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Judging & Results Info Short Screenplay

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hwoodwritr View Drop Down
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    Posted: 03 Dec 2017 at 8:19am
Extracted from the Short Screenplay Challenge Official Rules

Published Facts:

Article 20: Judging Criteria: (see My Opinion, below)

The fixed standard and criteria used by each of the Judges shall be …as follows:
  5% Spelling & Grammar
15% Format

80% Screenplay (Writing, Originality, Character Development, and Plot Development)

Article 21: Challenge Results and Group Finalists Announcements:

Challenge                        Results & Finalists Announcements

1st round -Challenge #1:  11:59PM EST on December 6, 2017.

1st round -Challenge #2:  11:59PM EST on January 11, 2018.

2nd round -Challenge #3: 11:59PM EST on February 14, 2018.

3rd round –Challenge #4: 11:59PM EST on March 21, 2018.

My Opinion (unofficial)

20 percent of your score is dependent on Spelling/Grammar and Format. You have control of these things, so don’t give those points away.

80 percent of your score is related to your actual screen story, beginning with “writing,” which is something you have limited control of.
    There doesn’t appear to be a published criteria for judging “writing,” so use standard good-writing practices, i.e. avoid adverbs, select active verbs, etc.
    This is a visual media that includes sound: do not include anything that cannot be seen or heard. Example: “SUZIE, 29, a divorcee with three young children” doesn’t make it in screenwriting. We have to see the kids and the divorce info has to come out in dialog.
    Avoid long detailed descriptions: let the set and costume designers, et al, do their jobs and handle those details (that’s what they get paid to do).
    DO NOT tell the cinematographer, director, and actors how to do their jobs. EVER.

    “Originality” is highly subjective on the part of the judges. If the judge has seen or read something similar they may take points off for originality. Since everything has been done it is important that you find a new “spin” for your story.

    “Character Development” and “Plot Development” must take place, even in these short five-page scripts. Since those are at the core of every good story, and what we spend most of our time trying to get better at, I’ll leave it to you to figure out.

    Bottom line: control the things that you can (grammar/spelling, format, and writing) and hope for the best on the other stuff.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Scarlet Screenwriter Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2017 at 3:27pm

Really good advice! 

However, when introducing a character for the first time  ... "SUZIE (29) a divorcee with three children" ... you have a little leeway to offer some background as per your example.  You also always capitalise a character or bit player the first time they are introduced ...









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hwoodwritr View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hwoodwritr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 Dec 2017 at 6:22pm
You are correct. But you are an excellent writer, one who knows the rules and how/when it is okay to break them.
There is always some wiggle room. In the example we cited, you used parens to set off the character’s age, I used commas; either is acceptable. You have to know the rules before you break them, and IMO, the way you learn the rules is to abide by them. After they are ingrained in your process then when you break them you will know you are departing from a standard and have a valid reason for doing so.


In the example we cited, one of two conditions exists, story-wise:
  1) The three children and divorce information are not important to the story and should have never been mentioned.
  2) The children and divorce are important to the story and are going to be revealed in a meaningful way at the appropriate time. Therefore, there was no valid reason to put that information in the character's introduction in a way that could not be seen or heard.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lalafulton Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2017 at 3:29pm
Great advice!!! Thanks for this, definietly bookmarking for the next challenge.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2017 at 4:37pm
Originally posted by hwoodwritr hwoodwritr wrote:

    Bottom line: control the things that you can (grammar/spelling, format, and writing) and hope for the best on the other stuff.


^^ This. Because sometimes the scoring just doesn't make sense, and we're not privy to the full, detailed algorithm the judges are using. 

I can also tell you, having done a few of these now, that staying true to genre is big in screenplay (I think flash/short story is sometimes more forgiving of mashing). And using the object wisely. Doesn't necessarily have to be central, but it needs to be intelligent. No shoe-horning.

And. We have a ways to go on this, but if you are fortunate enough to make it to the "open genre" final round, be sure to identify your script with the genre label that's most appropriate. So, like, if you really wrote a dark comedy, don't do something boneheaded like calling it horror. Embarrassed
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (1) Thanks(1)   Quote Andrea Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 05 Dec 2017 at 7:23pm
Originally posted by lisafox10800 lisafox10800 wrote:

Originally posted by hwoodwritr hwoodwritr wrote:

    Bottom line: control the things that you can (grammar/spelling, format, and writing) and hope for the best on the other stuff.


^^ This. Because sometimes the scoring just doesn't make sense, and we're not privy to the full, detailed algorithm the judges are using. 

I can also tell you, having done a few of these now, that staying true to genre is big in screenplay (I think flash/short story is sometimes more forgiving of mashing). And using the object wisely. Doesn't necessarily have to be central, but it needs to be intelligent. No shoe-horning.

And. We have a ways to go on this, but if you are fortunate enough to make it to the "open genre" final round, be sure to identify your script with the genre label that's most appropriate. So, like, if you really wrote a dark comedy, don't do something boneheaded like calling it horror. Embarrassed

And the scoring often doesn't make any sense at all.  I've had a lot of WTF moments.  Have strength!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote JeffreyHowe Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2017 at 5:02pm
Another thing I noticed in the last go-round (the Screenplay Challenge) was that loglines were specifically cited in the scoring, specifically agreement between the logline and the actual script. 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote lisafox10800 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2017 at 7:08pm
Originally posted by JeffreyHowe JeffreyHowe wrote:

Another thing I noticed in the last go-round (the Screenplay Challenge) was that loglines were specifically cited in the scoring, specifically agreement between the logline and the actual script. 

It's funny, I just got the Screenwriter's Bible and there's a section that details the importance of a good logline. So probably best not to keep it as an afterthought. 

If you really think about it, a good hook actually is important - the logline can generate initial excitement or make a judge/reader work harder to be interested in your script/story. 

(As I sit here and re-evaluate my "meh" logline this round...)


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote hwoodwritr Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2017 at 7:18pm
(As I sit here and re-evaluate my "meh" logline this round...)

Yeah, there's a lot of that going around. Should be a vaccine or something for it, don't you think?


Edited by hwoodwritr - 06 Dec 2017 at 7:23pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Joni Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 06 Dec 2017 at 7:22pm
Originally posted by hwoodwritr hwoodwritr wrote:

Originally posted by <div>(As I sit here and re-evaluate my meh logline this round...)</div></td></tr></table><br />Yeah, there's a lot of that going around. Should be a vaccine or something for it, don't you think?<br />[/QUOTE
(As I sit here and re-evaluate my meh logline this round...)

Yeah, there's a lot of that going around. Should be a vaccine or something for it, don't you think?
[/QUOTE wrote:



Yes! Where do I sign up for the vaccine? (Need it before Sunday night, please.)


Yes! Where do I sign up for the vaccine? (Need it before Sunday night, please.)
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