Sunday, October 4, 2009

Oy, screenwriting contests

Is it me or does the word screenwriter conjure up images of a cliched hipster stroking his beard, while lounging in a coffeeshop bragging about the psychedelic drug trip screenplay he'll never finish? Well maybe it is just me, but it seems like everyone and their mother is working on a screenplay these days. So, I've decided to distinguish myself from the average "unpaid screenwriter" crowd, by enrolling in a screenwriting contest to brush up my skills. NYC Midnight has a lot of fun creative arts-related contests they hold throughout the year, from short stories to 48 hour filmmaking contests. They're all fun and allow you the chance to get some honest feedback from professionals in the industry. So at the last minute I decided to enroll in their 2009 short screenplay contest. The premise is, you have to write a complete screenplay in 48 hours using a specific genre, location, and item they have designated for you. But it's a lot harder than it seems. For instance, my specific group had to write screenplays where the location had to be set in a horse stable, the story needed to include a generator at some point, and the genre had to be a monster movie. What?? Could it be anymore random? And it had to be done in 48 hours. Needless to say I struggled through the process...Having to write a story in a genre that I'm completely unfamiliar with and do it in two days is a daunting task. Eventually I came up with an idea that I think worked okay. It's obviously not a story that I would ever come up with on my own, but given that I only had two days I don't feel like it was that bad. The formatting was a little iffy (too much action and not enough dialogue! and dialogue is too corny!), but now I am a little more prepared for the next round. I'll let you know how good (or embarrasingly) bad I do after the judging ends on October 23rd. Until then I'll continue to work on my feature screenplay and run through my head all the improvements I could have made to the contest screenplay. Anyways, check out the site, if you're ever looking to brush up on your writing!

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