Nicholl 2015...

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  • Re: Nicholl 2015...

    I had quite the mixed bag with one reader uses words such as "brilliant, pitch perfect, fantastic, and page-turner" and another "redundant, slow-paced, unoriginal." A good lesson on the subjectivity of script evaluation. Kudos to anyone who had consistent comments and best of luck to those awaiting phone calls!

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    • Re: Nicholl 2015...

      I crashed out first round with the disheartening 'one positive read'. But it was my first attempt at the Nicholl, and having read the notes it wasn't quite as dismal as I'd assumed. My script was a take on a slightly contentious public figure, and one reader clearly struggled to look past that. Which is completely fine, as I suspect the larger public would similarly be split 50/50 on this story.

      For anyone out there still wondering about the $40 for notes, well $40 for one person is feeding their kids for a week; for others it's a Friday night. I'm glad I paid for mine simply because they highlighted how divisive the script potentially is, and how as a writer I haven't done enough to get past that. Plus my main character is pretty hard to like (think Greenberg) and whilst I hoped we were all living in a cool, cynical, post-heroic age, both sets of comments made it clear we aren't - or at least the rest of the script would have to be mind-blowingly good to compensate. Which mine clearly isn't.

      So on balance I'd say they are worth paying for, but don't expect them to give you a detailed roadmap of how to turn your script around.
      My stuff

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      • Re: Nicholl 2015...

        Originally posted by jcpdoc View Post
        I had quite the mixed bag with one reader uses words such as "brilliant, pitch perfect, fantastic, and page-turner" and another "redundant, slow-paced, unoriginal." A good lesson on the subjectivity of script evaluation. Kudos to anyone who had consistent comments and best of luck to those awaiting phone calls!
        This echoes my notes. I had three reads, the first of which was extremely positive, while the second and third were more "meh". It was very insightful as each reader came in with their own expectations (as does everybody) and their reactions reflected that. I definitely think the notes were well worth the $40 and appreciate that they've been made available.

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        • Re: Nicholl 2015...

          Could someone tell me what, exactly, is meant by Nicholl readers when they refer to the "flow" of the script?

          The context is this feedback from what was likely the "positive" read to my comedy: "Conceptually this is a strong story with a cool idea, and I think the execution of this idea, while not perfect, is still pretty solid. The craft is weaker though. The description, the flow of the script, the structure, all need work...."

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          • Re: Nicholl 2015...

            Originally posted by datahog View Post
            Could someone tell me what, exactly, is meant by Nicholl readers when they refer to the "flow" of the script?

            The context is this feedback from what was likely the "positive" read to my comedy: "Conceptually this is a strong story with a cool idea, and I think the execution of this idea, while not perfect, is still pretty solid. The craft is weaker though. The description, the flow of the script, the structure, all need work...."
            I'd hazard a guess that it's the sense of one moment/scene/sequence naturally taking us into the next one, building a sense of pace and momentum. If you have scene after scene where each feels like a separate sketch, or where a new character is introduced in each one then disappears - that would disturb the 'flow' of the script. Or if you had several short scenes intercut with several really long scenes, suggesting that you have no control over the material, or that you're not seeing this as an actual film but just pages in a script.

            Alternatively it could just mean that the writing was a little dense and hard to follow, meaning it was difficult to read. Big chunks of text for page after page don't exactly flow.

            Probably best to get second eyes on it, don't tell the reader about the Nicholl comments and then see if they say similar things.
            My stuff

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            • Re: Nicholl 2015...

              Thanks Jon Jay. I'd previously obtained three Black List evaluations (7,7,5 overall scores) for the script and none had mentioned "flow" or description issues or the issues you've raised as possibilities. But you could be right nonetheless. Will go read the script again ...

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              • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                Hi Greg - a lot writers (both women and men) in the community are really concerned about comments a quarterfinalist received on her script. See below:

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

                This type of comment is not what I would expect from a Nicholl reader. Will this person be reading for future Nicholl fellowships?

                Edited to add: May want to do some damage control, this is really blowing up on Facebook. Whomever is representing the Nicholl on social media is hopefully not speaking for the entire organization. I've only had a positive and respectful experience with the Nicholl, so this is all pretty shocking.
                Last edited by BKDodger; 08-24-2015, 07:32 PM.

