What does it take to win a screenwriting contest? WriteMovies Director Ian Kennedy interviews Vanisha Renée Pierce about her successes in our contests and what helped her scripts to stand out in them.
It’s time for more Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest results! There were a lot of great scripts in our Quarter-Finals and it was tough to make this next round of decisions, but after careful consideration our judges have decided on our Semi-Finalists!
There’s often a fine line when it comes to the different rounds of our screenwriting contest. Some scripts only just miss out, and it can be difficult to know why. A lot of the time, it comes down to the execution of basic elements – structure, characters, and dialogue.
Take a look also at this article that our Director, Ian Kennedy, wrote when we announced Quarter-Finalists: What your writing submissions are telling us, 2017-2019. If you’re making any of these mistakes, they could be holding you back!
But what else have we found with these latest Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest results? Well, a few things that have often helped our Semi-Finalists stand out from the rest:
- Unique Concepts. If there’s something in a script we haven’t seen before, it immediately makes us want to read on. See what Ian wrote in his article about the number of scripts with a vehicle smash at about page 10 – when we’ve read the same thing so many times, it quickly starts to become dull. On the other hand, when we encounter something new – that’s really exciting!
- Specific in genre and the story they wanted to tell. With a number of scripts, we found it difficult to tell what genre the writer was aiming at and it was a while before the story began to take shape. These unfocused openings usually fail to hold our attention. Be specific about your story, and be clear with its genre!
- Engaging characters. Ian wrote it in his article but it’s worth repeating again here: “Make us care and get fascinated with your main characters and their world”. When we care about the characters, the script takes on a whole new life. Don’t rely on clichés or stereotypes, but create rounded characters we can engage with as if they were real people. And not just the protagonist either, but the supporting characters and villains as well!
And with that, it’s time for the moment you’ve been waiting for. Here are our next Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest results: the Semi-Finalists!
|BAD LUCK VS KARMA, Aaron Davis||TÖDLICHE ERINNERUNG, Urs Aebersold||SPACE RACERS, Jason Azcar|
|THE DAWN OF EVE, James Bingham||LE SECRET DU KATANA NOIR, Christian Bourgeois||LA VENGEANCE DU COBRA, Christian Bourgeois|
|THE WALL, Anthony Buono||UNE CHANCE POUR GUERIR, Christine de Chauvelin||PSYCHOANALYTIC TALES, Christine de Chauvelin|
|STRUCK, Elaine F Chekich||THE HUNTED, Mark Flood||WITHOUT BORDERS, Chris Gebhardt & Jenn Russi|
|LAST CHRISTMAS, Owen Gower||BAD LISTING, Brent Hartinger||KOBOS, Adam Hersh|
|HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED, Manny Jimenez Sr.||THE SAX, Pascal Kulcsar||AGENT 355, Laura Lambert|
|IN THE ABSENCE OF JUSTICE, Stephen F Maynard||PROMISE OF TOMORROW, Andrew Pennington||THIS IS NOT REVENGE, David Pierotti|
|BOY MOST WANTED, Tuck Tucker||ESTHER’S DEN, Persephone Vandegrift||THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR, John Woodard|
Keep an eye out for more Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest results from us, as we move on now to judge our Finalists and winners – and decide who takes away the Grand Prize!
We’ve got another great script to present to you! Our Spring 2018 contest 2nd place script is KLONDIKE MIKE by Thomas Zmiarovich!
This hilarious family comedy has an unusual Alaskan setting, lovable characters, and brilliant set pieces that will have you roaring with laughter. A big congratulations to Tom for his win; he receives Development Notes, previews of our Virtual Film School, exclusive prizes from InkTip, and more! Read on to find out more about this script…
Here’s the logline for KLONDIKE MIKE:
A family start a new life in Alaska where they encounter extreme wildlife and an eccentric local prospector with a talent for finding gold…
And the writer’s summary of his script:
In this adventurous family comedy, Sam McCord inherits a gold claim and decides to put his dead-end job with a corporate mega-store chain on hold and move his dysfunctional family to Alaska for the summer in hopes to strike it rich and solve all his problems.
Virtually dragging his wife, 16-year-old son and 9-year old genius daughter to the wilds of Alaska, he soon realizes that he knows nothing about working a gold claim. At a local saloon, Sam meets Klondike Mike, a rustic, flamboyant, vagabond lady’s man prospector, who convinces Sam he’d make the perfect straw boss to run the claim. With no other options, Sam hires him, and under Klondike’s direction the claim is soon running like clockwork. So, what could go wrong?
For Sam, everything – from pesky Yellow Jacket attacks, feisty raccoon encounters, cell phone-outhouse mishaps, Magic Mushroom trips with a cookie eating Grizzly bear, and the underhanded dealings with the Bible thumping claim jumpers trying to steal Sam’s claim back. Not to mention, Sam’s worries that his children admire Klondike more than him.
