Hurry! The clock’s ticking!

Just a friendly reminder that the Maximum Z Winter ’22 Script Showcase goes up a week from today – December 2, which means you’ve only got a few days to send in the info for your screenplay or TV script if you want it to be included.

And a great bonus of doing this is that you can post the link on all of your social media platforms and say “Hey, check it out! My script’s in here!”

It should also be noted that all of this is ABSOLUTELY FREE, which is always great.

Here’s how it works.

Send the following here by Thursday, December 1 with the subject line ‘Maximum Z Winter ’22 Script Showcase’

-Film or TV?

-Title

-Author

-Genre(s)

-Logline

-Awards (if applicable, and no more than 5)

-Your email

And that’s all.

(Just to give you an idea of the finished product, here’s the Summer ’22 edition)

Two VERY important details to keep in mind:

-DO NOT SEND THE SCRIPT!!

Just the info above. Nothing else.

-and-

Only one script per person.

New scripts are highly encouraged, but submissions from past Showcases are also welcome.

Again – send it in between now and Thursday, December 1st. Shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes between starting and hitting ‘send’.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – proofread the email before sending it. There’ve been more than a few typos over the years, so make sure everything reads the way it’s supposed to.

Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got, so don’t delay and send it today!

SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION!!!

My GO AHEAD AND ASK! books make for some excellent gifts this holiday season. Whether for yourself or for another screenwriter, they’re an entertaining and informative read, and would be a great addition to any screenwriter’s home library.

Available in both paperback and e-book formats.

Plus, many types of pies are discussed.

It may not pretty, but at least it’s something

This isn’t saying the Mona Lisa isn’t pretty. It was just tough to find a picture of people looking at art.

Some exceptionally helpful notes continue to come in on the latest draft of the animated fantasy-comedy spec. For the most part, very supportive and encouraging, along with some great suggestions for small fixes here and there.

But one note really hit home – not because it was overly negative, but because it touched on something that I’d been uncertain about.

I won’t go into too much detail, but it involves how in one sequence the focus shifts from my protagonist to set up the backstory of some important supporting characters. Even while I was putting it together, it seemed kind of odd and I wasn’t entirely sure it worked, but felt it was “good enough for now”.

Nevertheless, something about it still didn’t seem right.

Numerous options rolled around in my head as I strained to come up with a solution, but still nothing. Also not helping was that constant trepidation when dealing with a rewrite. Would I be able to come up with something that works the way I need it to?

So I decided follow one of the most important tips for writing, screen or otherwise:

I just sat down and started writing. I knew what I wanted to accomplish – have the protagonist be part of it, which helped guide things along.

And thus the words did flow.

Revised and totally new scenes were churned out over the next 60 minutes or so. As is my usual m.o., there’s probably more in the new stuff than I’ll need. Trimming the fat later shouldn’t be too challenging, but I’d rather have more than I need than come up short.

I also managed to come up with a few details that I could plant early on in the story that would pay off later, and came up with a joke that actually made me laugh out loud. Hopefully others have the same reaction.

Overall, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. Confidence and enthusiasm for this script continue to build.

But don’t get me wrong. There’s definitely more work that needs to be done, but this is a pretty encouraging step.

A friendly reminder – just two weeks to go until the Maximum Z Winter ’22 Script Showcase goes up (Dec 2), so make sure to send in the details about your spec screenplay or TV script ASAP.

All the info is right here: https://wp.me/prjnO-8yJ

Shine a spotlight on your script

Got a screenplay or TV script you want the rest of the screenwriting community to know about? Well, here’s your chance to put it front and center.

It once again gives me great pleasure to officially announce that The Maximum Z Winter ’22 Script Showcase will post on Friday, December 2nd. That means you have between now and Thursday, December 1st to submit. Details listed below.

It’s my little way of giving a helping hand to any writer who’d like to give their script a little publicity boost, absolutely free of charge. And once the Showcase posts and you see a script that you’d like to read, then by all means drop the writer a line and ask. I bet they’d be thrilled to send it your way.

Once the post is up, I’ll post a link to it on my various social media platforms, and highly encourage you to do the same if you want to get more eyes on your listing.

Here’s how it all works:

Email the following info here with the subject line “Maximum Z Winter ’22 Script Showcase’:

-Film or TV?

-Title

-Author(s)

-Genre(s)

-Logline

-Awards (if applicable) – 5 at the most

-your email

And that’s it.

Two VERY important details to keep in mind:

-DO NOT SEND THE SCRIPT!!

Just the info above. Nothing else.

