Monday, November 14, 2011

Red Planet Prize: Frequently Asked Questions


Or, RPP FAQ, FYI!


1. What is a single play?
A single play is a one-off story. For the purposes of the competition, this would be a one-off 60-minute TV script (typically 50 pages min - 80 pages max). In general, pilot scripts are more popular and common for submissions to the competition but feel free to submit a single play if you don’t have an idea for a pilot script.

2. What is a pilot script?
A pilot script is the first episode of a potential new TV series.

3. Will you accept 30-minute scripts or feature length (90-minute+) scripts?
No. 60-minute original TV scripts, please.

4. Is there any particular genre you’re interested in?
We’re interested in great writing, and don’t mind what genre it comes in.

5. Can I submit an adaptation I’ve written of a book/game/other source?
No. Original scripts only please, even if you’ve adapted from your own book/game/other source.

6. What’s a logline?
A logline is a brief description of your story idea. For example, ‘A British cop gets sent to the Caribbean to solve murders.’ A logline shouldn’t be mistaken for a tagline e.g ‘In space, no-one can hear you scream’ (from Alien).

7. Should the 100-word synopsis summarise the script, or the series as a whole?
Whatever you think best represents the idea, story or script.

8. For the first round of submission, why just the first ten pages of a script?
It’s a truth universally acknowledged in the industry that the first ten pages of a script indicate a great deal about a writer’s talent as well as how the script is shaping up.

9. If my first ten pages end in the middle of a scene, should I submit additional pages?
Please submit the first ten pages only, regardless of where the scene ends. Similarly, please do not send the full script at the first round stage. These will be immediately disqualified.

10. Can I enter more than once?
Writers can enter once as themselves, and once as part of a co-writing team. Multiple entries from an individual will result in disqualification.

11. Can I get feedback on my first ten pages, or on my script?
Unfortunately, due to the large number of submissions received, feedback cannot be given for scripts that are unsuccessful.

12. Should my script end on a cliffhanger?
That’s up to you, and the story!

13. I’ve rewritten my script that got rejected last year. Would it be a bad idea to resubmit it for this year’s competition?
Not necessarily. If the script represents your best writing, then feel free to resubmit.

14. When is the deadline?
16th January, 2012.

15. Should I wait to write the rest of the script?
We strongly advise that you write the entire script, as there will be little turnaround once we request the full script to read.

16. Can I submit a script that has been optioned by another producer or production company?
We want original scripts that have not yet been optioned or produced. If your script gets optioned (or an offer) whilst in consideration for the competition, please get in touch to let us know.

17. What happens if my first ten pages get through to the second round?
We will request the full script. Once all of the full scripts have been read and assessed, we will make a longlist of the scripts/writers we wish to put forward for the competition’s final stages.

18. What are the competition’s final stages?
A shortlist will be compiled. Tony Jordan and the other judges will choose a winner. We expect this to be around Spring 2012.

67 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

Can I just check something re: the originality thing. I'm working on something that takes an obscure fictional character from another source and runs with them - kind of like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead - would that be acceptable?

Cheers,


Jon

Danny Stack said...

Hi Jon - I think that would be OK, yeah. (And worth noting that the winner of the first RPP was a biopic of Samuel Johnson but biopics are not classified as adaptations.)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Danny, that's great.


Jon

Anonymous said...

Hello Danny,

Quick question. If the writer goes for the pilot option rather than a single play, is there a fixed format they have to abide by?

Ie: could you submit the first ep of a two or three-part SERIAL or must it be a returning SERIES and conform to the usual UK format for that (ie: at least 4 x 60)?

Thanks in advance,
David

Danny Stack said...

Hi David - something from a two or three-part serial would be fine!

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny
I am working on a single play but having read your opening comment about pilot scripts being more 'popular and common' will that put me, and others like me, at a disadvantage? I mean we are told to study markets so what I am asking is do YOU (the organisers)prefer pilot scripts?
Or am I just being another paranoid wannabee??!!

Cheers pal

Danny Stack said...

Ha ha, no, don't worry! The comment about the pilot scripts being more 'popular and common' was just to clarify that we're not ONLY looking for single plays. Most people submit a pilot script but a single TV play won't be frowned upon at all. We're looking for great writing, above all else!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for that Danny

G-Man said...

This probably answered, but does the pages have to be from the pilot episode of the TV series or will a well written episode 3 be acceptable?

Danny Stack said...

