Saturday, September 04, 2010

The Golden Ticket

Got a letter from the Austin Film Festival today. Aside from a small note of encouragement, my script didn't get very far in the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Competition. Still, I felt pretty good about my chances with Austin. They had about 2,000 fewer entrants than Nicholl and include a genre category. So I open my letter and ...



Okay, maybe it wasn't *that* harsh. But you get idea. I only made it past the first round...

*shrugs*

I was hoping for a few contest placements/wins to pad my query letters, but alas, no such luck. Nobody said this was going to be easy. But I think it’s also important to be realistic. If a script keeps striking out, then maybe it’s the script (or the writer). I can’t remember where I heard this, but some ideas are doomed before FADE IN. There's a lot of truth in that. Honestly, I don’t think that’s the case here. There are some fantastical elements, but the story has broad appeal — execution could be sharper. I’m going to continue pushing it with queries, but at the same time, work on other projects.

P.S.: The letter is the automatic kiss of death. Semi-finalists get phone calls, but I felt like some Kanye-styled rambling.

5 comments:

Mike said...

Been through the same thing you have with this year's contests...left wondering whether it was the script or the writer. And I didn't even get a note from Nicholls, so there you go... :)

However, I did get judge's feedback from the PAGE awards and found it EXTREMELY helpful. It identified, at least, what one judge felt the issue was. That insight has given me a much needed boost of encouragement and direction for improvement.

screamwriter said...

I've heard stories about newbies making it all the way to the Nicholl semi-finals with their very first script, and vets with scripts that are in the semis one year then eliminated the next without even a note. There's a tremendous amount of luck involved.

It's great that you found PAGE's feedback helpful. I might try them next year. One of Austin's selling points was free feedback for scripts making the second round... oh well. Maybe next year as well.

laurie said...

I know how you feel - it is hard news but keep in mind it is NOT personal. It IS very subjective. Austin, Nicholl and very few others are very well respected and that's why they get so many entries. As a writer it's important to be able to bounce back and keep writing! Your genre is hot so don't give up. Maybe there is a comp that specializes in it?

Eric said...

Don't give up on your script like Laurie said this is all subjective. I also received a letter that said I made it to the second round. I really don't know how to feel about it though. The letter said the second round scripts were 10% of the 4400 contestants. I guess you can chalk that up to some type of accomplishment. I look forward to getting my feedback. Maybe it will help me improve my script.

screamwriter said...

@Laurie and @Eric,

I appreciate your kind words. I'm already back in the saddle!

For the life of me, I couldn't figure out why the blog was getting so many hits today... until I happened to check out Austin's facebook page and lo and behold, there's my post. They might not have liked my script, but appears that someone over there is a fan of the blog or Willy Wonka. :)

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