Tag Archives: Screenwriting

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.


Success!

Two friends of mine who I’ve had the pleasure to trade notes with through the Chicago Screenwriter’s Network have both seen (more!) recent success with their new scripts.  I read both scripts and can understand why they’re doing well and receiving recognition:

GOD GETS FIRED
by
Ron Meade
Third place out of 1,000 scripts in the WriteMovies 28th Writing Contest


ESCAPE FROM THE FRIEND ZONE
by
Colin Costello (Colin’s website)
Finalist in the Beverly Hills Film Festival Screenplay Competition



Well-deserved success for two hugely talented screenwriters!


L5 Pilot Released!

Back in December of 2010, my multi-talented brother Kaelan told me about a new Sci-Fi series he had a part in.

Having been a huge Sci-Fi fan since I was a kid, I was very excited to hear he was involved in such a project and got a chance to read the script and post a review.

Needless to say, when the pilot was released last week, I couldn’t wait to see it…

WATCH THE L5 PILOT

… and I wasn’t disappointed

I really enjoyed the amazing post-production effects coupled with an interesting premise and solid acting.  A storytelling technique I always like is when technical jargon is used that the viewer is not expected to understand, but makes sense to the characters.  L5’s fabric is woven with this (both in dialogue and visually) and gives the pilot a marvelously rich texture.

Well done, L5 Crew!  Here’s wishing you all the success you deserve!

Find out more…


What motivates and inspires you?

While there’s an infinite amount of motivations for success, I suppose most of us aspiring screenwriters are driven, at least in part, to see our work on the screen; to be blessed to have our stories told; to make a living by doing what we love, etc.

Then, sometimes, there are those things that both motivate and inspire.

Once I’m in the chair, click the Final Draft icon, and get lost in the script, what carries me?  What tethers my soul to the story and, at the same time, keeps me accountable to change what I love in service of what is right for the story?  What gets me excited to read a fellow writer’s script and provide quality feedback?  What won’t let my mind stop attacking a logic problem for days on end?

Lots of reasons.  But one of them is…

I want my story to be worthy of a Thomas Newman Soundtrack.

Even when I’m not listening to music while writing, it’s subtle motivating inspirations like these that help me to stay true to the story.

What motivates and inspires you?