Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

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    LateNightWriter
    Member

  • LateNightWriter
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Thrilled to say that I advanced as well! Congrats to my fellow Semifinalists! Good luck to everyone still in the game, and now the real nail-biting begins...

    Late Night Writer

    Leave a comment:

  • captainhaystack
    User

  • captainhaystack
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Advanced to the Semi-finals with my script, THE VOLUNTEER. Saw that Emily Blake received the good news as well, with an action script!

    Leave a comment:


  • jcpdoc
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Semifinalist emails went out an hour or so ago. My QF did not advance, but I'm still happy to have made the first cut. Congratulations to all those who moved forward and best of luck for further advancement.

    Leave a comment:

  • gregbeal
    Member

  • gregbeal
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Originally posted by grumpywriter View Post
    Greg,

    Can't tell you how much the positive comments are appreciated.

    To try to sum up...

    Last month I had a general meeting with an exec. at a very reputable prodco. after he read a script of mine that he loved. He asked me to send him loglines for other scripts that I have. One of the loglines I sent was for the script I entered in the Nicholl. That WASN'T one of the scripts he requested. Fast forward to a few weeks later. I get the glowing comment from the Nicholl reader and on a whim decide to pass it along to this exec. to see if it'll get him interested in reading the script. It did. He read it over the weekend and loved it and wants to talk about it this week.

    So again -- thank you!
    You're welcome, gw. Thanks for sharing your story. As I've mentioned previously, always great to hear about writers being proactive about their careers (and always surprised to hear about writers simply waiting for the Academy Nicholl contact lists to be distributed).

    Leave a comment:

  • ClintW3
    Regular

  • ClintW3
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Bravo!

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  • grumpywriter
    Member

  • grumpywriter
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Originally posted by LateNightWriter View Post
    Whoa! Smart move, Grumpywriter. I've got to try that!

    Late Night Writer
    Go for it! You've got nothing to lose, right?

    Leave a comment:

  • LateNightWriter
    Member

  • LateNightWriter
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Whoa! Smart move, Grumpywriter. I've got to try that!

    Late Night Writer

    Leave a comment:

  • grumpywriter
    Member

  • grumpywriter
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Greg,

    Can't tell you how much the positive comments are appreciated.

    To try to sum up...

    Last month I had a general meeting with an exec. at a very reputable prodco. after he read a script of mine that he loved. He asked me to send him loglines for other scripts that I have. One of the loglines I sent was for the script I entered in the Nicholl. That WASN'T one of the scripts he requested. Fast forward to a few weeks later. I get the glowing comment from the Nicholl reader and on a whim decide to pass it along to this exec. to see if it'll get him interested in reading the script. It did. He read it over the weekend and loved it and wants to talk about it this week.

    So again -- thank you!

    Leave a comment:

  • glantern2814
    User

  • glantern2814
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    I think it's important to remember that while hundreds of scripts might receive high praise, that's spread among dozens of readers, each of whom doesn't know what the other is writing.

    Personally, I'd love to see individual scores sent, to quantify the context of the praise and criticism. A reader might like a script but maybe didn't score it high enough to advance, while likewise, he or she might be very critical of a script, but still gave it a decent score.

    My script finished in the Top 10 percent, but I only got one comment back, so I don't have anything to compare it to, except my BlackList coverage, which isn't exactly apples-to-apples. I'm hopeful it advances at least to the second round at Austin, so as to see comments from their readers.

    Leave a comment:


  • justin
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Certainly didn't mean to suggest that all the positive comments are wrong and the negative ones right. However, given that the majority even of fellowship-winning scripts don't get made, it seems unlikely that hundreds of scripts in the competition would deserve such glowing praise. I would have preferred to get the negative comments that I clearly got from my other readers than the one set of entirely positive comments I received - though I accept that writers with fewer rejections to their name might find that discouraging. The danger of over-positive comments is that they suggest that the script only needs a polish when they really need a major re-think.

    Leave a comment:


  • Howie428
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Originally posted by justin View Post
    It's good to know that the Nicholl readers have so much enthusiasm, but most of the very positive comments are clearly over the top. I got a similarly glowing response to my submission which didn't even reach the quarterfinals - and which I have ruthlessly re-written because I recognised it wasn't nearly good enough even before the QF list came out. Comment 1 is a nice pat on the back, but comment 2 could help you see your script's shortcomings and bring it closer to something you can sell.
    I know what you mean, and typically I'm the first one to dwell on the negative. However, there's a tendency among us writers to dismiss the positives, even though they are the things that'll get people excited.

    We need to refine and keep positive elements, and accept that sometimes trying to fix the negatives for everyone might dilute the experience for the people who are on board.

    In the case of my comments, I'm not sure there's a way to fix the finale in a way that'll convert the second reader without weakening what the first reader liked. I'm figuring having a fan like the first reader is worth more than trying to please the second reader.

