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Finale Pro Tips

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bartelbysamsa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bartelbysamsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: Finale Pro Tips
    Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 9:15am
I was just wondering if anyone who has made it to the final in previous years might have some advice?

I've never written such a short screenplay before and the 24 hour time limit is pretty pant-browning (Closest I've come is the 48hrs of Flash).

Are there any helpful hints for when things shrink to this size/how to prepare or is it basically much the same but faster?

Thank you!



Edited by bartelbysamsa - 19 Jul 2019 at 9:15am
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T.E. Bradford View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote T.E. Bradford Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 1:38pm
Me too, me neither, and holy cow I hope someone answers cause I'd sure like to hear... <:- )
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manifestlynot View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote manifestlynot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 3:19pm
Here are my tips from being in a few finals - others may disagree, of course!

1. No more than three characters.

2. Genre is usually open. Write what you're most comfortable with.

3. Don't spend too much time brainstorming. Think, write, edit, submit.

4. That said, the prompts are usually very broad and open to interpretation, so find several ways to interpret them.

I'm sure there are more but that's what I'm thinking for now!

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeffreyHowe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 3:27pm
For me the most important thing is to interpret some aspect of the prompt in a way that propels me into my own story. Find something quirky, unexpected, personal, even counter-intuitive in it, so you *start* from a position of storytelling strength.

Edited by JeffreyHowe - 19 Jul 2019 at 3:28pm
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bartelbysamsa View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bartelbysamsa Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 5:04pm
Thank you! Those are some solid tips!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeffreyHowe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 5:25pm
Originally posted by manifestlynot manifestlynot wrote:

Here are my tips from being in a few finals - others may disagree, of course!

1. No more than three characters.

2. Genre is usually open. Write what you're most comfortable with.

3. Don't spend too much time brainstorming. Think, write, edit, submit.

4. That said, the prompts are usually very broad and open to interpretation, so find several ways to interpret them.

I'm sure there are more but that's what I'm thinking for now!


I definitely agree with number 1. You can have other bodies present--but every speaking part requires a character introduction.  That adds up.

At 5 pages you run into some practical limits--you have about 275 physical lines to work worth, and at least a third of them will be blank. So 180 lines of actual typed content.

I would expand on number 2: don't even worry about genre. They used to ask us to identify what genre the piece was, but they stopped.

Number 3 might be modified to include quick beta reads.  

And 4, of course, is near and dear to my heart Big smile


Edited by JeffreyHowe - 19 Jul 2019 at 5:27pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 6:10pm
Set your own genre "fences." You know your own strengths. Part of the panic in the final is not having that third fence already in place - it feels like there are too many possibilities. So discipline yourself by setting your own limits. In Flash Fiction last year I really wanted to write a SciFi story. My first few ideas didn't work in the word count, so I moved on to Drama. And that's when I landed an idea. Short Screenplay I followed the same process. Sci Fi was my priority, again. My first idea was too big, but my second fit just right. Smile

Land on your idea quickly. Don't waffle. If you're stuck, think about the things that are important to you. Things that you love, things that you fear. A funny story someone once told you. A hard conversation you just had. (That's where both of the pieces I mentioned came from - one, from a deep rooted fear. The other, from a difficult conversation/situation in my life).

Align your beta readers NOW. In the final round they are more critical than ever.

And don't forget to breathe. Like, really breathe. And have fun with it. 

Wishing you all the best this weekend! Rooting for a forum sweep!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote VitruvianFilms Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Jul 2019 at 7:46pm
Speaking of aligning beta readers now, would you be available/willing to read for mine?  I LOVED reading your script in the last heat, and would love to hear your input for this round.  

Edit: Meant that as a direct reply to LisaFox, forgot to hit quote post.  I'm a bit new to the forums :p


Edited by VitruvianFilms - 19 Jul 2019 at 7:51pm
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