Yes, Dorothy – Teleplay competitions are a great way to bang at the door

Pound for pound, these days the better storytelling is happening in television. –Newsweek

For those trying to break into screenwriting as a career, there’s a lot to be said for trying your hand at writing a few spec teleplays — especially for 1 Hour Dramedies (That wonderful hybrid of drama AND comedy). Face it, in a good year a 100+ films make it on to the screen, but in television you’ll want to times that number by several dozen. That means the need for good writers is far higher in television than film.

Of course, it’s not that easy to break in. There’s countless writers on line ahead of you. But getting your work read by studios and potential agents IS possible if you can win or place high enough in some of these yearly competitions:

Austin Film Festival Film/TV Writing Competition
The Teleplay Competition includes both Drama and Sitcom categories and is open to any spec script for the currently airing network or cable television program.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: June 1st
Entry fee: $40
Info: http://www.austinfilmfestival.com/new/screenplay

Slamdance Teleplay Competition – Pilots Only
The Slamdance Teleplay Competition is dedicated to new writers. They accept screenplays in every genre, on any topic from every country around the world. Their mission is to bring attention to the most talented emerging screenwriters and introduce them to the industry. The WGA, west holds a reception each year for the winners.  Various categories
Entry fee: $60
Deadline: June 11th
Info: http://www.slamdance.com

Larry Brody’s Scriptacular Teleplay Competition
Includes prizes and/or submission to show runners, agents and studios who are in search of new talent.  Larry Brody is a veteran TV writer whose competitions are now in their 15th year.  His website is filled with valuable advice on the art and business of writing for television. MSU students have placed as finalists in this competition.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: June 1, 2010
Info: http://tvwriter.com/contests/spec/index.htm

Larry Brody’s People’s Pilot Teleplay Competition
Includes prizes and/or submission to show runners, agents and studios who are in search of new talent.  Larry Brody is a veteran TV writer whose competitions are now in their 15th year.  His website is filled with valuable advice on the art and business of writing for television. MSU students have placed as finalists in this competition as well.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: June 1, 2010
Info: http://tvwriter.com/contests/spec/index.htm

Warner Brothers Comedy and Drama Television Writing Workshops
The Warner Brothers Workshop is a writing program for new writers (not currently working professionally) looking to start and further their writing career. The Workshop teaches every aspect of spec script writing and features exposure to Warner Bros. TV’s top television writers and executives, all with the goal of staffing graduates on a Warner Bros. TV show. The program meets for three consecutive months, one evening a week, on the Warner Bros. lot and is free to those accepted.
Entry fee: $30
Deadline: June 1, 2010
Info:
http://www2.warnerbros.com/writersworkshop

Writers on the Verge
NBC Universal’s version. The list of graduates who have gone on to do great things is long: Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) and Felicia Henderson (Soul Food) to name a few. Every year, the Workshop selects up to 10 participants out of almost 1,000 submissions and exposes them to Warner Bros. Television’s top writers and executives, all with the ultimate goal of earning them a staff position on a Warner Bros. produced television show
Entry fee: $30
Deadline: June 1st
Info:
http://www.nbcunicareers.com/earlycareerprograms/writersontheverge.shtml

National BEA Festival Student Screenplay Competition
Info: A national competition for the best shorts and full-length scripts written while attending college.  I’m not too shy to admit that my own students at Missouri State have done extremely well in this competition for the past 4 years.
Entry fee: $30
Deadline: December 1, 2010
http://www.beaweb.org/

Scriptapalooza TV Competition
Top selectees will have their scripts read by producers and agents in the television industry.  The program is run with WGA oversight and approval.  This is a twice a year competition that has been around for almost a decade.  We’ve had several students place.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: Twice yearly – check website
Info: http://www.scriptapaloozatv.com/

Acclaim Film & Television Fall/Winter TV Script Contest
Three separate contests for feature script, Pilots/MOWs and TV spec scripts; $1,000 for winning feature script, $500 each for Pilot/MOW and Spec winners. Affiliated production companies will have the opportunity to read scripts of winners, runners up and finalists. We’ve had several students place.
Entry fee: $55
Deadline: April 30th
Info: http://acclaimtv.netfirms.com

Creative Screenwriting AAA Teleplay Competition
Hosted by Creative Screenwriting Magazine, finalists’ scripts sent to agents and producers.  Opportunities awarded to pitch directly to writer-producers and agents.
Entry fee: $50
Deadline: Early April
Info: http://creativescreenwriting.com/aaa/

The Electric Kool-Aid E-Book Test

Like pretty much every techno-readaholic on the planet, I’ve been ‘in the market’ for an eBook reader for quite some time. Not because I can instantly get books (versus an almost 2 hour drive RT). Not because I can carry dozens of books around on one lightweight device, but because I’m sick and tired of wearing glasses when I read. Between the easy-on-the-eyes eInk and the ability to increase the font size, the eBook reader and I are made for each other.

