There’s been a disturbing trend on some online forums regarding the results of some recent high-profile screenwriting competitions. While the writers who advance receive and exchange congratulatory messages, some of the ones who don’t seem to be looking for some kind of explanation as to why their script didn’t do better.
“They don’t like this genre.” “They’re only looking for stuff they can market.” “They just didn’t get it.”
Hate to break it to you, but that’s not it.
This is: you and a few thousand other people entered the same competition, so the odds were already against you. Chances are pretty good that some of those scripts are better than yours. It happens. Accept it.
And this may come as a shock, but maybe your script just isn’t as good, let alone as perfect, as you think.
So rather than gripe, complain and avow “Those rotten bastards are never getting my money again!”, use this as motivation to make your script better. Rewrite it. Get feedback from your inner circle of trusted colleagues. Pay for one or two sets of professional notes. Some contests offer feedback for an additional fee, so maybe that’s something you might want to consider.
I was disappointed my western didn’t do better in some of these competitions. Frustration and depression were the dominant moods for a couple of days. That’s when reality smacked me in the face and said “You want to do better? Then get to work.”
So that’s what I’m doing. I’ve completed the initial edit, so the script is now 6 pages shorter. There’s still some work to do, but it already feels better and tighter than it was before. I’ll be following my own advice (more rewrites, feedback from friends and pros, etc.), all while planning ahead for next year.
What about you?