Confessions of a Contest Judge

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  • NatachaVonBraun
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Took me a month to read a friend's script. I could only stomach 3 pages a day. I wonder how long the notes are going to take me.

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  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by C.C.Baxter View Post
    Couple of hours? 30 minutes tops. Should be a lot of white on those pages
    and it's 100 pages.

    Sign a script isn't great: You can read it and stop to come back to it later.
    it takes me a couple of hours too. i like to relax when reading. and i'm definitely no pro either... but 30 minutes seems ridiculous for a 100 page script.

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  • C.C.Baxter
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Couple of hours? 30 minutes tops. Should be a lot of white on those pages
    and it's 100 pages.

    Sign a script isn't great: You can read it and stop to come back to it later.

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  • JRS3
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Well, if a page of a screenplay is supposed to equal a minute of screen time, then conceivably a screenplay can be read in the same amount of time as watching a movie.

    Personally, it takes me a couple of hours to read a screenplay. But I'm no pro.

    Leave a comment:


  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by cvolante View Post


    It's not a college class. It's a competition. There are no grades.



    How much do you think a production company is going to read?


    I want to comment on your two of your points above.


    First, you are right, it is not a college class. It is a competitiion. But there are grades. Every screenplay is graded. And as the point I made in my earlier post, you can't grade certain aspects of a screenplay by reading only 10 pages.


    Second, it doesn't matter how much attention a production company gives to screenplays. These screenplays are not being submitted to production companies for consideration of possible production. They are submitted to a screenplay competition to be judged against other screenplays. Which I mentioned above, can't be done if you only read 10 pages of each screenplay.


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  • SuperScribe
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    An experienced reader should be able to read a script and write coverage on it in two to two-and-a-half-hours.

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  • killertv
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by KenRichards View Post
    Good readers impress me. Bad readers depress me. LOL
    haha i agree to an extent though anyone can be a bad reader - too much depends on their personal taste, mood, what they ate for breakfast, etc.

    what really depresses me are bad writers who won't take good advice like "make your first ten good"

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by killertv View Post
    I didn't think a feature script could be read beginning to end in under an hour. That's impressive

    Reading screenplays is what some of these people do for a living. I knew a guy who (during busy periods) would read 6-8 screenplays a day and provide coverage on all of them. And he READ every screenplay from beginning to end.


    I could not do that. Good readers impress me. Bad readers depress me. LOL



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  • cvolante
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    It's not a college class. It's a competition.
    There are no grades. No one cares whether or not you finished your homework. They care if you have succeeded in creating a world compelling enough to suck the reader into it and keep them reading through the end.
    How much do you think a production company is going to read?
    The fact of the matter is that pretty much anyone with the gumption to finish an entire screenplay who feels it's good enough to spend $50 plus postage to enter a contest is a somewhat decent writer. That's 5000 somewhat decent writers, all with pretty decent ideas and fairly coherent stories to tell.
    Whittling that down to the top 10 or 5 or 1 that's worthy of a prize is gonna require a little elimination. It's like the end of Indiana Jones where they put the ark in the giant warehouse and we see that this box that Indiana has gone through so much to find is just one of many, many secret boxes in a giant warehouse.
    Last edited by cvolante; 08-09-2010, 03:35 PM. Reason: Because even though Lawrence Kasdan is a god, it's best to stick to the subject. :D

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  • killertv
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by gregbeal View Post
    Nicholl judges are not writing coverage, just reading the scripts and filling out a one page score sheet, so it's closer to an hour or so per script.
    I didn't think a feature script could be read beginning to end in under an hour. That's impressive

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  • Guest's Avatar
    Guest replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Don't even mention Nicholl in the same breath as other contests. The level of professionalism is light years apart. You are not even getting close to an appropriate comparison. There is no perfect system, but Nicholl get's about as close as any of us can hope for to an honest and fair evaluation, given the huge number of screenplays involved.


    As to these contests that have readers who treat the screenplays the way that is reported above, I think it's absolutely disgusting. I have been fortunate to do well in most of the competitions I have entered, but I know the amount of care that goes into writing even an average screenplay. They are treating these screenplays as if they have been submitted to them for consideration to be produced, which they have not been. They have been submitted in a competition and should be judged on the several elements that make for a good screenplay. And you can not determine all of these elements by reading only 10 or 15 pages.


    Just as an example, you absolutely can't offer a score on something like "story" if you've read only 15 pages. Impossible. And yet, I am absolutely sure they do provide scores for story on the screenplays they throw in the dumpster after only 15 pages. Or even 3 pages as has been reported elsewhere.



    Just my rant...



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  • gregbeal
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by C.C.Baxter View Post
    Nicholl judges get 300 scripts. Takes a pro reader half a day to cover a script. Two a day. That's 150 days. Taking weekends that's about half a year. Then there are second and third reads.

    First 20 or 30 is standard for all the contest. Difference is quality of judges.
    Average number of scripts read by each Nicholl judge this year was under 200. Reading began in March and ended in July so it was spread out over many weeks.

    Nicholl judges are not writing coverage, just reading the scripts and filling out a one page score sheet, so it's closer to an hour or so per script.

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  • C.C.Baxter
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Same thing with film contests. Nobody sits through every minute of every submission. God help them if they do.

    The usual line on first ten rejects: If you can't write ten good pages chances are you can't write a hundred. It's a weed out process. Give me a reason to reject your script.

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  • killertv
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by ProBono Writer View Post
    This would be like if I asked you to review a film for me and then I showed you minute 1-10 at fast-forward, then four other random minutes of footage. Is there any way you could tell me if it's a good film?
    No, but I could tell you it's a terrible film. These opening screening processes aren't to FIND the winner - they're to DROP the losers! The winning script will be read beginning to end because it's an entertaining read beginning to end. Anything less is not the goal of screenwriting.

    Ultimately, the best script in any contest will have a good first ten pages. The top ten should all meet that qualification. Why would anything less even be considered to be a potential winner when out of thousands of entries there will certainly be others with a great first ten pages?

    Angus has the right idea - they'll read the first couple of lines for sure. The point is that a seasoned writer will hook them there. Someone who knows the craft will have the reader wanting to finish the first page after the first line and the rest of the script after the first page.

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  • ProBono Writer
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Originally posted by Angus McGuffin View Post
    Please keep in mind I am a novice, and I have never entered a contest -

    But as an interested observer, I wonder if worrying about a contest judge not reading a script in its entirety would suggest an admission that the first 10 or 20 pages are not that good, but it does get better near the end.

    If you think your script is solid, then you needn't worry - the judge should be dying to finish it and push it to the next round.

    Am I way off, here?
    I think you're making a lot of assumptions. I don't care how good a script is, if I only skim pgs 1-10, then read pgs 23, 51, and 104, there's no way I can get into it (much less be "dying to finish it").

    This would be like if I asked you to review a film for me and then I showed you minute 1-10 at fast-forward, then four other random minutes of footage. Is there any way you could tell me if it's a good film?

    Leave a comment:

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