    The comments I got were:

    Comment 1:

    This is far and away the most interesting and well-written script I've read in ages. The writing is concise and confident.

    The characters are complex yet very leanly drawn. There's a sense of authenticity to their behavior, as well as their interactions.

    The set-up is brisk and the pacing, tension and suspense continually ratcheted up throughout the story is a way that keeps us glued to the page.

    All the choices here feel deliberate and designed to add up to a bigger picture. Description adds texture, contributes to the tone, and paints a vivid picture. The atmosphere of the town very clearly contributes to the story.

    While I could tell that things were not as they seemed, the many final reveals are still surprising twists that make a big impact. This doesn't have quite the final "falling dominoes- effect as we look back over all the events of the story as the huge surprise reveals of classics like THE SIXTH SENSE and THE USUAL SUSPECTS, but that's about all that's missing here -- and it's not far off -- and that's impressive, as is this writer's ability.

    This is one of those rare pieces of writing that, the more you think about it, the more levels you realize exist, the more profound the metaphor and the greater the resonance of this sophisticated examination of heaven, hell, faith, guilt, atheism and religion itself. With all that going on thematically, the piece never feels pedantic; indeed it's rivetingly entertaining.

    ###

    Comment 2:

    This script initially works well, with a lean writing style where "less is more" and sympathy for protagonist, momentum of individual scenes working together, and realism work together to create a whole that works. It eventually loses some of this momentum and ends up less a structured narrative with three interdependent acts than a buildup to a twist; while the script still technically works, it's a bit of a letdown given the skill previously on display. The characterization functional if not especially complex, and the dialogue is mostly story-supportive (for the light story) and realistic (within context of some of the unconventional cult member characters and the what's real/what isn't of the twist ending). The script's conclusion arguably misrepresents writer's skills and sells them short.

    ###

    Leave a comment:


  • justin
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    It's good to know that the Nicholl readers have so much enthusiasm, but most of the very positive comments are clearly over the top. I got a similarly glowing response to my submission which didn't even reach the quarterfinals - and which I have ruthlessly re-written because I recognised it wasn't nearly good enough even before the QF list came out. Comment 1 is a nice pat on the back, but comment 2 could help you see your script's shortcomings and bring it closer to something you can sell.

    Leave a comment:

  • oddsoulpics
    New User

  • oddsoulpics
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    Originally posted by Howie428 View Post
    This feedback confirms my suspicion that this one is the sort of twist script that some readers won't get, but there are readers out there who will come along for the ride.
    Pretty good summary of creative work in general. Even my script (which made the QF) had two wildly different opinions.

    COMMENT 1

    "A script that has everything going for it. The writer has created great characters and insightful dialogue. There's a mystery that resolves itself in a way that surprises and opens out the story. And the writer has managed to capture a sense of place and a "last days of summer" kind of tone that makes it that much more special.

    The fourteen-year old lead and his friends spend a restless summer trying to unravel a crime. They're too young to see the real danger they're putting themselves in and the story escalates as they get closer and closer to the truth. The characters are all well-done:The lead and the responsibility he assumes; the beautiful girl next door and the story of a first romance; his friends who are all individuals and not types. The dialogue is very good and the teens sound like teens and the adults sound like adults talking to teens.

    The writing is a pleasure to read. You feel like you've been to that quarry or at the cul-de-sac where the lead lives. The structure is interesting as it plays out and pays off in different ways than expected."


    COMMENT 2

    "The story just does not connect with me on an emotional level. The stakes just always feel so low.

    For me, there was no spark of originality or creativity in this script. I feel like this is so low key that the town feels like any other small town. The characters don't do anything super exciting. It's technically good, but for me it just doesn't go the next step."

    Leave a comment:


  • Howie428
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    I wasn't looking forward to receiving my comments, but one of them turned out to be unbelievably positive. So positive that if I posted it here, you'd all accuse me of making it up!

    I'm feeling much better about just missing the QFs. This feedback confirms my suspicion that this one is the sort of twist script that some readers won't get, but there are readers out there who will come along for the ride.

    Of course, hit and miss doesn't win you a popularity contest format like the Nicholl. But I've heard it suggested that those are the ones people get really excited about, if you can find the right person!

    Thanks to Greg and his team for their extra effort.

    Leave a comment:

  • LateNightWriter
    Member

  • LateNightWriter
    replied
    Re: Academy Nicholl Fellowships - 2014 - Questions & Answers

    The comments are incredibly encouraging -- specific, informative, perceptive. The screenplays in this competition are read carefully.

    So often feedback tells us what's not working. But it also helps to know what IS working, and what moves readers. I am so grateful that the Nicholl is taking this on. I know it's a huge task to edit and send out that many comments.

    Bravo to Greg and his team!

    Late Night Writer

    Leave a comment:

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