Saturday, May 31, 2008

Writers on the Storm contest update

Hey, Stormies!

Well, we are now one month in to the contest, and we now proudly present our quarterfinalists! Ready? Okay, maybe not *all* our quarterfinalists. Any of y’all who sent in your script to Coverage, Ink after the contest start date got entered automatically. If the script gets a “consider with reservations” or better for script (roughly top 10%) you’re an automatic quarterfinalist. And we are pleased to announce we have six of y’all so far (in no particular order):

Heather Upton, Belfast Boys
Alan Sproles & Lizanne Southgate, Eden Lost
A.C. Yacobian, Rasta Pasta
Kelly Murry, La Matadora
Rich Sheehy, Sliding Into Home
C.A. Bennett, Death Valley Dig

Awesome! Those of you who entered at or withoutabox, it’s going to be a while until you get word back on your script (when we announce the full quarterfinalist list after the end of the contest.)

Of course, it’s just the first month, and the deluge generally doesn’t come till the last month. If you guys are like me, you’re probably constantly retooling your material; naturally you want to submit the best possible draft to a contest (or industry, obviously.) But now let me clue you in to a poorly kept industry secret: the dreaded *contest extension syndrome* (shiver.) Here’s how it works. Screenwriting contests (including this one in the past) would announce a contest end date. So all of y’all would scramble to get it in by then, and then — surprise — a last-minute 3-week extension! Grr! Pretty much every darn contest does this, and personally? I find it a bit irritating. I mean, I don’t like rushing to make an artificial deadline only to find out I killed myself for nothing, and heck, I could’ve taken practically an extra month! I mean, okay, I appreciate the kick in the booty, because you know, it actually makes me get it in gear and produce. But still, right?

So this year: I’m telling every one of y’all right now — there WILL BE AN EXTENSION. Okay? The standard deadline is 7/11, but the FINAL deadline (which really really is final) is midnight 7/27. BUT: the price goes up on 7/12. So if you submit late, you’re gonna get dinged. Hopefully this will eliminate anyone feeling put out for rushing to meet a deadline ‘cause if you make the regular deadline, you’ll save ten bucks. Jim tells me that Coverage, Ink, however, will not be raising prices during the late period — entry into WOTS will remain free throughout the final deadline if you submit to CI.

As for the contest submissions so far, we’ve seen some interesting material so far. There are a handful of very good marketable concepts, which is great to see, and one the studios would probably hate but I love. I read a compelling political drama the other day, and today I read a romantic comedy with fantastic writing but the second act just ran out of gas. And on and on it goes! I love checking out the immense outpouring of creativity and talent. If there’s one conclusion I can draw after working on Writers on the Storm, it’s that there are very few *bad scripts.* More often than not, the problem is in the writer’s craft and execution, and that stuff just takes practice and mentorship. I’d be nothing without my UCLA mentor. That said, quarterfinalist Kelly Murry tells us ‘La Matadora’ is her first script. Yeah, I know, I’m jealous, too!

Questions? Praise? Venom? E-mail me! Just shoot a mail over to I read and respond to every mail personally. We’re gonna try our hardest to treat your script fairly and give it the attention it deserves. Love y’all!

Portia Jefferson
Writers on the Storm Contest Coordinator

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