Sunday, April 08, 2007


Hey Stormies,

Portia here, your Writers on the Storm contest coordinator. Don't mean to panic anybody, but our contest is ending soon -- Sunday April 15th! No e-submissions will be accepted past 12 midnight on 4/15/07 (that's Sunday night/Monday morning). In other words, all y'all who've been scrambling to get those scripts tight enough to bounce quarters off of, well, get bouncing!

What's real interesting is that unlike last year's contest, this year we had a lot more people entering WOTS via submitting their script to Coverage, Ink for script analysis, and getting entered in the contest for free that way. In fact we've had over 200 submissions so far through CI! Of course, that's pretty smart, because those guys are getting a second chance -- you get to see what we think of your script and get our tips for correcting the things we find -- and THEN you can polish 'er up and send the script directly into the contest by the end date. Not sure, but I don't think any other contest gives you that sort of leg up.

Now of course, if any of you all send your script in for coverage this week, well, no leg up for you guys -- you'll get your analysis back after the contest end date (unless you do a rush,) which means... no chance to revise and resubmit. However, you will know much sooner than the regular WOTS contestants if you advance to the quarterfinal round or not -- since everyone who gets a 'consider with reservations' or better for script (I'll explain that further, below) is automatically advanced to the quarterfinal round. Folks who submit directly to the contest (at won't find out if they've made the quarterfinals until the main announcement, which I think is sometime in late May. Actually, it's May 25th, Portia -- Jim C. If you enter through CI and don't get a consider with reservations or better for script, you are eliminated. Sorry :( I know that hurts.

Now some of you all don't understand what we mean when we say 'consider for writer' or 'consider for script.' Let me explain how this works. At the end of a coverage report, your script is rated on the following scale: PASS, CONSIDER WITH RESERVATIONS, CONSIDER, STRONG CONSIDER, and RECOMMEND. And you receive this rating for both SCRIPT and for WRITER. In a nutshell, this tells you whether we think the material and the writer are 'there' yet, or if more work needs to be done -- and how much.

The vast majority of scripts are a PASS for both script and writer -- about 90%. Now this doesn't mean that we think the script stinks, or we think you can't write your way out of a Hefty Steel-Sak bag! This simply means that in its current version, we don't feel that the script is ready yet (well, it *could* stink, truth be told... but there's hope for us all with gentle, proper guidance!) And a PASS for writer doesn't necessarily mean you can't write worth a damn; it just means that your craft isn't quite at the level it needs to be -- yet. Heck, none of us start out as Susannah Grant or Frank Darabont -- there's a long, often painful (especially in my case) learning process involved; only over time and after much practice do most of us learn how to bring our 'A' game to the page.

CONSIDER WITH RESERVATIONS, or better, for script, means that we think your script is in pretty good shape, but could still use a bit of work. But it's a bit closer to the target. CONSIDER means, Damn! Nice job! This thing could get peoples' attention! Although even 'considers' often need some fine-tuning. Lastly, there STRONG CONSIDER, which is like saying, whoa, drop everything, this script is awesome! As for RECOMMEND, as JC points out in an article on the CI site, they are super rare. I've been reading scripts in this town for 3 different production companies for six years, and I have given out exactly one recommend!

You need to understand that when a reader gives a script a 'recommend,' she's pretty much pushing the red button. It means my boss is canceling his lunch plans to read the supposed masterpiece. Guess what happens if my boss doesn't agree with my opinion? I am toast. No, worse -- I am frybread. I am stomped-upon saltines. You get the idea. That's why even if a reader loves a script, she'll often hedge her bets and give it a 'consider' -- just in case others don't feel as strongly about it!

Now some people wonder, how come I got a 'consider with reservations' for writer, but a 'pass for script'? Well, that just means the reader thought you're displaying some good writing chops on the page, but the script isn't ready to rock and roll yet. And if you get a 'consider' for script but a 'pass' for writer? That translates to, fantastic idea for a movie, but the execution is not living up to the promise of the premise. You gotta work on your craft.

If any of you guys are still confused about all this, shoot me an e-mail and I will try to make it all make sense...

This leads me to the fun part: announcing our quarterfinalists to date! As of 4/7/07, the 2007 Writers on the Storm quarterfinalists (remember, these are folks who entered the contest through Coverage Ink) are as follows, in no particular order. And as always, I remind everyone we show NO favoritism to anyone who enters the contest via submission to Coverage, Ink - in fact, it's two different staffs of readers.

1) Devils’ Wheel by Chris Blanchet
2) Alone by Tracey Thomas
3) Assisted Living by Marc LaBelle
4) Pretending to be American by Peter Yesley
5) Dogs of War by Nick Gregory
6) Lovelocked by Wehrner Ovalle
7) Lowlifes by Brian Buccellato
8) Ariadne’s Thread by Steve Callen
9) Resurrecting Angel by Leslie Flannery
10) How the Hell Did I Get Here? by Arie Kaplan
11) Night of Reflection by Chris Cambria
12) Xs and O’Briens by George Krubski
13) Jackson Hole by Don Balch
14) Sanctuary by Chris Cobb
15) Buried Secrets by Carlos Calvo
16) Grave Consequences by Curt Burdick & Scott Burdick
17) Lions by Dave Hackett
18) Ritornare by Mark Porro
19) Middle Man by Jay Curcuru
20) Mortal Coil by Andrew Steven Harris
21) Virgin Marie by Krista Zumbrink
22) Kung Fu Movie 3 by JD Hoang

That's it, y'all! Remember to get those scripts into us by midnight Sunday 4/15 at One of you could be struttin' proud real soon!

Love to all,

Portia Jefferson