Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

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  • Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

    Imagine my dismay over the 4th of July holiday spent with my family to be notified of the recent SSC thread on Done Deal. I replied to a couple of emails but didn't have time to really address this.

    But that's what I'm doing now.

    The SSC has grown very quickly, and after the first year, these are the rules that we have refined and use to ensure consistency and fairness:

    1st Cut
    As with most screenwriting competitions, such as Austin, Silver Screenwriting readers are required to read to a minimum of at least page 30.

    Readers then fill out a brief score card for each script. Score cards include 5 categories:

    PREMISE
    NARRATIVE
    CHARACTER/DIALOGUE
    STRUCTURE
    EXECUTION (format, language usage, spelling).

    Scores range from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent) in each category.

    A minimum score of 19 is required to make it past the first cut. Scores of 18 or below are eliminated from the competition.

    This year we had roughly 200 scripts that made the 1st cut with scores of 19 or more.

    Quarterfinal Round
    The scripts that have progressed past the 1st round are then randomized and redistributed among the readers and they're given a second score card with the same 5 categories.

    The totals from the two score cards are added together, giving us a total score out of 50. Any score with 41 points or better is published on the SSC website as a quarterfinalist, any with 40 points or less are eliminated from the competition.

    This year we had 46 quarterfinalists with 4 that were moved into this round after a debate among the judges.

    2nd Round Judging (semi-finals)
    Scores are reset and scripts are randomized and distributed to new readers.

    Score cards include 6 categories:

    ORIGINALITY OF PREMISE
    GENRE EXECUTION
    CHARACTER/DIALOGUE
    THEME/SUBTEXT
    VOICE

    Score cards also include a brief summary of the strengths or weakness of the script.

    The top scoring 20 scripts (any ties are automatically added to the list) qualify for the next level of judging.

    All top 20 scripts and writers are cross checked to ensure eligibility per the Silver Screenwriting rules regarding ownership, earnings, options, etc.

    Third Round Judging (finalists)
    The top 20 are now printed out in hard copy. Notes, comments and questions are made on the pages. Premise and summary notes are written on the title page or back cover.

    Judges include Julie Gray and two top industry readers.

    This qualifies the top 10 scripts for grand prize judging.

    Grand prize winner, 2nd, 3rd place
    The top 10 scripts are each read by a panel of judges including Julie Gray and two guest judges.

    (For the 2010 competition, two executives [one from Fuse Entertainment and one from The Bedford Falls Company] will guest judge.)

    The grand prize winner, 2nd and 3rd place winners are chosen.
    So them's the rules.

    Margaux Froley is indeed a friend and a colleague. However, I am speechless at the tone, tenor and content of her blog post. Margaux did not read for the Silver Screenwriting Competition this year, nor is she involved with the judging.

    Rather, Margaux read the 75 scripts that received 10 points or less in the 1st Cut round as a favor to me, to make sure the particularly low scores had been fairly judged.

    While these scripts were clearly troubled, they did not deserve to be belittled in any way. At the SSC we recognize that each writer tried his or her level best and that everybody is at a different point in the continuum.

    The scripts that are advancing this year are fantastic and good luck to everybody who moved up to the QF round.

    Julie Gray




  • #2
    Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

    Hi Julie. Thanks for stopping by and clearing things up. There is an unfortunate culture among writers of knocking each other down. Even some stomping. I think recent events have illustrated this problem and the negative effects it can have on writers. Hopefully it makes people take a step backwards and think about the way they treat their fellow scripters. We all make mistakes and there is a lot to be learnt from not just or own, but those of our peers.
    It's the eye of the Tiger, it's the thrill of the fight

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

      i don't really understand the need to blog. there was a time when people (especially girls) use to write in their diary and then "lock" it. it was only breached (by parents and authorities) when that person was found dead, gone missing, or messed up on drugs.

      however, i think the damage is done. the timing was spot on b/c there was this "why i hate contests thread" that was thriving and spinning out of control just like the fireworks on the 4th of july.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

        "Margaux Froley is indeed a friend and a colleague. However, I am speechless at the tone, tenor and content of her blog post. Margaux did not read for the Silver Screenwriting Competition this year, nor is she involved with the judging.

