Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Competition Frenzy!

Rightly or wrongly, I’ve entered three scripts for the Red Planet Prize – (just as well they changed the rules really).

I’ve spent 2007 re-writing all of these scripts, because – let’s face it – first drafts suck the big one (and so do my second and third drafts for that matter). In fact, I’m still ploughing through a re-write on one of these (it’s amazing what you discover when you run through a hastily written first draft: a three page telephone conversation! Argh! A five page monologue! Double argh!)

Anyway, here are the scripts I’ve submitted and some choice comments against each from reviewers far and wide:

NIGHTFALL: There were several things about it I did not fully understand.

DAMAGED: This has a first script feel to it - which isn't a bad thing. (Don’cha just love Trigger Street?)

SUICIDE’S SON: My fave comment of all - The title sounds like a goth band – change that. Thanks Oli – I’m working on it!

Damaged was a finalist here (they insisted on calling me "Christopher" for some reason), but I got bugger all exposure out of it, and every single agent I informed simply went, ‘Meh,’ and fell asleep. I also entered the screenplay competition at the Vail Film Festival, but heard absolutely nothing, even when I e-mailed them a very polite question – however, by then, they already had my $60, so screw you, Chip! Caveat emptor indeed.

All of which means I guess that you have to put your faith in the biggies – Blue Cat (hmmm, think I might’ve shot myself in the foot there), the Nicholl, Big Break, Slamdance, etc.

Problem is, these are all US-based competitions – not a big deal as such, but it would be nice if there were a few more homegrown competitions as well, which is the reason why Red Planet Prize is so welcome (and free to boot – my favourite price).

(There’s the British Short Screenplay Competition of course, but I’ve never entered – personally speaking, the prospect of writing a ten page screenplay fills me with total dread).

Red Planet aside, I don’t know about the whole competition thing to be honest – at least with Blue Cat you get coverage, but this can vary in quality, as Scott the Reader knows all too well. And now with Without a Box, there are literally hundreds of competitions queuing up for you to throw your money at, which simply leads me to the conclusion there’s a ton of money to be unlocked in all those spec screenplays in them thar hills.

I think in future when given the choice between $60 script notes and a $60 screenplay competition entrance fee, I’ll probably go for the script notes. It will almost certainly lead to a better script, which is surely the reason we’re all doing this – right?


Elinor said...

I hear you Chip but I think it's very handy that writers talk to each other the way we do now because you soon get a feel for the comps that are worth entering. I think Suicide's Son is a fab title! keep it, that's your Kerrang! demographic right there.

Chip Smith said...

The way I look at comps is that if you are lucky enough to get placed, it's up to you to try and market it effectively - problem is, a lot of the smaller comps don't really register on people's radar, which I've already found out! So, my suggestion: stick to the biggies. That said, Red Planet looks good - did you enter at all?

And thanks for your confidence in my title - I just need to throw a bit of death metal into the mix, and that demographic is well and truly sewn up!

Elinor said...

I certainly did! The script in which I had the most confidence, called Penny Dreadful (see synopsis on my blog).

Lucy said...

I like Suicide's Son too - though of course it has to fit with the actual script, so many (even good) titles don't, so Oli *may* have a point, I can't tell without reading it.

As for the other comments, was one of them me???

Chip Smith said...

The comment against Nightfall was indeed one of yours (sorry, couldn't resist it).

The comments you supplied were great by the way - in the next month or so I hope you'll be able to do the same for Sucide's Son...