Nicholl 2015...

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  • Re: Nicholl 2015...

    Originally posted by AE35-Unit View Post
    Logline: "When her way of life is threatened deep in the backwoods of colonial Georgia, a firebrand mother-of-two who lives off the land takes up arms and declares her own Goddamn war on the British."

    WAR WOMAN

    Based on the life of Nancy Morgan Hart.

    Period Drama - Action.

    2015 Nicholl semifinalist.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nancy_Hart
    Hoo-hah, AE35-Unit!

    ... And those Nicholl comments were inappropriate, snarky and condescending - a rotten grape among a barrel of 17,000. It's not a surprise. I'll bet there's more than a few other bad ones in there, too. Readers are readers, and they bring all of their baggage to the party. I can't imagine how many readers they enlist to generate 17,000 reads. I assume the vast majority of them are good people, and a few of them may not be very nice or in a good mood when reading. A couple may be smug, and that's the way it goes. It doesn't at all influence my opinion negatively when it comes to the effort and care the folks at Nicholl take in administering this contest. They've consistently done great things for aspiring writers for decades, and that shouldn't be forgotten when this is being discussed. They deserve the benefit of the doubt. This is a contest run by advocates, not the evil empire.

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    • Re: Nicholl 2015...

      Bruce. You rock. And you're right.
      We gain our innocence by taking yours.

      Comment


      • Re: Nicholl 2015...

        Reading through all these arguments, I went back-and-forth a lot, initially thinking that this is one of those situations where there is blame to go around on both sides.

        But now that I've had the chance to really absorb this -- I have to say that I lean to Rachel's side (BTW, I'm a guy). Here's why:

        *For starters, the note on the script was inappropriate -- pure and simple. It doesn't matter what the tone of the screenplay was; the reader should exhibit a certain base level of professionalism (especially when the notes are being paid for), which was not shown. We can talk about whether or not it was sexist, an area where I feel there is more room for debate, but at the very least, no paid employee should write those types of comments. I've never received notes in that vein, and I hope I never do.

        *Now, regarding how Rachel handled those notes -- she posted a comment on Nicholl's Facebook page criticizing them. Could she have sent an e-mail to Nicholl privately? Yes. But take a look through Nicholl's Facebook page (and DDP) -- a number of people are posting excerpts from the notes they received, both positive and negative. So there's nothing unusual or abnormal about the fact that she's sharing it. In fact, the fact that she's making it public to me probably goes a long way towards Nicholl making sure it will emphasize a more professional tone in its guidelines for readers from now on. Which is on balance, a good thing.

        Basically -- everyone's sharing these days. It's the beast that is social media. Her Facebook posts did not seem to me like a scream for attention.

        *Now regarding the Nicholl Facebook rep's response to Rachel's Facebook post. Like I said, the reader's notes were clearly inappropriate. Recognizing this, the rep should have a) acknowledged this, b) apologized in no uncertain terms, and c) moved on. Instead, that person gave a clearly defensive apology, trying to justify what the reader said in a variety of ways. With that approach, you might as well not apologize; you might as well be saying "I don't really agree with you, but I'm going through the motions so we don't look bad as an organization."

        Go ahead and read it again. The entire exchange ends with the rep saying "I believe the reader was trying to close out the comments with something that echoed the script's title." It shows that the rep thinks that this behavior is in some fashion justifiable, when it is again, bottom-line, unprofessional. That person needed to take a clear, no B.S. stance.

        And Nicholl has responded like the professional, honorable organization it is -- by, after taking stock of the situation, posting a clear, unequivocal apology, and a note that it is "taking steps to address the situation." Exactly the right way to handle this.

        *Now, regarding the Mashable interview.
        My response to this depends. Did Rachel reach out to Mashable about her experience? If so, that does smack of a desire for publicity. But given the extremely poor quality of the Facebook rep's response, I cannot put her entirely at fault. It probably wasn't the type of response she was expecting from Nicholl (especially in a public forum), and she may have just wanted to air her grievances.

