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Feedback Useless As Ever

Printed From: NYC Midnight : Creative Writing & Screenwriting
Category: GENERAL DISCUSSION
Forum Name: Screenwriting Bar & Lounge
Forum Description: Discuss NYC Midnight Screenwriting Competitions or Screenwriting in general.
URL: https://forums.nycmidnight.com/forum_posts.asp?TID=19869
Printed Date: 18 Mar 2019 at 8:32am
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 12.01 - http://www.webwizforums.com


Topic: Feedback Useless As Ever
Posted By: DBA Lehane
Subject: Feedback Useless As Ever
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2019 at 10:35am
Ok, this isn’t a case of sour grapes - as I have managed to make it through to the next round of the Short Screenplay Challenge.

However, it’s not the first time I’ve experienced it here, but the feedback I got for my 5 pointer first round script was far more flattering and positive than the feedback for my second heat 13 pointer. I do genuinely wonder sometimes if the points are randomly attributed here and bear no relevance to the actual feedback.

How I could score 13 points with feedback like “not a lot of story here” (ok it’s a 5 page horror!) or “it’s not about anything” (seriously?) baffles me.

I never got round to posting the script here, but here is that screenplay with “no story” and “not about anything” that still managed to score 13 points  https://www.dropbox.com/s/7m5x2uhasgytgds/Nacterror.pdf?dl=0" rel="nofollow - https://www.dropbox.com/s/7m5x2uhasgytgds/Nacterror.pdf?dl=0

Oh well, onto the next round...




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FFC15 4th placed finalist / SSC14 & SSC16 finalist



Replies:
Posted By: JeffreyHowe
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2019 at 12:19pm
1) Scoring rubrics don't always align with judge's notes. Trust me on this.
2) All of these are graded on the curve.


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SSC2018:
CH1 G25 Noble Rot-15 pts
CH2 Cultivar-14 pts
CH3 G2 https://bit.ly/2SWWgQc" rel="nofollow - Unbalanced Diet
CH 4 https://bit.ly/2EfPNtz" rel="nofollow - Kickoff Meeting


Posted By: Scarlet Screenwriter
Date Posted: 10 Jan 2019 at 3:52pm

Tell me about it, Darren ... I got what I thought was the best and most complementary feedback EVER ... and scored 3 points. 

I was the only poster in Group 10, so I have no benchmark.  It's frustrating ... when they don't get the nuance or timing... 





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They seek him here, they seek him there, those damned writers seek him everywhere.
Is he in heaven or is he in hell, that damned elusive Scarlet Screenwriter! (Oh, phuck, that doesn't even rhyme!)


Posted By: DBA Lehane
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2019 at 7:04am
I've read a number in my group all of who had decent plots about something, but scored lower than mine.

That said, it does seem to be one judge who was having a bad day, he/she actually also said "there's no real context here (something I'm writing a lot this round)". Not sure that was a constructive comment.

Still, if they're happy to give me 13pts - who am I to argue?

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FFC15 4th placed finalist / SSC14 & SSC16 finalist


Posted By: hwoodwritr
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2019 at 5:23pm
Here's my take on this: you are only judged against the other members of your group. Groups are supposedly selected at random. If you get stuck in a group that has several experienced writers, and you are a newbie, you could be screwed at the get-go. If a group consists of newbies, including you (well not "you," but some writer we'll use for an example) then you may do very well, point wise, because you're being judged against other newbies. In that case, anyone who has a glimmer of how to write will do well--the points have to be awarded, even if they are given to top 15 writers in a group of so-so scripts.
A good score does not necessarily mean it was given to a good script.


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SSC
Ch1 G8 http://bit.ly/2P4KRiE" rel="nofollow - …And the Music Played On (12 pts w/FB)
Ch2 G8 http://bit.ly/2E3Wv7y" rel="nofollow - Love and Rebellion (6 pts w/FB)


Posted By: JeffreyHowe
Date Posted: 11 Jan 2019 at 5:54pm
And conversely, if you do find yourself in a top-heavy group, a mediocre score doesn't necessarily mean a mediocre script. That one second-round group last year comes to mind...

