Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Nicholl Fellowship again, or, Oh Goddamit.

July 28, 2009

Dear Emily,

With a record number of entries and a readily apparent increase in quality, this year’s Nicholl Fellowships was more competitive than in any previous year. Now that scores have been tallied for all 6,380 entries, we have to inform too many writers of scripts featuring compelling stories, intriguing characters and excellent craft that they have not advanced into the next round. Regrettably, Not Dead Yet was not one of the 321 entries selected as a Quarterfinalist in the 2009 Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting.

You should realize that while we strive to make the evaluation of screenplays as objective a process as possible, it is inherently both a personal and an extremely subjective matter. A lack of success here may not have any bearing on your reception in the marketplace where a sale is the ultimate measure of success. I’ll even venture a prediction: several non-advancing writers will become professional screenwriters in the near future.

To tell you a little about the process: each script was read once. After receiving an initial positive evaluation, over 2,700 scripts garnered a second read. Just under 800 scripts were read a third time. Each read resulted in a numerical score being awarded. Scores for each entrant's script were totaled, and the Quarterfinalists were selected on the basis of highest scores.

Early next year, we'll send you a link to a 2010 application form, which will include a list of the recipients of the 2009 Fellowships. Results will be posted online at in November.

Best of luck with all your future endeavors.


Greg Beal
Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

PS: Your script received two positive reads in the first round but finished outside of the top 1000 entries.

Well Goddamit.

You and I shall meet again, Nicholl. And next time, you won't be so lucky.

ADDED: I've noticed that in the past couple of hours a lot of people have come here searching for info about the Nicholl Fellowship, mainly who the quarterfinalists are. The list is not revealed until the finalists have been chosen. Any other questions, feel free to post them in the comments and I will find you the answer.


  1. I got the same e-mail today, too, haha. DAMNIT!!!

  2. Did you get the same PS?

    It's like, yay.... damn.

  3. Anonymous5:47 PM

    I got the same p.s.

    It means we finished somewhere between 1000 and 2700 out of 6380.

    Top 2130 is top third, so safe to say we made that, given some people in that range didn't get two positive reads.

  4. Yeah that's not bad. I didn't get that far last year - I know that. Still.


  5. Anonymous6:20 PM

    Same e-mail. Have only entered the Nicholl once before. So, not bad. It's a strange sort of satisfaction.

  6. Did anybody not get the PS? I'm starting to get suspicious.

  7. I got two emails with no PS. Nothing about two positive reads. I was ready to stick the head in the oven...

    But then the third one made the quarterfinals.

  8. I didn't get a PS last year either.

    Is that this year your script made it, or a past year? Either way, congrats!

  9. and those were the two with good taste!
    I'll tell you my Nicholl story sometime. Very funny. Just asked about the wanna-be teacher.

    Next year. Believe it!

  10. James Grayford8:39 AM

    One script of mind made it, two others didn't. Of those, one received the P.S.

  11. All three were this year. I've been writing a lot. I'll chalk it up at least partially to the nature of the judging process. I don't think the quality varied that much between scripts. If it did, it means I'm getting worse as I go along!

    (Not that I'm complaining about only one quarterfinalist.)

  12. POOP. LOL.

    Lots of entrants DID NOT GET THE P.S.

    You can now feel Validated by the NICHOLL. LOL.

    Come on now... NICHOLL and ZOMBIES? Be proud of that P.S. because I would be willing to bet that you had the only zombie script that got the P.S.


  13. Well when you put it that way, I'll be happier.

    I know it's a good thing, but I had higher expectations for myself.

  14. Got the same P.S., but this is my last time. No more for me.

  15. BP, I hope that's because you no longer qualify.

  16. Congrats Emily. In a world with less zombiephobic contests, I'm sure you would've advanced.

  17. Anonymous2:58 PM

    Did any of you receive a letter in the mail, too, after receiving the e-mail? Because I have received neither so far. I know my entry went through because I got a confirmation number, etc. I'm getting really, really freaking upset.

  18. That happened to me last year. Just contact Nicholl and tell them you didn't get your letter. They'll get on it right away. You should have gotten it by now.

  19. That makes me feel a lot better, thanks. BTW, I'm certified to teach English but not currently teaching. I salute you in your noble endeavor.


Please leave a name, even if it's a fake name. And try not to be an asshole.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.