Trackinb Contest

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  • Re: Trackinb Contest

    Trying to get back on topic, I'm curious to hear from those who know The Insider (contest winners or others) about his staff or assistants. Have you met them or been to his office? I'm not asking you to reveal names or addresses, but we all seem to be speculating about how his staff operates, but my only communication with The Insider and his company was through the anonymous email. I don't see any info on his (is he a man or a woman?) site about a phone or address.

    I understand the need for some secrecy on his part, but I am a little curious as to who his staff may be. I think that would help clarify all these questions swirling around about how they evaluate scripts. Of course, it is his right not to reveal any of that, but I was wondering if anyone knows about any of this.
    Quato Lives!

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    • Re: Trackinb Contest

      I'm surprised Jeff Lowell is coming down on the side of the short-cut merchants. I'm convinced that the only way to break in is to write an exceptional script. What does exceptional mean? Well, it appears that out of, what, 100,000 plus scripts submitted to the Nicholl 16 have been made into movies. Sure, many more Nicholl winners and finalists and semifinalist have gone on to forge great careers with later scripts, but 16 out of 100,000 gives an idea of how good a script has to be. The idea that you can pay $70 to an Insider and skip the queue is absurd. Sure, if you write a brilliant script he can do something for you - but if you write a brilliant script you can do something for yourself.

      There is no shortcut. The only way to improve your odds is to write as much as you possibly can every day; to get feedback on your script (which, sundownretreat, isn't just for newbies), and to test the waters by entering a reputable competition which allows you to see how your script compares to others. Given that the Nicholl is heavily subsidised by a generous bequest, it offers the best value of any competition around, and given who it's run by it is plainly above board. There are other good, reputable contests. This year, I've also entered Page. Bluecat is my favourite - apart from Nicholl - because of the feedback. I've had 6 reports, and each of them has helped me see deficiencies in my screenplays I hadn't seen myself. Unlike Sundownretreat and a few others on this board, I know that I am a long way short of perfect and need help. Then again, I can't imagine ever thinking I was perfect - what a depressing thought, that you couldn't ever get better.

      Based on what they say on their website, I think TrackingB has nothing to offer me that I won't be able to get for myself, or through the much cheaper Nicholl competition. But that will only happen when, and if, I am writing great scripts. Or maybe I am already? Maybe one of this year's entries in the Nicholl will win a fellowship. But if it doesn't, I'll go back and write some more and, hopefully, better scripts.

      Comment


      • Re: Trackinb Contest

        Originally posted by justin View Post
        I'm surprised Jeff Lowell is coming down on the side of the short-cut merchants.
        This business is fucking brutal. When a contest offers a legitimate path to getting read by meaningful people, I'm all for it. When some failed writer calls himself a consultant and then starts a contest to line his pocket further, fuck him.

        Hopefully that clears up my stance.

        Comment


        • Re: Trackinb Contest

          Originally posted by justin View Post
          I'm surprised Jeff Lowell is coming down on the side of the short-cut merchants. I'm convinced that the only way to break in is to write an exceptional script. What does exceptional mean? Well, it appears that out of, what, 100,000 plus scripts submitted to the Nicholl 16 have been made into movies. Sure, many more Nicholl winners and finalists and semifinalist have gone on to forge great careers with later scripts, but 16 out of 100,000 gives an idea of how good a script has to be. The idea that you can pay $70 to an Insider and skip the queue is absurd. Sure, if you write a brilliant script he can do something for you - but if you write a brilliant script you can do something for yourself.

          There is no shortcut. The only way to improve your odds is to write as much as you possibly can every day; to get feedback on your script (which, sundownretreat, isn't just for newbies), and to test the waters by entering a reputable competition which allows you to see how your script compares to others. Given that the Nicholl is heavily subsidised by a generous bequest, it offers the best value of any competition around, and given who it's run by it is plainly above board. There are other good, reputable contests. This year, I've also entered Page. Bluecat is my favourite - apart from Nicholl - because of the feedback. I've had 6 reports, and each of them has helped me see deficiencies in my screenplays I hadn't seen myself. Unlike Sundownretreat and a few others on this board, I know that I am a long way short of perfect and need help. Then again, I can't imagine ever thinking I was perfect - what a depressing thought, that you couldn't ever get better.

          Based on what they say on their website, I think TrackingB has nothing to offer me that I won't be able to get for myself, or through the much cheaper Nicholl competition. But that will only happen when, and if, I am writing great scripts. Or maybe I am already? Maybe one of this year's entries in the Nicholl will win a fellowship. But if it doesn't, I'll go back and write some more and, hopefully, better scripts.
          Did you even read my posts? Your comments suggest otherwise.

          First off, as an aside, 16 films off Nicholl scripts has no bearing on the quality needed to be made into features. Commerciability is what counts. No doubt all the Nicholl winning scripts were of good enough quality but not necessarily what a studio will pump 50 million dollars into.

