Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Never tell me the odds

In the confirmatory email recieved from the efficient Greg Beal at the AMPAS Nicholl Fellowships, he stated that the Academy has received "only" 4,898 submissions to date. Compared to the 6,048 received in 2003, that represents a significant drop. Maybe the Academy beginning its transition to an online application process this year raised some barriers to entry for those who were frustrated by the website's occasional technical difficulties. Or maybe the bloom is off the rose for aspiring screenwriters hoping to send in their one great spec and catch lightning in a bottle. Who can say?

Mr. Beal's e-mail further informs that those 4,898 will be reduced by about 95% with the first cut, to come somewhere around the end of July. Which works out to 245 or so entrants moving on to the quarterfinals. Although one presumes that some percentage of the initial pool are non-starters, those are still daunting numbers.

If you have applied and want to further bleaken your outlook, there is also the breakdown of past winners (1989-2002) by genre from the Nicholl website:

* Action/adventure 6
* Caper/thriller/crime 11
* Comedy 4
* Romantic comedy 3
* Comedy drama 9
* Romantic drama 3
* Drama 32
* Horror 2
* Western 3

Although these percentages may vary from year-to-year, e.g., comedy or action scripts may do better than drama in one year and vice versa the next, you can get a sense of the trends. My submission was a drama so maybe, if it could become one of the 245, it stands a better chance than others of going further. On the other hand, I really have no idea if it is even good enough at this point to even make that first cut. Anything that tells me I am at least in the ballpark is validation enough for the moment. I'm sure August 1 will be here before I know it.


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