Nicholl 2019

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  • Nicholl 2019

    Looks like they're opened for entries.

    https://www.oscars.org/nicholl

    Anybody in? May the wind be at your back.

  • #2
    Re: Nicholl 2019

    Always in.
    You can't win if you don't play, as they say.

    Good luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Nicholl 2019

      Sheesh, in the old days didn't something titled "Nicholl" usually generate epic threads equivalent to the BlackList tomes of 2012-13?

      Anyway, through my own querying I had 9 different scripts being read this month. After all, I write 6 scripts per year for cryin' out loud, and since I retired all I do is write/polish/pitch. But I just received passes on 4 of them in the past few days, so maybe I'll try Nicholl again. It would be my first time since 2015 or 2016.

      I've got so many I'd like to send, though. I know the strategy is to drop your "best" on them, but it's inevitable how our "best" gets all wrapped up in our internal political determinations.

      And not that I have the moolah to submit their max 3 scripts, but I kind of wish they had a rule to let us resubmit things that didn't count against that limit. I've made major polishes to a couple of goodies that they saw in 2014, but I'm not going to resubmit them so as to take the place of a newer script ... ie. that perfectly political script that I'm convinced will sway them in today's environment.

      Arrgh!

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Nicholl 2019

        Probably because they only prefer certain types of scripts. Many writers have opted for the other contests where they have a much better shot with the type of scripts they write.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Nicholl 2019

          Originally posted by Friday View Post
          Probably because they only prefer certain types of scripts. Many writers have opted for the other contests where they have a much better shot with the type of scripts they write.
          What type of script does Nicholl prefer?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Nicholl 2019

            Originally posted by Iceman View Post
            What type of script does Nicholl prefer?
            Here’s part of what the Academy Nicholl Fellowship rules say about it the type of scripts it prefers:

            “One copy of an original feature film screenplay uploaded as a PDF file. The feature screenplay should be in standard industry format (12 point Courier) and no shorter than 70 pages and no longer than 160 pages. Suggested page count is 80 to 125; scripts exceeding 125 pages may have their length counted against them. Submissions must have been written originally in English; translations will not be accepted. No multi-part scripts should be submitted unless each part can be read as a separate, stand-alone screenplay.

            Submissions must be the original work of the entrant(s) and may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced or unproduced. Entries may, however, be adapted from the entrant’s (or entrants’) original work, which should be noted in the logline required on the application form. Entries lacking a logline on the application form will be disqualified.

            If the script is based on a true story, historical or contemporary, the "based on true story/events" button should be selected within the online application form.

            Collaborative work by two writers who share equally in its creation is eligible. Collaborative work for which one writer developed the idea and another writer wrote the screenplay is not eligible. Collaborative work by three or more writers is not eligible. The collaborator’s name must be added during the online application process. Writing partners selected as fellows will divide the fellowship stipend equally.

            The entrant’s name, address, phone number or any other identifying information should not appear on the title page or any other page of the script. Placing a Library of Congress or WGA registration number on the title page is acceptable but not required.”

            It sounds as though the only “type” of scripts the Academy Nicholl Fellowship wants are those that are original stories and that abide by their formatting requirements. It’s difficult to know precisely what “Friday” meant by the comment on thread post #4.
            "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: Nicholl 2019

              Originally posted by TigerFang View Post
              Here's part of what the Academy Nicholl Fellowship rules say about it the type of scripts it prefers:

              "One copy of an original feature film screenplay uploaded as a PDF file. The feature screenplay should be in standard industry format (12 point Courier) and no shorter than 70 pages and no longer than 160 pages. Suggested page count is 80 to 125; scripts exceeding 125 pages may have their length counted against them. Submissions must have been written originally in English; translations will not be accepted. No multi-part scripts should be submitted unless each part can be read as a separate, stand-alone screenplay.

              Submissions must be the original work of the entrant(s) and may not be based, in whole or in part, on any other fiction or nonfiction material, published or unpublished, produced or unproduced. Entries may, however, be adapted from the entrant's (or entrants') original work, which should be noted in the logline required on the application form. Entries lacking a logline on the application form will be disqualified.

              If the script is based on a true story, historical or contemporary, the "based on true story/events" button should be selected within the online application form.

              Collaborative work by two writers who share equally in its creation is eligible. Collaborative work for which one writer developed the idea and another writer wrote the screenplay is not eligible. Collaborative work by three or more writers is not eligible. The collaborator's name must be added during the online application process. Writing partners selected as fellows will divide the fellowship stipend equally.

              The entrant's name, address, phone number or any other identifying information should not appear on the title page or any other page of the script. Placing a Library of Congress or WGA registration number on the title page is acceptable but not required.-

              It sounds as though the only "type- of scripts the Academy Nicholl Fellowship wants are those that are original stories and that abide by their formatting requirements. It's difficult to know precisely what "Friday- meant by the comment on thread post #4.

