Archive for the ‘Screenwriting’ Category

First Annual ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

The 2013 ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship is now accepting entries until January 15th, 2014. In this – its inaugural year, the fellowship’s goal is to advance the careers of screenwriters through ongoing consultation and introductions to key entertainment executives and talent representatives. Plus, several other prizes – like a $1,000 stipend, round-trip travel to Los Angeles and meetings with “hand-picked” development execs and industry reps from Warner Bros., Lionsgate, Fox, etc. (see full details and terms).

This is not merely a contest; it is a chance to enter an intensive program meant to foster relationships with industry professionals. With this first-annual fellowship, we aim to cultivate a growing community of visionary screenwriters with meaningful connections to industry veterans and mentors.” – from screencraft.org

The Fellowship award recipients for both television and film will also be acknowledged at the WGA Awards ceremony on Feb. 1st, 2014 in New York.

Check out all the details at ScreenCraft’s official Fellowship site.

Pitch Your Story to The Weinstein Company in Master Storyteller Contest

Saturday, September 21st, 2013

The Weinstein Company has partnered with Film.com and NextMovie to offer budding filmmakers a chance to pitch the company’s Development Executives your story via their Master Storytelling Contest.

The Weinstein Company continues to back huge successful films – most recently, “Django Unchained,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and Lee Daniels’ The Butler.  Here’s your chance to add your title among this group.

Get all the details here via one of the partners:

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Eligible submissions must be written treatments between 200 and 1,000 words in length, describing the premise and plot of your proposed film. The pitches have to be completely original ideas that have never been publicly published or submitted to any prior contests.

To enter, visit The Weinstein Company’s Facebook page or NextMovie’s Facebook page. After “liking” The Weinstein Company’s page, you’ll be able to access an entry form. The contest closes at 11:59 A.M. (EST) on October 3rd, so start writing! Good luck to all, and we hope to be reviewing your film and reporting on its Oscar campaign in the near future.

Source: NextMovie
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Click on the image below to go to the Weinstein Co. Facebook page.

Enter the Imagination Series Film Competition

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Bombay Sapphire and the Tribeca Film Festival have once again launched the Imagination Series film competition. The competition was first launched last year in an effort to give five filmmakers a chance to have their own short film produced, using a script written by Academy Award-winner (Precious) – Geoffrey Fletcher. Check out all the “Year 1” winners (here).

Adrien Brody Celebrates Imagination At The 2013 Tribeca Film Festival

 

The concept (Written by Geoffrey Fletcher):

The following screenplay contains just the dialogue and very little description. You may imagine its characters, its location(s) and its events in any inoffensive way that you wish.

You may add a scene in the middle with your own dialogue of up to 3 minutes in length. The dialogue for the beginning and end are set. The total film should be around 5 minutes in length.

Your characters can be any combination of people, creatures or objects, real or imagined. Feel free to place these characters anywhere (Earth or otherwise), in any time period (past, present or future) or in any genre (comedy, thriller or otherwise) using any style or production technique (live action, animation, photography, drawing or otherwise) that you wish to use.

When you come to enter your treatment you will be asked to enter a written overview (maximum 1000 words) and the dialogue for the central scene.

Good luck!


Here’s the script –

Before you enter, be sure to see Geoffrey Fletcher’s Hints and Tips.

You must enter ASAP because the competition closes on August 4 2013. Geoffrey Fletcher and Adrien Brody (plus other panelists) will then select their four favorite creative concepts. A public vote will decide the fifth winner. Then all five winning concepts will go into production and get to be presented at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2014!

Amazon Storyteller, A Free Storyboard Tool

Saturday, June 8th, 2013

Amazon Studios just launched a new application that lets you convert your screenplay into a movie storyboard. Amazon Storyteller is free to use for anyone on Amazon Studios. Try it out – just upload your script or play with one that’s already in the Studio.

You choose the backgrounds, characters, and props to visually tell a story. A successful storyboard can tell the full story of a script, or capture its essence in short form, like a trailer. Either approach can be a great way to build an audience for your story and see how people respond to it.” – from Amazon Studios FAQ.

By clicking on the scene from the script (see example below), the storyboard tool scans the text for descriptions and characters. It automatically selects backgrounds and character drawings from its own library database.

Example from Amazon Studios – The Alchemist Agenda by Marty Weiss

Make sure to read Amazon Studios’ FAQs regarding rights and their Terms of Service before you participate and submit anything.

Once a storyboard is published on Amazon Studios, Amazon Studios takes a 45 day option on the project to evaluate it and decide if it should be added to our development slate. If after 45 days, Amazon Studios does not option the project, the rights to the original script are retained by the original writer.” – from Variety article.

FYI… the “option” Amazon Studios offers states that they “will have the exclusive right to buy your script for $200,000 if it is a script for a feature film or $55,000 if it is a script for an episodic series.”