Yeah, pilot/one-offs only.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

I had a question about geographic location in a pilot.
Would a script be acceptable if there was opening flashback scene set in non-specific building location in Los Angeles?

Danny Stack said...

Hi Anon - yes, non-specific location fine!

Anonymous said...

A query Danny

From your FAQ

13. I’ve rewritten my script that got rejected last year. Would it be a bad idea to resubmit it for this year’s competition?
Not necessarily. If the script represents your best writing, then feel free to resubmit.


From the official terms and conditions:

Scripts previously rejected by Red Planet, even if re-written, will not be accepted. Please do not re-submit such scripts.

Which is it to be?

Cheers Danny

Anonymous said...

Hello Danny, been reading your excellent and handy posts over the last couple of days and taking all the info on board. (By the way, sorry to see how rude and ungrateful a few commenters are! Actually shocking.)

I was just wondering - how long after the closing date is the winner announced? (Sorry if this has been obviously displayed. I'm probably just being a dunce.)

Danny Stack said...

Anon. Re: resubmissions. Probably best not to, then! Sorry, didn't realise that was in the T&C but, whisper, a different title & a rewrite, and no-one's going to guess!

Anon. Re: winner announced. Probably some time during the summer.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Danny but I fear your reply may have come too late to save me.
Oh crap! I was so wanting to get an entry in. Never mind there will always be next year

JLS said...

As ridiculous as this might sound, the first ten pages, does this include the title page or not?

Thank you.

Danny Stack said...

No, JLS, the first ten pages doesn't include the title page.

Anonymous said...

Dear Danny

Like a previous poster I too have re-submitted an earlier work and although it is radically re-written it still has the original title.
Please don't tell me I am scuppered as entering this competition is something I look forward to every year and every year I think it will be my turn!
Help!

Danny Stack said...

No panic! It'll be fine. Email me if you want to flag up the details, and I'll make a note/let the team know.

Matt said...

Hi Danny,

Looking forward to submitting this year, although I was hoping to submit a pretty ambitious historical drama - is budget something you guys take into account, or do you solely focus on the idea/story?

Thanks, sorry if this is a silly question but always best to be sure...

Cheers,
Matt

Danny Stack said...

Hi Matt - budget's not a problem; we just focus on idea/story and quality of writing.

blueshield said...

Hi Danny,

In the list of criteria it states you have to be a resident of the UK to enter the competition. I'm currently living abroad but plan to move back in the near future. Can I still enter without a UK address?

Thanks,
Linds

Danny Stack said...

Hi Linds, that should be fine, yes.

RjH said...

Hi there,

I write with my two siblings. Only one of us lives full time in the UK. Can we still enter? Thanks for your time.

Richard

Danny Stack said...

Hi Richard - yes, that would be fine!

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny, great questions and replies. Now I'm going to ruin it with a no brainer. Is the closing 'date' by midnight the 15th of January or midnight the 16th of January?

Will a night make a difference? Probably not but just want to be sure. All the best
Max

Danny Stack said...

Hi Max - the deadline includes the 16th, up until midnight.

Garth said...

Hi Danny,

Most people seemed to have posted anonymously. Would it harm my chances if I posted a question without concealing my identity?

Danny Stack said...

Absolutely not! *makes note of name*

Camilla said...

Hi Danny,

Just wondered when round 2 will be announced and when those successful enough to submit the whole script would have to do so. Any idea?

So useful to have an oracle on these matters...

Thanks,
Camilla

Danny Stack said...

Hi Camilla - it's usually around 4-6 weeks after deadline.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny
I'm sure you're up to your neck with things. Just a bit of hand holding. When I got my confirmation mail it noted my title and synopsis but not the log line. Is that the normal format?

Danny Stack said...

Yep, that's normal!

Anonymous said...

I've entered my 10 pages as a Word doc- somebody has just told me it should have been a PDF. Does it matter? Will a Word document still be read? If not, massive Doh!

Danny Stack said...

PDF is preferable, but Word is fine. If we can't open a file, we ask to re-send as a PDF.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

You have definately became the port of call for all us budding writers.

one quick query, I assumed that a title page would be included in the page count, and due to this have not included one. Upon flicking through your responses it has become apparent that this is not the case. Do you think this may harm my chances?

Tom

Danny Stack said...

Hi Tom, no, that should be fine. 10 pages, no title page, no problem. 9 pages, and a title page, no problem, we get the gist.

blueshield said...

