Sunday, March 12, 2006

Writers on the Storm - The Blog!


We're hoping to roll out a significant increase in the Writers on the Storm prizes soon. We're adding some pretty neat new goodies. If you have any questions or comments, leave them here! Contest deadline is approaching fast -- April 15th.We're pretty encouraged so far. We're seeing some real good writing coming in. But of course there's still room for more!

27 comments:

Charlie P said...

first! hey so i have a doper comedy and it's pretty good i guess, but it's not typical contest stuff, so should i enter it?

Jim Cirile said...

Hi Charlie! Hey, as a fan of "Cheech and Chong" and "Harold and Kumar," I say, go for it! We're definitely not necessarily looking for the typical contest script, we're just looking for stuff that's good. I love commercial movies. At the end of the day, we want to present the execs and agents on our list a rockin' script that someone might actually make, you know? A good stoner comedy might be right up there with a well-done period drama. We're cool with all that. Thanks!

Umark said...

i am not a native enligh speaker but i would like enter the contest too. my script is 3 men on a raft afte a shipreck and it is very scary and also supernaturl because on of men is not from the earth. please also tell me if speaking of the language import.

Anita from Long Beach said...

Hi folks, I want to know if you have female readers. My script ios very female-specific and I am worried I might get a man who just stops reading after 5 pages. What do you do in this situation. Does a reader ever say this isn't for me and give it to someone else? How many times does a script get read in the contest? I guess I am just worried that I wiull get a fair shake because I've entered a couple of other contests but haven't gotten anywhere. Sorry for all the questions!

merrilyman said...

do you prefer to get entries online or in the mail?...

Portia Jefferson said...

Hi Anita...

We have several strong professional female readers, but ALL our readers are fair and objective. They are well regarded in the industry. The scripts are evaluated on premise, structure, character, dialogue, and overall writing style... A reader may chose to hand a script to another reader if he or she has already read the script before or if he or she knows the author. Other than that, ALL scripts are evaluated fairly based on the script's merits... You will ABSOLUTELY get a fair shake... thank you and good luck!

Portia Jefferson said...

merrilyman,

Writers on The Storm welcomes both online and snail mail submissions. Makes no difference to us - whatever works best for you...

good luck!...

jennywriter said...

my script is over 136 pages... I know I have to pay an extra $10, but will the length of the script hurt my chances in the contest?

Portia Jefferson said...

Hey Jennywriter,

136 pages is a bit long. Most scripts in Hollywood these days come in under 110 pages. Some may go up to 120, but 110 is more the norm. Comedies are even shorter - coming in at anywhere from 95-105 pages. Sometimes when a script is too long, it means that the structure may be off - a rambling second act, a first act that needs to be tightened or a third act that feels like an entirely new movie... That being said, we will read EVERY page of every script submitted. We love to read good stories - no matter what the length.

BUT, as you can imagine, readers would rather read a tight, 110 page script than a 136 page script. Better to try and tighten it up. You still have a month!...

Good luck.

Gillie said...

Can I enter a short? I have a 55 page short drama.

Portia Jefferson said...

gillie,

sorry... unfortunately, we are looking for feature-length scripts... perhaps you can add another forty or so pages of compelling action and emotion to your drama in the next month...

lastpoets said...

I've heard that the first ten pages of a script have to be the best, and that some readers don't read any further if they don't like the first ten... Is this true?

Jim Cirile said...

last,

Yes and no. The first ten pages definitely need to grab you. You need to start with a "hook" that tells the reader why the script is special, unique, interesting.

Some folks do indeed stop reading after the first ten (or less.) This is called "first ten, last five." We here at Writers on the Storm generally try to read the whole script before passing judgment, unless it's just unreadable or simply not working at all in the first half with no chance of getting better.

But keep in mind, yes, that first impression is critical.

Jim Cirile said...

umark,

You can tell a good story regardless of whether you are a native language speaker. But it is important to make sure your English syntax, grammar, etc., are correct. It's hard enough to get people to pay attention to your story in LA (because there are just so many writers trying to do the exact same thing as you.) You don't want someone to dismiss a great story without giving it a real chance because the English is not up to snuff.

You need to do everything possible to make sure your story has a fighting chance. If English is not your native language I recommend either finding a writing partner who is a native English speaker, who can help you clean up your script, (a good place to look might be your local university--you can post on a bulletin board) or else you can hire a professional proofreader/editor, although that can be expensive.

anita, boston said...

i have a lot of ideas. but i kind of just want to work on my own ideas and am worried that i might have to do the other person's ideas and then that wouldn't work out. my ideas are very commerical and highconcept but i am just having a p[roblem getting past act 2 and would like to maybe get some help. i don't know. how would i even find someone. well if anyone has any ideas let me know

Jim Cirile said...

