Tuesday, November 08, 2005

The first cut won't hurt at all . . .

So because I don't currently live in the Los Angeles area, my potential as an aspiring screenwriter is obviously limited. Inexorably, the time approaches when I will have to pull up stakes and send the wagon train westward. Ho!

Enter The Writer's Arc, a fellowship program in L.A. for persons in such situations as myself. The brainchild of two Hollywood execs, Ami Vitori and Amy Kane, the gist is if you're selected, the program will give you a $7,500 stipend to actually move out there and spend 16 weeks writing a script and learning some of the ins and outs of the industry. Just the thing to jump start a budding scribe's career, no?

But they're not going to hand that kind of opportunity out willy-nilly, you say. Of course not. Round One of the competition was to take a setting, two characters, and a prop of their choosing and whip up five to ten pages of a screenplay using those elements. If you pass that test, then Round Two consists of submitting a completed, original screenplay (of your own, smartypants!) for further consideration. If they still like your chops after all this, you get a phone interview to pitch five script ideas to Ami and Amy. In the end, five to ten fellowships will ultimately be awarded.

I kept my initial entry pretty simple: guy and gal meet for the first time in London's Victoria rail station. They flirt, he almost misses the last train of the night out of the city, she saves his bacon nonetheless. Nothing too complicated, but with some snappy dialogue I thought. Luckily, the powers-that-be at Writer's Arc apparently saw enough in it to let me show them some more. Yay me. A small victory, perhaps, but in a vocation riddled with self-doubt and the feeling that you are flying blind much of the time, any positive feedback or measure of validation is nice.

Now it's ten days of crunch time: the full monty is due on November 18. Thankfully, I have not just been twiddling my thumbs for the past few years and do have an original work to submit. And the deadline has the added benefit of forcing me to finally finish the first rewrite and put it behind me for the time being. Only about 30 to 40 pages - the third act - and it's out the door. Hopefully it will be good enough to take me to the next level in the process. We shall see.


  • Congratulations Chris, well done, and thanks for the links on the montages, very funny and informative.

    By Blogger Grubber, at 11:28 PM  

  • No prob. And as it happens, this would be the *perfect* place for a montage in my blog to show the next ten days passing:

    A. CHRIS sits at his computer screen, staring intently and typing furiously

    B. The MAILMAN deposits a large packet of mail in the slot to Chris's apartment

    C. Chris, clearly not having showered or shaved for a day or two, falls asleep at his computer, head planting into a nearby plate of half-eaten food

    D. The POLICE knock on Chris's front door to make sure that he's still alive

    E. LOVERS frolic in glorious autumn summer weather in a nearby park while Chris looks out from his apartment window

    F. The Mailman keeps bringing the mail, which keeps piling up untouched.

    G. Chris edits his hard copy with a red pen, papers flying out of his hands with markups as fast as he can get to them

    H. Chris stumbles into the post office, looking rather like a homeless man at this point, and deposits the envelope containing his finished script in the mail box. As he exits, his Mailman enters the building, looking astonished at Chris's condition.

    All of this over . . . Future's So Bright I Have To Wear Shades.

    By Blogger Chris, at 11:44 PM  

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