        If this was not the case -- and instead Mashable reached out to her -- can you fault her for responding? A free opportunity to bring attention to your script; I'm sure most of us would take it. Besides -- all she did in the article was describe how the situation unfolded. She criticized the remarks; she didn't criticize Nicholl as an organization. In fact, she even says at the end: ""I follow the contest on Facebook, and have seen them post about how women don’t enter this contest that much. They've been trying to get women more involved." Prominently acknowledging Nicholl's positive efforts in this regard.


        Did this whole situation cast an unfairly negative light on Nicholl? Yes. But that's not Rachel's fault. It's the fault of the Facebook rep who answered her question, whom I'm sure won't be fulfilling that role again in the near future.

        Did many of the people going after Nicholl take it too far? Of course. But there's nothing we can do about that -- we live in age of Internet outrage, and when you combine that with the fact that many of the people screaming the loudest were also upset about not placing in the competition (and you can see their bitter comments on Nicholl's Facebook page on a regular basis) -- well, you get the s***storm we are seeing now.

        So, frankly -- I would encourage everyone who's dumping all over Rachel, or even just casting aspersions on her motives, to re-read all of the material associated with the situation. And maybe question yourself as to why you may have been so quick to adopt that stance. The answer might not be so pleasant.
        "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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        • Re: Nicholl 2015...

          Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
          Could she have sent an e-mail to Nicholl privately? Yes. But take a look through Nicholl's Facebook page (and DDP) -- a number of people are posting excerpts from the notes they received, both positive and negative. So there's nothing unusual or abnormal about the fact that she's sharing it.
          I find there to be a substantial difference between posting an excerpt and reporting an offensive comment. If my boss said something sexist to me at work, my first thought wouldn't be to post it on our Facebook page. That is, unless resolving it amicably wasn't my goal to begin with. Now, if going through proper channels at work did not result in an appropriate response, I would answer differently.

          Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
          Did Rachel reach out to Mashable about her experience? If so, that does smack of a desire for publicity. But given the extremely poor quality of the Facebook rep's response, I cannot put her entirely at fault. It probably wasn't the type of response she was expecting from Nicholl (especially in a public forum), and she may have just wanted to air her grievances.
          So, she basically gave Nicholl five hours after the work day to comply publicly before going to Mashable.

          Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
          A free opportunity to bring attention to your script; I'm sure most of us would take it.
          I wouldn't -- not at the cost of another organization that works hard to support my chosen career. And potentially threaten the future of receiving candid (and appropriate) feedback going forward. But I could be in the minority.

          Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
          Did this whole situation cast an unfairly negative light on Nicholl? Yes.
          Agreed.

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          • Re: Nicholl 2015...

            Ditto to everything Opie said.

            BTW, did anyone, through all of this, check out Rachel's Facebook page. She had two friends urging her to post this on other sites and "Make it go viral." And one good friend who warned her it was completely unacceptable and unprofessional.

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            • Re: Nicholl 2015...

              What's strange is that if the reader had just left out the "They're kinda hot" comment, the porn comment might make perfect sense. If the script's plotless and full of gross-out sex scenes bordering on unfilmable, then that's what most people would say. But by pointing out their appearance, it gives the sexist impression that hot women should just stick to porn.
              I'm never wrong. Reality is just stubborn.

              Comment


              • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                Removed.
                Ronaldinho
                Member
                Last edited by Ronaldinho; 08-25-2015, 10:19 PM. Reason: Nothing to be gained from participating in this conversation.

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                • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                  Originally posted by opie View Post
                  I find there to be a substantial difference between posting an excerpt and reporting an offensive comment. If my boss said something sexist to me at work, my first thought wouldn't be to post it on our Facebook page. That is, unless resolving it amicably wasn't my goal to begin with. Now, if going through proper channels at work did not result in an appropriate response, I would answer differently.
                  Rachel's original comment:

                  "I received the below note on my Quarterfinal script and while I happily accept notes both good and bad on my work, this reader's notes, particularly the final thought (in quotes below) seemed wildly inappropriate, offensive and sexist to say the least. And certainly not constructive:"With some judicious alterations, it might make a decent porn picture, as the gals do seem kinda hot, at least on the page." Considering the current climate we're in with women writers in Hollywood, I wanted to bring this to your attention."

