Quote Monday on a Tuesday

Although yesterday passed before I had an opportunity to post, it’s still early enough in the week to share some inspiration. ¬†In fact, today is my Saturday, so if you work odd shifts like I do, then it really doesn’t matter what day you choose to celebrate #MotivationMonday. ūüėČ

BeliefInSanta

We are our biggest critics, so it’s good to be reminded that we can also choose to be our biggest supporters. ¬†No matter what you’re passionate about, if you’re chasing your dream, then believe in yourself that you can and will make it happen. ¬†In the end, should we succeed or fail, it is up to us.

There’s another quote I’ve shared before that I feel is a good bookend for the above, “What would you do if you knew you could not fail.” ¬†Believe in yourself and find out!

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What Kind of Screenwriter Are You?

In my time of slack, I accumulated hundreds of emails that required at least a fleeting glance. ¬†In my time of focus, I think I’ve cut that number down to about 60 that will require a slightly longer look-see. ¬†Not too bad given the short amount of time dedicated in that direction. ¬†During this time, I came across a personality quiz for screenwriters from Stephanie Palmer’s Good in a Room site.

writingmemeI feel like I know who I am as a writer. ¬†I don’t outline much; I “generally” know where it’s going to go though, before I sit down.¬† I like happy endings, my characters are often sarcastic and they’re always do-gooders (the protagonists anyway), and because of my genre choice, I have some freedom to let my imagination run wild. ¬†I listen to my characters. ¬†I alternate between procrastination and binge. ¬†I like to write some things by hand (my fanfiction has almost entirely been written by¬†writermemehand, oddly enough), but the computer monitor allows me more space to “see” (hence, all my screenplays have been written via the modern age). ¬†Plus I type much faster than my hand can write to keep up with my¬†brain (which is why some of my fanfiction looks like chicken scrawl).

I realize that my style of writing will some times write me into corners, but often¬†ideamemetimes, I discover alternate paths and ideas that I never would have seen had I not allowed my story to just unfold. ¬†I have literally found myself astounded with what I’ve unearthed this way.

So I wasn’t surprised by my results upon taking the quiz – Gardener Heartwarmer. ¬†Even the name sounds right. ¬†Here are some of the highlights from the break down:

  • You are good at generating new ideas and following them courageously wherever they lead. You work best when they have the time and the confidence to allow their creativity to spring forth without judgement.
  • You combine new ideas in unusual ways and can make unexpected, quantum creative leaps. You also function well when ideas are in a murkier state ‚Äď and this is often the case when a screenwriting project is in earlier stages of development. ¬†You create strong, complex characters and stories which contain emotionally powerful moments ‚Äď the cinematic moments we remember forever.
  • Drama requires conflict, and this means putting characters in the worst possible moments of their lives. This can actually be difficult for you because you are experiencing the emotional journey of your characters so poignantly.

And then there were a few helpful tips.  This one, in particular, struck me:

Your creative work is going to take you to some deep, dark places. Make sure you’re writing at the right time of day (or night) so that you have the freedom and the strength to go where you need to go.

I used to like to write at night, when the world grew quiet. ¬†The Sis would be asleep with the furkids snuggled up beside her, my phone was silent, and there was less likely to be something to sidetrack me because The Sis was asleep and I didn’t want to disturb her. ¬†I’ve been trying to write during the day, and I find too many distractions. ¬†I need to get back to the old routine, where I can be more productive.

So, are you ready to learn how well you know yourself as a screenwriter?  Take the quick, six question quiz here.  Share your results below.

Writing Prompt #106

Yes. ¬†It’s true. ¬†Your eyes do not deceive you.

Two posts in two days.

It’s Wednesday, and while I know it’s been some time, Wednesdays equal Writing Prompt Days! ¬†Remember? ūüėČ ¬†This one made me giggle.

GiveMeAMinute

I see a couple of people bracing against a door with an incoming horde threatening to overwhelm them. ¬†I’m not sure why, but as we know, our minds are unusual things.

So, are you feeling inspired?  Please be sure to share your work so we can all enjoy!

Happy Writing!

Quote Monday on a Tuesday

Well, hello!

I’m not going to make excuses for how absent I’ve been here. ¬†I mean I could mention how busy work has been now that I’ve been promoted, and how my days off were scattered and inconsistent. ¬†I could mention how it’s time for yet another move and all the stress and prep that goes into that…but I won’t.

Times flies whether you’re having fun or not, and suddenly it’s the middle of October and you’re feeling a bit concerned because of how little you have to show considering nearly another year has passed. ¬†I had such big plans at the beginning of the year too.

