A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

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  • sidgrey
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Well heres what I can tell you - last year I entered competitions WITH feedback and placed in none. This year I entered WITHOUT feedback and placed in 4.

    Leave a comment:


  • purplenurple
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    When I say "money making" categories I don't mean for the writer who is entering I mean for the contest people who have their hand out for something that should be in the entry fee.

    Leave a comment:


  • purplenurple
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Uh oh, my radar is up... The Breakthrough Launchpad contest has a few "extra" features besides the initial script entry fee which by all means you can just simply do that. It has feedback. And it has a few odd money making categories like "sign on" in which if you pay 25 extra dollars your script will be considered for representation by 2 management companies (they listed the 2). Wouldn't placing or winning in a contest help that anyway? Why pay extra? They have the same thing with an "option" category in which a production company will option some person who plunked down the extra 25 dollars. Again, wouldn't this happen anyway if the script was good enough to be a finalist or 1st place? Why pay an extra fee for what the entry fee provides - that is, if good, the script would be considered by various agencies & production companies anyway. It's not like some management company or production company is going to sign someone whose script wasn't good enough to break out of the top 20 or 30 pile. Bottom line you have to have a great script to get noticed so in paying extra does it give you anymore chance of getting noticed? Smells funny to me. How about just entering the contest and getting in the top ten and getting signed traditionally instead of pay extra for certain considerations that won't happen if the script isn't awesome no matter what.

    Leave a comment:


  • cvolante
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    The ultimate feedback is the "Yay" or "Nay" anyway. Words are helpful but it's hard to find a polite way of saying "It was okay, but not good enough."

    Nicholl has always done a great job letting you know if you were in the top 10-15% and what that means, which is the main thing you'd want to know. "Close but no cigar" is a lot more helpful than just a no without any reason. And they do that for free. (Thanks, Greg!)

    Leave a comment:


  • gregbeal
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Originally posted by catcon View Post
    I have never paid for the Nicholl comments because evidently you'd only get a couple for the initial reads, if you don't advance. For $40.

    I'd change my tune if I advanced (never have), because as I understand it if you go to the semis or all the way, you get comments for each step. And still, for $40.

    But I've always been interested in the comments, even for the 2 reads we do receive at a minimum -- but not for $40!

    At the very least, I'd be interested to know if my script's comment was among those published on the FB page.

    So how about this: Let the writer have the comments for the 2 reads, automatically. To help with the cost, add $5 to the entrance fee. This will be approx. 7000 entries x $5, and that should cover it, right? This process is (or should be) pretty automated nowadays.

    Then, maybe charge $35 for the rest of the bundle of comments.

    Just a suggestion.
    Thanks for the suggestions. Most are not feasible given the current state of our database and a lack of resources that makes it difficult to introduce changes.

    Leave a comment:


  • catcon
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Originally posted by gregbeal View Post
    In part, to begin to recover the costs of modifying the Nicholl database to make the comments available.
    In part, to break even on the cost of reading (we spend more on reading than entry fees provide for every script entered by the early and regular deadlines).
    In part, because some writers have told us they have no interest in receiving comments.
    In part, to feel as if the staff is receiving some additional compensation (we actually aren't) for checking the comments and providing regular feedback to the readers.
    I have never paid for the Nicholl comments because evidently you'd only get a couple for the initial reads, if you don't advance. For $40.

    I'd change my tune if I advanced (never have), because as I understand it if you go to the semis or all the way, you get comments for each step. And still, for $40.

    But I've always been interested in the comments, even for the 2 reads we do receive at a minimum -- but not for $40!

    At the very least, I'd be interested to know if my script's comment was among those published on the FB page.

    So how about this: Let the writer have the comments for the 2 reads, automatically. To help with the cost, add $5 to the entrance fee. This will be approx. 7000 entries x $5, and that should cover it, right? This process is (or should be) pretty automated nowadays.

    Then, maybe charge $35 for the rest of the bundle of comments.

    Just a suggestion.
    Last edited by catcon; 08-11-2016, 10:27 AM.

    Leave a comment:


  • FoxHound
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Originally posted by Strangerthanfiction View Post
    The guy who won the Script Pipeline grand prize in 2014 failed to make the quarter finals of Screencraft Horror 2014 with the exact same script. I know this for a fact because I saw him complaining in the comments section that he didn't think they'd read his script (boy was he cross). They responded confirming that his script had indeed been fully read, and sympathizing with him that he didn't make the cut. Anyway, it's all so subjective. One man's junk is another man's gold.
    It's funny. If you read most contest winners, I bet you'll find yourself with a big WTF expression on your face. Even though they're professionally written, the vast majority are unfilmable. The story and characters just aren't good enough. The (obvious) fact of the matter is amateurs just don't write epic scripts (which is why they're called amateurs).