Donate to the AHA and Get Your Script Read by a Hollywood Pro

Thursday, May 23rd, 2013

Screenwriter Joe Nienalt is launching a campaign to fight heart disease & stroke by raising money for the American Heart Association Heart Walk, and has once again partnered with Daniel Vang, a manager at Benderspink – one of Hollywood’s top production and management companies. This partnership will incentivize aspiring screenwriters to donate to the campaign and get their screenplays read by Daniel Vang and possibly receive representation from Benderspink. Last year they raised close to $45,000. This year’s goal is $50K.

Here’s the official description of their campaign:
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In exchange for your donation, Daniel Vang will consider you for representation.

Here’s how it works…[list style=”list8″ color=”red”]

  • -If you donate $25, Daniel will read the first ten pages of your script or pilot.
  • -If you donate $50, Daniel will read the first 50 pages (if it’s great, he won’t want to put it down after 10 or 50 pages).
  • -If you donate $100, Daniel will read your entire script or pilot (good or bad).

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source: Joe Nienalt’s Personal Page for Heart Walk 2013-2014 [/framed_box]

I first heard about this from listening to the Scriptnotes Podcast by screenwriters John August (IMDB) and Craig Mazin (IMDB). You can hear the episode here (it’s mentioned towards the end of the podcast at around 44:45), download it: AAC, MP3, iTunes or read the transcript here.

… listen up people who say, ‘No one will read my script. No one is going to read my script!’  Well, shut it.  Here’s the story: Daniel Vang is a manager at Benderspink. They are a real, legitimate production management company… they’re real producers. They’re real managers. Daniel Vang is an actual human being who reads things and is involved in this business.”   — Craig Mazin on the Scriptnotes Podcast

Please note that your donation does not guarantee you’ll get notes or feedback on your screenplay. From what I read, you’ll likely get a rejection response – but you never know. You should go into this like you play the lottery, but you’ll be donating to a good cause. Karma points may be all you’ll get out of it, but this is a tough business and this is a small window of opportunity that in its worst case scenario will contribute to possibly saving lives.

Go to the official donation page for all the information: Joe Nienalt’s Personal Page for Heart Walk 2013-2014. The deadline to make donations is Friday, October 4th, 2013.

Highland, the Screenplay Editor Officially Launches

Monday, March 18th, 2013

Highland – the screenplay editor conceptualized by screenwriter John August, is available in the Mac App Store today. Highland converts screenplays between PDF, FDX (Final Draft) and Fountain formats – back and forth in every direction. Here’s the product’s trailer…


With Highland, you can also tackle FDX files without Final Draft. We’ve found our users are often writing in Google Docs or TextMate or vim — or on their iPads. Whatever setup you prefer, Highland can get you into and out of Final Draft smoothly when you need special features.”John August

August introduced Highland last year, but wanted to beta test it with screenwriters before it went on sale. It’s available now for $9.99 until the end of the month (March 31st) – then it’s back to its original price: $19.99. You can also try the free demo here (zip file) or from the official site.

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The Black Board is the New Official Writing Community of the Black List and Go Into The Story

Tuesday, March 5th, 2013

Go Into The Story, the official screenwriting blog of the Black List just announced the launch of their official forum: The Black Board.

What began as a user-generated idea — to create an online forum where writers who were participating in the Go On Your Own Quest challenge could gather — has evolved into a terrific resource.”Scott Myers

Here’s how they break down the sections:

Here’s a screenshot with all the details…

Check it out for yourself here: http://theblackboard.blcklst.com/

12 TED Talks on The Power of Film

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

This is a new playlist (TED’s collections of talks around a topic) that focuses on a theme that we all appreciate: The Power of Film.

“These carefully curated talks emphasize the evocative medium of film — be it to convey emotion, to protest, to educate or simply to entertain.” Few things are as magical as sitting back in a theater with a hushed crowd to enjoy a film, but what you see on the screen isn’t everything. Hear from visionaries — from Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood — on how to make movies.” – Curated by TED – from “The power of film (12 talks)

There are over 3 hours of “talks” here – averaging about 16 minutes each. Definitely worth your time. Check it out…

Here are the 12 Talks (Curated by TED):

1. Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story (19:16)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Filmmaker Andrew Stanton (“Toy Story,” “WALL-E”) shares what he knows about storytelling — starting at the end and working back to the beginning.

2. Rob Legato: The art of creating awe (16:27)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Rob Legato creates movie effects so good they (sometimes) trump the real thing. In this warm and funny talk, he shares his vision for enhancing reality on-screen in movies like Apollo 13, Titanic and Hugo.

3. JJ Abrams: The mystery box (18:02)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
J.J. Abrams traces his love for the unseen mystery –- a passion that’s evident in his films and TV shows, including Cloverfield, Lost and Alias — back to its magical beginnings.

