It’s been a great year for us here at WriteMovies, with three successful contests – Winter, Spring, and Fall – producing a lot of great scripts! We’ve also been very proud of our first two genre awards to celebrate great writing: the Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award and the Horror Award.
We’re already hard at work with our winners on developing their scripts and getting them out there to the industry, but today we look back at our contests and reveal our full Wall of Fame for 2019.
Here’s a reminder of our Grand Prize winning scripts…
- PROMISE OF TOMORROW by Andrew Pennington: A fantastic British rom-com that made us laugh out loud from start to finish, capturing our attention with its quirky characters, heartwarming story, and fantastic audience appeal.
- CARAVAGGIO by Alasdair McMullan: Based on the tempestuous life of the Italian painter, this television pilot was as fun as it was fascinating, making the most of its strong concept and engaging main character.
- MONGER by David Axe: The winner of our Horror Award also took the Grand Prize in the Fall Contest. The plot and the monster that haunts the protagonists both feel fresh, and with well-rounded characters we quickly came to care about, it kept the suspense high throughout.
And a special shout out to the first ever winner of our Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award, too: THE TIME-TRAP by Mark Flood! To describe this script as a thrilling ride would be an understatement; it kept us gripped from the first page to the last.
If you’d like the chance to see your name on next year’s wall, submit to our Winter 2020 Contest and Rom-Com Award today – just one week until the Standard Deadline!
THE TIME-TRAP: When the most dangerous man in America gets his hands on a time machine, an emotionally fragile FBI agent must go back through time after him, with the full knowledge that he can only return to the present by living his past all over again.
To describe THE TIME-TRAP as a thrilling ride would be an understatement. Partnering a great concept with high-octane action, this is a manhunt like we’ve never seen before. It kept us gripped from the first page to the last, coming through a highly competitive field to take first place. Congratulations to the writer of THE TIME-TRAP and the first ever winner of the WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award, Mark Flood!
As the WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award 2019 winner, Mark has won guaranteed pitching to industry, two sets of Development Note, and further advice on honing his script from our screenwriting experts. He’s also still in contention for our Spring 2019 Screenwriting Contest, which has a Grand Prize of $2000 and is open until June 16th. Click here if you want to enter the competition yourself!
Here’s a summary of THE TIME-TRAP:
Special Agent Sam Miller, a man haunted by the tragedy of his past, is the lead agent in the hunt for the FBI’s most wanted, Michael Barnton. After a dramatic chase across San Francisco Bay, Miller is successful in capturing Barnton, but instead of his mission coming to an end, he discovers it has only just begun.
Barnton escapes custody and stows away in a scientist’s car; a scientist who has succeeded in building a time machine which Barnton steals and uses to leap into the past, planning to change things in his favor. What Barnton doesn’t know is that although he can jump backwards multiple times, the only way to come forward to the present is to live all those days over again.
Realizing that he might be target in the past, Miller agrees to go after Barnton. Armed with a tracker and a second time machine, Miller embarks on an epic chase through time – with not just the chance to catch Barton, but also to right the pain from his past and discover that there might be more to Barnton’s crimes than it first seemed.
If you’re a producer interested in this project, email firstname.lastname@example.org today!
And here’s a quick bio of the writer of THE TIME-TRAP, Mark Flood:
Mark grew up in Northern Ireland and moved to Scotland to study at university. Because of his love of film and television, he decided to try his hand at screenwriting after university and even wrote a novel.
In recent years, Mark has continued to write for the screen. He is now writing with a better understanding of the process, a new love of the craft, and an appreciation of what his strengths are.
We first launched the WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award because we wanted to be transported to amazing, fantastical new worlds – and boy, did you guys deliver! Our entrants spanned the deepest reaches of space, magical lands, and all of time: past, present, and future!
The imagination is a writer’s most powerful weapon, and it was on full display here. Well done to everyone who entered; the quality was so consistently high that you made it extremely difficult for us to pick a winner!
