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Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest – Semi-Finalists!

Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest – Semi-Finalists!

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!

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!

Writing character driven stories – a look at Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA

Writing character driven stories – a look at Alfonso Cuarón’s ROMA

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…

Screenplay - not Roma

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!

Why write or make a short film? – A guide by Ian Kennedy

Why write or make a short film? – A guide by Ian Kennedy

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!

 

Pitch meetings, success stories, and more VFX-driven scripts wanted for a 2x Oscar nominated director!

Pitch meetings, success stories, and more VFX-driven scripts wanted for a 2x Oscar nominated director!

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…

  • Ian Kennedy at Bafta

    Ian Kennedy, our Director of Worldwide Development, at BAFTA

    Following on from Alex and Habib’s successful tour of Hollywood, we’re still looking for more great VFX-driven scripts for Habib to direct. We’re in discussion with many studios to confirm the next wave of projects and welcome more submissions through our Winter 2019 Contest.

  • The movie we made in 2007, THE LIST, is now back in our hands after ten years in a distribution deal with Warner Bros. This charming romantic comedy stars Wayne Brady (WHOSE LINE IS IT ANYWAY?) and Sidney Tamiia Poitier (DEATH PROOF), and includes a breakout role for Jane Lynch as a TV dating guru which helped lead to her iconic role in GLEE. We’ve had several meetings and enquiries with distributors and sales companies keen to take this project further.
  • THE LIST is a great example of our work as a full circle: script agency and production house. With our contests and consultancy services including elite mentoring, we offer entry to the market from just $39 and can carry your project all the way through production, distribution, and “the long tail”. Enter now with your VFX driven or any other genre of script to take it to the next level and break through to success.

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!

Halle Berry takes on the world of MMA in her directorial debut and the stars start to align for Rian Johnson’s “KNIVES OUT”

Halle Berry takes on the world of MMA in her directorial debut and the stars start to align for Rian Johnson’s “KNIVES OUT”

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!

August Script Sales: A sequel for Crazy Rich Asians, a Hawaiian epic, and Wile E. Coyote to get his moment in the spotlight

August Script Sales: A sequel for Crazy Rich Asians, a Hawaiian epic, and Wile E. Coyote to get his moment in the spotlight

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.

Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – Winners Announced!

Spring 2018 Screenwriting Contest – Winners Announced!

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!

ScriptOur 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:

DESERT RUN
by
Christopher Thomas

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:

KLONDIKE MIKE
by
Thomas Zmiarovich

 

And our THIRD PLACED WINNER:

FIRE ON THE ISLAND
by
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
DESERT RUN
by Christopher Thomas
SECOND PLACE THIRD PLACE
KLONDIKE MIKE
by Thomas Zmiarovich
FIRE ON THE ISLAND
by Timothy Jay Smith
HONORABLE MENTIONS
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