Well, we're back! The Red Planet Prize, that is. If you don't already know, I helped create and set-up this fantastic opportunity for new writers. It really is a screenwriting competition like no other; no strings, no fuss, no entry fee, all you need is good writing to apply.
We've been running the comp since 2007, with a little bit of a break last year. It's all made possible thanks to the huge generosity and passion of Tony Jordan, and his team at Red Planet Pictures (big up to Simon Winstone, his trusty right hand man).
The deadline for this year's prize is 31st July, 2010 so get polishing those first ten pages of your hot script. Below is the press release with more info but all the details you need are at the website. Interested? Of course you are - go for it!
Tony Jordan’s Red Planet Pictures has launched its third annual search for new writing talent – this year in partnership with Kudos Film and Television.
The competition is open to budding writers, with a £5,000 cash prize, a script commission and agent representation for the winner.
In addition, the winner and a number of runners up will be mentored by executives from Red Planet and Kudos to help them develop their craft.
The competition is open to anyone in the UK. Entrants must upload the first ten pages of an original 60-minute script for TV along with a short synopsis; this can be a single play or a pilot for a series. Should entrants then proceed through to the second phase, they will be asked to submit the full script.
Rules for the Red Planet Prize in Partnership with Kudos Film and TV
* All scripts must be in English and in screenwriting format;
* Scripts must be original and the sole property of the applicants;
* For the first round, only the first ten pages of the script, a one page outline about the series (please note, sending complete screenplays for the first round will result in disqualification)
* Entries are to be submitted on the competition’s website and the deadline is 31 July 2010.
The outright winner will be announced later in the year, but other stand-out finalists will be invited to spend the day with Jordan and a team from both Red Planet Pictures and Kudos at the end of the year to talk through their work and receive guidance on their writing.
Jordan will oversee this year’s entries with Kudos executive producers Karen Wilson and Alison Jackson and Simon Winstone for Red Planet Pictures.
The judges include influential names from the TV industry. Tony Jordan will be joined by Kudos creative director Jane Featherstone; BBC head of drama, England indies, Polly Hill; and Channel 4’s head of drama development, Ben Stoll.
The competition has already seen success with its winners. Joanna Leigh wrote for Red Planet Pictures’ series Crash for BBC1 Wales and is currently developing a new series with the production company.
Mark Wilkinson who is now developing his winning script, The Ropes, a contemporary drama set in the world of boxing.
Runners up are also working on developing scripts with Jordan and his team at Red Planet Pictures, including a drama series set in the Caribbean being lined up as a co-production with French Television.
This is the very definition of an emotional roller coaster: the RPP is back - yay! This time however it's available to folks from the UK only. Woohoo.
Still I wish all those eligible the best of luck and success.
Hmm, where's the catch?
Can anyone advise on how I covert text into PDF format?
Is it just a case of copy and pasting at all?
DeeDee: no catch!
Anon: As far as I know, you can save a Word file as a PDF file (Adobe Acrobat). You can definitely save a Final Draft screenplay as a PDF file. If anyone reading has specific help, just shout.
Anon: if you're using a mac, you can usually convert a word doc to pdf by going to print, hitting preview, and then saving the preview as a pdf.
Good luck - RPP is well worth going for.
i have a 60 word synopsis but the form now says it needs to eb only 300 characters? do i need to eradicate spaces and punctuation or make it more like a 50 word synopsis?
Not sure what's gone wrong with your 60 word synopsis, Robin. Maybe you've got a couple of really long words! Let me know if you have further problems and I'll see what I can do.
Shane - if you're using Windows and you're still stuck on the PDF issue, try googling 'Sourceforge' - they have at least one freeware PDF creator that might help.
I'm sure I read somewhere that this was open to people in the UK *and Ireland*, but now I can't find that. Are Irish writers excluded?
Thanks Liz xxx
Hiya Danny. Here's the latest on the state of things from across the pond. If your readers are interested in reading what I think of the writing landscape for English screenwriters here in Quebec (the banana republic of Canadian provinces), please take a look at my latest post.
As a fellow Corkman, just wondering why the RPP is only open to UK writers? Any chance of using your roguish, 'Far and Away' style charm to persuade your co-organisers to allow Irish budding scriptwriters in as well?
Primo PDF is a free download that lets you convert from Word to PDF.
Getting mine ready now!
JD & Anon - the comp is open to UK & Ireland.
Script Demons - good to see you back!
Hey there Danny, many thanks to yourself and Tony Jordan for setting up the prize - amazing opportunity.
I was just wondering, do you know if an automated e-mail is meant to be sent to participants upon confirmation on the first ten pages being recieved?
I sent mine off two days ago and thought I might get a 'thanks for your entry' e-mail, do you know if we're meant to recieve one? I haven't yet, but I presume you only recieve an e-mail if you progress in the competition...
This might sound all panicky but I'd just rather be sure my entry was recieved than have to wait another year !
Hi Charlie - I don't think you get a confirmation email, no. I'll double check and come back.
No, no confirmation email.
Thanks very much for the help =)
I have just posted my script as a PDF no problems, but in the synopsis window I didn’t state what genre my script was will my script be withdrawn for this error.
No, Byron, that's fine, don't worry about that.
That's good to know (thanks Byron for asking that).
I too submitted without a genre in the synopsis. I figured that as my pilot doesn't strictly fit into one genre, I wouldn't 'waste' any of the 60 word synopsis limit with convoluted / confusing genre mashups. Instead, I elected to summarise the story and (hopefully) allow the writing to give away its own genre leanings.
I regretted that afterward, and wished I'd included something! However, thanks for the answer Danny as that's put my mind to rest.
Danny - in general, when making any submission do you feel it's best to state genre, or should the writing give that away clearly? I.e, if an intended comedy makes the reader laugh, then 'job done'? I'm never sure whether to set-up a reader's expectations or not.
It can be useful to say 'it's a psychological horror about a woman who...' but it comes down to how you think best describes the idea/story, and how you want to pitch it!
Cheers Danny. I guess you have to judge that in accordance with your piece, then.
I always cringe at the idea of appointing something, say, a comedy for example, when it's not an out-and-out 'laugh fest'.
I always imagined a reader thinking 'this guy thinks he's written a comedy?' when it's really something with comedic elements, rather than its raison d'etre.
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