              Bwahahahahahha!!!!!!!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Nicholl 2019

                Originally posted by nativeson View Post
                Bwahahahahahha!!!!!!!
                "Go to the edge of the cliff and jump off. Build your wings on the way down.- - Ray Bradbury

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: Nicholl 2019

                  this is just my opinion, but i do think Nicholl prefers a 'type' of story. And when i say this, i in no way mean that these are not quality stories worth winning or placing.

                  independent leanings
                  lower budget
                  smaller cast
                  non-specific location (ie small town vs multiple, big city)
                  character driven focus vs plot driven
                  internal struggle (journey) stronger than external (journey)
                  primary genres drama and comedy

                  here is a link to their judging criteria. https://www.oscars.org/nicholl/about

                  clearly, i do not have empirical knowledge. it's just what i believe after reviewing loglines.

                  there's no way to know what the overall submissions are, but i think anyone might reasonably assume that since it is the most prestigious amateur competition that everyone, regardless of genre, would enter.

                  then again, i didn't, so maybe there are others that feel as i do. don't know.

                  so, imo, if you write or have written a high concept, highly commercial, epic sci-fi/fantasy, or high budget plot driven script (yes, i know plot is driven by character), maybe this is not the competition for you.

                  and, just because you don't win or place in the Nicholl does not mean you aren't an excellent writer or your story isn't amazing. it's still very subjective.

                  what i think is interesting is writers submit the same script year after year. i understand if it's gone through an overhaul rewrite, maybe, but i read one person who said they sent in the same script twice and both times they were a semifinalist. i mean, if you're a semifinalist i'm pretty sure you get to keep the title forever, right? it's just a curious thing to me.

                  i'll bet there've been writers who placed then submitted the next year and didn't place at all, right? like, count your blessings-- i mean, it's that subjective.

                  or even a writer who entered one year didn't place and the next year did, right?

                  maybe i'd feel different if i was a semi and really wanted to get the win. but it's like, okay, you tried twice, move on and accept your place. they've already told you you were good.

                  maybe it's the fellowship they're after?
                  "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Nicholl 2019

                    this is just my opinion, but i do think Nicholl prefers a 'type' of story. And when i say this, i in no way mean that these are not quality stories worth winning or placing.

                    All else being equal, I think you're going to do better with straightforward dramas and thrillers than you are with comedies or crazy sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I also think the committee nature of the judging process means you're going to want to skew risk-averse. A script that gets a 7/10 from 10 random readers is going to fare much better in a competition like this than a polarizing script that gets a 10/10 from 2 readers and a 4/10 from the other 8. The Nicholl is not the ideal platform for your "Tim and Eric Awesome Show", "Eric Andre Show", or "Hobo With a Shotgun" type of material. You're going to want to think more in terms of hitting all four quadrants.

                    As for the subjectivity, I've submitted the same script three times with minimal changes. One year it got top 10%. The next year it got top 15%. The next year it didn't even make the top 20%, though it was noted to have received at least one positive review. For the sake of comparison, this is a script that averaged slightly below a 7 overall when I put it up on the Black List and got a bunch of evaluations.

                    There's a crapshoot aspect to the competition, but I do think there's a general correlation between quality and results. I've really pivoted towards TV writing and pilots, but I may barf something out in April just to chuck into the Nicholl since it's such a great opportunity for exposure if you happen to run deep.
                    Last edited by DaltWisney; 03-02-2019, 05:41 PM.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Nicholl 2019

                      Originally posted by DaltWisney View Post
                      All else being equal, I think you're going to do better with straightforward dramas and thrillers than you are with comedies or crazy sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I also think the committee nature of the judging process means you're going to want to skew risk-averse. A script that gets a 7/10 from 10 random readers is going to fare much better in a competition like this than a polarizing script that gets a 10/10 from 2 readers and a 4/10 from the other 8. The Nicholl is not the ideal platform for your "Tim and Eric Awesome Show", "Eric Andre Show", or "Hobo With a Shotgun" type of material. You're going to want to think more in terms of hitting all four quadrants.

                      As for the subjectivity, I've submitted the same script three times with minimal changes. One year it got top 10%. The next year it got top 15%. The next year it didn't even make the top 20%, though it was noted to have received at least one positive review. For the sake of comparison, this is a script that averaged slightly below a 7 overall when I put it up on the Black List and got a bunch of evaluations.

                      There's a crapshoot aspect to the competition, but I do think there's a general correlation between quality and results. I've really pivoted towards TV writing and pilots, but I may barf something out in April just to chuck into the Nicholl since it's such a great opportunity for exposure if you happen to run deep.
                      interesting. another aspect i considered is the comment in the guidelines where they say "do you think the writer has the potential to be a professional writer." all along i thought they were judging against pro level, so that was new news.

                      i've run through a number of the loglines and i don't consider them 4-quad movies at all. they aren't going to hit the under 25 male and female. typically 4Q are tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean, Lion King, Titanic, Armageddon, Men In Black, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and not all big budget, for example, The Sixth Sense was a knock out-- i think of that as 4Q.

                      i think you're smart to move into TV writing, probably a good idea for any feature writer to show that they can do both, and they are different from each other. I'll be working on a new pilot later this year myself.

                      interesting conversation.
                      "Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist,- Pablo Picasso

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Nicholl 2019

                        Originally posted by DaltWisney View Post
                        All else being equal, I think you're going to do better with straightforward dramas and thrillers than you are with comedies or crazy sci-fi/fantasy stuff. I also think the committee nature of the judging process means you're going to want to skew risk-averse. A script that gets a 7/10 from 10 random readers is going to fare much better in a competition like this than a polarizing script that gets a 10/10 from 2 readers and a 4/10 from the other 8. The Nicholl is not the ideal platform for your "Tim and Eric Awesome Show", "Eric Andre Show", or "Hobo With a Shotgun" type of material. You're going to want to think more in terms of hitting all four quadrants.

