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Our 2017 Wall of Fame: Third Placed winners

Our 2017 Wall of Fame: Third Placed winners

It’s the final week of our Winter 2018 contest, and a great chance to celebrate our 2017 Wall of Fame. Today we honor our Third Placed Winners and their fine scripts!

Coming in third is a big win with our contests as each of the below winners is currently receiving a full year of free script and pitching development and the guarantee that we will pitch their project to industry – as the Third Placed winner for our current Winter Contest will do too.

You can see your face up in 2018’s Wall of Fame if you come in third in any of our main contests (Winter 2018 closes this Sunday!)

Here’s all you need to know about our Third Placed winners from 2017… These scripts are progressing fast and already getting attention from the industry!

  • IN THE SHADOW OF FREEDOM by Elliott Riebman and Michael Gozzard: “Inspired by the extraordinary true story of a boy soldier who escaped the Congo to become a decorated U.S. Marine, but he is still haunted by his past demons.” Read more here
  • BURNER by Bob Canning: “A Palm Springs police detective must put aside her health and marital problems to solve a brutal homicide, while the hitman responsible is now experiencing uncharacteristic bouts of guilt and anger after killing the wrong person.” Learn more
  • CHARMER by David Kurtz: “A burned-out middle-aged accountant and a young daredevil woman put their polar opposite lifestyles aside when they team up on dangerous hostage-rescue mission.” Read more

Stay tuned, as we release a special one-off Wednesday newsletter celebrating our Second Placed winners. Then we conclude our celebrations on Friday with our Grand Prize winners – as we also reveal the full Wall of Fame infographic…

Our Wall of Fame: 2017’s Featured Script of the Month winners!

Our Wall of Fame: 2017’s Featured Script of the Month winners!

Our Wall of Fame 2017: We have more winners than ever to celebrate from 2017 than ever! With 18 winners in total, we’ve seen an increase in quality from 2016, and we’re looking for that trend to continue…

Today, we’re honoring our Featured Script of the Month winners in this very special infographic (click on it to see it in all its might!) More to be revealed shortly…

Learn all about each of our Featured Script of the Month winners and their loglines:

  • GAMERS by Travis Lemke – “A man child who has lost love finds new love, but then has to kill that love after he and his Dungeon and Dragons buddies fall into possession of a magic book and summon a mysterious “protector” from hell. Shenanigans and hi-jinks abound in this contemporary comedy.” Read more
  • MARIGOLD by Lisa J. Cristoforo – “When a woman realizes her dreams are a window into her past lives connecting her to a famous actor and an 18th century Irish house servant, she embarks on a clandestine adventure to Ireland to discover the truth behind the connection.” Read more here
  • THE CHERRY ROOM by Christine Stevens DeLorenzo – “THE CHERRY ROOM (Inspired by true events.) – An undercover cop, a writer, and the owner of New York City’s most famous gentleman’s club discover a sophisticated baby-making network that supplies elite pedophiles and satanic cults with prepubescent children.” Check out more here
  • IDLE OF MAN by Joseph Campbell – “IDLE OF MAN follows the life of a depressed psychiatrist who is all of a sudden abducted by aliens and returns seeking a new perspective on life.” Read more
  • LAST RIDE OF METRO 313 by Michael Neyland – “Passengers on a commuter bus become stranded during a storm and must work together to survive strange and unnatural creatures.” Learn more
  • QUEEN OF HEARTS by Ethan Westgate – “In a world where everyone is united by a global thought-network, a small minority of people are unable to access this network. Molly Dark must lead others of her kind in a race to survive as the Network turns violently against those Unconnected.” Read more here
  • SEEMINGLY HARMONIOUS by Dengxian Cao – “When terrorists use a Mind Transfer Device to control the bodies of US officials, including the president, a Secret Service agent must battle against his seemingly own people to prevent a nuclear war.” Learn more
  • DEAD POSSUM by Jared Wayne Raun – “A boy discovers he is dead, but resists leaving his body so he can save his living girlfriend from a gang of zombie bikers, despite protestations from his spirit guide.” Read more
  • DEAD MAN’S HAND by Ronald L. Ecker – “When the hypnotist dies during a past life regression, it leaves a present-day schoolteacher and an Old West gunfighter trapped in each other’s body and times.” Read more here

Wouldn’t it be great to see your name up there next year? Well, you can! Enter the Winter 2018 Contest by the 14th January and you could see your name, face and script up in the 2018 Wall of Fame…

FIRST LOOK: BRIGHT Review

FIRST LOOK: BRIGHT Review

Critics and audiences are continually growing apart when it comes to film, and that divide has been very apparent with the reaction to BRIGHT’s release via Netflix. Here’s Jamie White’s BRIGHT Review.

