Saturday, July 16, 2005

I don't suck!

In the writing community, we have what is known as "The Snoopy Dance"--a physical expression of unadulterated glee that occurs whenever we receive the oh-so-rare validation from people in the biz--whether they be agents, critics, editors--or, as in my case today, contest judges.

I just received feedback from the Bluecat Screenwriting Competition, one of the few screenplay contests that offers criticism and lets you see your actual scores. What entrants get from the typical screenplay competition usually adheres to the following format:


*spring peepers*


*maybe a cicada or two*

"Here's a list of winners. Thanks for sending us money."

(Yes, I know, crickets sing in late summer, while spring peepers...)

Anyway, I submitted the first draft of my romantic comedy screenplay, Between the Lines, to the Bluecat Screenwriting Competition because the judges give feedback. I figured $35 for some constructive criticism was a bargain, compared to professional script critiques, which run anywhere from $150-$2,000. Since it was the first draft of my first original screenplay, I prepared myself for some deservedly cruel words.

Here's what I got (most lines removed to avoid plot specifics):
What did you like about this script?
The script is a very enjoyable read. It is written well structurally, the characters are fully realized and three dimensional, and the overall rhythm and flow works near flawlessly. The hooks at the very start and within the first few pages are fresh and unexpected...The hook on page 10 is pitch perfect...

When Anthony visits his family...[i]t is comedy at its best. The banter between Anthony and his family, as well as the family members themselves lends a certain gravitas that is sometimes missing in romantic comedies.

Act 2 flows nicely...The Final Act, with things reaching their logical end, resolves nicely.

What do you think needs work?
Within dialogue there shouldn’t be any spaces to indicate new 'paragraphs.' Space them with directional beats instead. [Here the judge makes a comment that a certain character's reaction was less than believable, and also that one minor subplot was left unresolved.] Other than that (and the occasional typo), there are no other major problems with the script.

Rate the following on a scale of 1-6, with 6 being the highest:


Gulp--two points away from a perfect score, and a higher score than the 2004 winner*. That means I actually learned something from studying the craft. It means I can do this. Dance, Snoopy, Dance!

Not that I'm going to sacrifice novel-writing to pursue a screenwriting career (I can't--I'm under contract). If anything, I plan to use this story to create another novel proposal.

But I'll also make the recommended changes to Between the Lines and keep submitting it as a screenplay. One never knows, do one?

*The judges are the same from year to year, but the number of entrants more than doubled from 2004 to 2005, to over 1,000.


I'm breathless! Are you now entered in the contest? Will you win?


Posted by: Anonymous Anonymous at 7/16/2005 8:34 AM

Sorry, I wasn't clear. The contest is over. I had a near-perfect score, and I wasn't even one of the finalists. That's how tough the competition was.

So get your breath back.

Posted by: Blogger Jeri at 7/16/2005 8:42 AM

Still and all, congrats, Jeri.

Posted by: Blogger Rob S. at 7/19/2005 10:50 AM

Very Sweet!

(Of course you don't suck.)


Posted by: Blogger Sharon GR at 7/19/2005 10:31 PM

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