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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 DavisTÖDLICHE ERINNERUNG, Urs AebersoldSPACE RACERS, Jason Azcar
THE DAWN OF EVE, James BinghamLE SECRET DU KATANA NOIR, Christian BourgeoisLA VENGEANCE DU COBRA, Christian Bourgeois
THE WALL, Anthony BuonoUNE CHANCE POUR GUERIR, Christine de ChauvelinPSYCHOANALYTIC TALES, Christine de Chauvelin
STRUCK, Elaine F ChekichTHE HUNTED, Mark FloodWITHOUT BORDERS, Chris Gebhardt & Jenn Russi
LAST CHRISTMAS, Owen GowerBAD LISTING, Brent HartingerKOBOS, Adam Hersh
HOLLYWOOD’S MOST WANTED, Manny Jimenez Sr.THE SAX, Pascal KulcsarAGENT 355, Laura Lambert
IN THE ABSENCE OF JUSTICE, Stephen F MaynardPROMISE OF TOMORROW, Andrew PenningtonTHIS IS NOT REVENGE, David Pierotti
BOY MOST WANTED, Tuck TuckerESTHER’S DEN, Persephone VandegriftTHE 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!

WriteMovies Academy – more acclaim from users for our Virtual Film School!

WriteMovies Academy – more acclaim from users for our Virtual Film School!

Having started the launch of our new virtual film school last year, the verdict is in from our most recent crop of learners – and they’ve had a lot of good things to say! Here’s what the latest WriteMovies Academy reviews are telling us…

Looking at Phase 1 – “Concept and Theme Development” – users have rated the quality of the WriteMovies Academy at an average of over 90%, with a rating of 94% for the presenter, 92% for the presentation content, and 90% for the activities done as part of the course.

But most important thing is the progress they’ve made: users reported a boost in confidence regarding the subject matter of almost 29%, and confidence in the improvement of their own projects of 23%!

We’re thrilled to see these results – WriteMovies is always dedicated to great storytelling and to opening the door for writers. Taking a closer look at the WriteMovies Academy reviews, here’s what a few of our users had to say…

  • Gave me ideas how to fix a few stumbling blocks”
  • “I started understanding the commerciality of script”
  • “I’ve enjoyed the session and have started formulating ideas”
  • “Liked the interactive activities”

You’ll soon all be able to share in our virtual film school. We’ll be providing previews and mini-videos from the Academy to give you a taste of what it’s like – so keep an eye out for further announcements about that!

And for now, click here to take a look at WriteMovies Academy. From developing your ideas to pitching to industry, we’ve got something for everyone, wherever you’re at in your writing journey!

Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest – One Week Extension!

Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest – One Week Extension!

A huge thanks to everyone who has entered our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest so far – we’re hard at work reading through your scripts! While the official deadline was yesterday, we’re announcing a one week extension to deal with technical and administrative issues we’ve been having recently – so we’ll be accepting further entries until January 20th!

The prizes we’re offering in our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest are:

  • A grand prize of $2500, up from $2000!
  • Top three scripts all receive a year of free script development worth up to $3200, with detailed analysis and advice on structure, characters, commercial viability, and other important aspects.
  • Top three scripts all receive guaranteed pitching to industry, including packaging and promoting the projects to professional producers, directors, and actors!
  • Plus exclusive prizes from InkTip, and more!

Thank-you for your patience during the email issues we’ve been having over the last few weeks, which has been the result of problems with our hosting. WriteMovies will be moving to new hosting shortly, which should resolve all the problems we’ve been having (and if you’d like to know which hosting provider we’d never recommend, feel free to get in contact with us privately!)

If you have sent us an enquiry at any point recently and not received a reply, contact us again now at author@writemovies.com and we will endeavor to resolve your query as quickly as possible.

This might be the last time we run a contest in this format, so don’t miss out on this chance. Click here to submit by Sunday 20th January and take the first steps on your screenwriting journey with WriteMovies!

Wall of Fame 2018 – Our Grand Prize Winners!

Wall of Fame 2018 – Our Grand Prize Winners!

Today we look back at the winners of our Grand Prize from 2018 and reveal our full Wall of Fame 2018! If you’d like to see your name on next year’s Wall of Fame, enter our Winter 2019 Contest for a chance to come out on top – as well as the chance to win our Grand prize of $2500 in cash!

wall of fame 2018

Here’s some more info on our Grand Prize winners from 2018. All of our winners received a year of free script development with us and we’re now working hard at polishing them to perfection!