Thomas Zmiarovich Bio:
Born in Seattle, in the shadow of the aerospace giant, Boeing, my love for movies began as far back as I can remember. From the age of 10, much of my paper route money found its way to the cheap, week-day, matinees in summer at the Columbia City theater, a mile walk from my home on Beacon Hill. Sci-fi, comedy, action, you name it, I could have lived there if I could.
As an adult, I never lost that love of the big screen. Even as I raised a family and worked as a Tool Design Engineer, for Boeing. I always dreamed that I had something to contribute to the craft I loved so much.
Through the years, I wrote my stories and scripts, developing and learning the craft of writing and story-telling from names like Stanley Kramer, Abby Mann, Michael Hauge, Richard Walter, and others. I’ve had scripts finish in the quarter and semi-finals at Nichol, Austin, and others; am a finalist with Script Pipeline and the Washington State Screenplay Competition; and have had numerous Top Ten finishers.
My love of story telling will never allow me to stop trying to get those stories to the big screen for all to see.
It’s time to introduce the cream of the crop from our Spring 2018 Contest! Landing in third place is an exceptional screenplay, a topical mystery-thriller set in Greece: FIRE ON THE ISLAND by Timothy Jay Smith!
Congratulations to Timothy, who also won our award for Best Indie Script and is a former Grand Prize Winner from 2010! His prizes include a year of script and pitching development worth $3200, previews of our Virtual Film School, exclusive prizes from InkTip, and more!
Here’s the logline for FIRE ON THE ISLAND:
When an arsonist threatens an important Coast Guard station on a Greek island, the FBI agent stationed in Athens arrives to investigate, finds himself immersed in a community rife with conflict, and falls in love with his chief suspect.
And Timothy’s summary of his script:
An arsonist threatens to burn down a Greek island village by blowing up a fuel tank in its harbor. Alarmed by the possible disruption of the local Coast Guard’s vital operations in rescuing refugees, Nick Damigos, the FBI Agent posted to Athens, arrives to investigate.
The arsonist has struck eleven times in as many months, each fire coming closer to tiny Vourvoulos, and each followed by a mysterious poison pen letter. The last one makes it clear: the arsonist plans to strike within days. With no clues, Nick searches for a motive that would drive someone to such a destructive act. He discovers a village embroiled in conflicts, some dating back generations, and uncovers earlier crimes—all casting a wide net of suspicion.
Gradually the mystery is revealed through the interwoven stories of a struggling restaurant owner and her feminist teenage daughter, a seductive widow and lovelorn waiter, a scurrilous priest and patrician mayor, and a host of colorful characters who paint a portrait—both humorous and soulful—of Greece where the past mingles with the present. While sorting it out, Nick’s life is threatened, and he falls in love with a young waiter who becomes his chief suspect.
Plus a biography of Timothy himself:
Raised crisscrossing America pulling a small green trailer behind the family car, Timothy Jay Smith developed a ceaseless wanderlust that has taken him around the world many times. En route, he’s found the characters that people his work. Polish cops and Greek fishermen, mercenaries and arms dealers, child prostitutes and wannabe terrorists, Indian Chiefs and Indian tailors: he’s hung with them all in an unparalleled international career that’s seen him smuggle banned plays from behind the Iron Curtain, maneuver through Occupied Territories, represent the U.S. at the highest levels of foreign governments, and stowaway aboard a ‘devil’s barge’ for a three-day crossing from Cape Verde that landed him in an African jail.
Tim brings the same energy to his writing that he brought to a distinguished career, and as a result, he has won top honors for his novels, screenplays and stage plays in numerous prestigious competitions. Fire on the Island won the Gold Medal in the 2017 Faulkner-Wisdom Competition for the Novel, and his screenplay adaptation of it was named Best Indie Script by WriteMovies. Another novel, The Fourth Courier, set in Poland, will be published in spring 2019 by Skyhorse Publishing. Previously, he won the Paris Prize for Fiction (now the Paris Literary Prize) for his novel, A Vision of Angels. Kirkus Reviews called Cooper’s Promise “literary dynamite” and selected it as one of the Best Books of 2012.
Tim was nominated for the 2018 Pushcart Prize. His stage play, How High the Moon, won the prestigious Stanley Drama Award, and his screenplays have won competitions sponsored by the American Screenwriters Association, WriteMovies, Houston WorldFest, Rhode Island International Film Festival, Fresh Voices, StoryPros, and the Hollywood Screenwriting Institute. He is the founder of the Smith Prize for Political Theater.
Our International Screenwriting Contest isn’t just for full length screenplays – we accept short scripts as well! In our Spring 2018 Contest, the winner of Best Short Script also made it all the way to the semi-finals: ROLL WITH IT by Rosie Byrnes!
As most of our readers know, writing a screenplay is tough work that takes diligence, planning, and a whole lot of hours spent typing. It might seem like writing a short script is easier, but it brings with it an entire set of challenges you won’t find elsewhere. Imagine trying to cram a 120 page story into 10 pages and you’ll see how difficult it is!