                        As for the subjectivity, I've submitted the same script three times with minimal changes. One year it got top 10%. The next year it got top 15%. The next year it didn't even make the top 20%, though it was noted to have received at least one positive review. For the sake of comparison, this is a script that averaged slightly below a 7 overall when I put it up on the Black List and got a bunch of evaluations.

                        There's a crapshoot aspect to the competition, but I do think there's a general correlation between quality and results. I've really pivoted towards TV writing and pilots, but I may barf something out in April just to chuck into the Nicholl since it's such a great opportunity for exposure if you happen to run deep.
                        Yaz. This. Plus, if you've got one of those social issue topics, you're in!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: Nicholl 2019

                          Originally posted by finalact4 View Post
                          i've run through a number of the loglines and i don't consider them 4-quad movies at all. they aren't going to hit the under 25 male and female. typically 4Q are tentpole Pirates of the Caribbean, Lion King, Titanic, Armageddon, Men In Black, Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and not all big budget, for example, The Sixth Sense was a knock out-- i think of that as 4Q.

                          I didn't mean four quadrant in the conventional sense of some huge blockbuster. What I meant is a script that will be relatively satisfying to everyone without offending or alienating anyone.

                          Maybe we can use food as an analogy. Almost everyone likes pizza and ice cream. On the other hand, sushi is a slightly more niche thing. Some people are really passionate about it, but other people find the mere thought of it repulsive.

                          As far as the Nicholl goes, I think you want a script that's more pizza than sushi. In order to make a deep run in the competition, your script needs to earn high marks from a variety of judges, who each have their own tastes and preferences. With that being the case, something really bizarre or off-center is unlikely to clear all those different hurdles. On the other hand, a well-executed and relatively safe script should do pretty well.

                          You can argue that this is both a strength and weakness of the Nicholl, as winners are likely to be solid scripts, yet some of the stuff that has strong niche potential will probably flame out. You wouldn't necessarily expect an Inception, Donnie Darko, Idiocracy, Drive, Fight Club, There Will Be Blood, Royal Tenebaums, Step Brothers, or Moonlight to dominate in this type of competition. These are NOT necessarily films that I love (or even like), but they've been relatively successful in some respects despite featuring content and creative choices that are likely to repel some people.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Nicholl 2019

                            Hey guys! First of all, I'm beyond happy to be a spectator on this one. I hope one (or more) of you becomes a fellow this year - I'm rooting for you! My script that won last year (and also won Austin) was indeed what I would consider more niche or independent due to the setting, characters and subject matter. However, I've heard from so many people that it's a thriller at heart and a "page turner" and has served as an incredible calling card/writing sample for me. Winning the Nicholl has changed my life. I am currently repped by UTA who read my Nicholl script and asked what else I had. Because I've been writing for so long and have a big body of work in multiple genres I was able to send them a high concept comedy (which won PAGE gold in 2011) and those two scripts landed me my feature agents. I also had a tv pilot that was a finalist in the sundance episodic labs and that added a tv agent in the same company.

                            During the Nicholl week (and the week following) last November I went on 30 general meetings with all the major studios and many amazing production companies with these three writing samples. I subsequently went on another 15 generals in Juanuary. Needless to say I went from never meeting a producer to having 45 meetings under my belt. It's been an incredibly surreal, exciting, exhausting and sometimes nerve-wracking experience. (I'm a full blown introvert)

                            In the last 3 months, I've pitched on an open assignment to a major studio (my first pitch.) I've read half a dozen books sent to me to consider for adaptation. I've had multiple producers reach out to me to work on their tv projects and (knock on wood) I think I'm optioning one of my specs next week. I love my agents, they work extremely hard for me and I feel they have my back. I don't have a manager. I am not yet in the union.

                            It's HAPPENING!!!

                            As far as the Nicholl goes, I've been applying since 2003 and rarely with the same script twice. I've submitted dramas, comedies, horror, family adventure, etc. The main thing I've noticed is that I slowly started going from no placement to QF to SF to a win over the course of the years, no matter what genre. I became a better writer, chose better scripts and maybe just got a little luckier this time around.

                            I'm very proud of myself and my accomplishments. My family is proud of me. I'm excited to transition to a working professional writer and I'm ready to do the work. I struggle with anxiety and self-doubt and the hustle is not easy for this old lady but I've worked hard to get here and I'm going to ride this opportunity out to the fullest.

                            Good luck to all of you.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Nicholl 2019

                              That's amazing wenonah! Congratulations! What a testament to perseverance.

                              Did you learn anything particularly important over the years of writing and submitting that you think might be helpful?

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