Last week brought an end to my adventures in screenplay contests for 2010. Looking back at the roller coaster ride, it pretty much met my expectations. The improved draft had limited success in the mainstream competitions, but once again, fared very well in genre oriented contests. It kinda feels like having the hottest girlfriend on your block... only to discover she's 800th hottest in a 3 block radius — right behind the blue-haired, cat-hoarding lady with the nasty boils. It's all relative, I guess. Third time's the charm?
Being a finalist, semi-finalist or quarter-finalist is cool and all, however, it doesn't carry the same amount of clout as winning. And surprisingly, even a win at the First Annual Bloody Pumpkin Screenplay Competition won't open a lot of doors. Sure, there are Cinderella stories about losing scripts being plucked out of obscurity, getting produced and winding up in theaters — Brooklyn's Finest comes to mind — but the odds aren't in our favor. I tried pimping my placement in a little contest last year... no dice. We'll see if my luck is any better this year. Already sent a couple of queries out... checking my inbox like a madman.
And to be fair, not every Austin, Nicholl and PAGE winner gets a sale and lives happily ever after. There is no easy road to success. Try anything and everything. Repeat. Rinse. I'll go for Nicholl again with a tweaked draft, and with a more conventional supernatural thriller — no creatures — that should be ready in time.