Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

20 years

I just pulled together the competitions I did well in with my scripts -- my first and best being 20 years ago -- and it's amazing to me how little good all that effort did, because I entered probably 4 times that many contests. Here's a partial list --

Blood Angel
Movie Deal! (Second Place)
Indie Gathering (Third Place)
Pacific N.W. Writers (Finalist)
Austin (Semifinalist)
Screenwriting Expo (Semifinalist)
Cinestory (Semifinalist)
Blazing Quill (Semifinalist)
Scriptapalooza (Quarterfinalist)
Slamdance (Quarterfinalist)
PAGE International (Quarterfinalist)

Darian’s Point
Worldfest - Flagstaff/Charleston (First Place, Horror)

Return to Darian’s Point
Shriekfest (Finalist)
Writers On The Storm (Semifinalist)

The Cowboy King of Texas
Worldfest - Houston (First Place, And Special Jury Award)

Wide New World
Indie Gathering (Second Place)
Worldfest - Houston (Third Place)
British Feature (Semifinalist, The Big Picture)

5 Dates
Screenwriting Expo (Finalist, Suzanne's Prize)
Movie Deal! (Finalist)

Find Ray Tarkovsky
Scriptapalooza (Semifinalist)
American Accolades (Semifinalist)
Screenwriter Dig (Semifinalist)
WriteMovies (Semifinalist)

The Lyons’ Den
One in Ten (Finalist, Honorable Mention-4th place)

Dair’s Window
One in Ten (Finalist)

Pacific NW Writer’s Association (Second Place)

Straight on Till Morning
Houston International Film Festival (First Place, Biography)

What's startling is how irritated I am with myself for wasting so much time with this nonsense...not to mention the money for copies and postage and entry fees. And all you get out of it depends on luck of the draw; a script that's a finalist in one competition might not even make quarterfinalist in another, as I found out, because it's all in how the reader feels about your work, and half those readers are damn near illiterate.

I've ranted about this too many times and should stop whining now. It's being in LA that's brought these feelings to the fore. And the truth is, I'd never have changed "The Lyons' Den" into a novel if I'd stayed out here. I was too focused on screenwriting to really consider it. Such is life in the big city...or sort-of big, as regards Buffalo.

Hopefully I'll get back to my daily writing, soon. And blogging. My inner dragon is beginning to fume, thanks to withdrawal from being non-creative. Rrrrrrrr.


Brad Rushing said...

You're irritated because you won or placed in only 25% of the writing competitions you entered? Are you KIDDING me? You definitely need some perspective, brother! Most people never win ANYTHING. Some people win once.

The fact that you have won and placed so FRIGGIN' many times - illiterate readers and all - is VERY, VERY, VERY IMPRESSIVE!

Give yourself credit.

Don't you remember your teachers in school, friends, parents and general common knowledge that the entertainment industry is one of the most competitive industries you can possibly be in?

To get even one award is impressive and you have a truck load!

Even with all the work I have done I only have 2 cinematography awards in 25 years. I have a few more nominations and some work which won "Best Video," but my cinematography was not singled out.

You're doing better than me! And I am thrilled with my awards. To be recognized at all is HUGE.

The fact is, and I think you will admit this, you are an excellent writer, but not a confident salesman.

I think you can learn it. And I am willing to coach you and walk with you every step of the way.

I have opened some doors for you today. If you really want to be a screenwriter, then just like how you have to use discipline to put the word to the page, you will have to use discipline to reach out, communicate and stay in touch with these people.

Be proud - DAMN proud - of your incredibly HUGE number of awards and honors. Commit to being an ally to your own dream, let me help you and let's do some damage, son. You owe it to that fellow who worked so long and hard for 20+ years to craft 30 superb screenplays.

JamTheCat said...'re right. I'm being on the obnoxious side about this, and a bit denigrating. And you know I agree that I suck at selling myself. Have to work on that.

Thanks for everything you've done and are doing. I just got home and have another hundred e-mails to go through -- before I crash on the bed. Modern technology is so kewl...until it takes over your life and makes you a slave and you have no more existence unto yourself!

BTW -- wouldn't you know "Bandit Country" was requested? It's one of those scripts I'm least confident it. But I brushed up some of it on the plane ride (I'm beginning to think Business Class is worth the extra money just so I don't wind up with an aching back and shoulders by the end of the trip from being so cramped while using my laptop) and will finish it up tomorrow or Wednesday. I let the guy know I'd be sending it then.