-and-

Only one script per person.

New scripts are highly encouraged, but submissions from past Showcases are also welcome.

Again – send it in between now and Thursday, December 1st.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED – proofread the email before sending it. There’ve been more than a few typos over the years, so make sure everything reads the way it’s supposed to.

Looking forward to seeing what you’ve got, so don’t delay and send it today!

The next mountain awaits

Wrapped up the latest draft of the animated fantasy-comedy earlier this week and sent it to a few readers.

Notes have begun trickling in.

Overall responses: very positive, but could still use some tweaking. Points were awarded for creativity, originality, dialogue, and the jokes.

I appreciate all of those very much.

But…it can still be better.

I’d estimate it’s maybe one to two drafts away from being where it needs to. Waiting for a few more notes to come in before diving into that.

What’s also helped is that a lot of the changes don’t seem to be of a major overhaul type, but I suspect it won’t be a few minor changes here and there either. Somewhere in that nebulous middle.

It’s been quite encouraging how fast and effectively things are playing out for this one. It’s taken a while to get to this point, but all the time spent writing, rewriting and constantly trying to make previous scripts better are yielding the desired results for this one in a more timely manner.

Another thing that’s different about this time around is that confidence levels were already pretty high about the script, and getting comments about what still needs work hasn’t diminished them. Many times in the past I would get notes and think what a terrible writer I must have been, which was not the case.

I’m quite psyched about this one, and can’t wait to get back to work on it.

**SHAMELESS SELF-PROMOTION!!**

I was the featured guest on some recent podcasts:

What Are You Watching? with Chris Mancini (who has a q&a on this blog)

The Successful Screenwriter with Geoffrey Calhoun (a 2-time q&a on this blog – here & here)

Struck out in contests, but…

A lot of the major screenwriting contests have wrapped up, or are in the process of, and once again, yours truly did not achieve the desired results.

A big fat goose egg on all fronts.

Disappointing? Very much so.

Frustrating? You betcha.

Making me wonder if my writing must be ridiculously bad? Without a doubt.

I wasn’t just in a hole of depression. I’d felt like I’d fallen into the deepest hole ever dug on Earth.

Fortunately, I wouldn’t be there long.

Encouragement from K and more than a few members of the screenwriting community reminded me of several very important things:

First – CONTESTS ARE ENTIRELY SUBJECTIVE. Sometimes your script clicks with readers, sometimes it doesn’t.

Second – CONTEST SUCCESS IS NOT A GUARANTEE FOR INDUSTRY SUCCESS. You can claim the top prize, but that doesn’t mean you should quit your day job. The road to an ongoing career is long, twisty, and loaded with uncertainty.

Third – THEY ACTUALLY MAKE FILMS FROM SCRIPTS THAT HAVEN’T DONE WELL IN CONTESTS. If a producer likes your script and wants to get it made, they’re not going to be as worried about how it placed in a contest.

Fourth (and this one really hit home for me) – SCREENWRITERS SHOULD NOT LIVE BY CONTESTS ALONE. Doing well in a contest is a potential boost to help you establish a career, but that’s it – potential. It’s only one of numerous paths.

As was pointed out to me, I may not have done well in contests, but I should also consider:

-I’m currently writing the script for a microbudget feature. The producer really likes how it’s all coming along, and has been completely ego-free since we began.

-I self-published 3 books about screenwriting this year (a great gift for screenwriters, yourself, or both. I got a kid in college, so anything helps).

-I continue to be the co-host of a podcast that’s all about writing. Fortunately, both my co-host and I know A LOT of writers, so there’s always somebody interesting to interview.

-I got to be on the other end of the microphone by being interviewed on a few screenwriting podcasts.

-I took part in a few panels about screenwriting at a writing conference, which led to being invited to give a lecture about screenwriting next month. (more on that another time)

-I still get the occasional email asking me to give script notes. It might take me a little longer to get to it than expected, but I enjoy doing it, and the writers seem to really appreciate what I have to say.

-there’s been progress, albeit the really slow kind, in making my short film. I was hoping to film it before the year was over, but looks like early next year might be more realistic. It’ll happen yet.

So my losing streak in contests may continue, I’ve got a decent number of other irons in the proverbial fire. And a few other fires, for that matter.

I may get knocked down, but I get up again (and again, and again), and they’re never gonna keep me down.

Consider me in this for the long haul.

The journey continues…

Hope you have an excellent pre-Halloween weekend. I will happily lay claim to any leftover plain M&Ms and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups that manage to stay out of the grubby little hands of trick-or-treaters.