Saturday, July 30, 2011

Bye again, Nicholl

Rejected from the Nicholl again. This time I didn't even get a PS, which I did the past two years. I'll take some solace in the fact that this script has been revised a good bit since I submitted it, and that it's being read by a handful of people around town.

I figure you can deal with the rejection in a few ways: Do something to distract yourself from the sadness, drink yourself into oblivion and sob, or get on your computer and start typing up some kickass pages.

No more fucking around. For the last week I've petered along on Wedding Dress, one page here, a few edits there, like plinking on piano keys. I haven't had the energy to do much else.

Nothing like rejection to light a fire under your ass, I suppose. Fuck being a failure - I have the power to turn it into a win. You guys with me?


  1. Drink yourself into merriment, then watch an extra bloody movie (Midnight Meat Train comes to mind, also the story of a frustrated creative) or, even better, have some Shaw Brother fun (Shaolin Intruders always makes for a good time).

    On the plus side, when you do win, you'll know your script passed pretty damn sharp muster.

    And keep fighting, just like this pooch, who understands courage is required to persevere:

  2. I'm in the same boat with the Nicholl this year--I needed a little kick in the pants to get back writing seriously and this will be it! New ideas, new scripts--I'll get there one of these days. Good luck to you!

  3. I'm with you.

    My script got a PS last year, but not this year. I don't know what that's all about. Now I'm unsure on how they judge the comedy scripts. Anyway, I'm going to give the Bluecat competition a try, since they give you a couple of scipt analyses. ;)
    Good luck with everything!

  4. script analyses* I meant. But you understand. :)

  5. The thing I hate most about being rejected is knowing that somewhere there are others who weren't. Then I hate them and myself.

    I'm competitive that way, I guess. But it bothers me.

    Sorry for yours. You're way better than I if that means anything.

  6. I wouldn't worry too much about the Nicholl Fellowship. Look at all the winners of the fellowship. Then look up those winners on IMDB. Very few of them have had a substantial career as a screenwriter.

  7. Glad to see you're more determined than ever, but, really, have you seen the kinds of scripts the Nicholl has been fond of these past few years?

    So many of them would be featured prominently on the Sundance Channel it seems the folks at the fellowship are now focusing on stuff that appeals to a very marginalized (albeit highly educated) audience.

    Don't get me wrong - I caught "Carlos" on the Sundance Channel last winter and it's literally one of the best flicks I've ever seen. I won't enter the Nicholl again, however, since I don't write material with a poli-sci flavor to it.

  8. Dude, you're a good writer and you know it.

    In the first few rounds of the big contests, who knows who is reading your script...

    I heard screenwriters who have won those contest tell how they submitted the EXACT SAME SCRIPT year after year. Most years they didn't make it past the first round. And then they won.

  9. Christopher5:51 AM

    Anyone have any experience with the Austin Screenplay Competition?

    Is it more receptive to genre scripts than Nicholl?

  10. Joe Unidos11:15 AM

    Fuck contests, man.

  11. Yeah, contests are bogus. Probably had a reader who just graduated from high school and loves transformers 2. Well, my theory about them... If it's in the right judges hands, it can go far.

    You did better than me. I didn't even finish my script in time.

  12. Yeah... I didn't enter either.


  13. Have you ever looked at the list of Nicholl winning scripts that were actually made? It's pretty sad; 'Arlington Road' is the only one that anyone remembers. It's like the CS Open, pal: they ain't looking for what is good or even what people will buy. They are looking for what they LIKE. A little poetry, a stirring anthem of a morale and not too many laughs. I think they're Quakers.
    Finish your new one. Set a deadline. I am setting a deadline here: I will have a draft of 'School Police' done by Labor Day for you to read. If I don't, please, PLEASE give me endless shit about it until I do.

    It was great seeing you guys today. He blew me away with that; you have a real gem in that man. If all I ever got from the Open was getting you two together, well, that's plenty.

  14. Who the fuck KNOWS anymore? I finally got through the first round of the Nicholl - but I didn't even place in another contest that I almost won last year.


    I mean, let's be like those redheaded muppets from the Labyrinth and throw our heads around and call it a day. Because this shiz is crazy.

  15. Anonymous12:56 PM

    Just saw your blog via google.
    I did place in Nicholl. But it means nothing. I am still plugging away.

    And the coordinator, Greg should get off his high horse and talk to use on a casual level and stop the bullshit.

    So many Nicholl winners and placers will do NOTHING with their writing life. Writing boring crap.

    I wish, Nicholl would go away.

    Filmmaking does not need Nicholl or Greg and his idelistic views of things which is not grounded in filmy reality.


  16. Lot of comments on this one.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I do think the Nicholl is a great contest and I am so happy for anyone - the few who posted here included - who makes it through the first or second or final round. It's a hell of a feat.

    The Nicholl will get you attention for sure, but a lot of the scripts that do well are not necessarily the kind that sell, so many of the Nicholl winners probably don't have huge careers because there's no great demand for deep drama writers in the industry.

    I still think it's a contest worth supporting. Every year I hope I'm not eligible the next time it rolls around.


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