attend.

      SCRIPT COVERAGE

      I've used: Barb Doyon, Scott Mullen, Julie Gray and Rob Potter.

      I will simply rate the coverage with stars - 4 being best, 1 being worst. If you have any specific questions pm me. I am considering in my rating: cost of service, amount of notes, timeliness, and what I personally got from the reads (this is purely subjective).

      Barb Doyon - *
      Scott Mullen - **
      Rob Potter - *** (formal studio style coverage)
      Julie Gray - ****

      SCRIPT SEMINARS, GURUS AND CLASSES

      David Freedman - Beyond Structure
      I hated it. 3 days in an auditorium - morning to night. At the time it was $375. Pie charts, arrows, lines. Incomprehensible ideas about structure and writing for film. Don't mean to offend anyone who likes his methodology but I just didn't get it.

      UCLA Extension Online Screenwriting Program
      Loved it. Amazing amount of personal attention from online instructors. I only had one instructor (out of several) who was terrible. But the best were: John Doolittle, Scott Myers and Paul Chitlick. All wonderful and gave me copious notes, shared their professional experiences and enthusiasm for their student's writing. I highly recommend this program.

      Writers Boot Camp - Think Tank
      I have very mixed feelings about my experience with Think Tank. Think Tank is a 22 month program. I took the program mainly to keep me on track - to give me scheduled writing time - to help me become more disciplined. Did it work? Yes. So it did meet my personal objectives.

      The mixed feelings really comes from their approach to teaching and some of their methodology. I think that the 22 months could really be boiled down to 12. Once you complete your first year with the program, it basically goes on repeat-mode. You start to go over everything you've already done, again. If you want more info on this, please pm me and I'd be glad to give you more detail.

      I don't feel like my instructor was that knowledgeable about screenwriting or had any real world experience. What he/she knew - was the WBC methodology. So you never really stray from their core tools and how to use them.

      Some of the tools are helpful enough - especially to get out a very quick, very bad first draft. But some of them seem like overwrought wastes of time - basically set up for the instructor to be able to get a handle on your script without really having to read it as you progress.

      So again - mixed feelings. Good and bad. Not for everyone. PM me if you want more personalized info.

      BOOKS (not that you asked but I'll include them)
      rated: 4 stars to 1 star - 4 being highest

      Making a Good Script Great - Linda Seger - good old fashioned book on screenwriting. Still makes lots of sense. Fun to read. ****
      Save the Cat - Blake Synder - Easy to read. Easy to understand and apply to your work. Some helpful stuff about beat sheets and outlining. ***
      Writing a Great Movie - Jeff Kitchen - *
      Breakfast With Sharks - Michael Lent - anecdotal and fun. ***
      I Liked it, Didn't Love it - all about the world of development ***
      The Writers Journey - Christopher Vogel - very good for certain types of script development, adventure, quest movies ****
      Myth and the Movies **
      Screenwriting; The Sequence Approach - Gulino - very good book about sequence structure ****
      Advanced Screenwriting - Seger ***
      Rewrite - Paul Chitlick - finally a book just about rewriting. ****
      Story - McKee *
      Building Better Plots **
      Screenplay: Writing the Picture *
      Secrets of Screenplay Structure **
      Alternative Screenwriting: Writing Beyond the Rules *
      The Art of Dramatic Writing ***
      How to Write a Selling Screenplay **
      The 101 Habits of Successful Screenwriters *
      Writing the Character Centered Screenplay ***
      Writing the Romantic Comedy ***
      Plot & Structure **
      Power Screenwriting ***
      Norman Bates
      She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

        Originally posted by mineymole View Post
        Eerie Horror Festival

        I won 3rd place at this festival this year. The guy who runs it - Greg Ropp is nice enough. They notify you by email. No prizes. No t-shirt. Nothing. Just the nice recognition. You are listed on their website. I did not attend.
        It's a small festival but I've seen it mentioned several times recently, so maybe it's getting some recognition. Last year I was there the first two days. Lots of local enthusiasm, big spreads for the festival in the local paper and on TV, plus it's held at an historic venue. The Misfits played one of the parties. I probably didn't see your film, though, since most of the full-length films seemed to be playing over the weekend, when I was already gone.
        "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
        ― Ray Bradbury

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

          I like the Austin contest because they have a category specifically for Comedy.

          And if you place in the Austin comp, you get discounts to the Austin Film Festival (which is a GREAT fest that's geared for writers).

          As far as other contests, I'll do Scriptapalooza (they seem to like comedies) and "Find the Funny".