          And no it's not absurb to think winning a legit comp can help you skip the queue. It's obvious. You have heat, recognised as a quality writer, and you're pushed by trusted people to the people that matter. The great script that you're trying to query with may get overlooked due to the huge numbers of queries or take 10 years to get to the same point. I said all this in a previous post but you obviously didn't read it.

          You see it as skipping mastering the craft but that isn't the case. No one expects to win Nicholl or TrackingB with a sub standard script. That's why these guys don't enter BlueCat because they're past looking for deficiencies in their writing and are aiming at a higher level.


          As for your comments about me:

          I agree that to get better you need to write and write and get feedback from trusted sources. If you read my posts you'd know I advocate the same.


          Unlike Sundownretreat and a few others on this board, I know that I am a long way short of perfect and need help. Then again, I can't imagine ever thinking I was perfect - what a depressing thought, that you couldn't ever get better.
          Now I know you haven't read ANY of my posts.

          Comment


          • Re: Trackinb Contest

            Originally posted by JeffLowell View Post
            This business is fucking brutal. When a contest offers a legitimate path to getting read by meaningful people, I'm all for it. When some failed writer calls himself a consultant and then starts a contest to line his pocket further, fuck him.

            Hopefully that clears up my stance.

            There you go, Justin. I said the same as Jeff. Are you going to argue with him, too? He hasn't written as much as I so maybe you'll actually read his post.


            By the way, it's SundownINRetreat.

            Comment


            • Re: Trackinb Contest

              Originally posted by justin View Post
              The idea that you can pay $70 to an Insider and skip the queue is absurd. Sure, if you write a brilliant script he can do something for you - but if you write a brilliant script you can do something for yourself.

              There is no shortcut.
              Skip the queue? Shortcut?

              There's no magical line in which we're all waiting. It's not like you've been working X number of years and BAM - your number is here and now you get to be a professional. There is no exact path to follow to success. This isn't college, where you have a certain number of courses to take and then you get your degree. This isn't a business where promotions are based on seniority.

              But hey, let's say it is. I wrote my first book when I was in 4th grade. I won a short story contest in 7th grade. I have a masters degree in creative writing. I've been writing screenplays for a decade. I entered the Nicholl 3 times, Austin once. Back before it sucked, I attended the Creative Screenwriting Expo three times, even volunteering so I could get in for free. I queried and queried and queried some more. I moved to LA and went to parties and joined screenwriting groups and made friends with everybody.

              Thank goodness there was a shortcut.

              Every writer I know who's placed in TrackingB has worked his or her butt off to become a better writer. Every one of them deserves to win because they write great stuff.

              I entered this contest because I saw what it did for John Swetnam - you know, the guy whose script that won TrackingB last year was just filmed? That guy hustles like you wouldn't believe.

              If you have issues with the transparency, I get that. After what happened with Silver Screenwriting, I can see why people are nervous about contests. But to be resentful of the writers who won because we "skipped the queue" is ludicrous.
              Last edited by emily blake; 02-23-2012, 07:56 AM.
              Chicks Who Script podcast

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              • Re: Trackinb Contest

                This thread is downright mind-boggling.

                Trackingb is a legit contest and any astute aspiring screenwriter would be wise to invest in entering.

                Same goes for Nicholl but Greg you're coming off as...ummm...bitter....to say the least and that's putting it mildly.

                You really think reps would just agree to "rep" people because they're pals with somebody that runs a contest? I mean where is your "shared rep" theory actually going? You're saying...wait, what are you saying? Who cares if some of the honorable mentions and winners wind up repped by some of the same people? My agent and manager have a lot of clients. I think Lowell and I have the same agent (or maybe my agent is like one of the hundreds on Team Lowell? ). Last I checked, nobody cared and it didn't matter so there's no smoking gun here, dude. It's a good contest, just like yours and that's okay. There's room for both Ginger and MaryAnne, right?

                Full disclusure, I'm for a former Nicholl semifinalist and Trackingb honorable mention. When I entered Trackingb I sent them an email saying I was broke, explaining the reasons why and asking them to waive the entry fee. They did. Greedy bastards, huh?
                "I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.- - Don Draper

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                • Re: Trackinb Contest

                  Originally posted by joe9alt View Post
                  Same goes for Nicholl but Greg you're coming off as...ummm...bitter....to say the least and that's putting it mildly.

                  You really think reps would just agree to "rep" people because they're pals with somebody that runs a contest? I mean where is your "shared rep" theory actually going? You're saying...wait, what are you saying? Who cares if some of the honorable mentions and winners wind up repped by some of the same people? My agent and manager have a lot of clients. I think Lowell and I have the same agent (or maybe my agent is like one of the hundreds on Team Lowell? ). Last I checked, nobody cared and it didn't matter so there's no smoking gun here, dude. It's a good contest, just like yours and that's okay.
                  Didn't mean to come off bitter and despite what people seem to think I admire any competition that opens doors for screenwriters.

