Archives for posts with tag: Moondance

After several years of being kept from entering the Academy Nicholl Fellowships In Screenwriting Competition by technical problems, I am finally back in this prestigious competition. In the meantime I entered the Moondance International Film Festival Screenwriting Competition and did well, with four Feature Length Drama Finalists (three scripts once each and one twice) and a Semi-Finalist. I also entered the Page Awards and did well there as well, with a science fiction feature length drama that was a Semi-Finalist once and a Quarter Finalist twice. Two dramas also advanced to the top 25%. It seems that last year they didn’t send out top 25% emails, so I don’t know if the one that was last year’s Moondance Finalist advanced at all in Page.

That kind of thing is frustrating and the main reason I decided to put all my eggs in one basket this year, as it were. Knowing those other scripts made at least the Page top 25% out of thousands of entries helped me a lot to gauge how I’ve been doing in the constant quest to learn to write screenplays. Without at least that potential indicator, plus the way my sf one inexplicably started moving backward from Semi, I decided it was time for me to give it a rest.

The decision to not enter the
Moodance again this year was more complicated. And difficult. It would be very easy to just keep entering and keep hoping (almost expecting) to make at least Semi and probably Finalist. Doing so well for so long is very gratifying. It also became a little frustrating. I started to wonder if there could be some little something about my writing not quite in keeping with that competition that would keep me from ever winning.

I like to challenge myself periodically. The challenge here was whether I could scrape up the guts to leave what has become something of a comfort zone and challenge myself emotionally. It was hard, but I eventually decided that for this year at least, I’ll be happiest making myself miserable wondering what on earth I’m thinking by entering the Nicholl’s three script yearly limit, instead of any of the other competitions.

Since I’ve reached the top 10% (drama) and top 15% (science fiction) of the Nicholl in the past, it’s not an entirely foolhardy move. Now that all three of my entries have been officially confirmed, only in August, when the emails from the Academy (Yes, that Academy runs the Nicholl) Foundation have come in, will I be able to say how good an idea it was to put so much of my work up at once for consideration for a coveted Nicholl Fellowship. All I know right now is that it was the choice that made me feel the best. That’s a kind of winning in itself.

Just now found out this image was available to me and wanted to take the opportunity to express my happiness again about being a Moondance Finalist for the third time.


I’m very proud of my feature length
drama screenplay that was chosen a 2012 Moondance Finalist. It’s a story that started out as something else, then went sideways on me and gave me characters that touched my heart as I wrote it from there.

Stories, whether for screen or page,do that to me a lot. Change, shift, morph into finished products that are better and more fulfilling than what it was I originally thought I was writing. Apparently, my brain is very good at subconscious compartmentalizing. I love it that way. It keeps me challenged and excited as new pages are added and the story unfolds.

I wish I could go into detail about these special characters and their story, but since I enter blind competitions I need to play it all close to the vest. Hopefully, someday they’ll show up larger than life on a big screen near us all.

With the excessive heat I’m in the dog days of summer with everyone else, but I also get the bonus round– screenwriting competition results season. It starts in July for me this year, with the Page Awards. They roll out advancement announcements starting with the entriries moving to the Second Round, then a step per month until the winners are announced at the end of a nailbiting summer.

It can always go any way, for any writer. My first Page year was 2010. The drama I entered advanced to the Second Round and that was as far as it got. Last year I entered two. That same drama advanced to the Second Round again. It stopped there again. It’s done much, much better in other competitions, but that’s the way it can go. And often does.

The second entry? That one went all the way to Semi-final. It had only previously made it to the top 15% of the Nicholls. The one that stopped at Page Second Round twice? It had previously made the top 10% of the Nicholls and did well in other competitions.

This time I’ve entered two screenplays in the Page Awards. I also have an entry in the Moondance International Screenwriting Competition this year. They’ve been announcing all levels at once around the end of summer. A long wait that can be worth it. Two of my screenplays have been Moondance Finalists.

Yes, I have several completed feature length specs. It’s a good idea to in general, and I also really enjoy writing them.

Sure, even being a finalist in a prestigious competition isn’t as good as winning and all the almosts in the world don’t get you a fistful of dollars, but every triumph, every small step forward provides enough encouragement to help keep me going. For another day, another year, another competition that just might be the one. I’ll never know if I don’t take those chances, roll those dice, gamble that one more entry fee may take home the prize.

Is it always easy? Of course not. Will believing in yourself that much always make you happy? No. Some days it will make you cry. But should you give up if the answer seems too often “almost”. Absolutely not. I’ve read that a lot of people who win had several Semis and Finalists under their belt first. Does that make me believe I will win to the point of delusion? ‘Fraid not. It does convince me it’s darned well possible. And “possible” is the stuff hopes and dreams and, for the truly lucky ones, success are built on.