Anita,

I'm not exactly sure what your question is. Are you considering finding a writing partner but are worried that person might not be a good fit with your ideas? If so, then you need to understand give and take needs to be a part of any collaboration. Hopefully the other person will bring good new ideas to the mix and the sum of the whole will be stronger than each of the parts. Just make sure you both listen to each other and not just dismiss ideas out of hand. Writing with a partner is a smart move and it can really help you when you get stuck. Who knows, you might even enjoy working on the other person's ideas.

Matthew C said...

Hello to Portia and Jim and Coverage Ink team,

My name is Matthew Czerniawski. Can you please excplain how the contest works if i sendin a script to coverage ink. it's automatically entered in the contest. Then waht happens when I get the coverage back. Let's say I got a consider. Thank you, I really appreciate this contest, getting a second chance to get it right!

Jim Cirile said...

Hi Matt! Here's the scoop:

Yes, eny script submitted to Coverage Ink is automatically entered into the contest. If it scores a Consider with Reservations or better (for script), which iu roughly the top 10%, then it is moved to the quarterfinal round, where it will be read again by a Writers on the Storm judge.

However, if the writer does get a Consider with Reservations or better, the writer also has a choice here. The writer can either let the script advance as is, OR he/she can do a polish based on the notes and then resubmit, (hopefully) bettering their odds.

If the writer opts to do that, then they have to re-enter the script into the contest (at www.writerstorm.com) and they would also have to pay the $35 entry fee since it would be a fresh read or a new draft. If they opt not to do that, we simply advance the script as-is to the next round and let the WoS judges evaluate it along with all the other quarterfinalists.

But yes, it DOES mean you get a second )or in some cases third or fourth) chance!

If this is unclear feel free to contact us!

Anonymous said...

Lets say the script is really good, i mean the dialouge is good, the concept is amazing and it even could bring a tear to your eye, then lets say exactly 2 words are misspelled for instance, instead of suit the writer wrote suite, would thoes reader folk let it slide or would they say screw this he cant even spell, pass.


Brian

Jim Cirile said...

Brian, that would never happen. Most readers in this town could care less about spelling -- if the writer can rivet them with story and character. I can name a dozen big screenwriters whose scripts are positively embarrassing to read because of the rampant typos.

Those rules only apply to folks who haven't broken in yet. You want to do everything you can to tip the odds in your favor, of course. And yes, misspellings can turn someone off. But most folks have the ability to judge the story on its own merits regardless of typos.

Tom Eng said...

Jim,

This is regarding your comment to Matt about submitting a script to Coverage Ink and having it automatically entered in the Writers On The Storm contest. Let's say I submit my script on April 14th. It gets entered into the contest. Once you send back coverage notes, do I then have the option of revising the script and then re-entering it at that point for a $35 fee? Or is it too late, bccause it's after the April 15th entry deadline? I just want to make sure I understand. I'm working around the clock on my script and April 14th is aggressive but not out of the question. Let me know.

Thanks,
Tom Eng

Jim Cirile said...

Hi Tom, good question. Once the contest is closed, it's closed. We won't accept revised scripts after the deadline. So if you submit on the 14th, and the coverage comes back in 2 weeks and it's a pass, then unfortunately that means it would not have advanced to the quarterfinals.

HOWEVER--and you heard it hear first--we are currently discussing extending the deadline. Quite a few people have written to say that the deadline of tax day is very inconvenient! So there is a possibility we will extend the deadline to the end of the month. We will likely make that decision sometime in the next two weeks depending on available reader resources and other factors.

Thanks!

Tom Eng said...

About how many submissions do you expect in this year's contest?

Thanks,
Tom Eng

Anonymous said...

What if my script is optioned after it is submitted?

Jim Cirile said...

Hi Tom, it's hard to say since most contests get most of their entries in the last two weeks. We'll probably have somewhere around 750 to 1500 altogether.

Anonymous, if your script is optioned, that is irrelevant to us. If it wins or places in the contest, then the writer would simply tell us not to distribute it to our industry list. They'd still get all the other prizes. However, per the contest rules, the option would need to be for less than $10,000. If the writer earns more than that then the script is no longer eligible.

Anonymous said...

Please DON'T extend the deadline! It isn't fair for procrastinators to get their way. Some of us are looking forward to seeing who passes the first round THIS MONTH!

Jim Cirile said...

Well, we'll see. We're meeting about it next week and if we do extend we will announce it on the sites and through e-mails.

As for procrastinators getting their way, it's not really so much that--since we're all procrastinators by definition--we're writers! No, it has to do with our timing and April 15th is just a bad day. Anyway, we will let you guys know soon. If we do extend that just means everyone gets more time to polish their scripts, and the folks who already submitted, well, they could write and submit a whole new script!