                  According to the TrackingB site and by my count, 27 of the 39 writers (including teams) who have been finalist and honorable mention writers have representation. It isn't clear but it appears as if several of the 27 already had a rep prior to entering.

                  Of the approximately 24 writers who gained representation after placing in TrackingB, 7 were signed by one managerial firm, 4 by one agency and 3 by another managerial firm.

                  I don't claim that this means anything, but I think it's a tad different than you saying that you and Jeff Lowell have the same rep.

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                  • Re: Trackinb Contest

                    I can understand both sides of the issue. I can see how someone can be curious as to where the money goes. I can also understand why the Insider does things differently. My impression is that Trackingb filters writers with its setup.

                    I really appreciate all the information Greg and other reps from the Nicholl Fellowships provide regarding the judging process. But when I look at the kinds of questions Greg is bombarded with, it's almost always something that is already answered if the person would just take the time to read their FAQ.

                    With Trackingb, you have to determine its value. For me, I looked at the people who get representation. Writers are getting repped by people who sell scripts.

                    What you get if you make the finals, or if you're one of the "eight,- is someone inside the industry who's willing to go to bat for your work with people who sell scripts in Hollywood. He's hard working. He's a great guy. And a powerful ally. (Now I'm starting to make him sound like the Force. )

                    I'm one of the eight who hasn't landed a rep yet. But I'm in talks with people. I've made valuable contacts. I've met people who can help me, guide me, and even sell my script when or if we get to that point. I've had a script optioned in Hollywood before, but this is the first time I've ever really felt like someone was on my side.

                    I made the Nicholl quarterfinals and I still get requests occasionally to this day. I don't know whether I've gotten more requests through Nicholl or Trackingb. They're probably about even. I've met a lot of great people through both.

                    I sympathize with wondering about the process, I really do. But my impression of the Insider is that he has no intention of bowing to anyone's demands. (I'm hesitant to call his process an "idiot filter- but just look at some of the ridiculous questions the Nicholl people put up with.)

                    As much as people want more transparency, I really think you're wasting your time. His answer is no. All you can do is accept it or take your business elsewhere.


                    Breanne

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                    • Re: Trackinb Contest

                      Originally posted by gregbeal View Post
                      Didn't mean to come off bitter and despite what people seem to think I admire any competition that opens doors for screenwriters.
                      Greg, I think it's great that you are here at DD and provide answers to various questions. I've found your answers helpful and your responsiveness gracious.

                      But... I've been following this thread for some time and, FWIW, I think you made a mistake when you started offering a detailed defense of Nicholl - especially with relative statistics and such. I mean, you're the guy from the effin' Nicholl Fellowship. People either get it or they don't. (Note: I have not placed at Nicholl, so I am not saying this because Nicholl has given me any props.) Sure, I get sucked into such pissing matches myself sometimes, but I ain't the guy from Nicholl.

                      Not that you asked, but I'd suggest, if you want to post relative stats at all, that you do it at your Facebook page. As information, not as any sort of defense.

                      As I posted on another/related thread: When thinking about any script "contest" - (1) consider what sorts of scripts past winners wrote, (2) look at what past winners got for having won, both directly and consequently, then (3) consider the script you've written and if you want what those winners got. If #1 and #2 match up with #3, then maybe it's a good idea to enter. If not, then it probably isn't.

                      Yes, it would be initially distressing to discover that Nicholl were using 3 blind mice to read submissions in the first round, but ultimately - like the proverbial making of sausage and laws - I don't care as long as the results are meaningful to me.

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                      • Re: Trackinb Contest

                        Originally posted by Breanne View Post
                        I can understand both sides of the issue. I can see how someone can be curious as to where the money goes. I can also understand why the Insider does things differently. My impression is that Trackingb filters writers with its setup.

                        I really appreciate all the information Greg and other reps from the Nicholl Fellowships provide regarding the judging process. But when I look at the kinds of questions Greg is bombarded with, it's almost always something that is already answered if the person would just take the time to read their FAQ.

                        With Trackingb, you have to determine its value. For me, I looked at the people who get representation. Writers are getting repped by people who sell scripts.

                        What you get if you make the finals, or if you're one of the "eight,- is someone inside the industry who's willing to go to bat for your work with people who sell scripts in Hollywood. He's hard working. He's a great guy. And a powerful ally. (Now I'm starting to make him sound like the Force. )

                        I'm one of the eight who hasn't landed a rep yet. But I'm in talks with people. I've made valuable contacts. I've met people who can help me, guide me, and even sell my script when or if we get to that point. I've had a script optioned in Hollywood before, but this is the first time I've ever really felt like someone was on my side.

