I’m so grateful for the team who helped put this trailer together!
Praised by a Hollywood reader as “MYSTIC RIVER on the ROAD TO PERDITION with a splash of WATCHMEN and THE SIXTH SENSE,” SAWBUCK is the story of a 10-year-old boy joins the hunt for a bizarre serial killer to save himself and a missing child.
Other industry feedback includes:
“Great Structure, characters, dialogue, and conflict. This guy’s good.”
– Tom Verica (RED DRAGON, HOW TO GET AWAY WITH MURDER, SCANDAL)
“Great ride! Several twists and turns. Keeps you guessing all the way. I’d love to be in it!”
– Richard McGonagle (500 DAYS OF SUMMER, STAR TREK: VOYAGER, JAG, THE PRACTICE)
“It’s rare when a script comes along with this many entertaining set pieces and audiences will undoubtedly be constantly asking ‘what’s next?’ There will be a terrific film here, and could very well attract the eye of a great director and/or actor for the lead role.“
– Hollywood Story Analyst
Click here to request a copy of Sawbuck for review.
A bunch of us were out to dinner and the conversation turned to movies, and eventually to story structure. I asked someone to pick their favorite movie and we went through all the story beats. At that point, my friend Lana said,
“You should do a Pecha Kucha!”
No, it’s not a dance or whatever else you might be thinking — it’s about telling stories…
Pecha Kucha 20×20 is a simple presentation format where you show 20 images, each for 20 seconds. The images advance automatically and you talk along to the images. Originally developed in Tokyo in response to architects administering “death by PowerPoint,” this succinct presentation format evolved in to informal gatherings all over the world covering a wide range of topics.
Much like screenwriting, it’s a distilled storytelling format. I spent lots of time with Lana’s help crafting this 6.6 minute presentation.
I received my email from the competition on Monday evening and the screenplay I entered did not make it to the quarterfinals this year.
However, at the bottom of the email was…
“PS: Your script received two positive reads.”
According to this entry from the Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Facebook page, that means my entry fell somewhere in places 1427 – 2526 out of almost 7,200 scripts. I need to remind myself to feel good about being in the top 20%-35% and take that as a positive to keep writing and honing my skills.
On a positive note, my friend Ron Maede’s script “God Gets Fired” did make it into the quarterfinals! I had a chance to read this script awhile back and am very excited for Ron since it’s a quite clever, interesting, and fun story.
Good luck in the quarterfinals, Ron!!!
“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?