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!
Alfonso Cuarón’s latest film, ROMA, has been getting all kinds of acclaim, winning the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival and earning three Golden Globe nominations already. Guest author Cat Tebo takes a look at what we can learn from it about writing character driven stories…
A lot of new writers fall into the trap of prioritizing plot above all else, losing the characters and, consequently, the “heart” of their story. Ideally, a script should be a marriage between plot and character. The best way to go about this is by developing characters whose objectives and agency are so strong that they inform the plot, rather than characters being used as mere devices for the storyteller to force into the mold of how they think their story is “supposed”to be.
Alfonso Cuarón’s recent film, ROMA, is a perfect example of how a character-driven film should function, with characters so compelling and nuanced that there isn’t room for heavy, convoluted plot-lines or unrealistic story details. Instead, the characters are the story.
A big part of what makes rich characterization so important to story is that the strength of a story lies in the strength of its characters. Characters give stories humanity and, in doing so, a heart. Furthermore, the desires and objectives that drive characters to act are the same ones that should drive the story forward. In ROMA, everything that happens is a result of characters exercising agency and taking action in order to get what they want: it’s one of the most basic fundamentals of storytelling. Plot movement is all about getting characters from point A to point B; if there is no character arc, there is no story.
Fleshing out your characters is often a challenging task. In creating ROMA, Alfonso Cuarón was drawing inspiration from his own childhood, and familiarity no doubt makes for a greater sense of character. Even when writers are creating characters completely from scratch, the influence of memories and experience still plays a part—there is no such thing as objective fiction, and even the most original-seeming thoughts are a consolidation of some kind of previous knowledge.
Still, there are some important character elements to consider when figuring out who your characters are. Ask yourself what their weaknesses are, what their strengths are, how they cope with obstacles, what they need versus what they want, who they appear to be versus who they really are—for every question you ask, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask the inverse of it as well. Doing this ensures that you’re considering your characters from every possible angle and are covering every aspect of them you can.
Concept is usually what sells your story in the beginning, but characters are what make it stick. Likewise,you might be able to grab an audience’s attention with an interesting premise, but you won’t be able to hold it without intriguing characters.
Take a look at more writing insights from WriteMovies by clicking here!
Feature films tend to get most of the glory among filmmakers, but that doesn’t mean we should ignore short film as a medium! In a new series of Insights articles, Ian Kennedy looks at the benefits of writing in this format.
There’s a reason there’s not just one but two categories for shorts at the Oscars: one for live-action and another for animated. They can be a great way of telling stories that a lot of filmmakers overlook – and that includes writers!
So why write a script for a short film? Why get one made? Well, there are actually quite a few good reasons…
- You’ve got an idea for story that doesn’t suit feature length – sometimes, even the best concept can’t be spun out into a longer screenplay! That doesn’t have to a negative, though. Use the opportunity to tell the story in short form instead.
- To improve your skills by writing under constraint. All writing is done under constraint of some kind – of format, style, etc. – but the additional restrictions of length and budget with short film can be a great chance to prove yourself. Learning to write under constraint can actually be a great way to improve your writing!
- As proof of concept for a feature film. Making feature films is an expensive business, so why not show how well your idea works by making a short based on the same idea?
- To get a production credit. Getting a script produced can take hard work, but if you’ve already got a track record in short films, it can look great on your writing CV and give producer’s faith in your abilities.
- As a personal project – just because you love your idea or are passionate about filmmaking! Be careful, though; if you’re making a short film for personal reasons, make sure that everyone on the production knows what your motives are.
Making a short film brings all sorts of challenges of its own. You’ll still need a unique concept, a well-structured story, and characters that audiences can fall in love with – but you’ve got to get it all into a much smaller space! That’s why it can be such a great test of your skills as a storyteller.
Whatever your reasons for making a short film, make sure you know exactly what they are before you begin, whether you want to use it to take the next step in your career or just because you’ve got a story you’re desperate to tell!
Take a look at our other Writing Insights articles here for great hints and tips on crafting your scripts!
We’ve been hard at work lately having pitching scripts to industry, having pitch meetings with producers and distributors about our many projects! Alex and Ian had a productive meeting at BAFTA recently, discussing the slate and future opportunities. So, what have we been up to? Let’s take a look…
We’ve also recently had pitch meetings with many companies including Film4 and several of our winners’ projects have been going from strength to strength!
We guarantee pitching to industry for the top three scripts from our competition – so enter our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest today from just $44, and you can follow in the footsteps of our past winners and get your script out there!
Script Sales from September 2018
Script Pipeline have been reporting on script sales from September 2018 – and although sales might be light this month, there are some interesting projects to take note of.
- Halle Berry will be taking on her directorial debut with BRUISED, in which she will also star. We’ve had countless boxing movies over the years, but apart from WARRIOR, Mixed Martial Arts hasn’t yet had its day at the movies. Perhaps now is the time for it to step into the ring?
- THE WILD BUNCH is getting a remake, and it looks like Mel Gibson will be the man behind it. This will be his first feature since 2016’s HACKSAW RIDGE – and shows the continuing trend of remakes and reboots in Hollywood right now.
- Whatever you thought of Rian Johnson’s efforts with STAR WARS, he’s soldiering on with his next picture. KNIVES OUT is a modern murder-mystery with Daniel Craig, Chris Evans, and, as most recently reported by Variety, Jamie Lee Curtis.
Don’t forget, knowing what’s selling right now is important for any writer who wants the best chance of getting their work produced – so read the full report on script sales from September 2018 by clicking here.
And don’t waste the chance to get our professional feedback on your work either using our script report services. They’re discounted throughout our Winter 2019 Contest, and you get free entry to the competition when you commission one, too!
After a lull over the summer, script sales start to pick up again with plenty of interesting news as reported in Script Pipeline’s August 2018 Script Sales. Find out what’s hot at the moment, and where the opportunities are for screenwriters at the moment…
- As diversity continues to be an important issue in the industry, projects with Asian-American and Polynesian leads are proving to be popular. Leading the way is Dwayne Johnson, set to star in a biopic of the Hawaiian King Kamehameha directed by Robert Zemeckis.
- Having earned a worldwide gross more than six times its $30 million production budget, Crazy Rich Asians has earned itself a sequel, with both the writers and director set to return.
- Will Wile E. Coyote finally get the Road Runner? Coyote Vs. Acme is set to be produced by Chris McKay, director of The Lego Batman Movie; here’s hoping it has the same wacky sense of humor!
- Plus a directorial opportunity for Natalie Portman and a Supergirl film for DC – and more!
Check out the other script sale news for August from Script Pipeline here.
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!
Our Grand Prize Winner walks away with:
- $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.
Head to our Facebook page and our Twitter feed to congratulate our top three winners and Honorable Mentions yourself!
Here are the Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest Winners and Honorable Mentions…
||GRAND PRIZE WINNER
by Christopher Thomas
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