Congratulations to Rosie for winning in this category; her script charmed us with its rich story, likeable characters, and colorful concepts. She now receives a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual and exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School as her prizes, plus a set of Development Notes to give her professional feedback on her work.
Read on to find out more about this short script which captured our hearts: ROLL WITH IT!
Here’s Rosie’s summary of her script…
“Max is the king of the roller disco, and he knows it—that is, until the spunky (and far more admirable) Lucy arrives at the rink. His crown threatened, Max challenges her to the ultimate dance-off. But he’s in over his head, and finds that he’s head over heels for the gal who knows what it means to be groovy.”
And a short biography of Rosie, too…
“Rosie Byrnes is a writer, a second grade teacher, and a notorious ice cream lover. Originally from Colorado but currently residing in Tainan City, Taiwan, Rosie has spent most of her life writing outlandish stories. Only after following her crush into a college screenwriting class did she realize that, hey, it’s actually pretty neat. Her most recent passion project is a feature-length screenplay about Bigfoot (who’s a big softie, deep down), and she currently holds the “Worst Female Bowler” title in her hometown’s championship.
Rosie can be found on Twitter via the username @rosiebwrites.”
We are delighted to announce the winners of our Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest!
We’ve read many fantastic scripts over the last few months, but at long last, our Spring 2018 Contest comes to a close. In every genre and in every format, there have been many scripts that shone – but we’ve finally managed to decide on our winners!
A massive thanks to everyone who entered, and who gave us so much great material to read! If you want to find out why your script placed where it did in our competition, we strongly encourage you to take advantage of our Script Report services – which are currently on special offer until 31st August 2018!
- $2000 cash prize
- A year of script and pitching development worth $3200
- Exclusive previews of our Virtual Film School and a copy of our Confidential Studio Manual
And the top three submissions all receive:
- Guaranteed pitching and promotion to the top of the film industry
- Exclusive prizes from InkTip – an InkTip Script Listing and the winning scripts’ loglines will be featured in InkTip’s Magazine, read by thousands of writers and producers.
So, a huge congratulations to our GRAND PRIZE WINNER:
A great win for Christopher, and a thrilling script with strongly voiced characters. Christopher now takes home those wonderful prizes listed above.
But we must also congratulate our SECOND PLACED WINNER:
And our THIRD PLACED WINNER:
FIRE ON THE ISLAND
Timothy Jay Smith
A round of applause also for our Honorable Mentions: BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN by Urs Aebersold, LOVERS IN PARIS by Andy Conway, THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR by John Woodard, THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN by Natasha Le Petit, THE ELECTRIC WAR by Arthur Tiersky, and HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED: I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE by Manny Jimenez Sr.
A very well done to everyone named here and the many other impressive scripts we read this time around. It’s been a tough field to choose from! See the results in full below.
We’ll be telling you all about our winners in the coming weeks, and getting their script development phase underway.
Here are the Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions…
|GRAND PRIZE WINNER|
by Christopher Thomas
|SECOND PLACE||THIRD PLACE
by Thomas Zmiarovich
|FIRE ON THE ISLAND
by Timothy Jay Smith
|BLUT WIRD FLIEßEN
by Urs Aebersold
|LOVERS IN PARIS
by Andy Conway
|THE ELECTRIC WAR
by Arthur Tiersky
|THE UNDERTAKER’S CHILDREN
by Natasha Le Petit
|HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED:
I’M READY FOR MY CLOSE-UP, ESE
by Manny Jimenez Sr
|THE CRACK IN PEGGY SUE’S FLOOR
by John Woodard
There are 9 winning categories, $2000 available in prize money, plus over $3000 in script development for the 3 winners, bonuses and promotion through InkTip – we promise to develop and promote them to the top of the international film industry.
In addition to our Overall Winner, we also have prizes for the Best Studio Script, Best Indie Script, and Best Short Script – and we’re not just interested in screenplays, either. Our competition includes several other categories: get your television series started with Long and Short Form Pilots, raise the curtain on a future in theatre by sending in your Stageplay, and unleash the screen potential of your Book!
And don’t forget our newest category: Best Video Game Script! Guide us into your gaming universe and show us how creative you can be – we’d be thrilled to read your projects!
See the prizes available below, and enter our competition here!
Prizes and awards up for grabs in each category… Click on the prizes to learn more about them!
|PRIZES||Overall Winner||Best Studio Script||Best Indie Script||Best Short Script||Best Long Form Pilot||Best Short Form Pilot||Best Book||Best Stageplay||Best Video Game Script|
|$2000 Cash Prize||YES|
|Year of script and pitching development worth $3200||YES||YES||YES|
|Confidential Studio Manual||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|
|Inktip prizes guaranteed to winner||1st, 2nd, and 3rd Placed Winners
|Guaranteed Pitching to Industry||1st, 2nd, and 3rd Placed Winners
|Virtual Film School exclusive previews||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES||YES|