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Thursday, July 23, 2015

Congratulations to Lee O’Connor – The Brightest Star Update (Part 2)! - posted by wonkavite

Back in November, STS was thrilled to announce the optioning of Lee O’Connor’s short, The Brightest Star.

Last month, we provided STS readers with a glimpse of the produced film (still available for viewing at https://vimeo.com/129374340).

But now we can add additional news to the mix. Brightest Star has been chosen as the Best Indie Film winner for the Top Shorts Online Film festival.

Congrats to both Lee and Grant. Well done!

About the writer, Lee O’Connor:

I am a writer from the UK for the screen and theatre. I have written several shorts which are in various stages of production. I am currently in the process of writing a feature film which will be shot in L.A early next year. Alongside that, I am in the process of working on two feature films which the genre and subject will remain a mystery.

I like to tackle subject matters that will pull on the heart strings, educate and open a your eyes. Although these genres are at the opposite ends of the spectrum I predominately write drama and sci-fi. I believe you write with what you know, so be yourself and don’t try to mimic another film or script you have read, create your own voice. I am reachable via email: lee.a.oconnor “AT” gmail

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Mark’s submitting to Film Festivals guide – repost from SimplyScripts.net - posted by Don

Mark Renshaw has put together a guide based on his personal experiences in script and movie festivals.

Please also follow the discussion on this as well as other articles written by Anthony Cawood and P.J. McNeill.

Mark writes…

The below ‘guide’ is based on my own personal experience submitting scripts and short movies to festivals over the past 12 months. Take from it what you will.

You’ve created a masterpiece. Maybe it is a script Tarantino would go medieval on your ass to own, or maybe you’ve managed to get a script produced into an ass-kicking-awesome movie. You’ve written your Oscar speech and hired your mom to be your Manager. What now?

Well, you could enter a film festival to show the world (especially JJ Abrams) what you are capable of. What are your options?

There are over 3000 film festivals worldwide. That number is growing exponentially; a bit like my stomach as I eat those bags of chocolate that are ‘big enough to share’ but I ain’t sharing pal! The point is, there are so many it’s impossible to track. Luckily there are websites which specialise in this area.

Festival Submission Websites

The two main contenders are Withoutabox and FilmFreeway. Both list thousands of festivals, provide various tools to help you create your projects, upload materials and browse/submit to the festivals.

Withoutabox has been going since the dawn of time (2000), you can tell by their archaic design. In 2008 they were bought out by IMDB. So the good news here is you get an IMDB title page/credit for every eligible submission. The bad news; the website is user unfriendly, they’ve been slow to keep up with changes in technology and there have been complaints about overcharging. Personally I don’t like them. I’ve had submissions go missing and others where the status has not updated, so I’ve had to contact the organisers direct to sort things out.

Filmfreeway is the new kid on the block. It doesn’t have as many festivals available as Withoutabox but the list is growing all the time. It’s more modern looking and is constantly adding new functionality in response to feedback. Personally I prefer it. I’ve had a good user experience so far. I wouldn’t be surprised though if Withoutabox buys them out once they’ve reached a certain size.

How much will submissions cost?

Withoutabox and Filmfreeway are free to join, free to use but the entry fee for each festival varies and is based on a tiered system. The key here is to get in early. Some festivals start accepting over a year in advance and most offer an early bird discount. If it’s a Seasame Street festival I’m sure they’ll offer a Big Bird discount, but I digress…again. From this point on the prices rise steadily through a tiered range as time goes by.

To save some cash it is also worth following some festivals on social media, as they do randomly throw out discount promo codes.

Some festivals are free! If you use the advanced search options, you can set the price filter to $0 . Be careful though, some of these are only free under special circumstances, like if you are a student or a wizard with a lisp or something.

Which Festivals should I enter?

This is where you are going to have to do your research. Festivals will gladly accept any script or movie you submit. They’ll gleefully accept your money, while dribbling saliva down their chins like rabies infected baboons. However, as soon as they start trawling through the thousands of submissions, they will reject yours faster than a fast thing that’s been fast for a very long time, if it doesn’t meet their criteria.

Let me put it this way, it’s no use submitting a script about a blind albino transgender Jew in war- torn Nazi Germany, who has a secret love affair with Hitler’s briefcase, to a sci-fi festival is it? And yet you will be surprised how many people pick festivals at random.

