Confessions of a Contest Judge

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

    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.

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  • Angus McGuffin
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    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?

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  • carcar
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    There was a contest for a while that required the first twenty pages. Don't know if it's still going.

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  • LateNightWriter
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Why not have contest administrators just be honest about the judging process?

    The submission fees would remain the same, but instead of putting forth the illusion that all scripts are read in their entirety, they could say, for example: In the first round, eliminations will be made based on a reading of the first thirty pages. Those screenplays that advance to the next round will be read in their entirety.

    I don't know of any writer who wouldn't still enter, because writers assume they will advance to the next round. Hope springs eternal!

    Late Night Writer

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  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    i'm just spitballin'.

    regulated? - ie - have criteria sheets spelled out (25% dialogue, $25 character, 25% style, 25% formatting) or whatever

    i would never suggest nicholl change their format. they already have a great reputation. why mess with that.
    and blue cat too has a pretty good reputation b/c they give free comments for every entry.
    it's other contests that need to step up their game.

    why do you keep saying "coverage"? this is why people assume their entire script is being read and evaluated and causing a huge problem.

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

    Regulated by whom? How would you possibly enforce that?

    Big assumption a ten page contest would get 2x the entrants. There are a limited number of people entering contests. Likely Nicholl is the full universe of those participating each year. So that's 6500 fish in the contest sea. But there are 3x entries allowed. So how many writers total? 3500-4000? That's it.

    I don't think, say, BlueCat, which got 3000 entries, is going to get 6000 going to a ten page cheaper contest. They'd just cut their own entries and profit margin charging less.

    People just need to work over their script and nail the opening. This information has been out there for years. Why is it surprising?

    Note also at many prod cos or agencies it's the intern (unpaid early 20s) that's doing the coverage.

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  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    but as the reader(s) writes in your initial post - this is not "coverage" so the judging process can be whatever the contest organizers want and criteria/standards should be regulated and uniform for all judges.
    Originally posted by C.C.Baxter View Post
    All the books tell you to nail the opening ten pages.

    Your suggestion of just sending those is interesting. Wouldn't allow the "sampling" though of the rest of the script. They also want the full damn fee. Don't forget that small detail.
    if they cut the price of contests in half they would get twice as many entrants.
    and what if they said 20 bucks for the first 20 pages. if you advance (say top 25%) then you send us the rest of the script for and additional 20 bucks. who wouldn't pay that if they thought they had a chance?

    some contests now (ie - blue cat & champion) allow you to "resubmit" late in the competition for an additional fee.

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

    All the books tell you to nail the opening ten pages.

    Your suggestion of just sending those is interesting. Wouldn't allow the "sampling" though of the rest of the script. They also want the full damn fee. Don't forget that small detail.

    A book on being a Hollywood assistant describes the 20/10/10 method of script coverage. Read the first twenty, middle ten, and last ten. Speeds up doing coverage if you're going through a stack of scripts. And that's to do written coverage.

    Contests it's just a big weed out until the fifty or so left standing. Note also the reader is advancing three scripts from their stack. What if the six best scripts of the entire contest happen to be in that stack? Sorry. Out of luck.

    As a pro writer keeps telling me, "Nobody wants to read your script. Not an insult to you. They just don't want to read.". Says he's been in many meetings where executive calls him in and it's quickly obvious exec did not read the script. Read the coverage only and skimmed that. So you go into the pitch.

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  • NikeeGoddess
    replied
    Re: Confessions of a Contest Judge

    it would make sense that contests should change the rules a bit -- have writers send the first 20 pages in the first round, and then a percentage who advance send in their full script for the next round, and then a percentage who advance can send in a revised or tweaked version... since many are always (or should be) working to perfect each script that worthy of attention... for the final/winning round.

    Leave a comment:


  • C.C.Baxter
    started a topic Confessions of a Contest Judge

    Confessions of a Contest Judge

    This apparently has been on Two Adverbs for some time.

    http://twoadverbs.com/sc/index.htm

    A few highlights:

    My wrath means a silent defeat for you, because you didn't follow a few simple rules. Rules that help me choose you out of the endless sea of screenplays that overwhelm the Hollywood screenwriting contest scene.

    Nope. See, you've got fifteen pages to grab me, before your work gets heaved into the dumpster.

    Oh, I can hear the curses and moans now. "I paid a fifty dollar entrance fee, you're being paid to read the entire screenplay.-

    Wrong again. I am being paid to find the top three scripts out of (let's say) the eighty I have to sort through. This is a contest, not coverage. Very big difference. You are competing, not seeking feedback.

    OK, so your first ten pages are smooth - in terms of presentation to the eye, otherwise known as white space. It will not go into the great screenplay graveyard, well not yet, anyway. I then flip through the script at random. I read sections of dialogue. Are people actually talking, or just exchanging pleasantries? I pick two scenes at random to read all the way through.



    You can read the rest on the 2A site. The contests this reader judges are not mentioned. Been on the site for a while apparently.
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