OK, so this is not the best film ever made. The story was lacking in places, the foreshadowing of certain plot points is heavy-handed and done with visual cues and prophecy rather than using the story. BUT, the concept is refreshing, the genre mix is intriguing, and it’s generally enjoyable film.

After being shot by an orc, police officer Will Smith returns to duty with his partner Joel Edgerton – another orc. This creates immediate conflict with the two characters – Smith’s character is wary of the partner who didn’t have his back. But there’s also the issue of race – the humans don’t like having this orc on the force, and a group of them even plot to kill him, just so he’s not one of them anymore.

Now this discourse on race may be fairly blunt, but think of it this way. The audience is made to think and confront the issues of race in our society, made literal here through the obvious race clashes between orcs and humans. But since there aren’t really orcs in our own society, they stand here as a blunt symbol for what really happens in much subtler ways in real life. The message may be blunt, but by swapping human race-differences with the orc race, audiences face up to our own issues in society.

But generally, this is such an enjoyable film. I can’t think of another film quite like it in terms of genre, tone and style – it truly is a refreshing, entertaining film.

So then why the critic hate? Well, it isn’t Oscar-worthy in any way. It has problems with its plot and its antagonist (who doesn’t really have a great impact on the story) – which we’d have definitely flagged up if this script came our way. But the critical backlash seems like a bit of an attack on Netflix and the way cinema seems to be evolving. It feels like critics are against straight-to-streaming releases, and because of that, are scoring the film down. Just my opinion, but when some critics call this film the worst of 2017 – a year which also had JUSTICE LEAGUE (c’mon, at least BRIGHT has a cohesive plot and likable characters) – something seems to be up.

I’d recommend this film to anyone trying to escape the monotony of superhero films, sequels, adaptations, dry, overdone genre films. This is something refreshing, fun, and wacky. And you know what? Will Smith’s performance was fine!

© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.

INSIGHTS: How people will be different in the future – a writer’s guide…

INSIGHTS: How people will be different in the future – a writer’s guide…

In Ian’s previous articles, we’ve seen how technologies of the future (and present!) can quickly invalidate our future-writing efforts. But the easiest thing for writers to misjudge is how people themselves will be different, within the future worlds we create.

We may be very happy to accept any implausible or kitsch elements in your future-writing if they make for a more vivid and exciting world than our own – but if people (and the way they live) don’t seem to be changed, then you’re missing out on one of the massive appeals of writing the future: that it offers audiences a vision of how we could be different if we lived in such a different world, and how we could make different choices in life if they see life in that new light. The future is, ultimately, a place to play out our dreams of what life today really could, or should, look like, if only we had the chance. Future-writing creates a rare, neutral space in which to play out our conflicting visions, and fears, for the present and the future, all within the safety net of someone else’s story about a totally different world to our own.

If our technologies – or destructive tendencies – smash the way of life we know, then the post-apocalyptic visions of many popular future-stories (MAD MAX, THE BOOK OF ELI, etc etc) may prove a good guide – because people whose lives are a step backwards from ours, are likely to play out in ways that life and history can help us recognize today. So I’ll focus instead on how people are likely to change if that doesn’t happen, and if other historic trends continue instead. Here are some trends I’ve noticed which are extremely likely to continue to change our personalities and choices. If you’re looking for subjects to inspire your next script, the answer might be somewhere here!