    Leave a comment:


  • Goliath
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Just curious, why is there usually a page limit (120) for script contests? Because most of the top scripts/movies (almost all the Top 100 films on IMDb anyway) have a running time beyond 2 hours.

    PS: I don't have a 120 page screenplay. But should I?

    Leave a comment:


  • cvolante
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Food for thought: think about your friends and/or family who sometimes don't want to read your scripts because they feel it's a weird format or they're busy or whatever. Bottom line, they like you but they don't want to read your script.


    Now think about people who are willing to read tons of scripts. From strangers, for very little pay, in a short amount of time. They're giving up their writing time to read scripts.

    Why would they do this if they didn't care? They are usually screenwriters as well and know what it feels like. These people open each script wanting to be on your side. They wouldn't be involved if they weren't interested - they could probably make more money working just about anywhere else.

    Leave a comment:


  • Strangerthanfiction
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    The guy who won the Script Pipeline grand prize in 2014 failed to make the quarter finals of Screencraft Horror 2014 with the exact same script. I know this for a fact because I saw him complaining in the comments section that he didn't think they'd read his script (boy was he cross). They responded confirming that his script had indeed been fully read, and sympathizing with him that he didn't make the cut. Anyway, it's all so subjective. One man's junk is another man's gold.
    Last edited by Strangerthanfiction; 08-03-2016, 08:14 AM. Reason: Cos I like to edit stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • carcar
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Agreed, for the most part. But I did once win $2500 from a small niche contest in its second year. It was very specifically geared toward the subject matter of that script, and the entry fee wasn't very high. And I got a nice dinner, stood up at a podium and got a nice little trophy, and met an Oscar-winning screenwriter. And also connected with the core audience for that script. It was worth it for me.

    But most of them are a mess.

    So, due diligence.

    Leave a comment:


  • glantern2814
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Instead of the universal "don't enter contests," try doing some research. I've never heard complaints about how the majors -- Nicholl, Disney, Austin, Sundance, a few others -- are run. But you shouldn't be entering small contests that no one has heard of anyway -- it's a waste of money and doesn't give you any juice in terms of marketing your script.

    Leave a comment:


  • muckraker
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    The OP happens to be correct in his/her assumption that some contests pay more attention to the scripts where the writers pay for notes than those that don't. In the past I have read for more than one contest where readers were paid at a lesser rate to speed read a certain number of pages and apply a simple score to entries, whereas those requiring notes were read in their entirety.

    That said, NO I am not at liberty to disclose which specific contests, as I signed confidentiality agreements. And besides this was several years ago and I do not know if it still is the case today. And none of them are what one would consider "top tier."

    But what is the point of this "paranoia", really? As others have already said better than I can, it's a crap shoot and contests are one of a few ways to get your script read and noticed, which as newbie writers is our Job One. Even a skim-read script that is compelling can earn a high score, and move on to rounds where it will be read.

    Do your due diligence and enter what you will under circumstances of your own choosing. Even if your script is read all the way, painstakingly, who's to say it's not by some idiot with no sense of story?

    Leave a comment:


  • FoxHound
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    I got to the finals (top 1.5%) of a top 10 contest without asking for the additional feedback option.

    Worry about subjectivity, not the readers skimming. I still remember that story about a Nicholl top 50 script that couldn't even get a positive read the very next year.

    Leave a comment:


  • carcar
    replied
    Re: A Little Contest Paranoia For Ya

    Oh, look, Nurple, I'm sorry but you're making it easy.

    The poorly run, illegit contests die eventually. There's a Distant Early Warning system called other screenwriters on the Internet and a measured consensus generally brings them down. And there's always some guy shouting about this thing or that thing being rigged.

    But when people say, yes, this experience gave me a measurable step forward in my career, and I'm glad I did it, but I built my own career by using it a stepping stone-- And you say that's not good enough for you, you want someone who got a huge deal... well, you just got good information that you're ignoring. I'm going to take that information and weigh the costs vs. the benefits and see what I can risk.

    I just took a flyer on something I'd read about for years. I followed what I thought was the most effective procedure based on what I'd read. It didn't work for me, but I did get something that yes, I did use from it. And one more thing that helped was getting notice the day before that the same project that just tanked in this one, moved on in that one. I mean, who's right?

    I mean, good for you for giving Craigslist a go. I wouldn't. But I have made some money in contests. I'm not in love with them, I'd rather go another way, but I go to Vegas every year for a gig, and instead of gambling there, I come home and put it on the Nicholl. It's a horse-race, so some God-given gifts, some hard work, some talent and some luck all come into play. Don't expect too much from them and they won't disappoint you. It's just one avenue.

    ETA: That's good information about your experience with Craigslist. I mean it. It helps people make a rational decision.

    ETA: If a contest reader only reads 10, or 15 or 30 pages of your script because they have to, that's still at least 7 more than the average exec will give you. If you don't think you can get a lowly script reader past that... then don't enter a contest. You have work to do.

    Leave a comment:

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