Archives for posts with tag: 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Competition

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.

It’s that time of year again. After putting all my screenwriting competition eggs in the Nicholl basket last year and expecting to do better than I did, I had to think hard about this year. I’m usually able to roll disappointments off my back, but having done so well in competitions for years (see my Blog Page: Written for Screen and Page ), then having only one positive read each for my three 2014 entries really threw me. Honestly, it took me a few months to get over it.

For all that I know the capricious nature of competition results and the way individual opinions are completely unpredictable, I was still mired in the perceived mud of “only” one positive read each. I’m being frank about this because I know there are others out there struggling with the same thing. Even though you know you can do really well one year and not advance at all the next, it still comes down to feeling as if you’ve been hit in the face with a pie when it happens to you. And that’s the most pleasant of the reactions.

Eventually I realized that I had to stop with the negativity of “only” and focus on the fact that three of my screenplays had received a positive read in the most prestigious of the competitions among more than 7,000 entries. Two of which had flat bombed out when I’d entered them before. Before I learned how to rewrite. So I accomplished quite a bit last year, even if not what I’d hoped for. Encouraging, actually, if humbling.

So what’s on the agenda for this year? Why, three in the Nicholl again, of course. Right back and into that one unpredictable basket! I’d half-intended
to spread them out a little more this time, but the early deadline loomed, the usual formatting disasters ensued, I got inundated with two ice/sleet/snow storms, heat trouble, car trouble, and a leaking roof, and time crunched. Circumstances pushed me to do what I really wanted to anyway…aim as high as possible. Again.

I hope I’m better prepared to do the roll off the back thing now, if I must. The very best way to handle disappointment is to shrug, dig deep, and keep writing. And to not disappoint yourself by aiming lower because you’re afraid. Fear can be a great motivator. So is hope. And faith in yourself.

Nicholl 2015 entries:

2 dramas from last year
1 science fiction

Fear
Hope
Faith

And a long, long wait.