                  This does not sound to me like someone merely "reporting an offensive comment." It sounds like someone pointing out a flaw in a paid service provided by an organization. No different than a customer who has received bad service commenting on a forum on a company's website. The boss-employee situation is a bad analogy, because this is a company-customer situation, which is totally different.

                  If she had sent a private e-mail, Nicholl could've easily just dashed off something along the lines of "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We'll take this into consideration." Posting the offending note publicly provides a greater assurance that the organization will take the issue seriously. By making it public, it puts tangible pressure on the organization to ensure that it will hold the offending party accountable. Especially since there's the (distinct) possibility that that reader has made similar comments on other scripts, and/or that that reader isn't the only one who's made such comments.

                  Originally posted by opie View Post
                  So, she basically gave Nicholl five hours after the work day to comply publicly before going to Mashable.
                  No. She let Nicholl know about her concerns. Then she got an official (well, what appeared official initially) response that was defensive and insincere. She then engaged in a lengthy back-and-forth where the Facebook rep pretty much stuck to the same tone. What more of a response should she wait for?

                  Originally posted by opie View Post
                  I wouldn't -- not at the cost of another organization that works hard to support my chosen career. And potentially threaten the future of receiving candid (and appropriate) feedback going forward. But I could be in the minority.
                  Give me a break.

                  a) In the Mashable article it's pretty clear she's criticizing the individual she had the back-and-forth with, rather than the Nicholl organization itself. The article author does put a negative spin, but that's what journalists do.

                  b) This little flare-up isn't going to threaten anything. The note clearly had an out-of-left-field nature; even if Nicholl provides stricter guidelines moving forward, most readers are able to provide candid feedback without striking the sensational tone this note did.
                  UpandComing
                  Member
                  Last edited by UpandComing; 08-25-2015, 08:50 PM.
                  "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

                  Comment


                  • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                    and then the Nicholl/Greg re-consider giving out notes...

                    Comment


                    • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                      Originally posted by DarkKnight(OfTheSoul)
                      It's your opinion that the comments were inappropriate and unprofessional. Not mine. Have you ever read a "rotten" movie review on rotten tomatoes? Far worse has been said. Far worse has been said directed at the filmmakers and/or screenwriters, attacking them personally and professionally. In this instance the Nicholl comments were directed at the SCRIPT, not the writer. This is fiction writing. This isn't calling each other names and hurling personal insults on the playground.

                      As far as the point that the notes "should" reach a certain level of professionalism -- the world owes you nothing. A writer pays for notes. The notes could have simply said, "this script blows."

                      Read The Atlantic article posted earlier in this thread. There's no event here. No issue. No scandal. Nothing. It's a thing that is reflective of where our society is currently at, no individual is at fault, this phase will pass, we will evolve, grow, and be born again as big bright shiny star.
                      The note again:

                      "With some judicious alterations, it might make a decent porn picture, as the gals do seem kinda hot, at least on the page."

                      This note is:

                      a) Saying that this script might make a "decent" porn picture with some judicious (meaning: showing good judgment) changes. This implies that the script could or should in some way aspire to be a piece of pornography. Not that it feels like pornography, which would have been a usable note. No -- that it would be awesome if this somehow became a porno.

                      b) Saying that the female characters in the script "seem kinda hot". Not commenting on their personalities. Commenting on their appearance. Last time I checked, how characters look has nothing to do with the quality of story.

