Tag Archives: contest

CSCS Judges’ feedback on “By Any Other Name”

The scores for the Top 100 finalists in the Creative Screenwriting Cyberspace Open were posted this morning. Here’s the feedback I received on the scene I had 24 hours to write, “By Any Other Name”:

The Star Chamber lobby poster

Kudos for originality here. A fresh, original take on the scene prompt and a nice use of setting. Well done. The writer did a great job of writing expository dialogue in a way that didn’t FEEL expository, that told us what we needed to know without being too blatant about it. Again, very nice! The only knocks against this scene are that the turn was a little predictable and the Godfather line (can you get me off the hook — for old times sake?) felt derivative where everything else had felt so original, giving the scene a bit of a sour note right at the end. Even so, a very strong scene. Nice job!

As they said on Monty Python, it’s a fair cop. I didn’t think it was necessarily my best work either, but I gave it a good shot considering the time restrictions. The scene received 94 points; here’s the breakdown:

Structure Dialogue Style Originality
22 23 24 25

Congratulations to the contest winners: Ian Murillo, Dries Coomans and Lisa Scott. They’ll have their scenes read by actors and videotaped; the winner will be determined by the number of votes received. I’m definitely interested in seeing these table readings, but I’m much more excited about shooting “Executive Action,” the first scene I submitted to the contest.

Actor auditions are this weekend, but I’m still nailing down a performance space in San Francisco. If you have a quiet room with chairs and a table, please let me know.

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Eliminated from the CSCS Open, but things are good.

I woke up this morning around 2:00 a.m. Pacific and checked the results page for the Creative Screenwriting Cyberspace Open contest and learned that I was not one of the three finalists whose scene will be taped for their fall Expo.

It’s disappointing news, but I’m cheered by the knowledge that I can turn out good work in short order that I can be proud of. I’ve always known I work well on tight deadlines, and now I can prove it.

As the scores indicate, I needed at least 94.43 to be a finalist, but my average score for Round 2 was 93.86, or 5th out of 12. Not bad.

It probably sounds like sour grapes to complain about the contest’s administration, but they did miss two deadlines and seemed to change the rules of the game after it was underway. Initially, Round 2 finalists were to be notified on May 28, but I didn’t hear a word until May 31.

According to the contest administrator I spoke to, they’d selected the top 3 finalists by the deadline based on their scores; after that process was completed, they voted on which scenes they felt were the best out of the top-scoring scenes. I don’t believe that was the process that was described when I entered, but they’re free to change their guidelines at will. I’ve managed many online contests, and I’m sure the team at Coverage Ink was doing their level best.

Planning proceeds regarding our July shoot for “Executive Action.” I placed an ad on Craigslist seeking actors and several local performers with excellent credits and clips responded. Next steps: auditions, two read-throughs and the actual shooting. Between now and then, Roland and I will pin down the remaining production details — if anyone has a well-appointed bedroom we can borrow for a couple of hours to shoot the end of our scene, please let me know.

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Semi-semi finalist in the CSCS Open Screenwriting Contest

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.

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