21 January 2008 - 22:28Winning a Nicholl, and Script Frenzy

I work at a college. It’s rewarding, flexible, reasonably-paid part-time work that is ideal for a writer’s day job. (Except when the entire college goes all dysfunctional for several years, and one gets involved in battles with Psycho-Bosses, Sneaky Sidekicks, and Back-stabbing Co-workers. Think “Dilbert” meets “24.”) And, you know, it’s seasonal. With seasons that change radically from month to month. The Beginning of the Semester Rush has completely flooded me.

So I’m a couple of weeks behind on my goal of winning a Nicholl. (140 weeks to go.)

This is also why I haven’t started posting much here.

But I’m still on track to have at least one new script ready well before the deadline. My plan is this: get the script roughed in before Spring Break in early March. During Spring Break I hope to set the current script aside and do a serious planning session on the next one. Then a couple of weeks rewriting, and then, End Of Semester Panic Season willing, I hope to do another script for Script Frenzy in April.

Script Frenzy is a kind of “writer’s dare” where everybody tries to write a complete script during the month of April. (It’s from the same people who run NaNoWriMo - the yearly effort to write most of a novel during the month of November.)

Since the Nicholl deadline is the first of May, this may not be soon enough to actually have a second script ready in time, but you never know. (And the Austin Film Festival deadline is a couple of weeks later.)

In the meantime, I’m shutting down the Synopsis Service until May, so I can concentrate on writing. Also, I’ve got to rethink the movie breakdowns I planned to post here. While I have been learning a lot, they are really BORING when it comes to writing them up and reading them, so I have to rethink how to use them better. I’ll probably start with a “lessons learned” approach.

No Comments | Tags: contests, productivity

15 December 2007 - 14:10Goals

It’s funny how a simple goal can be magic.

For a few months now I’ve been putting a lot of my life in order, juggling committments, ‘learning experiences’ and a number of different career strategies. I’ve been reading a lot, thinking a lot. And in my various readings, I came across an Internet Meme. You know what an Internet Meme is, don’t you? It’s where everybody names sixteen places you want to visit before you die, or five books that most influenced you as a child, or ten characters in fiction you’d most want to kill off.

I usually hate those.

However, this one struck a chord with my reorganization efforts: 101 Things in 1001 Days. You make a list of specific things you want to accomplish in the next 143 weeks. 101 is a big enough number to make you really think about what you want out of life, and 1001 days is long enough to actually get some of the more ambitious projects done.

And I was going to start working on the list over break, and start the 1001 days sometime around New Years. But then I got a salsa packet at Taco Bell that said “Make a Wish.” (Taco Bell salsa packets have little sayings on them, for those of you who avoid the place.)

And I made a wish.

And suddenly my entire freaking life snapped into focus.

My “101 Things” list is now full. It looks something like this:

  1. Win a Nicholl Fellowship.
  2. Win a Nicholl Fellowship.
  3. Win a Nicholl Fellowship.
  4. Win a Nicholl Fellowship.
  5. etc.

(Somewhere around 59 there might be a “Lose ten pounds” or “eat more apples”, but I don’t think so.)

Sometimes realistic goals are good — and that’s when you make a lot of them. But sometimes you need what one of the business gurus out there calls a Big Fat Hairy-Ass Goal. And sometimes all you need is the right BFHAG, and everything else falls into place.

Of course, the reason a Nicholl Fellowship is so perfect is because you can’t win one without new scripts, and you can’t win one without at least one freaking brilliant new script. So it encompasses all the most important other goals.

Eyes on the Prize.

No Comments | Tags: contests

11 December 2007 - 22:23American Gem Competition

I was thinking of entering the American Gem Synopsis competition, and maybe even the Logline competition. However, I read through the fine print on their rules, I think it’s time to RUN AWAY!

They don’t offer a cash prize, they charge a full sized entry fee — and yet they want seven percent of all proceeds from your script! YIKES!

I was going to practice pitching some ideas I haven’t written yet, but I do not need a non-agent taking agenting fees. (Especially when I’m paying THEM to read it, and the subsequent publicity is as much for their competition as for my work.)

Always read through the fine print.

No Comments | Tags: contests