                      In summary, these notes do not tell us anything about how good the script is, its level of quality -- they are telling us what the reader thinks they could be as part of some fantasy he/she has. That makes them poor quality notes, and someone paying for notes should expect better (yes, a service does owe you a certain level of quality if you pay for it). It makes no sense to compare this to Rotten Tomatoes reviews; that's a free service.
                      UpandComing
                      Member
                      Last edited by UpandComing; 08-25-2015, 08:45 PM.
                      "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

                      Comment


                      • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                        Originally posted by Ronaldinho View Post
                        Although I disagree with your inference (the writer is, imho, suggesting the characters are not deep enough for non-porn, not that because they're hot, nothing else is appropriate) it is weird to have a comment about the hotness of the characters there, because, I mean, they'd be played by actresses and the vast majority of the actresses who play even "average" women are stunning.
                        Exactly. How the characters look on the page has nothing to do with the quality of the story. Writers aren't involved in casting.
                        "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

                        Comment


                        • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                          Originally posted by jsay View Post
                          and then the Nicholl/Greg re-consider giving out notes...
                          Do you really think that Nicholl is going to reconsider giving out notes because of this one tiny flare-up?

                          All this has done is cause Nicholl to be a bit more cognizant of the quality of a service it is making available on a paid basis for the first time. The organization is not going to stop a major new offering for entrants because of a single Facebook post that most people will forget about by next week -- especially since that offering has (undoubtedly) provided it with lots of extra revenue for running the operation.

                          Anyone who thinks that it will cease the notes must not think the organization has a backbone.
                          "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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                          • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                            Originally posted by DarkKnight(OfTheSoul)
                            Again, these are your subjective opinions. Opinions that myself and many others do not share.
                            Well, Nicholl's final, official response was this:

                            We offer our heartfelt apologies for the offensive comment written by one of the Nicholl script readers. We do not in any way accept or defend this kind of comment. We believe the script note to be completely inappropriate and not in any way constructive.

                            So, Nicholl apparently agrees with me. And frankly, theirs is the only opinion that matters.
                            Originally posted by DarkKnight(OfTheSoul)
                            This is fiction writing. We're talking about fictional female characters in a screenplay. You act as if the reviewer personally insulted the writer herself with derogatory remarks.
                            Really? So comments can only be offensive if they involve real-life people? That makes a lot of sense.

                            Again, the notes were offensive because they made it seem as if the female characters' appearances were a factor for consideration in the script's evaluation.
                            Originally posted by DarkKnight(OfTheSoul)
                            also, to clarify, this is sarcasm, it's a form of humor.
                            But -- for what you just said to qualify as humor, wouldn't it have to be funny?
                            "I love being a writer. What I can't stand is the paperwork.-- Peter De Vries

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                            • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                              Originally posted by FoxHound View Post
                              What's strange is that if the reader had just left out the "They're kinda hot" comment, the porn comment might make perfect sense. If the script's plotless and full of gross-out sex scenes bordering on unfilmable, then that's what most people would say. But by pointing out their appearance, it gives the sexist impression that hot women should just stick to porn.
                              I think we might be missing a point on this screenplay forum. Unless the writer drew pictures, I'm guessing the "they're hot" comment came from their actions in the script and not their physical appearance. And maybe their actions were worthy of a porno?

                              I don't know. I haven't read the script.
                              "I just couldn't live in a world without me."

                              Comment


                              • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                                Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
                                If she had sent a private e-mail, Nicholl could've easily just dashed off something along the lines of "Thank you for bringing this to our attention. We'll take this into consideration."
                                Or, Nicholl could have acted in a satisfying way, more in line with a past history of excellent customer service and concern over equal consideration. We'll never know, because the bazooka option was her first choice, perhaps revealing a more public agenda.

                                Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
                                What more of a response should she wait for?
                                As a quarterfinalist, she had at least three e-mails from the director. Identifying the right person to communicate with does not get any simpler than that.

                                Originally posted by UpandComing View Post
                                This little flare-up isn't going to threaten anything.
                                I wouldn't characterize going to the media that way, but I hope you're right.
                                Last edited by opie; 08-26-2015, 04:49 AM.

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