4. Adam Sadowsky engineers a viral music video (14:28)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
The band “OK Go” dreamed up the idea of a massive Rube Goldberg machine for their next music video — and Adam Sadowsky’s team was charged with building it. He tells the story of the effort and engineering behind their labyrinthine creation that quickly became a YouTube sensation.

5. Beeban Kidron: The shared wonder of film (13:12)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Movies have the power to create a shared narrative experience and to shape memories and worldviews. British film director Beeban Kidron invokes iconic film scenes — from Miracle in Milan to Boyz n the Hood — as she shows how her group FILMCLUB shares great films with kids.

6. James Cameron: Before Avatar … a curious boy (17:08)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
James Cameron’s big-budget (and even bigger-grossing) films create unreal worlds all their own. In this personal talk, he reveals his childhood fascination with the fantastic — from reading science fiction to deep-sea diving — and how it ultimately drove the success of his blockbuster hits “Aliens,” “The Terminator,” “Titanic” and “Avatar.”

7. Shekhar Kapur: We are the stories we tell ourselves (21:14)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Where does creative inspiration spring from? At TEDIndia, Hollywood/Bollywood director Shekhar Kapur (“Elizabeth,” “Mr. India”) pinpoints his source of creativity: sheer, utter panic. He shares a powerful way to unleash your inner storyteller.

8. Ed Ulbrich: How Benjamin Button got his face (18:07)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Ed Ulbrich, the digital-effects guru from Digital Domain, explains the Oscar-winning technology that allowed his team to digitally create the older versions of Brad Pitt’s face for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.”

9. Adam Savage: My obsession with objects and the stories they tell (15:38)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Adam Savage talks about his fascination with the dodo bird, and how it led him on a strange and surprising double quest. It’s an entertaining adventure through the mind of a creative obsessive.

10. Deborah Scranton on her “War TApes” (17:36)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Filmmaker Deborah Scranton talks about and shows clips from her documentary The War Tapes, which puts cameras in the hands of soldiers fighting in Iraq.

11. David Hoffman on losing everything (04:00)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Nine days before TED2008, filmmaker David Hoffman lost almost everything he owned in a fire that destroyed his home, office and 30 years of passionate collecting. He looks back at a life that’s been wiped clean in an instant — and looks forward.

12. Franco Sacchi tours Nigeria’s booming Nollywood (17:34)  [icon style=”link” color=”blue”][/icon]
Zambia-born filmmaker Franco Sacchi tours us through Nollywood, Nigeria’s booming film industry (the world’s 3rd largest). Guerrilla filmmaking and brilliance under pressure from crews that can shoot a full-length feature in a week.

The Black List Is Now Open

Monday, December 17th, 2012

The Black List just released their 2012 list (PDF) of the top unproduced screenplays in Hollywood. The “list” was started in 2005 by Franklin Leonard when he surveyed 100 film industry executives about their favorite scripts from that year that had not been produced. Many of these scripts have since been made into feature films (The King’s Speech, Slumdog Millionaire, etc.). This became a regular occurrence since then.

But this year, they are making a service available to all (for a small fee – of course), to upload your scripts to their database and be evaluated by professional script readers. That evaluation will be added to their recommendation algorithm, which (according to them) will be sent to over 1,000 film industry professionals.

Our evaluation includes an overall rating of 1 to 10., describes Leonard. A rating of 1 of 10 along five different metrics, including dialogue, structure, setting, premise. And then three short answers to questions about the script’s greatest strengths, weaknesses, and commercial viability.”

Here’s how it works: you upload a script for $25 a month hosting fee – which makes it available to their entire membership. There’s an optional $50 fee if you’d like to have one of their reader evaluate your script.

Veteran screenwriters, John August and Craig Mazin talked to Franklin Leonard about the Black List on their Scriptnotes Podcast (transcript) during this year’s Austin Film Festival.

The data that is generated by those evaluations we can use to create sort of a Black List of non-professional scripts, sort of a real time, that is sort able by genre, subgenre, words that feature in the log line. And then we also built a recommendations algorithm similar to what exists on Netflix and Amazon so that based on all of our 1,150 members’ individual taste, in the event that a script is particularly suited to one of those members’ taste…” – from Scriptnotes podcast

You can sign up and start the process [highlight]here[/highlight].

Moviebytes Lists ALL the Screenwriting Contests

Friday, November 30th, 2012

I wrote a while back about “Online Video Contests” about an aptly named site of the same name that has over a hundred contests. Moviebytes is very similar to that but its niche is to index ALL the available screenwriting competitions. Their Screenwriting Contests Directory breaks out all the different categories and genres. If you are an aspiring screenwriter, it’s definitely worth checking out.

Please apply a ‘buyer beware’ approach when entering any online competition that requires an entry fee. Moviebytes provides these databases “as is” and without warranty of any kind – so be sure to read their Terms of Service before entering any contest.