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                • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                  Originally posted by AE35-Unit View Post
                  My six were pretty much right in line with each other. Got dinged on one for some (clears throat) grammatical errors. Two brought up the slightly episodic execution of the script. Another brought up I needed a better throughline. But overall I was super-stoked because never before have six people collectively agreed anything I've done was good.

                  I am hopeful it will be a finalist. Yet I know there are better scripts in the mix, and I won't be disappointed if it doesn't advance. It's been a thrill-ride that money can't buy. And I am humbled.
                  Good luck! Although "better scripts" is subjective. Keep up the good work.

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                  • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                    Originally posted by BKDodger View Post
                    Hi Greg - a lot writers (both women and men) in the community are really concerned about comments a quarterfinalist received on her script. See below:

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

                    This type of comment is not what I would expect from a Nicholl reader. Will this person be reading for future Nicholl fellowships?

                    Edited to add: May want to do some damage control, this is really blowing up on Facebook. Whomever is representing the Nicholl on social media is hopefully not speaking for the entire organization. I've only had a positive and respectful experience with the Nicholl, so this is all pretty shocking.
                    I am incredibly shocked. I need to hear that the admin writing the "defense" was fired. And I need to hear that that reader is never touching another Nicholl entry, ever.
                    "You have idea 1, you're excited. It flops. You have idea 99, you're excited. It flops.
                    Only a fool is excited by the 100th idea. Fools keep trying. God rewards fools." --Martin Hellman, paraphrased

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                    • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                      Originally posted by WaitForIt View Post
                      I am incredibly shocked. I need to hear that the admin writing the "defense" was fired. And I need to hear that that reader is never touching another Nicholl entry, ever.
                      Agreed. I wrote the original post before the Academy responded....and when they did, my jaw dropped. Very disrespectful.

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                      • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                        My notes were mixed too but there is a good amount there that I plan to incorporate. It would be cool to see the scores along with each review, although I suppose there are specific reasons why those aren't published. Onwards.
                        Last edited by opie; 08-25-2015, 04:59 AM.

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                        • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                          A recap of the the controversy on Facebook - A post by Rachel Koller:

                          "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."

                          Someone responded to Rachel on behalf of the Nicholl, in support of the review, which support all posters believed made the controversy worse. The Academy deleted the defending posts and offered this apology:

                          To Rachel Koller and all other writers:
                          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. We also apologize for the tone and content of the initial responses to this post as they were not authorized and do not reflect our organization's values. We are taking appropriate steps to address this situation.

                          Then Rachel posted the reviewer's comments in their entirety:

                          Rachel Koller
                          If anyone was curious about the context, the full note is here:
                          "It's great to see a group of four women friends take on the sophistication level of THE HANGOVER. Seriously, the gals here drink a bunch and have a lot of fun, but there is not nearly enough density to carry the piece. There is a big secret that has spoiled the friendship between two of the gals, and it turns out that the slutty one slept with the fiancee of the one who is getting divorced. Wow, quite the reveal.
                          The prose maintains a brisk pace, though often at the expense of any great detail. It is conversational in tone, and we instantly understand who these people are and what we are dealing with, not that that is saying alot. The vocabulary utilized is not particuarly stylish - rather, it can best be described as casually utilitarian.
                          There is some fun banter, especially at the outset of the story. The four freinds are distinct, and they emerge as real people over the course of the screenplay. That said, there is not a helluva lot of insight into la condition humane here - people get jealous when their mates are unfaithful. Got it.
                          When it is drunk, which is often, this script might believe that it compares with BRIDESMAIDS, but in the sober light of day, this is much more simplistic. The drunken conversations in the college bars go on for days, with no plot advancement taking place.
                          With some judicious alterations, it might make a decent porn picture, as the gals do seem kinda hot, at least on the page."

                          This FB post is typical of the many who responded to the controversy: "It's 2015. It's disgusting that these comments were not only made but defended by the Nicholl rep. Unbelievable."

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                          • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                            While what was written by the reader was certainly unprofessional, running to Mashable with it was just as unprofessional on her part.

                            http://mashable.com/2015/08/25/acade...52NmpnbmFwdSJ9
                            Last edited by AE35-Unit; 08-25-2015, 09:51 AM.
                            We gain our innocence by taking yours.

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                            • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                              I wonder if the 'buy notes' option will still be around next year...
                              My stuff

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                              • Re: Nicholl 2015...

                                I doubt it. But who knows? Her phone is probably ringing off the hook with read requests.
                                We gain our innocence by taking yours.

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