It is what it is

They say failure is the best teacher, and boy did I learn my lesson these past few weeks.

As you might be aware, a lot of the past few months were all about the animated fantasy-comedy spec. Many drafts, revisions, and polishes have taken place. My primary objective was to have what I hoped was a quality script that might have a chance with some of the big contests.

I felt it was ready, so I sent it in, along with to a few smaller contests – just to see how it might fare.

Its track record now stands at 0-2 for those smaller ones, one of which focused on fantasy (and sci-fi). If the script couldn’t even make the quarterfinals in that, it definitely doesn’t bode well for the more high-profile contests that get thousands upon thousands of entries.

Also adding to this sad-but-likely conclusion was getting some notes back after the script had been entered in said contests. The notes were brutally honest about what worked and what didn’t.

Simply put – there were problems that I hadn’t addressed, and it just wasn’t ready.

Thus another rewrite took place, with this year’s contests already being written off. It’ll be quite surprising if anything positive happens with any of those.

I don’t think I was jumping the gun in entering it in the contests. Was I more confident than I should have been? Maybe, but I still think it’s a solid piece of work – especially after this latest rewrite.

There’s still one more set of notes on the way, so there will most likely be another draft, and I’m seriously considering getting some professional feedback for that one a few months down the road.

It bothers me that this year’s contests already seem to be wasted, but I accept that this is how it worked out and I’m pretty good about getting back up on the proverbial horse. The positive spin/silver lining is that this gives me more time to prepare for next year.

Once all the work on this script is finished – which hopefully won’t take too long, I’ll return to the rewrite of the sci-fi adventure – and based on this experience, will dedicate more time to making sure it’s REALLY ready to send out.

Heeding my own advice and encouragement to other writers, I will keep pushing forward.

-As of this writing, the WGA strike is still going on.

To quote Harlan Ellison: pay the writer


6 thoughts on “It is what it is

  1. A classic post from a guy who never quits and ALWAYS encourages others to keep on keepin’ on as well. Thanks for the always timely message, Paul, and I am totally convinced that your work ethic and talent will ultimately pay off for you.

  2. You are always working at your writing & that’s what will make it pay off. I know someone who keeps swearing they will write their book, Ha. If it ain’t down on paper, it doesn’t exist. Keep it up.

  3. Dear Paul,

    I must apologise if this is the second time I’ve replied to your post. From time to time, I have issues with my short term memory.

    As a first time scriptwriter (or wannabe scriptwriter) approaching the finish line for my very first draft, I found your post helpful, incisive and exceptionally reassuring.

    Only yesterday, I was seriously considering throwing the towel in. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to come across your words of wisdom which, in no uncertain terms, encouraged me to keep going.

    Best Wishes,


    • I can totally relate. Giving up is easier than sticking with it, but I don’t want to keep wondering “what if I’d kept at it?”

      Frustrating as it is, I keep pushing forward and doing my best to keep confidence at a reasonable level. I accept that there will be good days, bad days and simply shitty days, and I’ll deal with them in the appropriate way.

      Hang in there, chum. I’m rootin’ for ya.

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