Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reflections on my Nicholl not-win

Okay a little info since I'm still getting a lot of searches.

Best I can figure it, there were three basic PS additions to the Nicholl letter:

1) PS: Your script was among the top 10% of all entries - one of the top HOWEVER MANY scripts.

2) PS: Your script received two positive reads in the first round but finished outside the top 1,000 entries.

3) PS: You just missed. Your script finished among the next REALLY CLOSE NUMBER HERE entries after the Quarterfinalists.

And then, of course, there were those with no PS at all.

And the list of quarterfinalists will not be published until the finalists are chosen.

Last year I submitted Not Dead Yet and got no PS. I also didn't place in any of the other contests I entered. So I took a step back and said "why"? Why didn't I even hit anybody's radar? A lot of people reminded me that it's all subjective and not to worry about it, keep plugging away. But dammit to hell I fucking loved this script and I was not giving up until it got the credit it deserves. I've written a lot of scripts, but I never loved one until now.

So I emailed a certain someone and said "Hey what did I do wrong?"

And that person and I worked on that thing until it was more than just a good story. It gives me joy.

So now, a year later, the same script gets a PS. And yes, Unk, you're right. It's a zombie script. The PS is a hell of a thing for a zombie script.

Still, more than one person told me there's no way a zombie script could ever advance in the Nicholl. I just thought it would be so fucking cool to show them up. I wanted to prove that an action zombie script could elevate the current state of the genre. Then again, Zombieland beat me to it.

And I have a couple of managers reading my script who've had it for way too long, so I was just waiting until the day my quarterfinalist notice came and I could light a fire under their asses with that knowledge.

Okay I guess I have to admit I was just absolutely certain that I'd make it this time. I didn't think I'd win, but I thought I'd get top 25%. I really really did.

Okay and while I'm admitting things, I have to admit that I am ridiculously hard on myself. Even though I'm writing something new that I'm really falling in love with, I'm still going to resubmit Not Dead Yet next year along with Burn Side.

Unless of course I'm out of contention because I sold Not Dead Yet for a gazillion dollars. I have just enough of an ego that I think that is entirely possible.

And in case you were wondering, no I do not ever give up. Ever.


  1. Good. I'm glad you're not giving up. My vampire screenplay didn't make the cut, either... but I don't care! I'll keep writing scripts. I just need to come up with the perfect story that'll steal their hearts and capture their attention.

  2. Anonymous10:57 AM

    For what it's worth, you may very well have made the top 25 percent. My P.S. was top 15%/top 1,000 scripts, which means, even if you didn't make the top 1,000, there's still another 10% in there for the top 25%, you know?

    My feeble math skills tell me that the quarterfinalists were the top 5 percent of entries. It sure would have been nice to have been there, but at least we're getting closer. I didn't place in any of the competitions I entered last year either, and this year I've done all right so far. Not great, but at least it's progress. And all forward progress counts.

    So, you keep it up, and so will I. And next year, we'll knock 'em dead. Or undead in your case. (Har har. Couldn't resist.)

  3. Hey... You took a shot. More than what most do and you got a P.S.

    Makes ME wonder if there's any part of NDY that could be buffed up a little more?

    Just kidding... LOL.

    I think what this more or less proves at least to me is that good writing is easy to spot and rises to the surface.

    I'd also like to know what kinds of STORIES won outright because usually, they are not the kinds of stories Hollywood makes.


  4. Damn right, Deaf Girl. Damn Right.

    Oh yeah elizabethditty. I guess I keep thinking of the "Quarter"finals as top 25% when it actually has nothing to do with that at all. I think I just got it in my head that way. But it's waaaay smaller than top 25%.

    And yeah, Unk, it does bring me happiness that I set out a year ago to fix this thing, and now it's at least getting positive reads. So in that way I achieved my goal.

  5. Anonymous4:23 AM

    Yeah, it's physically depressing how un-ready my submitted script now looks after 3 months of not going near the thing.
    So we pick ourselves up, dust off and start again. My non-writer friends don't seem to get that ability to come back and start again, but you know what Churchill said: never, ever surrender.
    I hope to get at least my PS next year. Or sell first. Hmmm.... ;)


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