What Do Screenwriting Contests Want? A Reconsideration.


 

rant and rave secondFirst a word from our sponsor:

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I wrote a blog entry sometime back called Everything You Wanted to Know About Screenplay Contests* But Weren’t Afraid to Ask. For those intrigued, the link is here: https://howardcasner.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/the-future-is-now-a-pretentious-essay-for-screenwriters/

 

Since then I have been doing some rethinking about contests. Most of what I’ve said above, if not all of it, still applies. But there is one area that I did want to address based on my own experience and based on some facebook posts I have come across.

 

What sort of screenplays do contests look for? Continue reading

COMMON CLICHES, STALE STORYLINES AND MAJOR MISTAKES, OH, MY!: Another year of reading is now over


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First, a word from our sponsors: I am now offering a new service: so much emphasis has been given lately to the importance of the opening of your screenplay, I now offer coverage for the first twenty pages at the cost of $20.00.  For those who don’t want to have full coverage on their screenplay at this time, but want to know how well their script is working with the opening pages, this is perfect for you.  I’ll help you not lose the reader on page one. 

 

Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

 

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Also available for revising, script doctoring and ghost writing.

Well, it’s that time of the year again, kiddos.

And by that, I don’t mean my birthday, Yom Kippur or Chinese New Year’s.
I have now finished reading for the major competitions that I read for every year. And I must say, I read some pretty marvelous stuff this time round by authors who are ambitious and who have an immense amount of talent.
Okay. Enough accentuating the positive. Let’s dive for the dirt.
Now that this reader period has come to an end, I have made a list of the most common clichés, overdone and stale storylines and major mistakes that I’ve run across this year, issues that would have had me pulling my hair out in frustration if I wasn’t already bald. Continue reading

MY INTERVIEW WITH ANN KIMBROUGH ON HER YOUTUBE SHOW SCREENWRITERS BEAT


First, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

On Saturday, July 26, I was interviewed by Ann Kimbrough on her YouTube show Screenwriters Beat.  It was a great interview and I had a lot of fun.  We covered such topics as my book (of course–see left), as well as some strategies for new screenwriters and what they can do to become better known and get their scripts more recognized.
Here it is.  Check it out and let me know what you think.

 

 

 

 

 

IS THERE A BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF SCREENPLAY COMPETITIONS: BONUS ROUND


UntitledFirst, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

I really didn’t envision writing a fourth part to this series. I really thought I was done with it after my last entry. But my essay provoked a very intelligent and lengthy discussion on social media and I decided that perhaps there was indeed more to say.

 

FIRST, SOME HISTORY (OR AS WE SAY IN THE STATE OF THE ART: THE BACK STORY)
My original thesis is that the idea of saleability, commerciality and marketability (heretofore s/c/m) of a screenplay was creeping more and more into determining who would win or at least make their way to the forefront of screenplay competitions.

 

But since I wasn’t sure anymore that screenplays are always bought and sold and made into movies the way they once were, and that, in fact, new ways of financing and making films are appearing every day, it was my contention that screenplay competitions should reflect that change and not necessarily get caught up in choosing winners based on whether someone or some company or some something will buy them or not. Continue reading

IS THERE A BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF SCREENWRITING COMPETITIONS part three


UntitledFirst, a word from our sponsors. Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r

In my two previous entries here, I have been talking about the idea that a new criteria has been entering the judging stage at screenplay competitions, a criteria based on the sellability and marketability of a script. I continued by saying that I’m not convinced that this is a positive development since I’m not sure that screenplays are always getting made into movies the way they once were, and that the idea as to whether a screenplay can be sold or has a market may be anachronistic to some degree, and becoming more so the more time passes.
I finished my last essay with the following:
“So how does this relate to my issues regarding the idea that the ability to sell a screenplay or whether there is a market for it, should or shouldn’t be part of the consideration in judging who should win a competition, or even just reach the finals?”
And so to proceed: Continue reading

IS THERE A BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF SCREENPLAY COMPETITIONS? Part Two


First, a word from our sponsor: Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
In part one of this essay, I suggested that a new standard was being introduced in judging screenplay competitions when it comes to who should become finalists; i.e., the idea that the quality of a screenplay should also be based on whether it can be sold and whether there is a market for it.
As I also said, I don’t think that this standard has really taken over yet. It’s there, but still, the quality of a screenplay, its ambition, its uniqueness, the passion of the writer, tends to win out more often than not.
At the same time, I do think this standard is slowly wending its way in and I do think we need to be a bit concerned here. Continue reading

IS THERE A BATTLE FOR THE SOUL OF SCREENPLAY COMPETITIONS? Part One


First, a word from our sponsor: Ever wonder what a reader for a contest or agency thinks when he reads your screenplay? Check out my new e-book published on Amazon: Rantings and Ravings of a Screenplay Reader, including my series of essays, What I Learned Reading for Contests This Year, and my film reviews of 2013. Only $2.99. http://ow.ly/xN31r
scream laptopI was talking to a fellow reader one day (the conversation has been fictionalized heavily…quite heavily, to serve my purposes, of course, but I do think I retained the truth of the gist of the heart of the discussion). We both read for a few of the same competitions, and as readers are wont to do who find themselves at the same table at a coffee shop, we began talking about how good and bad the screenplays had been so far this year.
After a while, I was getting the feeling that we were looking for different things when it came to evaluating screenplays.
So I asked my fellow reader what he looked for as he read. Continue reading