The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition sprang the Quarter Finalists announcement early this year. I think that’s a good thing. Find out, celebrate and wait again, or deal with not advancing and move on.

Though my screenplays didn’t make Quarter Finalist, I did a bit better than last year. Both in results and attitude. Last year each of my three scripts got one positive read, which crushed me after they’d all done well in other competitions. This year I did some attitude adjusting.

I decided that if I’m going to place myself into the biggest, most prestigious competition out there, and enter into fierce competition with thousands of entries (7,442 this year), knowing full well that only 375 would be Quarter Finalists, I’d better get over myself. Particularly, since I did it with three scripts!

So, here’s how I emerged.

Drama–Two positive reads
Drama–One positive read
Science Fiction–One positive read.

And here’s how I feel about it.

First level… terrible. Of course. I enter everything I enter to win. I know the odds are against me, but I dream big and aim high. If I didn’t it wouldn’t be worth the effort and stress.

Second level…better. It starts to sink in that some Nichol readers like my screenplays.

Third level… happier. Once I put it into common sense perspective, I realized that I really accomplished something encouraging. With three scripts I got six reads, four of which were positive. Four out of six, in this extremely competitive arena, means I’m doing something right. Something I can be proud of. And I am.

I’m at a much better place than I was last year, when the initial results came out. Realizing that it would be very wise to mentally set the Nicholl apart from all other competitions and just try as hard as I can to do the best I can within its rarefied confines has really helped me. It’s fun again to anticipate. And I’m happy to embrace my four positive reads out of six.

I’m very grateful that any Nicholl readers liked my writing. It means a lot and gives me incentive to keep reaching for the stars.

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