Hi Danny,

Just wondered how it was going with all the script reading. Have you gone cross-eyed yet? :)
We really do appreciate the effort you guys are putting in for us newbies.

Linds

Danny Stack said...

We're nearly there, Linds, and hopefully start notifying 2nd round people by end of next week-ish.

Anonymous said...

If you get through and it's the full 60 minutes you want, how many pages is that?

Sorry if this has been asked but I'm really confused! So many different things online...

Danny Stack said...

Anything between 50-70 pages should see you right!

Anonymous said...

Hey Danny,

What happens if you get through round two? I'm out of the country from end Feb on a teaching post abroad.

Will this hinder my chances? Or will I just be told I can't proceed to the semi finals?

Cheers

Danny Stack said...

No worries on that front, anon. It won't hinder your chances at all.

Jamie said...

Is something a bit different happening this year perhaps with mention of a semi-final?

Danny Stack said...

I think there might be a slightly different decision process for the final shortlist but not a semi-final, as far as I'm aware.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

How is the judging going for the prize?!

Danny Stack said...

Very well, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

So relieved to find this blog.

I'm one of the people waiting to hear about round three. I know it could be anytime this week but I was wondering if you knew which day we'll get to find out?

Danny Stack said...

HI Anon - I'm not sure, to be honest, but should definitely be this week.

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

This is such a helpful resource!

Do we know roughly how many people entered & how many people got through to this round?

Cheers

Danny Stack said...

Hi Anon - I think we got around 1,800 entries with only 10-15% of entries going into round 2!

Anonymous said...

Hey Danny,

Climbing the walls over here! I'm sure you guys must still be debating which scripts go through.

Do you think people will find out today or tomorrow?

Cheers

Danny Stack said...

It won't be until at least next Friday as we pore over the scripts for the next round.

Anonymous said...

Phew!

Thanks so much, Danny. I can relax again!

Good luck with the reading!

Glen said...

Hi Danny - great blog and podcast. I just had a sudden thought - I never received a confirmation email when I sent in my full script. Is that normal? Can I stop panicking?

Thanks
Glen Laker

Danny Stack said...

Yes, Glen, all good! Next round notifications probably early next week. Eep!

Anonymous said...

Hey Danny,

How many people will read a script before it comes to round 3 decisions?

Also is it looking like a Friday announcement, you think?

Danny Stack said...

There's a team of around 6 of us that go through each round. Notifications should be this week, all going well.

Anonymous said...

Wow!

So all 6 of you have to read each script at this stage? That's some pretty fantastic commitment to quality control! It must be exhausting for you, no?

Good luck!

Danny Stack said...

8th May 2012: we're up to round 3, now. Everyone should have heard if they didn't get through. Everyone else, give us a few more weeks at least before we get to the crunch semi-final stage!

Anonymous said...

Danny? How many made it to the third round? How many into the semis? And what does the semi finals consist of? Interviews?

There's a few questions for a Saturday lunch time.

Great blog, and hope you are well.

P

Danny Stack said...

Hi P - I think there is a slightly different set-up this year but I don't know full details yet as my head is still down going through the scripts. More news/updates as it happens!

Anonymous said...

Hey Danny

Having just received the blanket email for the 25 people who didn't make the last round of this years prize, I was wondering what happens to them? No feedback? No critique? Anything? Having gone from 2000 entries into the last 25, is a 1.25 percentile, and just to be told - no - without any constructive feedback seems cold.

I know everyone is busy - but it doesn't seem a way of building confidence in writers - to be discarded so offhandly.

Anyway, great site, great blog, and I hope you enjoyed my script.

P

Danny Stack said...

Hi P - I know it must be frustrating but it's in no way a cold or offhand snub. Far from it. It's just that, regrettably, we simply don't have the time or resources to respond to the 25 shortlist. When you think that Red Planet are in production with Death in Paradise II, and Kudos with many productions - if we opened up feedback & correspondence to a wider shortlist, there would be a big knock-on effect of time & resources. It was hard enough to get to this stage (we were supposed to have a winner chosen by April).

Still, to get to the last 25 is a big achievement and something to be proud of; that's got to be confidence building, right? And the competition is free, driven by genuine passion & commitment to new writers. But there's only so much we can do! :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Danny. Any idea when the 2013 Red Planet Prize will be open for submissions?

Danny Stack said...

No word yet. Soon-ish! :)