A Nicholl for your thoughts? (part 3)

“A Nicholl for your thoughts?” parts 1 and 2 were about the 2011 competition, which was a bittersweet experience:

About month before the first round results were announced in July of last year, I got some fantastic notes on Sawbuck from both talented local writers who have sold and optioned scripts, and from a couple pro screenwriters currently writing blockbuster movies. That month was a little tough because I knew deep down I wasn’t going to advance as far as I had originally hoped.

When the first round results were announced, I was actually pleased to find out I got two positive reads (places 1302 – 2161 out of 6,800 scripts) considering what I knew needed to be fixed in the script.

Armed with valuable notes and a positive experience with the contest, I put two other scripts on hold and started on a page one rewrite to get ready for…

The Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 2012 Competition

I basically tore Sawbuck down to the studs and rebuilt.

One example of a major change was taking 3 secondary characters and combining them into one (a corrupt Police Sergeant + a Detective + a Forensic Psychologist = a Detective).  This difficult, time-consuming revision changed motivations and timelines throughout the script and, along with a myriad of other changes, had a positive effect by simplifying the story, putting much more focus on the protagonist, and taking the whole script to deeper mysterious and emotional levels.

I couldn’t be more pleased with this draft.

One of my favorite parts of being involved in the contest is seeing the daily Reader Comment Excerpts posted on Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Facebook Page.  Of course, it’s easy to read some of them and think, “Oh man!  They’re talking about mine!”

Could it be?

We’ll see.


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