          My stuff is not Nicholl or Sundance material, so I won't be applying there.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

            Originally posted by Ravenlocks View Post
            It's a small festival but I've seen it mentioned several times recently, so maybe it's getting some recognition. Last year I was there the first two days. Lots of local enthusiasm, big spreads for the festival in the local paper and on TV, plus it's held at an historic venue. The Misfits played one of the parties. I probably didn't see your film, though, since most of the full-length films seemed to be playing over the weekend, when I was already gone.
            You didn't see my film because it wasn't a film - it was a script. They have a screenwriting contest as well as being a film festival.
            Norman Bates
            She just goes a little mad sometimes. We all go a little mad sometimes. Haven't you?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

              Originally posted by PaleWriter View Post
              My stuff is not Nicholl or Sundance material, so I won't be applying there.
              I know what Sundance material is (independent, non-studio, the sort of script that could end up as a film at the Sundance Film Festival).

              I was wondering, though, what exactly you thought Nicholl material was.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                Originally posted by gregbeal View Post
                I know what Sundance material is (independent, non-studio, the sort of script that could end up as a film at the Sundance Film Festival).

                I was wondering, though, what exactly you thought Nicholl material was.
                I decided not to enter Nicholl for the exact same reason.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                  Originally posted by gregbeal View Post
                  I was wondering, though, what exactly you thought Nicholl material was.
                  Good scripts.
                  -------

                  I didn't have time to write a short script so I wrote a long one instead.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                    Originally posted by mineymole View Post
                    You didn't see my film because it wasn't a film - it was a script. They have a screenwriting contest as well as being a film festival.
                    Oh! LOL! That would be a good reason why I didn't see it. I didn't know about their screenwriting contest.
                    "Your intuition knows what to write, so get out of the way.-
                    ― Ray Bradbury

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                      Good scripts? Crap.

                      I knew Save the Cat forgot to mention something...

                      Do you guys think contests really care about genre? I don't think they care... at least in the beginning.

                      I don't know how contests go about picking the winners (maybe Greg can give us the inside scoop on how they do it round by round) but part of me does think that a horror (for one) are the bastard children of most script contests. That coming of age, dramas, thrillers... seem to have an advantage...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                        I've entered a total of three contests - each two years apart. The first, Zoetrope with my first script - it wasn't ready but I was anxious like a lot of newbies.

                        The second, Nicholls, I was more confident in my third script but it being a comedy I knew the odds were against me. It's easier to get several readers to agree on what constitutes a good drama. It's harder to get them to find humor in the same gags. (Truth is -- I don't like most of the successful comedies that come out of HW so I know my sense of humor appeals to a small pool.)

                        The third. Bluecat -- this was really a whim decision, submitting two scripts two days before the 2007 deadline. A snap decision based on another DDer's success with the contest and other DDer's vouching for Gordy. I'll refrain from voicing my complaints on this one but I do think it had a lot to do with the volume of scripts they received and my late submission.

                        Will I enter contests again? Once I finish my current "written for me" script, the non-HC, hybrid drama/romance/comedy no one wants to shop, I probably will enter it in the top 3 contests. But that will be it for me on contests. They're too subjective. People have had scripts that positioned very well in several contests then have the same scripts fail to make the first cut the following year.

                        And what I've heard from execs, contest winners of today don't get the interest from the "suits" as they may have 10 years ago. It's a whole new world in the studios now.

                        As far as script analysis services. I've never used one for a number of specific reasons. I've taught fiction writing and I find that when a writer is at the beginning of their learning curve they're too impressionable vis-a-vis critiques.

                        Too many critiques from different people can often paralyze the writer. Their critics' voices get in their heads and start jammering when they sit down to write - "Don't do this. Do that. Never do this." And if they've received feedback from more than one analyst, these voices contradict each other at times.


                        Before using a Script Guru,I'd advise that writers should do the majority of self-eductaion for themselves first.

                        Learn format until it's second nature. Internalize structure to the point you have a feel for it intutively. Don't pay an analyst to tell you you've messed up sluglines or you shouldn't try to introduce 10 characters in five pages or that your 160-page script should be trimmed back. You should know all of this before you pay for analysis. It's a waste of their time and yours.

                        Read pro scripts. 100s of pro scripts, both produced and unproduced. Print them out - deconstruct them - put them back together, even attempt to rewrite them for your own exercise in structure or dialogue.

                        Get your absolute best effort, your post-hair pulling, gnashing of teeth effort onto the page before you submit it for pro analysis. Give them something they can really work with, make them earn the money.

                        Advice from writer, Kelly Sue DeConnick. "Try this: if you can replace your female character with a sexy lamp and the story still basically works, maybe you need another draft.-

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                          In the past, I've submitted to Nicholl, BlueCat, Slamdance, and Austin. I'd have to say, I had good experiences with all of them.

                          This year, still deciding. Nicholl and BlueCat are already locked in.


                          I tend to walk away feeling better from contests which offer some sort of feedback, at least you know your script has been read (or attempted to be read Even if I disagree with some of the comments, it's still something. You don't completely feel like your wasting your money.


                          Script consultants - I've never used one. Not that I'm against it, just never have. Maybe something I'll do this year.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                            Originally posted by sc111 View Post
                            And what I've heard from execs, contest winners of today don't get the interest from the "suits" as they may have 10 years ago. It's a whole new world in the studios now.

