Happy New Year from all the team at WriteMovies! Last year was difficult in a lot of ways, but we’re proud to continue supporting writers – and today, we look back at our winners from 2020 to celebrate their successes. Here’s the WriteMovies Wall of Fame 2020!
All of our winners received script development and pitching to industry from us, with a cash prize for our Grand Prize Winners too! Here’s a reminder of the scripts that took the top spot this year:
- FRANKENSTEIN UNLEASHED by Neal Wiser: A unique take on a classic story, updating it to a dystopian future to expand on the themes of the original; this script captured the current zeitgeist, as well as having strong visuals and a fascinating concept.
- THE BOY ON THE COVER by Elizabeth Savage Sullivan: A dramatic story that explores the ethics of journalists who do whatever it takes to the get the shot, and the impact it has on the lives of the subjects whose faces go viral.
- RIDING WITH CHARLIE by Shintaro Ogai: Based on the real story of a movie icon and his most trusted friend, the winner of our Fall Contest took us all the way back to the silent era for a biopic about Charlie Chaplin’s Japanese-American chauffeur, and the challenges and discrimination he faced.
Congratulations to all of our winning writers who made it onto our Wall of Fame 2020! We’re already hard at work with them, polishing their scripts and pitching them to industry.
If you’d like to see your picture on our Wall of Fame for next year, make sure you submit to our current contests! The Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest gives you the chance to join our winners slate, with a Grand Prize of $3500 up for grabs. You also get free entry when you submit to our Romance and Comedy Award – the deadline is January 17th!
“One man’s life touches so many others, when he’s not there it leaves an awfully big hole.” IT’S A WONDERFUL LIFE is a perennial festive rewatch for a lot of families in the holiday season, and after the events of 2020, its themes have become even more relevant than ever. Jake Morgan discusses why that is – and what screenwriters can learn about writing Christmas movies…
John McCoy not only took 2nd place in our Fall Contest, he was also our Horror Award winner with his script THE DEVIL’S TIDE! We’ve already introduced him and his script here, but we wanted a closer look at what inspired him, his writing process, and his advice for writers.
And don’t forget to enter our Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest if you want a chance to win big yourself. Our Horror Award is now closed, but our next genre prize is already open: the Romance and Comedy Award! Standard deadline is this Sunday, December 20th, so enter now!
What was your inspiration for writing THE DEVIL’S TIDE?
A few years ago, I was on vacation in France, and visited Mont Saint-Michel. The gothic-style monastery, vast beach landscape, and island medieval fortress seemed like the perfect backdrop for a classic supernatural horror movie. Having lived in Washington, DC, I’ve watched curious tourists admire the Georgetown steps where FATHER KARRAS ended his life in THE EXORCIST. Even approaching 50 years since it was made, horror fans still visit the stairs as if that final sacrificial scene actually occurred there. In THE DEVIL’S TIDE, I incorporated a spiritual place with genuine historical events to capture that same sense of ancient evil resurrecting in current times.
Why did you choose to write a horror movie?
As mentioned above, when I first saw Mont Saint-Michel, I immediately thought, “what a great place for a horror movie.” I love horror, because it elicits powerful emotions of anticipation and fear. Great supernatural horror not only challenges our beliefs in the natural world, but it moves us towards intense feelings that come from the core of our human instincts. Unlike any other genre, horror allows you to feel shivers up your spine, hair standing up on the back of your neck, or a “jump out of your seat” scare.
What was the writing process, and how long did it take?
I started writing it in 2018 as a student at UCLA’s Professional Program in Screenwriting. By the end of the semester, I had a first draft. I owe a great deal to my instructor and fellow students for providing valuable feedback throughout. Once a solid first draft is complete, the real work of rewriting with additional trusted feedback continues. I never feel like it is perfect. For me, there are always small tweaks and fresh ideas that make it better over time.
How have your own experiences informed your writing?
I’ve had an amazing career as a psychologist at the CIA, and had the opportunity to travel to more than 45 countries. Learning from people, history, and cultures around the world has given me a unique perspective of the human condition, one that I can explore when developing stories, characters, and place.
If I only had the time, I feel like I have a lifetime of story ideas waiting to be written.
What would be your advice to other screenwriters?
I’ve received some wonderful mentorship from other filmmakers and screenwriters. There is so much to learn, and of course, rejection is part of the game. If I had to pick two themes, I would first advise writers to write because you enjoy storytelling. The writing itself is difficult, but if you have a passion for telling stories, it will motivate you through the process. Second, never stop honing your craft. Whether through a workshop, class, book, or mentor, I am always looking for opportunities to learn more about screenwriting and filmmaking.