Some of the things that helped us make our choice include:
- Originality of concept – giving us something truly unique instead of something we’ve seen before
- Depth and complexity of worldbuilding – making the universe of the story feel like a real, lived in place
- Impressive visual elements – taking full advantage of these genres’ strengths
- Great characters – ensuring that the human element doesn’t get lost!
So here it is… The first ever winner of the inaugural WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award is…
By Mark Flood
A big congratulations to Mark, who has won guaranteed pitching to industry, two sets of Development Notes, and continued script development from us! Well done also to all of our Honorable Mentions, who you can find listed below.
|OMEGA POINT, James Bingham
||ENDANGERED SPECIES, Mark Flood
||GODLESS SKIES, Joshua David Harris
|FABLE OF THE JADE TIGER, Jason Fisher
||SHIRO, Pascal Kulcsar
||THE LAST PRISON, Richard Geiwitz
|THE REVOLT OF THE WHALES, Michael Rhodes
||MARS GENESIS, Don Ternyila
||RACE MUSIC, Eric Weber
Writing a script is only half the work – getting it produced is the other half! To get that done, you need to get your work into the hands of key filmmakers – and that’s where we can help. WriteMovies is currently seeking scripts for two directors: Sean Hughes and Habib Zargarpour!
Sean is a director known for THE BARROW GANG – click here to take a look at a rough cut from the film! – and is currently on the search for scripts in the thriller/heist genre, along the lines of films like HEAT, THE USUAL SUSPECTS and L.A. CONFIDENTIAL.
If you’ve written a screenplay like this, submit to our Spring 2019 Screenwriting Contest and if we think it’s suitable for Sean, we’ll pass it along to him for his consideration – no matter how your work places within the contest itself!
A special effects expert, Habib is a two-time BAFTA winner and double Oscar nominee for his work on THE PERFECT STORM and TWISTER, with other credits including STAR WARS EPISODE I, BLADERUNNER 2049, and THE JUNGLE BOOK. He’s now looking for science-fiction based projects to direct, and with the recent launch of the WriteMovies Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award, this is the perfect chance to get your scripts to him!
Habib works closely with our founder Alex Ross who will give all suitable scripts consideration for them to develop and pitch to studios together.
Alternatively, if you’re a writer with an agent and want your script passed to either Habib or Sean, you can contact our partners at TalentScout International Management directly at email@example.com!
Click here to visit the page for our Spring 2019 Screenwriting Contest and get your script into Sean’s hands, or click here to visit the page for our Sci-Fi and Fantasy Award and get it to Habib!
Thanks for all your support during this contest cycle! This is where it gets exciting – first Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest results and a chance to share our judging findings and reasons with you. Whether you submitted or not – this is worth reading on about. (more…)
Since it’s their results week too as we publish this, here’s a pic of Ian Kennedy, our Director of Worldwide Development, at BAFTA for a recent meeting with our founder Alex Ross!
Announcing results is the tough bit… especially at the Quarter-Final stage, where we have the most decisions to make, and the most people’s to disappoint about their writing submissions. At WriteMovies we make it our job to constantly open a door for writers and push their work to the next level, and take the ones that are ready into the international industry – but everyone is starting from a different place and whatever level a writer reaches they always have further steps to take to succeed and sustain themselves in the industry. To help you understand our logic and tips for how to make your work stand out to us, our Director Ian likes to write articles about “What Your Writing Has Been Telling Us” over this time. (more…)
Most sci-fi is just fantasy in a different setting. But when writing science fiction all writers need to pay attention to what’s really changing and happening now, if they want their writing to catch our imaginations and stand the test of time.
Watching ALIENS again after twenty years (it’s actually over 30 years old, but I was 4 then), I’m seeing all kinds of things that now look quite dated – the opposite of futuristic. Despite the fact I’ve always thought this was one of the most powerful films I’ve ever seen, and that it’s still a touchstone for screenwriting theories. The experience brought home something I’ve been saying for a while: that nothing dates faster than the future. As writers, the same things that make it such an attractive subject can also leave our works quickly stranded.