                            I don't believe this to be true.

                            I think the problem doesn't lie in the studios at all, I believe the problem lies in the connection's between the contest world and the studio world. Do these contests really give their winning screenplays to the long list of production companies and agents they say they do?

                            Hollywood is all about who you know and networking. Bottom line. And that's why most of these contests have never had a produced movie or credit.

                            Hollywood is all about trends and the next best thing. Studios have been copying the indies for years. If an indy company breaks out with a film that was found by a screenplay contest and marketed as such, every studio in town will be emailing all the contests the very next day requesting scripts. And it all can happen in a flash. That's how Hollywood works.

                            But you know what, I don't even want a studio to make my script. I think it would ruin it completely. I'd rather make less money and watch the art of cinema then some over-written, cliche', lindsay lohan piece of garbage.

                            So yes, I guess you are right, the studios aren't what they are today, they are worse.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Contests/Services/Script Guru's You Had a Good Time With

                              Originally posted by sc111 View Post

                              And what I've heard from execs, contest winners of today don't get the interest from the "suits" as they may have 10 years ago. It's a whole new world in the studios now.

                              As far as script analysis services. I've never used one for a number of specific reasons. I've taught fiction writing and I find that when a writer is at the beginning of their learning curve they're too impressionable vis-a-vis critiques.

                              Too many critiques from different people can often paralyze the writer. Their critics' voices get in their heads and start jammering when they sit down to write - "Don't do this. Do that. Never do this." And if they've received feedback from more than one analyst, these voices contradict each other at times.

                              Before using a Script Guru,I'd advise that writers should do the majority of self-eductaion for themselves first.

                              Learn format until it's second nature. Internalize structure to the point you have a feel for it intutively. Don't pay an analyst to tell you you've messed up sluglines or you shouldn't try to introduce 10 characters in five pages or that your 160-page script should be trimmed back. You should know all of this before you pay for analysis. It's a waste of their time and yours.

                              Read pro scripts. 100s of pro scripts, both produced and unproduced. Print them out - deconstruct them - put them back together, even attempt to rewrite them for your own exercise in structure or dialogue.

                              I tried to bring that idea up in another thread... about script contests not meaning as much as they appear. Greg got worked up about it. Yes, SOME people break into Hollywood through them. But I wonder what percentage? 1%? 10%

                              I'm going to say a lot higher % of writers that are working did at one time or another enter them... maybe they got feedback. Got used to meeting deadlines. Got used to rejection... maybe got some recognition to keep them going...

                              I love Kevin Smith. I always planned on being him by 23 too... now I'm 30. Didn't go exactly according to plan. 1000 people will make the next big independent movie and probably only 10 you will ever hear of. So how many people break in that way? Probably the same number that break in through contests.

                              Then there's short films...

                              But then what about the other 90%? How did they do it?

                              I truly feel that the way most of us are going to break in is going to be through writing a great script after years of practice and getting a producer/agent/manager/talent to read your script and want to back it/you.

                              You can write a novel and it become hot, get it that way. Maybe have a true life story that people want to tell... or sleep your way in...

                              Plenty of ways people do it.

                              I do think all writers focus too much on script contests. I think we should enter them, but there's no need too.

                              I agree with sc111's advice to read PRO SCRIPTS. I was staring at my book shelf and half the books I bought... I didn't learn a thing from. Next to these script guru books are scripts... and reading them, you do learn more about writing a script than any book can tell you.

                              It's like in med school. Sure they read about science and the history of it. How to do it. But then, they go and do it on a real life body. Which do you think a doctor learns more from? Reading or doing? Doctors are taught by other doctors... the knowledge is passed down.

                              Reading scripts (good and bad) is the way to go after a certain point. Watching movies you wish you wrote and making note of how the structure works. Another fun thing I've done is watch a movie while reading the script to see how it went from script to screen...

                              Like most things in life... the best way to learn is to find a way to teach yourself.

                              Come to think of it, the first book I bought related to screenwriting was Kevin Smith's CLERKS/CHASING AMY screenplays when I was about 14/15... I used that to write my first one. It really explained the process for me before I even knew there was all these paradigms...

                              There's no wrong way to break in or try to break in.

                              But it helps to learn what a good script is and a bad script is. Believe me, you know when your script is as good as the ones you are reading. You can feel it. Be your own script guru. Pretend it's not your script and rip it apart before they do.

                              The scripts that did well in contests and with contacts in HW... I knew were better than the ones that were ignored by both. Maybe at the time I didn't know it... but now I clearly see why I didn't win any contests early on. My scripts were crap. Newbie. Boring. About me and my life. I made all the mistakes... except one.

                              I didn't try to get an agent or manager until recently. I knew enough to use the contests for their best purpose... which is to give an outlet to writers to gauge how their script might fair if you tried to show it around Hollywood. It's not always the same thing, but it's not that far off. A good script will/should do well in a few contests...

                              Comment

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