2020 hasn’t been the year anyone expected for movie releases, and the entertainment world has changed a lot. This week’s entertainment news shows the ongoing shift towards streaming services as movie theatres continue to struggle, with huge new projects for STAR WARS and a price rise for Disney+. Here’s our pick of the news…
- A new adaptation of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT is said to be one of the biggest budget films to ever be made in Germany, and it’s already been picked up by Netflix. Streaming services are competing more and more in the biggest leagues with movie theatres shut worldwide because of the pandemic; how this will affect the future remains to be seen, but Warner Bros already announced that they plan to simultaneously release all their productions in 2021 simultaneously in cinemas and on HBO Max. – Variety
- Subscribers to Disney+ in the United States will see a price rise in 2021, increasing by $1 to $7.99 per month. With Disney shifting a number of major films from cinema to streaming releases, and with their streaming service becoming increasingly more popular, this is unsurprising – but also demonstrates how significant streaming is now. – The Verge
- The price rise comes as Disney lays out their plans for Marvel going forward. They announced that THE FANTASTIC FOUR will receive a new movie (hopefully better than the last one…), Chadwick Boseman’s iconic role in BLACK PANTHER will not be recast, and explained how the films and TV shows will interweave with one another from now on. – Hollywood Reporter
- Keeping with Disney news, they’ve announced a whole lot of new STAR WARS projects for the next ten years, including new seasons of THE MANDALORIAN and new Disney+ series such as RANGERS OF THE NEW REPUBLIC and AHSOKA. The next STAR WARS feature film has also been announced: ROGUE SQUADRON is set to be directed by Patty Jenkins, best known for WONDER WOMAN. – Hollywood Reporter
- Among other Star Wars news, the original actor for Darth Vader, Dave Prowse, sadly died this week at the age of 85. The character was voiced by James Earl Jones, but Prowse was responsible for the iconic physical performance that made him so intimidating. Darth Vader will live on though; it’s been revealed that Hayden Christensen is set to return for the role in the OBI-WAN miniseries, which will also star Ewan McGregor. – Entertainment Weekly
- Good news for fans of Robert Eggers (like us here at WriteMovies), who directed THE VVITCH and THE LIGHTHOUSE: he’s completed production of his latest feature film, THE NORTHMAN. In a year when so many productions have been delayed and disrupted, it’s great to know that significant progress is being made by one of the most exciting directors out there right now. – IndieWire
We’re always keeping a close eye on our industry, and it’s something all screenwriters should do too. Because we pitch all our winners to industry, we need to know the lay of the land – and the landscape keeps changing rapidly at the moment!
If you want us to get your script out there, submit now to our contests. Enter our Romance and Comedy Award and you’ll also get free entry to the Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest, with the chance to win script development, pitching to industry, and the $3500 Grand Prize!
There’s just one week until we reach the first deadline for our current contests, coming up on December 20th! We saw a consistently high standard of scripts for our recent Fall Contest, showing that all that hard work you’ve been putting in is paying off, and we want to keep that going with our Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest and Romance and Comedy Award.
2020 might seem like a year to forget for a lot of people, but there are still lots of opportunities to be had for writers. Producers want strong scripts for when productions can restart in earnest and movie theatres can reopen, so hopefully you’ve been using this time wisely to work on yours!
First up, our Romance and Comedy Award is all about those feel-good movies that audiences need after the events of this year. We want to celebrate writing across all genres with our series of genre awards, and this one has come along at just the right time.
The winner will receive:
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- Two sets of Development Notes to help take their script to the next level
- Further advice to fine tune their script from our experts.
Plus all submissions will automatically get FREE entry to the Winter Contest, with even more great prizes on offer! Click HERE to submit before the standard deadline of December 20th!
For the Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest, we accept scripts of all shapes, sizes, and genres. Whether you’ve written a feature, a TV pilot, or a short, we’d love to see what you’ve got for us. We also accept video game scripts and books, so submit now if you think you’ve written a novel that would adapt well for the screen!
The Grand Prize winner takes home $3500, and the top three scripts all receive:
- A year of free script development worth up to $3200
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- An invitation to a lunch with an industry executive in L.A.
- Exclusive listing from InkTip
We’re looking for stories that keep us engaged from the first page to the last – and, crucially, will compete well in today’s market. If you want to enter before December 20th, click HERE!
Based on the real story of a movie icon and his most trusted friend, the winner of our Fall Contest takes us all the way back to the silent era for a biopic about Charlie Chaplin’s Japanese-American chauffeur: RIDING WITH CHARLIE by Shintaro Ogai!
The first deadline for our Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest and Romance and Comedy Award is in just a couple of weeks, and we’re sure many of you are hard at work on your scripts.
To give you a helping hand, we thought we’d look back at the submissions to our Fall Contest and tell you what we learned from them – giving you a valuable insight into what works, what doesn’t, and what you need to do to really succeed in our contests and the wider industry! Here are our insights…