It’s not just the genre. Some festivals focus on a certain theme, others specialise in supporting a cause or championing a specific gender. I saw one which specifically said in the small print they only accepted submissions where you could prove it was a collaborative project involving people from different countries. Yet, the rest of the promotional material did not state this rule.

The other aspect to consider, what are the prizes? If you just want to promote your work, get some awards, any festival will do. There’s nothing like bragging rights, right? However if you want a way into the industry, if you are looking to get an agent, win a professional table read or if you want cash, then only certain key festivals offer such rewards. Be warned though, the competition for these is fierce!

So before parting with your hard earned cash:

  • Read ALL the rules and criteria for the festival. It’s easy to get caught out by a stipulation.
  • Research the festival! The promotional page makes it look super professional and slick but go to their actual website and it may look like something a demented child has hacked together with a hammer and a jar of marmite. Do you really trust your work and money to a festival that can’t even put together a decent website?
  • Review some of the previous qualifying/winning entries. If last year’s winning entry was a black and white silent film showing a slug’s life over 24 hours, should you submit that romantic comedy?

What are my chances?

Here is the mule kicker. Entering and paying a fee doesn’t get you into the festival. It’s gets you a consideration; that’s it. You can pay a small fortune and simply end up with a load of rejections with no explanation as to why.

What festivals will never, ever do, is inform you of your chances of being accepted. The promotional material makes it all sound glamorous, exciting and within your grasp. Just remember it is all marketing aimed at trying to generate as much money as possible.

Let me throw some figures at you – this is based on independent movie submissions only, I don’t have any actual figures for script submissions.

• Manchester (UK) International Film Festival – This is their first year. They’ve had over 1000 submissions with only 20 slots available.

• Palm Springs (LA) Film Festival – Over 3400 submissions.

• Sundance – 200 slots available – woo hoo! Over 9000 submissions – WTF?

With so many entries, it’s hard to fathom how they could possible review each one and give each their full attention. From the stories I’ve heard some festivals don’t. Mere mortals like us have no idea which festivals review each entry fairly and which just take your money and run.

So unless your work has the backing of a big player, a recognised actor or a major Indy studio is involved who could promote your work, it’s worth considering:

Online festivals – They have more slots compared to traditional venues and the festival can run over longer periods of time.

Smaller, specialised festivals – Sure they may not be as glamourous as Cannes but there are less submissions to contend with.

Feedback Festivals – Some festivals provide feedback! So even if they reject it, you’ll know they gave your submission the attention it deserves and you will know why you got rejected. Please note, some festivals charge a hefty extra fee for feedback but some provide this service as standard.

New Festivals – These are trying to establish themselves, they’ll be wanting to make a good impression in their first year, get as many submissions as possible and therefore the rules for acceptance may be less strict.

Super Secret Tip!

If you’ve read this far, well done! You win a straw donkey! Plus, I’ll let you in on something I’ve only recently discovered. The GOOD festivals actually want you to engage with them direct!

Shocking I know. It’s easy to leave the communication between the third-parties like FilmFreeway, I did for a long time and ended up with a lot of rejections. I’ve come to realise that once you’ve submitted your project, the best thing you can do is get hold of the festival’s email address, tell them a bit about yourself, tell them about the project you’ve entered and even tell them how it’s doing/done in other festivals.
I’ve only used this method for the past few weeks and already I’m receiving great engagement from the festivals via email and on social media. Will this increase my chances? Who knows? Time will tell but it can’t hurt to try.

If you have any personal experiences to share please do so.

Best of luck, unless you are entering the same festivals as me! If you do, may your submission supernaturally explode and I win by default.

-Mark

Follow the discussion on the discussion board.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Movie Poet September 2014 short script winners - posted by Don



MoviePoet.com is proud to announce the winners of their September 2014 short script competition. – Impending physical destruction, cosmic radiation wiping out all life, a virus that kills everything, doesn’t matter… it’s the end of the world and your story revolves around that.

“A Kindness” by Basil Sunshine ~ First Place
A man suffering from imminent zombie-hood gives his 8-year old daughter survival advice.

“Last Run” by William Boehmer ~ Second Place
A homeless man must finish one last task before the end of the world.