There are plenty of trends we need to recognize, if we want to write science fiction or show the present in a way that’s, well, future-proof. You’d be amazed how many ‘futuristic’ scripts we receive that feel outdated now, never mind soon. Even worse are the ones set so near in the future that by the time the film would make it to cinemas (a minimum of 18 months, realistically, for any mainstream production) they’d already be almost backdated. So much for making a long-term profit thanks to the ‘long tail’ life of DVD/Blu-Ray sales, TV screenings or streaming. And here’s what’s even worse – lots of the scripts we receive don’t even seem up-to-date now, never mind for a release date two years from now and a ‘long tail’.
What will the future look like, even ten years from now? We won’t know until it hits us. A lot of what happens now in the news feels like a surprise at the time – 9/11, Trump, Brexit etc – but wouldn’t be if we all had our ears to the ground more and faced up to reality a bit more honestly. These articles aim to help writers do that, to avoid getting left behind by reality, it’s only human nature to not want to face uncomfortable truths. Wherever possible I try to take a fully inclusive view and avoid bias, but hey, I’m only human – and not everybody will want to agree with the picture painted here, and that’s an important thing to reflect in your writing too.
Many future-proofing issues for writers aren’t so much about machines, technology and other advances – they’re about what people will be like in the times ahead. Writers should keep an ear out for changes and subtle long-term trends in all aspects of life – just to reflect the world as it already is, in fresh ways. That’s true even if you don’t have any need to envisage the future within your writing. After all, a huge part of making your writing sellable is about tapping into something that’s both fresh and convincing. All writers should listen out for changes that will influence our futures – because even historical or fantasy stories still have to anticipate what we’re about to become interested in, and our unconscious desires for the kinds of world we’d like our imaginations to occupy (to escape our dull realities).
A lot of the things that still bug me about future-writing are the same things that bugged me about sci-fi TV shows and films when I was a teenager, which inspired a lot of my own best writing. I studied science hard and tried to push whatever technology I included towards the absolute limits of what might eventually be possible within the laws of physics – but no further. In contrast, most future-writing doesn’t pay much attention to facts. It’s far more interested in creating a dream – or a nightmare. And that’s fine too, as long as it can convince us.
Science is much abused by the fiction that takes its name. I prefer the Italian word fantascienza – a dream or a fantasy of science. Because that’s what most sci-fi really gives us. When writing science fiction, the writers start with a dream of what a future (or alternate reality) could be like, and explore that vision rather than anything that corresponds to science or realism. Then they dress it up with silly science-lite technobabble to make it sound more plausible. While pretending that, for example, we can fly faster than light, and arrive at distant stars in a couple of minutes, rather than the many years it would do even then. (Our bored imaginations are yearning for space to become an intensive and exciting place, rather than the overwhelmingly vast, empty, and almost action-free reality revealed by astronomy.) Relativity has implied – for 100 years now! – that flying faster than light might mean travelling back in time anyway, even if it were possible to put more than 100% of the energy contained in our mass into propelling ourselves forward to make that possible. Ridiculous, and impossible, but STAR TREK and other franchises take this as their premise. Meanwhile, other SF has relied on parallel universes, or controllable ‘wormhole’ portals instead – both ideas that badly distort an obscure scientific speculation in order to imagine the kind of exciting universe we’d much prefer to the reality. But most sci-fi would be very dull and empty if we couldn’t let our imaginations fly away from reality. If we’re honest, that’s the main point of the genre. Scientific realism and caution is usually the opposite of what writers and audiences go to sci-fi for. We yearn for a flight of fancy, not a cautious science lecture. We want the ‘What if’, not the ‘but really’!
NEXT UP – ALIENS AND OTHER DATED VISIONS OF THE DISTANT FUTURE…
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