I got an email this afternoon while I was at the ballpark indicating that I’m one of 12 finalists in the Creative Screenwriting Cyberspace Open, a time-limited writing contest. For Round 1, I had 48 hours to write a scene based on a premise delivered on Friday evening and scored a 96. I had just 24 hours to write my Round 2 entry and came out with a score of 94.
For many reasons, doing this well is extremely exciting. I had confidence before in my abilities, but receiving two attaboys from strangers who’s aren’t invested in my feelings is nice. Being considered for one of the final three slots in the contest also validates my decision to shoot “Executive Action” in July with local actors. As written, it’s extremely low-budget and can be shot in a single location with five performers and a small crew.
If you live in the Bay Area and would like a role in the scene, please let me know. There’s no pay, but I’ll give you several DVD copies of your performance, and the craft services team is par excellence.
I’m supposed to learn later tonight if I’ve made the cut; wish me luck.
Much to my delight, “Executive Action” scored 96/100 in the 2010 Spring CS Open writing contest.
Here’s the Round 2 premise I received:
“Your PROTAGONIST has been betrayed by his CONFIDANT — someone deep within his (or her) inner circle. This betrayal threatens to destroy everything the protagonist has been working towards. The protagonist’s only ace in the hole: the confidant is not yet aware he’s been found out. Write a crackling scene in which the protagonist confronts the confidant. “
With only 24 hours to craft a 5-page scene, I felt much more pressure to develop a concept I could commit to. I jotted down three possibilities:
- Husband/wife sabotages spouse’s job promotion
- Two 9-year-old friends compete mano a mano in a statewide spelling bee
- A friend ruins her friend’s garden so she can’t enter a flower show
Before I knew it, I’d filled a half-page with handwritten notes for concept 3, so that’s the one I went with. It’s not as tight as “Executive Action,” but it’s work that pleases me. Also, I finished both rounds of the contest, which demonstrated that I write very well on tight deadlines.
As ever, feedback is welcome. Thanks for reading.
By Any Other Name (PDF Download)
This scene was written for the 2010 Spring Cyberspace open, Round 1. I had 48 hours to write a scene based on the following premise:
“Your protagonist is crushed. His or her plans have been dashed; his objective now appears impossible. And yet if he throws in the towel, bad things will happen. Write a scene in which a mentor, friend, love interest or enemy rallies or provokes your protagonist in an unexpected way. Be sure to give us your best dialogue here as your protagonist comes around and rises – or falls — to the occasion.”
With the clock ticking this loudly, I had to come up with a premise that had possibilities, whether I saw the complete story or not. I’m glad I went with the story choice for “Executive Action;” after I finished it, I could easily see it as a scene from a smart political comedy. See what you think.
Executive Action (PDF Download)