“Final Respect” by Bill Sarre ~ Third Place
A gardener faces the end of the word with those he has helped.

Each month, Movie Poet runs a free short screenwriting contest. Head on over to Movie Poet and give it a go. – Don

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Congratulations to Matias Caruso (Mr. Z) 2014 PAGE Awards Grand Prize Winner - posted by Don

2014 page awards imageCongratulations to Matias Caruso (Mr. Z) 2014 PAGE Awards Grand Prize Winner for his script Three of Swords.

Three of Swords started out as short about a tarot reading that exposes an undercover FBI agent who must escape a traveling carnival full of criminal freaks. Needless to say, it grew into something.

Congratulate Matias and talk about it on the Discussion Board.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Movie Poet contest winners - posted by Don



MoviePoet.com is proud to announce the winners of their May 2014 short script competition. The theme was “War is Hell” – Tell us a story of war.

“The Wilderness” by William Boehmer ~ First Place
Two enemy soldiers meet in a forest and have to come to terms with their situation.

“Bitte” by John P. Dowgin ~ Second Place
On D-Day, an American private storms the beaches of Normandy bearing a premonition of death.

“Home Field” by Rod Thompson ~ Third Place
Two soldiers, from their hiding place in a Little League dugout, discuss the meaning of war, and the continuity of their way of life.

Each month, Movie Poet runs a free short screenwriting contest. The July contest has just been announced – The theme: “Dinner Time” – Your entire story must take place around a dining room table. Head on over to Movie Poet and give it a go. – Don

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

LA International Short Film Festival – deadline July 11, 2014 - posted by Don

Deadline: July 11, 2014

The 18th LOS ANGELES INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL July 24-31, 2014 is accepting film & script submissions. The festival is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA).

LA Shorts Contest
2014 LA Shorts Screenplay Competition $1,000 CASH PRIZE

All genres welcome

Guaranteed acceptance into the 2015 LA Shorts Fest.
Scripts must be under 15 pages
Script feedback

Deadline: July 11, 2014

LA Shorts Fest alumni directors includes Tim Burton, Bryan Singer, Paul Haggis, Shane Black, Jason Reitman, John Woo, Tony Scott, David Lynch, Joe Carnahan, Louis D’Esposito, Terry Gilliam, Jon Favreau, Scarlett Johansson, Vin Diesel, Hilary Swank, Demi Moore, Courteney Cox, Jessica Biel, Kirsten Dunst, Ralph Macchio, Ricky Gervais and many more.

Submit online www.LAshortsFest.com
For more information send email to info@lashortsfest.com

+++++++++++

* before entering any screenwriting contest, I encourage you, the writer, to check out MovieBytes.com which features a comprehensive database and reviews of screenwriting contests and competitions. This site will help you make an informed decision before entering any contest.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2015 BlueCat Screenplay Competition – Deadline November 15th - posted by Don

2015 BlueCat Screenplay Competition Call for Entries

Since 1998, the BlueCat Screenplay Competition has provided a community for the unknown screenwriter to develop their work, giving undiscovered talent a path to professional success.

BlueCat accepts both feature length and short screenplays, and in keeping with our longstanding tradition, every screenplay will receive one written analysis, with our best screenplays receiving over $40,000 in cash prizes.

All submissions received by June 15th will receive their written analysi by July 1st.

Students will be eligible to submit their short screenplay at a special rate of $35.

The final deadline for the competition is November 15th, 2014.

We look forward to working with you!

Awards

$15,000 Best Feature Screenplay
$2500 Four Feature Finalists

$10,000 Best Short Screenplay
$1500 Three Short Finalists

$1500 The Cordelia Prize
Best Feature Screenplay from the UK

$1500 Joplin Award Prize
Best Feature Screenplay from outside the USA, Canada or the UK

Movie Title Contest: Three Winners $250 each
All screenplays entered by August 1st are eligible

Claudia Summerfield

BlueCat Screenplay Competition
PO Box 2635
Los Angeles, CA 90078

Website: BlueCatScreenplay.com

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* before entering any screenwriting contest, I encourage you, the writer, to check out MovieBytes.com which features a comprehensive database and reviews of screenwriting contests and competitions. This site will help you make an informed decision before entering any contest.

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