The only way to get back on track and refocus my attention is by getting back to the routine I once cherished and held dear. ¬†Sooo, let’s get back to one of my favorite things, quotes!

OneDayOrDayOne

I have to find a way of reconciling my new schedule. ¬†I must find a balance between the day job, the dream job, and everything else. ¬†I’ve said “one day” more often than I’d like to admit recently, and I don’t care for how it feels.

How have you balanced your life and found time to do the thing you love?

What To Do In The In-Between Time

IdeaLightBulb(jeffbullassite)Draft after draft. ¬†Rewrite after rewrite. ¬†Sometimes it feels like all we’re doing is writing in circles.

When you need a break from your beloved, it’s hard to decide what to do in that downtime. ¬†I know I’m usually at a loss. ¬†I try to find a new story idea, or consider rewriting one of my other screenplays, but sometimes you just need to do different work for the same story.

Bang2Write is a great resource for writers, and if you aren’t subscribing to Lucy V Hay’s site, as a screenwriter I would recommend it. ¬†I have found loads of truly useful information, like the following – 7 Useful Things You Can Do Between Drafts.

Using my sci-fi pilot, The Demeter as an example, I’ll go through the steps and show you what I’m thinking about in my own downtime.

  1. Compare/Contrast to “Like” stories – Like the Doctor of Doctor Who, I want my human protagonist to not hold any immediate prejudice because of what an alien might look like (although easier said than done. We humans scare easily.). ¬†The video game Mass Effect inspired the idea behind the human/alien interactions and romance options. ¬†It’s unlike shows such as Firefly because not all the characters are human and not all stories are about human problems. ¬†Star Wars and Star Trek are obvious go-tos, but other than the military connection, which won’t be overly used until season 2, I want to stay away from any ideas influenced by either.
  2. Think it Over – The pilot needs to foreshadow more of the ideas I have for the first season. ¬†In addition to a different opening scene, I need to show the “shady” nature of the ship’s captain so the viewer is unsure for some time whether or not he can be trusted. ¬†Early feedback suggested I integrate an image of where the show “might” go aka Battlestar Galactica always showed Earth as the final destination. ¬†Where do I want the show to go?
  3. Work on Craft РFeedback also recommended I adjust the pacing.  Determine the best course to improve this.
  4. Make Contacts – Besides social media…think outside the box on making contact with those in the industry – Meetups, retreats (within reason), writer’s groups?
  5. Feedback РBuild relationships of give and take.  Giving feedback will help my writing as well.  Get back on Zoetrope.
  6. Submission Strategy – I’m already using a calendar to keep track of contest deadlines, but could be better arranged for the whole year. ¬†FilmFreeway is a good resource to use more fully. ¬†Get more than one script ready for submission.
  7. Nothing. ¬†Relax…for a minute. ūüėČ

I hope you find this information as useful as I did.  Happy Writing!

Writing Prompt #104

Yes, it’s been awhile.

I have a couple of things to share with you this week, but first, let’s get back to writing! ¬†This amazing piece is by Pascal Campion, an artist I’ve pinned a number of times, and from the first moment I saw it, I was sort of smitten.

Tougher than the rest (campion)

It actually gives me an idea for my tv series, so maybe I’ll write about that for this challenge. ¬†What does it inspire in you?

Happy Writing!

Quote of the Week

CelebrateEmojiGood afternoon, my friends!

I am riding on a new kind of high Рthe one in which you learn that your original TV pilot has advanced to the finals of one of the contests you entered.  What an amazing feeling!

I struggled for some time (I still do), and I think as creatives, we all have a tendency, at times, to doubt our abilities. ¬†Sometimes it takes years to obtain any outside validation, and¬†I think that’s something we need a little bit of in order to keep moving forward. ¬†One can only stay positive, on their own, for so long.

That’s why this week, I’ve decided to share the following quote:

NeverLettheOdds

I’ve known people who gave up on their dreams, and they’ll never know how close they were to getting what they wanted. ¬†We need to remember why we started, and all those other quotes on positivity that keep us motivated!

Wherever your passion lies, fan the flames, and keep the dream alive!

Screenwriting Tips for Submission Season

HelpfulTipsLast week I shared a list of the 10 prominent screenwriting contests and their approaching deadlines to give you a heads up of what to expect the next few months. ¬†Hopefully, you’re not like me, in the middle of a major rewrite instead of just a polish.

Ah, the sweet agony of a deadline.

This week I thought I would share a few tips on how to be best prepared to submit. ¬†I’m not sure where I originally found this checklist – my apologies to whoever¬†created it. ¬†It’s a list of 10 things to look over/be aware of before you hit send.