                        I made the Nicholl quarterfinals and I still get requests occasionally to this day. I don't know whether I've gotten more requests through Nicholl or Trackingb. They're probably about even. I've met a lot of great people through both.

                        I sympathize with wondering about the process, I really do. But my impression of the Insider is that he has no intention of bowing to anyone's demands. (I'm hesitant to call his process an "idiot filter- but just look at some of the ridiculous questions the Nicholl people put up with.)

                        As much as people want more transparency, I really think you're wasting your time. His answer is no. All you can do is accept it or take your business elsewhere.


                        Breanne
                        Breanne,
                        I think this is a great, thoughtful reply. It's pretty clear The Insider won't reveal anything, and I respect that. But I still want to know if you (or anyone else here) have been to his office and/or have met his staff. I for one am not going to enter this contest again because I'm not comfortable with the little amount of information provided. I was just hoping that someone else could fill in the gaps, given that The Insider does not wish to.

                        If you are not comfortable discussing this, I understand, and I do hope your success in the contest translates into a rep as well as a sale and career.
                        Quato Lives!

                        Comment


                        • Re: Trackinb Contest

                          Originally posted by SundownInRetreat View Post
                          This is long so if you're in a rush, skip to the red bold bits.
                          K. Will do...

                          The point you're missing is that neither I, Paradis nor Emily commented on their writing - just how they came across. Is that so hard for you to understand? We were musing that their reticence was down to concerns about their writing. Their work was not even being judged!
                          Dude. That was my whole fcking point. Judge their work, not their hesitance about a contest.

                          Someone questioning TrackingB means less than nothing if we're trying to decide whether someone's ready to be repped or sold or produced or what the fck ever.

                          And I'm really not sure if Paradis and EB said the same things you said. I'll have to check.

                          But the point is that I wasn't telling an athlete he isn't good enough to play at the next level based on his skill but that I was hearing his concerns and doubts about trying out for a pro team and telling him that IMO that's a sign he isn't ready. Get it? I'm not commenting on his prowess but his words - what he is saying. All that subtext that writers like to yak about! And I made it clear it was IMO.
                          Since we're talking football, let's talk real football. Many NFL players feel the NFL Combine is useless. It grades players on sprinting, jumping, leaping, cutting... everything scouts could see if they watched 5 minutes of game footage from a promising player.

                          And many players speak up about it. They question the necessity of it. They question the way it's run. They question everything about it.

                          But does that mean those players aren't ready to be drafted? Does it mean they aren't good enough to make it in the NFL?

                          No. It does not say one damn thing about their ability as a football player.

                          Nor does questioning a contest for its lack of transparency say anything about a writer's ability.

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                          • Re: Trackinb Contest

                            I was not saying that someone who doesn't want to enter this contest isn't ready. I was saying that only people who think their work is ready would spend this much money on a contest.

                            Different things.
                            Chicks Who Script podcast

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                            • Re: Trackinb Contest

                              Originally posted by EddieCoyle View Post
                              It's pretty clear The Insider won't reveal anything, and I respect that. But I still want to know if you (or anyone else here) have been to his office and/or have met his staff.
                              Hi Eddie,

                              I've spoken to him over email quite a bit and on the phone a few times. I've never met him personally. Nor have I met any of his staff.

                              Prior to entering, the only thing I had to go on was the contest results and a few email exchanges. I got a good impression of him. I actually appreciated his no nonsense approach.

                              I was already a quarterfinalist in the Nicholl at that time. For months, I had cringed at some of the things the Nicholl people had to put up with from contestants who refused to read their website.

                              I can't say I know the Insider. Since getting an HM, all I've learned about him personally is a first name I refuse to divulge, his gender, and that he is one of the hardest working people I've met. He's the type of advocate a writer like me needs. I feel it was well worth it.

                              Had I failed to make the eight, I probably would have just worked into my next script a character who runs a contest in Hollywood who meets some gruesome demise.

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                              • Re: Trackinb Contest

                                Originally posted by EddieCoyle View Post
                                But I still want to know if you (or anyone else here) have been to his office and/or have met his staff.
                                I’ve been to the Trackingb offices. When you arrive there is a twenty foot high gate made of solid platinum. Portraits of the Insider's obscured face are painted graffiti style all over it, at once protecting his identity and paying homage to his omnipotence.

                                There are watchtowers, guards,a moat filled with live alligators and other creepy crawlies.

                                An enchanting forest nymph always greets you with a song. She strums a harp and escorts you over a drawbridge that leads to…

                                Dude, why is this even relevant?

                                Would it really matter if he were running the thing out of his grandmother's basement? The only thing that matter is winners and honorable mentions are getting read and repped by legit agents and managers.
                                "I hate to break it to you but there is no big lie. There is no system. The universe is indifferent.- - Don Draper

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