        Rather, Margaux read the 75 scripts that received 10 points or less in the 1st Cut round as a favor to me, to make sure the particularly low scores had been fairly judged."

        I'm confused. In one sentence, you say Margaux did not read---but then say she did read 75 scripts (apparently, the ones she blew through breaking speed records) in this "1st Cut Round." So, in effect, she was a de facto reader---because the asssumption is that if she had found a script that had been "unfairly judged", it would have been bumped up or someone higher up would have taken a second look at it.

        Or am I missing something?
        http://www.pjmcilvaine.com/

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

          Originally posted by La Femme Joyeuse View Post
          Imagine my dismay over the 4th of July holiday spent with my family to be notified of the recent SSC thread on Done Deal. I replied to a couple of emails but didn't have time to really address this.

          But that's what I'm doing now.

          The SSC has grown very quickly, and after the first year, these are the rules that we have refined and use to ensure consistency and fairness:



          So them's the rules.

          Margaux Froley is indeed a friend and a colleague. However, I am speechless at the tone, tenor and content of her blog post. Margaux did not read for the Silver Screenwriting Competition this year, nor is she involved with the judging.

          Rather, Margaux read the 75 scripts that received 10 points or less in the 1st Cut round as a favor to me, to make sure the particularly low scores had been fairly judged.

          While these scripts were clearly troubled, they did not deserve to be belittled in any way. At the SSC we recognize that each writer tried his or her level best and that everybody is at a different point in the continuum.

          The scripts that are advancing this year are fantastic and good luck to everybody who moved up to the QF round.
          Thanks for sharing how you run your contest.

          According to your post, scores of 11 to 18 don't get a second look but scores of 0-10 do get a second look (albeit a lightning fast one).

          Which scripts would really have a chance of getting the 19 points needed to advance?

          The ones that scored 17-18 or the ones that scored 0-10?

          How could anyone expect to "make sure the particularly low scores had been fairly judged" by reading only the first few pages?

          Makes no sense.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

            And of those 75 scripts Margaux posted about reading, she stated she advanced 20 to the next round.

            So 20 scripts that had a score of 0-10 deserved to go through while all of the scripts originally scoring 11-18 were eliminated without a second look.

            Does anyone have the blog post in which Margaux denied the scripts referred to on her blog were from the Silver Screenwriting Contest?

            Will you be offering refunds?

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

              wait so 20 out of the 75 0-10 low scoring scripts advanced to the next round while 30 out of 925 scripts were advanced by the other first round readers. that is a tale of epic disproportion. no wonder margaux acts like she's god with that much influence for doing so little.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                Originally posted by La Femme Joyeuse View Post
                However, I am speechless at the tone, tenor and content of her blog post.
                How do you feel about your own blog post below then, Julie?

                Originally posted by La Femme Joyeuse View Post

                SUNDAY, AUGUST 10, 2008

                Succeed at Failing the Quik n Easy Way!

                So at The Script Department, we're still judging scripts for the Silver Screenwriting Competition. Also for the Nevada Film Commission - betcha didn't they had one of those, didja? Well, we are. Several of us are reading. For a few weeks now. And it will continue. It has been an interesting experience; I want every writer to advance in this competition. But alas, not all can. With one keystroke, I can put the writer one step closer to success - or one step backward toward frustration. Heavy weighs the crown. I am the decider.

                But to be perfectly frank, as I lie on my couch with my laptop on my lap judging scripts on this lazy Sunday afternoon, I'm thinking two things: 1) I'd rather be doing something else and 2) I'm getting sleepy. But some writers, bless their hearts, are making it really easy and fast to judge their scripts. It's as if they know I'd rather be doing something else. It's as if they are literally greasing the tracks for me.

