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.