  • Ever-presents of human nature, like family bonds and tribalism and attraction, will continue to forge our key relationships and allegiances and priorities – far more than rational reasoning would like to admit. We will never actually want to be “one unified world community” – whatever we might tell ourselves, we’ll choose to keep dividing ourselves into tribes and sub-tribes. I’ll write about these in more detail another time.
  • Almost every medical condition will become treatable, and most will be fully curable. People will develop ever-more-perfectionist expectations of themselves and others for their health, capacities and looks. Technologies will become better integrated within people’s bodies too, with far-reaching implications, first for treatments and then for enhancements. These trends will create losers as well as winners, mainly due to economic factors that give or limit people’s access to these treatments.
  • Almost every conceivable aspect of life and the world will become connected to, or monitored by, our grand digital networks. Going ‘off the grid’ will get harder and harder, with important consequences for thriller stories in particular – many scripts we receive feel quite dated to me already with this in mind. The ‘internet of things’ will pose significant risks for privacy and security, with our everyday lives utterly interconnected with single networks that put us all at risk of having our lives invaded.
  • The culture war of the 21st century will continue to be that between fundamentalism (of all kinds), against relativism and tolerance. Western countries may need to start reining in more of the free-for-alls that have risen since the 1960s – because if we can’t, fundamentalism may offer many people a much more reassuring vision than the issues that they perceive in the world around them. I notice that few sci-fi writers want to embrace religious believers into ‘their’ visions of the future. But those people will be there anyway – how will they feel about the world they’re living in? How many of those wonderful 1960s visions of the 21st century (THUNDERBIRDS, etc etc) predicted a global surge in religious fundamentalist terrorism? Perhaps, comparing modern trends to the worldview and expectations of religious fundamentalists, we should have seen it coming.
  • War will also be designed to keep actual human beings (from our own country, anyway) completely remote and safe from the intrinsic dangers of the battlefield. This is already basically the case for headline conflicts, we just haven’t invented a way to occupy hostile territories without ground troops yet. I reckon the next major war between global powers will be won or lost by technology (such as cyberattack) within hours without a single bullet being fired. All this has big implications for action stories – where we want to see our heroes put their own lives on the line for the story, without getting immediately cut down by some drone-robot fly.
  • Power and knowledge and the ‘moral high ground’ will continue to decentralize away from governments and religious institutions, through technology and the continued trend towards individualization of modern job roles. Improved technologies will also make it harder and harder for anyone to maintain lies and secrets (and foment conspiracies successfully). However, at the same time, we will all be relying on common technologies and platforms, such as the internet, ever more, and so the risks will grow that would-be tyrants and hostile powers will turn our powers and everyday devices upon us.
  • Supposedly ‘ignorant’ patterns of thought and behaviour (from racism to superstition to religious bigotry) will continue to decline, but will keep persistently recurring in new forms in every generation, and the continued migration and tourism of people to other countries will ensure that old issues like these will never become ‘a thing of the past’ anywhere.
  • Controversial cases that come to light in the news will continue to stiffen public opinion and the law against people who create injustices and avoidable suffering for other people (from our own culture or countries!). Proliferating devices like smartphones will continue to make it easier for victims and others to record and prove that these injustices are happening – albeit via networks and platforms that many governments and others may be demand to control.
  • People will continue to intensively map, scan and explore any areas of life or the universe that could be described as ‘the unknown’. Fewer people will believe in the possibilities that rely upon it (such as magic, monsters, aliens and direct ‘divine intervention’) – though interest in stories about them might conversely rise as a result of their ‘otherness’! But people will continue to interpret things in the ways that feel most natural to themselves, so don’t expect religion and superstition to die off anytime soon.
  • Automation and robotizing of all aspects of life will continue to render more and more job roles obsolete. The more this continues, growing numbers of people may lean towards anti-globalization movements, backward-looking politicians or authoritative voices. Meanwhile educated, versatile people may find themselves in a minority for remaining economically active and having a secure sense of their own identity and purpose in the world. Which impacts significantly upon my next point…
  • While globalization will continue to make countries ever more interdependent, but sociopaths will continue to find ways to take power (click HERE to understand what I mean by ‘sociopath’ – it’s perhaps a much more widespread personality type than you realize). Pacifism will remain naïve in the face of this, and the proliferation of technologies that can empower them in new and ever-more-pervasive ways. But in economic terms, centralized nation-states will be unable to keep up with those that don’t try to maintain full control of all aspects of the economy.
  • The environment everywhere will continue to be carved up and predominated by human activity at an escalating rate, until technological changes make it possible (and convenient) to live far more efficiently than people currently choose to. Changes of power and circumstance will keep upsetting whatever is agreed to protect the environment; people will have to innovate within their own spheres of influence instead, to make any difference, but this won’t change the overall direction of travel. Anything that environmentalists achieve can be easily reversed by breakdowns in international or local law and order, and crippling population pressures on resources, not to mention reverses of government policy.