Of course, my imagination goes to other possibilities as well. As a screenwriting professor, I suffer from guilt every semester when I have to ask my students to kill small forests — all in the name of our workshops where dialogue and action are read aloud and the critiques involve rapid fire notations taken during said readings. A device which allowed edits and critiques would be more than amazing. Heck, it’d be good for the environment! In fact, something like this CourseSmart Tablet Concept would be PERFECT.
Continue reading

Dear Dogs & Cats…

It would appear this bit of ‘wisdom’ has traveled far on the Intertubes, yet I couldn’t find it’s original owner.

The following was found posted very low on a refrigerator door:

Dear Dogs and Cats:  The dishes with the paw prints are yours and contain your food.  The other dishes are mine and contain my food.  Placing a paw print in the middle of my plate of food does not stake a claim for it becoming your food and dish, nor do I find that aesthetically pleasing in the slightest.

The stairway was not designed by NASCAR and is not a racetrack.  Racing me to the bottom is not the object.  Tripping me doesn’t help because I fall faster than you can run.I cannot buy anything bigger than a king sized bed.  I am very sorry about this.  Do not think I will continue sleeping on the couch to ensure your comfort, however.  Dogs and cats can actually curl up in a ball when they sleep.  It is not necessary to sleep perpendicular to each other, stretched out to the fullest extent possible.  I also know that sticking tails straight out and having tongues hanging out on the other end to maximize space is nothing but sarcasm.

For the last time, there is no secret exit from the bathroom! If, by some miracle, I beat you there and manage to get the door shut, it is not necessary to claw, whine, meow, try to turn the knob or get your paw under the edge in an attempt to open the door.  I must exit through the same door I entered.  Also, I have been using the bathroom for years – canine/feline attendance is not required.

The proper order for kissing is:  Kiss me first, then go smell the other dog or cat’s butt.  I cannot stress this enough..

Finally, in fairness, dear pets, I have posted the following message on the front door:

TO ALL NON-PET OWNERS WHO VISIT AND LIKE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT OUR PETS:
(1)  They live here.  You don’t.  (2)  If you don’t want their hair on your clothes, stay off the furniture.  That’s why they call it ‘fur’-niture.  (3) I like my pets a lot better than I like most people.  (4)  To you, they are animals.  To me, they are adopted sons/daughters who are short, hairy, walk on all fours and don’t speak clearly.

Remember, dogs and cats are better than kids because they (1) eat less, (2) don’t ask for money all the time, (3) are easier to train, (4) normally come when called, (5) never ask to drive the car, (6) don’t hang out with drug-using people; (7) don’t smoke or drink, (8) don’t want to wear your clothes, (9) don’t have to buy the latest fashions, (10) don’t need a gazillion dollars for college and (11) if they get pregnant, you can sell their children .

The Animal Rescue Site

What’s Cooking?

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Poached Pears & Candied Rosemary from Epicurious.com. Well use apples instead, but with the 15-foot long rosemary bush outside, therell be plenty of leftovers! Come for dessert if you get hungry!

I’ve been under the radar lately… as far as blogging is concerned.  Between the writing, editing, plotting, and let’s not forget the teaching (which has its own universe of writing, editing, plotting, etc.), I’ve been a tad busy.  On top of that, I’m considering how I want to revamp this blog, revamp it with a focus (or dare I say, platform) where what I have to say isn’t just an echo of what a gazillion other bloggers have to say.

More on that later.

In the meantime, Thanksgiving is only a day a way and here’s what’s cooking in my kitchen.

Prosciutto with Persimmons
Johnnycakes with Peekytoe Crab

Cider-Glazed Turkey
Boston Brown Bread Stuffing with Bacon and Tarragon
Yukon Gold Potato and Wild Mushroom Gratin
Roasted Yam Puree
Sauteed Green Beans with Crisp Garlic

Cranberry Chutney

Cornmeal Pound Cake with Rosemary Syrup, Poached Apples, and Candied Rosemary
Caramel-Pumpkin Pie with Mincemeat Ice Cream

Yes, I’m a glutton when it comes to cooking.

Actually, I guess I’m a glutton when it comes to pretty much everything.  Life’s Too Short to do otherwise.

Happy Holiday!