Monday, December 23, 2013

New News About an Old Script: The Sun Hasn't Set on Longbones Yet...

Last month I received feedback from the 2013 First Look Screenplay contest I entered through It was covering a script I wrote a few years ago: a Horror Western titled WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN. The two page response was alternately positive and constructive, and overall very insightful, pointing out weaknesses and areas I should tackle to make it a much better script. 

WTSGD is still in the running (these notes were a side benefit of entering if you paid a few more dollars), but based on the the reader's final words, I'm fairly certain it's not gonna get too far this time around. However, if I decide to take a swing at rewriting it in the future, I now have some solid notes and I've even thought of a few major changes that would both revise and revitalize it. 

But…I had entered my two older scripts in a few contests back in late October...

At 12:31AM last night, an e-mail arrived from a totally different contest (2013 ScreenCraft Action Script Competition from I opened it, and my eyes zeroed in on the attachment which displayed a feedback scorecard of 15 categories that went from zero to ten, with a top possible score of 150. 

And I got 12 nines and 3 eights, adding up to 132 out of 150. Then I read the first two sentences:

'The basic premise…cowboys vs. vampires…is so imminently marketable and fun that it's amazing there aren't already a bunch of movies like this. The juxtaposition of two fun and action-ready tropes allows for a huge amount of action and grounds this sublimely ridiculous story in lore nearly all readers can understand.'

Oh boy...

The judge went on to discuss the characters, the dialogue, the pacing and plotting with the sort of enthusiasm and admiration you'd typically see from me as I discuss a great episode of BREAKING BAD or MAD MEN. Oh, there were also some flaws that the judge pointed out, certain character and story developments that needed to be remedied, but the otherwise glowing notice ended with this:

'All in all, When the Sun Goes Down is a deftly written, immensely fun action movie that would fit well into the current market.'

Now that was pretty damn cool. So cool that it wasn't until basking in the glow of such coolness (I know one basks in warmth, not coolness -- just go with it) afterwards that I noticed a little bit more to the greeting that led off the e-mail:

'Attached please find feedback for your script WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN from one of our judges. Hope you find it valuable. Thank you so much for entering our competition. We'll be announcing quarterfinalists in January, but unofficially I can tell you that you'll be among them.'

Wait, what -- what -- WHAT?

Half Empty: Eh, let me simmer down here. This is a very minor contest -- the first prize is only $1,000 and a consultation with a top action film producer...and 2nd prize is $100 and a consultation with a top literary manager. For all I know, ten thousand people might have entered this contest, and all I accomplished was making the cut to be one out of five or six thousand. It's a flawed genre piece that even if punched up a bit, then it might almost be good enough to be the next SyFy Saturday Night Cinematic Masterpiece. All I need to do is toss in some sharks or a tornado or two.

Half Full: Still, I've never gotten to the next round in any screenwriting contest I've entered. And I've only entered THE WHITE WHALE and WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN, as I can't legally enter the thriller DO NOT DISTURB for obvious reasons (that are actually pretty freaking positive if I can stop dwelling on how long that project is taking to get to the production/Scot gets paid stage). 

But the judges in this contest are all development executives from LionsGate, Sony, After Dark Films and Paramount -- so getting such a positive reaction to a script that's actually not DO NOT DISTURB is not just a nice change of pace, but the first piece of truly good news I've gotten in the last few months (unless I include my recent eBay selling success -- which I'm not). 

If nothing else, this helps bolster my position as a writer -- not being a one trick pony (well, this and co-writing that spec-script for a HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER episode -- it's all about versatility, son). Even if the next round is as far as WTSGD goes, I can still "use" this later on as an achievement (quarter-finalist in the 2013 ScreenCraft Action and Thriller Script Contest doesn't sound too shabby).

I decided this wasn't fodder for a Facebook Status Update, but the beginnings of a true blue blog. Especially as there was more than two sentences worth of story to relate, and anyone who'd actually genuinely care about such relatively minor news -- would be reading my blog in the first place. Hence a second blog in less than 24 hours after a two month hiatus.

Speaking of "my readers" -- anyone who has read (some version of) WHEN THE SUN GOES DOWN and would like to check out the scorecard & overall feedback -- I'm more than happy to forward it to you. Heck, I'll even send the previous feedback as well.

And now I can go back to my Charlie Brown-esque Christmas


  1. Congrats and good luck!

    I've said that if I were super rich I would rescue cancelled shows and fund movies that the writers I know have written.

    1. Thanks. My ticket outta obscurity/poverty/monotony is most likely going to be DO NOT DISTURB, but making the quarter-finals with an older script that I know needs a considerable amount of work to make it a truly viable project is enough to make me a little bit happy/little less sad!

      I have a friend who says the exact same thing as you -- if she won the lottery, she would help fund up and coming artists to get their dream projects made, like me. Hell, if I won the lottery, I'd be willing to kick in a few million for my own screenplay -- provided I also got a producer's credit and some points on the back end. ;)