Here are some things that could go either way, but won’t just stay the same.

  • Our attitudes towards the suffering of other people (especially those we don’t have any connections to) and animals or nature. – Humans would mostly like to be compassionate, but they would also like to be able to take things for granted so they can get on with life uninterrupted. Economics and politics play a massive role here – and people who are struggling to maintain their way of life have a much less compassionate attitude towards outsiders and those whose inferiority makes their own way of life possible.
  • The spread of decentralized media platforms such as the internet means new challenges for debate and decisionmaking. ‘Truth’ and ‘lies’/’fake news’ are heading for an interesting clash which may set in law what ‘truths’ or ‘accuracy’ can be stated or published, and what the punishments will be for those who go against that. This will be an interesting showdown between delusionals, tyrants, sociopaths and their allies (click HERE to see who I mean), and the institutions of the 20th century liberal West. It may have different results in different places, influencing the ideological wars of the century ahead.

Alright, so there’s my two cents. Hope it helps you future-proof your writing and keep clear of some of the mistakes that we see so often. Maybe you can even find the central question of your next script here! If so, let us know where you take it and how you get on…

Read more of Ian’s insights right here and check out the previous entries to this future proofing series…

© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.

WriteMovies’ Top Christmas Films

WriteMovies’ Top Christmas Films

You’ve unwrapped all your presents, you’re stuffed from that incredible Christmas meal, and, maybe got yourself a bit tipsy. Now all that’s left is to watch a film… and maybe fall asleep to it. But what do you choose? A modern classic? Or a family-friendly comedy? Well, here are our top Christmas films…

  • John picks ELF – “If you have kids in the house, then this is the film to put on. A rare Will Ferrell comedy that isn’t coarse and brash like other “Frat Pack” comedies. Buddy the Elf (Ferrell) is a sweet and naïve protagonist in a sweet, joyful film.”
  • Jamie picks LOVE ACTUALLY – “The film that is traditional viewing across the pond, the quintessential British rom-com is the film that will warm your heart this Winter. It’s a film that manages to almost perfectly balance its many plotlines with every single character easy to empathize with. If you haven’t seen LOVE ACTUALLY yet, then you really should get on it.”
  • Ian picks IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE – “How can anyone not? Beautiful portrait of small-town life and why it matters to be a good person. Meanwhile, gotta disagree with Jamie, LOVE ACTUALLY brings out the Christmas humbug in me. Bah.”
  • THE SIMPSONS, season 1, episode 1 – We’re not just all about film here! This is one of the perfect episodes to get you into THE SIMPSONS. As Christmas approaches, Homer is in dire need of “saving Christmas”, so he and Bart go to the dog tracks, obviously. They lose all their money but find the perfect Christmas present in Santa’s Little Helper. This episode may feel dated now, but it captures the beauty of Christmas and the brilliance of THE SIMPSONS.
  • DIE HARD – The film that sums up how we feel at Christmas; as hostages to our family. In all seriousness, the film still represents the ideals. A man works through great troubles to just spend time with his family at Christmas – a premise that many a Christmas film has. You may not wanna put this on with Grandma home, but it’s a film that is perfect for that post-turkey hangover.

There’s so many more we could have on here: THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS, A CHRISTMAS CAROL – whether Muppetified or not! There’s so much you can put on over this holiday period – and really, there isn’t a wrong answer!

Let us know what your favorite Christmas films of all time are – did we miss anything obviously off our list? Don’t agree with one of our picks? Just head over to our Twitter and Facebook and let us know!

Happy Holidays to you all!

© WriteMovies 2017. Exclusive to WriteMovies – To syndicate this content for your own publication, contact ian (at) writemovies dot-com.