                Here are some track-greasing tips for a DO NOT ADVANCE checked box:

                1. Have a really weird, elliptical title that makes no sense
                2. Write really dense, detailed action lines and include some typos.
                3. Describe your characters in way too much detail, including personality traits.
                4. Do not use sluglines
                5. Make sure your script has no point in the first ten pages.
                6. Make sure the tone and genre are impossible to key in on in the first ten pages.
                7. Include a lot of typos and malaprops.
                8. Use a weird font and format that make your pages hard to read.
                9. Take your sweet time with set up; say it don't show it!
                10. Describe your characters in like one or two words. Tell me what they are thinking,
                don't show me through their actions.

                It's so easy to hit "do not advance". It only takes a page or three before I do it. And when you do that a lot, you whiz through scripts. It's the good scripts that give me pause. I want to just go, go, go but I can't - these pages - they are fascinating! What voice! What imagery! What a delightful, playful, engaging read! What an interesting concept! Man, you guys are slowing me WAY down. Didn't you read the list, above? Harumph.
                "I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.- - Don Draper

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                  Originally posted by lordmanji View Post
                  wait so 20 out of the 75 0-10 low scoring scripts advanced to the next round while 30 out of 925 scripts were advanced by the other first round readers. that is a tale of epic disproportion. no wonder margaux acts like she's god with that much influence for doing so little.
                  Here is the original blog post from google cache:

                  http://webcache.googleusercontent.co...&ct=clnk&gl=us

                  Of the 75 I read last night, I advanced 20 to the next round, which was actually more generous than I should have been. What can I say, I'm a bit of a pushover.




                  And here is the short-lived post in which Margaux said she was not reading/judging for the Silver Screenwriting contest:

                  Congratulations!

                  I've taken down the controversial post about contest judging.

                  The haterade is not worth it.

                  Sad for the people who learned something about what contest judges look for and those who actually want to LEARN about the business of screenwriting.

                  And some of the posts are saying I judged The Silver Screenwriting Contest. That's not correct.

                  While I have in the past and think that this is a fantastic contest, that is not the contest I judged this year.
                  Please re-direct that hatred elsewhere. There seems to be plenty of venom to go around.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                    http://www.mentalfloss.com/store/pro...hp?imageid=616

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                      No, no, no...she wasn't a judge.

                      She was just responsible for eliminating 75 scripts after speed reading a few pages.

                      At the Script Department, thats called the LET THEM EAT CAKE PARTY GAL position -- judging is totally different!!!
                      Last edited by joe9alt; 07-07-2010, 08:57 AM.
                      "I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.- - Don Draper

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                        Oh, what a wicked web we weave....

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                          Yeah, Julie, your back-pedalling isn't working. Was she a reader or wasn't she? There isn't really any in-between. If she was a reader, was she instructed to breeze through these? If she was only reading the bottom tier, why would she pass along 20 of those scripts? Are the rest of your readers so bad that the scripts they think are the worst are actually good? Who are your readers?

                          This smacks of a really poorly run contest and in all honesty, because of this, I know I'll never enter your contest. Don't worry, I'm not a big contest guy in the first place so you're probably not losing any business from me, but your attempts to explain away Ms. Froley's boasting about what a crappy, superficial job she does ring false. If I had entered your contest I'd be livid, and that's why I only enter a few contests that I think are reputable.

                          Good luck with this mess you have on your hands.
                          "Witticism"
                          -Some Guy

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                            yep - the damage was done and now the knife is twisting deeper into the flesh.
                            julie, zazzo, and margaux all need to take a vacation together.
                            didn't you realize that in a court of law (or a msgbrd of screenwriters) defendants need come together and get their stories straight?
                            maybe you can ask superman to spin around the earth in reverse a few times and take us back to july 2nd.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Words Matter. And So Do Rules.

                              Originally posted by lordmanji View Post
                              wait so 20 out of the 75 0-10 low scoring scripts advanced to the next round while 30 out of 925 scripts were advanced by the other first round readers. that is a tale of epic disproportion. no wonder margaux acts like she's god with that much influence for doing so little.
                              This is quite shocking. I'll just stick to Austin and Nicholl for my future contest spending.

                              The damage has been done indeed...
                              Never let the competition know what you're thinking... and never tell the unseen masses your story idea.

                              -- Rule 85, Ferengi Rules of Acquisition (updated by cmmora)

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