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SSC2018:
CH1 G25 Noble Rot-15 pts
CH2 Cultivar-14 pts
CH3 G2 https://bit.ly/2SWWgQc" rel="nofollow - Unbalanced Diet
CH 4 https://bit.ly/2EfPNtz" rel="nofollow - Kickoff Meeting


Posted By: NATEnnn
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2019 at 6:25pm
I scored 15 points first round, 5 points second round.

Feedback on first screenplay was all fine, even though it focused on the negative more than the positive (which I was fine with).

For the second, however, which I originally thought was the stronger of the two, had some strange comments. They accused me of being 'slightly racist' for having a white professor out-shoot some black militiamen with nothing but his 'Caucasian wits'. 

What actually happened is one of the militia murdered his work partner, so the professor took his gun and used him as a human shield to exchange gunfire with the others. The professor killed them all, but took a few bullets himself and ended up dead.

Unfeasible? Yes, it's meant to be a movie. Racist? I think not.

There was also lots of good, valid criticisms that I took on board, and if I rewrote it now I would change a good number of things, but even so... it just felt a little off. Was meant to be a fun action/adventure with tyrannical baddy and typical everyman hero that achieves the impossible - kinda going with Indiana Jones sort of feel, but judge obviously saw something racially charged in it when that was certainly not the intention.

Anyway, rest of the criticism has been useful so far. Rant over.



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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eIUuvBWLH42XSQ_nGx7FX0ZyYapmavdQ


Posted By: cheezopath
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2019 at 8:40pm
what does caucasian wits mean


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http://www.nycmidnight.com/Competitions/SC/Winners/EdHicks.htm" rel="nofollow - Screenplay Challenge 2017 winner


Posted By: NATEnnn
Date Posted: 19 Jan 2019 at 9:44pm
caucasian = white

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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eIUuvBWLH42XSQ_nGx7FX0ZyYapmavdQ


Posted By: JeffreyHowe
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 11:54am
I suspect cheezopath knew that part. 

If I may be so bold as to rephrase the question on his behalf--what is it about the character's wits that makes them inherently Caucasian? Why would Caucasian wits be notably different in this (or any) context from any other wits? The phrase is...curious. Problematic, even.


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SSC2018:
CH1 G25 Noble Rot-15 pts
CH2 Cultivar-14 pts
CH3 G2 https://bit.ly/2SWWgQc" rel="nofollow - Unbalanced Diet
CH 4 https://bit.ly/2EfPNtz" rel="nofollow - Kickoff Meeting


Posted By: thesaura73
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 12:44pm
Did the judge make the "Caucasian wit" comment? I wonder if it was the same one who made https://forums.nycmidnight.com/ch2-gr39-obscene-comment_topic19884.html" rel="nofollow - the Shaniqua comment .

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http://bit.ly/2FydQpQ" rel="nofollow - SSP Ch3 - Innovations in Pediatrics (Comedy)
http://bit.ly/2HDDbBl" rel="nofollow - SS Ch1 - A Curated Experience (Suspense)


Posted By: JeffreyHowe
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 12:56pm
That would be interesting and unfortunate, yes.

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SSC2018:
CH1 G25 Noble Rot-15 pts
CH2 Cultivar-14 pts
CH3 G2 https://bit.ly/2SWWgQc" rel="nofollow - Unbalanced Diet
CH 4 https://bit.ly/2EfPNtz" rel="nofollow - Kickoff Meeting


Posted By: thesaura73
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 1:19pm
Both comments came across to me like the judge warning against accidental racism in a clunky offensive way...Maybe well-meant but badly expressed 

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http://bit.ly/2FydQpQ" rel="nofollow - SSP Ch3 - Innovations in Pediatrics (Comedy)
http://bit.ly/2HDDbBl" rel="nofollow - SS Ch1 - A Curated Experience (Suspense)


Posted By: NATEnnn
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 1:46pm
@theSaura73 Yes I'm sure that's what they were trying to do but it just came off wrong. It was a story of someone out of their depth in a hostile environment set in a time where it was not as common for native Africans to go to college and achieve high education.