  1. Opening image
  2. Opening line
  3. First scene’s setting
  4. Genre/Tone
  5. Character roles
  6. Character motivations
  7. Structure
  8. Scene focus
  9. Spelling/Grammar
  10. Concept/Logline

*If you’re interested,¬†I can expand on each of these in more detail. ¬†Just let me know in the comments below.

One of my favorite pieces of advice came from Good in a Room‘s Stephanie Palmer who suggests –

Choose a contest and a deadline. Then, submit at least one script to one of the top screenwriting contests I recommend.

If the script gets recognized in any way (i.e., it doesn’t win but it makes the second round, or top 10%, etc), revise it and submit to three different contests.

If the script doesn’t get recognized, then keep it in your library of projects, pick something new from your development slate, and write something else.

Instead of submitting multiple projects to several contests (which can get expensive), you only make multiple submissions when you have objective evidence that your work is good enough to have a chance to win, and you spend more of your valuable time writing new material.

That’s plenty of work, I know.

And it doesn‚Äôt take into account the other aspects of how to be a professional writer that have nothing to do with writing…

But over time, if you write and submit at least one script every year to one of the best contests, you will get better and your material will get better. If you submit multiple scripts only when they have received positive feedback, your chances of being successful go up.

I hope you find this helpful, and I wish you all the best this submission season!

It’s Submission Season!

submitHey fellow screenwriters! ¬†Are you ready for another year of petrifying “submit” clicks? ¬†Yep, it’s that most wonderful time of the year, again.

If you haven’t done the search for what deadlines are approaching, let me share what I’ve learned. ¬†Here are 10¬†of the more prominent competitions:

The one I think all screenwriters dream of winning is the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship,¬†which is for features only. ¬†The early deadline is March 7 ($45). ¬†I’d also recommend following them on Facebook as they share reader comments throughout the competition. ¬†It’s always fun to wonder if that lovely review is about your work.

The Austin Film Festival is also garnering a reputation for its screenwriting competition in both feature (with the added perk of being genre specific) and teleplay (including specs) categories.  The early deadline is March 31 ($45).  You can follow them on Twitter.

PAGE International¬†is already open and the regular deadline is fast approaching – February 17 ($49). ¬†This is for features only, but they’ve also branched out into being genre specific as well. ¬†They’re on both Facebook and Twitter if you’re interested in keeping up with the latest.

I entered my pilot in Scriptapalooza‘s TV competition, which reopens April 15, but the feature category, again, has been accepting since the beginning of the year. ¬†The regular deadline is March 10 ($55). ¬†You can follow them on both Facebook and Twitter, but they also have a mailing list that will keep you current.

I may have entered my pilot into this one, it’s all sort of a blur at the moment, so I have to double check. ¬†How terrible is that?! ¬†Script Pipeline offers a number of competitions to choose from, such as their First Look and Great Idea (both TV and feature) contests, in addition to the TV and feature competitions – which share the same date and fee for their early entry, March 1 ($50). ¬†They also have a mailing list and are on all social media.

Finish Line is another competition that offers both feature and TV categories, and has received positive endorsement from the film community. ¬†Their early deadline is, again, fast approaching – February 17 ($40), but if you’re like me, procrastinating on that final polish/rewrite, a more “reasonable” regular deadline is April 28 ($45). ¬†You can follow them on Twitter.

Screencraft not only offers valuable information via their blog, they have a wonderful setup in their competition department – it’s genre specific! ¬†The deadlines are scattered throughout the year, so I would highly recommend joining the mailing list to stay up to date. ¬†Currently they are accepting submissions for Sci-fi and Fantasy features. ¬†Early deadline is February 16 ($39). ¬†They’re on all social media as well.

Final Draft¬†just announced that¬†they’ll be ready to accept submissions for 2017’s Big Break¬†starting¬†February 22. ¬†They have both feature and TV categories, but the entry fee section has not been updated on their site yet (early fee last year was $40). ¬†And of course, they’re on all social media too.

BlueCat is another site I recommend following for their useful advice via their blog, in addition to their newsletter and social media accounts.  Their competition is open for features, shorts, TV, and plays.  The early deadline is March 1 and fees vary depending on the entry. Features Р$45  Shorts Р$35  Pilots Р$40  Plays Р$30

Finally, there is the¬†Sundance Institute‘s¬†Screenwriters Lab which is not open yet for submissions for 2018, but if you have a script that is Sundance Film Festival material, get it ready! ¬†Last year the application period was from March 15 – May 3. ¬†I would love to take part in the Lab, but sadly, I don’t think any of¬†my material is small budget. ūüėČ

So get those screenplays “submission season ready” and let’s go after our dreams! ¬†Happy Writing!