  • SLAVE SHIP by Tyler True: “A devout African man chooses to work on a slave ship in order to ensure the safe passage of other Africans sold into slavery.”
  • DESERT RUN by Christopher Thomas: “A hard-bitten oil explorer and a desperate group of orphans led by two unorthodox nuns are forced into a hellish desert confrontation to escape the Nazis and help ensure an Allied victory.”

Wish you’d been featured on our Wall of Fame 2018? If you think you’ve got a script that will take you to the top, be sure to enter our Winter 2019 Screenwriting Contest! Closing on January 13th 2019, this might be the last time we run a major competition of this kind… And with an increased cash prize of $2500, this is an opportunity not to be missed!

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!

 

Interactive Writing – A Tutorial on Gaming Terminology

Interactive Writing – A Tutorial on Gaming Terminology

Video games are a massive market for writers to explore: the recent RED DEAD REDEMPTION 2 made £725 million in its first weekend and shipped 17 million copies in two weeks – the largest opening weekend in the history of entertainment! If you want to get into this market as a writer, this article is for you…

Video games might be lucrative, but it’s not always easy to figure out all the terminology means. If you don’t know the difference between an FPS and an RPG, or an emote and a cutscene… Well, you certainly wouldn’t be the first!

That’s why Mark Brendan, our Elite Consultant for video game writing, is here to help. Mark has put together a handy guide for anyone who wants to get involved in writing for this new medium that cuts through the confusion and explains what all the terminology means…

Game Genre Terminology

RTS = Real-time Strategy
Normally top down view, often wargaming, but could be running a power station or theme park. Involves managing resources in real time to achieve a goal.
Command and Conquer, Total War series

FPS = First Person Shooter
An extremely popular style of game where the perspective is first person, as if through the eyes of the ingame character. Sometimes nothing of the character is visible, on other occasions hands with weapons are visible and the player can see some of their body when they look down, or press to interact with ingame objects. Shooter refers to the style of the game play – the gaminig is predominantly fighting with ranged weaponry.
Call of Duty, Bioshock, Half-Life

RPG = Role-playing Game
While the FPS is predominantly concerned with fast-paced action, an RPG takes longer to unfold. There are likely to be action sequences, often combat, sometimes challenges such as climbing. The player will gnerally be required to have much more of a relationship with the ingame world than in an FPS. To advance the player will need to talk to NPCs (Non-Player Characters), find and use objects, and solve puzzles to advance. While an FPS often makes the main character invisible, most modern RPGs allow extensive modification of the player’s character to customize it to their own preferences.
Fallout 3, Oblivion, Mass Effect

Third Person
In a third person game the player can see the character they are playing onscreen. The action is viewed as if from behind the character’s shoulder.
Prince of Persia, Uncharted, Tomb Raider

MMO – Massively Multiplayer Online
An online game that involves many people accessing the same game world at the same time.
World of Warcraft, Guild Wars

Narrative Terms

Cutscene
A cutscene is a non-interactive section of a game. This is generally used to tell story and to set up the key gameplay points for the next level i.e. Get to that bridge!

Scripted Event
A scripted event is an interactive cutscene. Here the player retains control while an event they don’t control such as a building collapsing, a plane flying by, or someone appearing on a balcony takes place.

Ingame/Level dialogue/Barks
This is dialogue that happens during the interactive sequences. The player will retain control as they hear pedestrians talking as they walk by, enemy soldiers calling orders, or companions calling warnings.

Emotes
Emotes are sounds rather than words such as a scream, a grunt, the effort sound of lifting; these are emotes rather than lines.

Player Activated Dialogue
Dialogue which the player triggers themselves by pressing to interact with characters in the game.

Ingame Terms

Player Character
As the title infers, this is the character the player controls. There can be numerous player characters in the game and the ‘character’ can lack many of the key things that define a character in other fiction (backstory, personality, etc.)

NPC = Non-Player Character
A non-player character is one that the player does not control. They could be an enemy, an ally, or neutral in terms of their approach to the player character.

With any luck, you’ve now got a better grasp of the gaming terminology a writer needs. If you really want to take your writing to the next level, we’d recommend get Elite Mentoring from Mark Brendan himself!

Take a look at Jamie White’s thoughts on writing for video games too in this article, where there are plenty more hints and tips to be found!

This is a great time to be getting involved in writing for video games; WriteMovies is still looking for scripts for both films and games to be directed by 2x BAFTA winner and 2x Oscar nominee Habib Zargarpour, too, which can be submitted to our Winter 2019 Contest