I don't really want to sacrifice authenticity just so the protagonist could be black. Even if he was, the story would be exactly the same. 

Plus, the same Judge immediately got negative connotations because he was white. Surely that in itself is racially biased?


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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eIUuvBWLH42XSQ_nGx7FX0ZyYapmavdQ


Posted By: NATEnnn
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 2:12pm
Exactly. The story would have been exactly the same if the professor wasn't white. I think they meant "Caucasian wit" because he was the most educated among the natives. That doesn't mean he was the most intelligent though
 


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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eIUuvBWLH42XSQ_nGx7FX0ZyYapmavdQ


Posted By: cheezopath
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 6:00pm
what

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http://www.nycmidnight.com/Competitions/SC/Winners/EdHicks.htm" rel="nofollow - Screenplay Challenge 2017 winner


Posted By: JeffreyHowe
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 7:34pm
Sorry if I took a left turn there Tongue

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SSC2018:
CH1 G25 Noble Rot-15 pts
CH2 Cultivar-14 pts
CH3 G2 https://bit.ly/2SWWgQc" rel="nofollow - Unbalanced Diet
CH 4 https://bit.ly/2EfPNtz" rel="nofollow - Kickoff Meeting


Posted By: NATEnnn
Date Posted: 20 Jan 2019 at 7:41pm
Ok so I just checked my feedback and yeah it was the same judge as the other comment [1635]

He was the one that commented with "caucasian wit".

He also stated that the fact that one of my characters(the professor's work partner) had "made a deal with the (white) devil feels authentic".

It's like the judge got accused of racism in round 2 so now makes sure that he makes racist comments against white people in order to compensate?


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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eIUuvBWLH42XSQ_nGx7FX0ZyYapmavdQ


Posted By: thesaura73
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2019 at 11:35am
Nate, I just read your Ch2 screenplay on the forum and it does start out by describing the MC as "a white professor"...so I wonder if the judge's comments would have been different if the whiteness hadn't been called out like that? And maybe the smirking, and apparently being the only guy fighting against the bad guys (who are natives), also contributed to the still-poorly-worded comments? Hope you report the feedback and how you took it!




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http://bit.ly/2FydQpQ" rel="nofollow - SSP Ch3 - Innovations in Pediatrics (Comedy)
http://bit.ly/2HDDbBl" rel="nofollow - SS Ch1 - A Curated Experience (Suspense)


Posted By: NATEnnn
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2019 at 11:48am
Yeah, like I said I would change quite a lot looking back.

The only reason I wrote that he was white was to mark him as an outsider to the country and not a native which would feed the drama between him and Olamanka. Should have probably made that more clear, and I can see how someone might interpret it a different way.

I also considered having the other miners fight back with him but I really didn't have the space for it 


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https://drive.google.com/open?id=1eIUuvBWLH42XSQ_nGx7FX0ZyYapmavdQ


Posted By: thesaura73
Date Posted: 21 Jan 2019 at 12:04pm
Well, you advanced, so no need for regret! Just food for thought if you do a similar story in the future where race is a factor. 

I was really fearful of my Ch1 story (which features an obsessed fan and closeted gay pop stars) being considered offensive so I tried to make sure my writing couldn't be misread in an offensive way (reread it multiple times and called out in beta that I was concerned about my portrayal of these characters and hoping for other perspectives), and was still scared I missed the mark. But apparently my big failing was that I didn't kill any of them. LOL

Edited to add: The MC's name was so Western, I think it was obvious he wasn't native just from that; he definitely could have been black and as out of his element in Africa as a white man. It's just interesting to wonder how the racially-sensitive judge would have reacted if there were no reference to whiteness at all!


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http://bit.ly/2FydQpQ" rel="nofollow - SSP Ch3 - Innovations in Pediatrics (Comedy)
http://bit.ly/2HDDbBl" rel="nofollow - SS Ch1 - A Curated Experience (Suspense)



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