Archive for the ‘Contests’ Category

Long Time No Short (The Goon & The Dangler)

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014



The Goon & The Dangler – by Dead Red Eyes.

The posts have been slow the past month, but here are the first of two shorts we did during that time.  This short was for “Sparrow Film Project 11 (June 2014)” which had specific rules to it.  It had to be under 3 minutes and we had to randomly draw a genre and outdated law.  Picking a genre out of a hat, we drew “Sports Drama” while the second hat was to make the film based on a strange legal oddity in america, the one that we pulled out of the hat was “in Alberqueque it is illegal to pull prospective passengers into your car”.

So what better way to represent that with a couple of ex-hockey minor league players, one now a cab driver, the other, a flower delivery guy. To represent the two characters, we called the short “The Goon & The Dangler” (both are hockey terms to represent types of players – Goon = Fighter, Dangler = Sharpshooter who isn’t much of a fighter)

We filmed it all within a day and did some crazy editing the night before the deadline to cut this down to 3 minutes.  Based on the amount of entrants, it sounds like many teams didn’t make this first cut and meet the deadline. Sadly, we didn’t make the main cut and will not be shown as one of the 20 finalists at the Museum of Moving Image this June, but we had a good time throwing this together, and lots of thanks to Sebastian, Helen, Telis & Nic for their roles and all your help. Soundtrack (3 songs used within this short) courtesy of Stereo Off.

Scary Short Film Fest, Presented by Wes Craven – Film in 30 Seconds

Monday, March 3rd, 2014

We decided to make a last minute entry into http://www.studio360.org/crowdsourcing/extra-credit-scary-short-film-fest/results/ which is the Scary Short Film Fest (presented by Wes Craven, famous for movies such as Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream) – after reading this and finding out that we had one afternoon to put it together, we decided to take up this challenge. While a lot of entrants looked at the haunting backdrop of music with an ambient edge of fear to it, and cryptic notes in blood, we decided to take the more comedic angle of horror (after all, Scream was more comedy if anything)!

Its got an element of humor, horror, stereotypes, references, odes and homages to, double entendres, you name it. And its black and white, 30 seconds and all done today from 5pm. Couple hours later, the audio was synced, the clips cut and the short film entered into the contest. And here it is….. “Math 101 – The 30 Second Tutorial“.

Not bad for a quick 30 second film. Though I do have an earful of chocolate syrup / blood. I guess that’s what you have to go through in order to make a short film in less than a day. On the next day, write a screenplay – here’s how to do that in a day!

What To Do With That Screenplay You Wrote – Stage 3

Friday, January 4th, 2013

At this point you should be well into a couple other pieces and the title should be about what to do with those “Screenplays” you have written. Friends have perhaps glanced through it, and one or two might even like it. This is the hard part now. Get it out there some more…. to strangers.

I don’t really foray much into forums, as they can be more chat than actual insight, but there are some with decent communities overall. I used to like http://www.zoetrope.com to some extent, but the well has really dried out there, and hardly anyone uses it anymore in comparison to 5 or so years ago.

Still, it was there that I learned a lot about screenwriting, by reading other people’s screenplays. And I read some pretty bad ones, from users complaining about the types of reviews that they got. This perhaps is not wise to do, but it works out well. For the most part the insight was appreciated, and it was there that I was able to refine my own craft and learn what not to do. At the same time, I hunted out some good ones, or promised to exchange reviews if they were serious. The reviews you get fall into three categories though – very very useful insight that you couldn’t pay for, nit picking about the littlest things, or they didn’t read it and made bad assumptions. Category 1 happens, sometimes.

Perhaps this is because it’s always easier to improve someone else’s screenplay than your own, because you have some sort of ties to your own. There are loads of other forums and networks where one can work on their craft, such as http://labs.triggerstreet.com/ – which I used a few years back, but have decided to give another go. It seems to be much more active than Zoetrope these days, so we’ll likely test the waters here again in the coming week or two with Alphabet Soup.

Subscribe to the newsletters from https://www.withoutabox.com and http://www.moviebytes.com/ – they’ll tell you what’s going on out there, and what festivals are happening, where to enter short films, screenplays, etc, and how other people felt about the contests (in MovieBytes’ case, and they’ve been around for a long time).

That’s right, Screenplay contests. There’s going to be a point in time, where you’ll have to set foot in these. But which ones are legit? Read around. Some are more obvious than others, and some cater to certain niches, so take time to do some research on each – especially when most of them are not free.

Here are some of the more well known ones (which can also mean more competitive), that will get your name out there.

Nicholl Fellowship – http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/index.html (average of 6-7,000 entries per year)
Page Awards – http://pageawards.com/
TrackingB – http://www.trackingb.com/
Final Draft – http://www.finaldraft.com/products/big-break/
Sundance – http://www.sundance.org/programs/screenwriters-lab/
Script Pipeline – http://www.scriptpipeline.com/
BlueCat – http://www.bluecatscreenplay.com/
Writers on the Storm – http://writerstorm.com/
Cinestory – http://www.cinestory.org/
Zoetrope – http://www.zoetrope.com

They can also be local festivals such as:
London Independent (UK) – http://www.londonindependent.org/
Richmond Film Fest (VA/NC area) http://themixshorts.com/
Gotham (NY) – http://www.gsiff.com/

In fact its useful to find some ones near you and thus be able to attend them should you be considered. Sooooooo….. start scoping them out and see how you fare. But only do so until you’ve polished up your work and gotten free feedback from the likes of people you know and free member places like Trigger Street and Zoetrope – along with seeing what’s out there. Yep, part of getting your screenplay out there is putting in some work beyond writing up your magical idea. That’s what they kept telling us at least! And yes, we have entered some of the ones listed above.

Next part to come soon…… thanks for all the feedback so far.