Friday, February 03, 2012

Red Planet Prize 2012: Round 2!

PHEW-WEE! We had around 1,800 entries this year. Amazing! I genuinely think this has been the highest standard yet. So many well-written scripts, and a lot of talent out there. Of course, that just made it harder for us to choose the scripts that went through to the second round! It was agonising, I don't mind telling you.

We had a very long list of 'maybes' that had to be whittled down to a manageable number for the 2nd round (around 10-15% of the total entries). When it came to the crunch, I think it was a combination of a strong or original idea matched with sharp and/or compelling writing that saw you through, not to mention a few that you just fancied taking a punt on in terms of raw talent!

As ever, making decisions like this can be very subjective, and no doubt very frustrating for those who didn't make it. Fret not! A rejection here is not a personal judgement on you or your talent; just a hardline decision on the scripts and ideas that we wanted to read more about. It was so, so, so hard. If I could have ushered 50 more scripts through, I would have.

I've seen some reaction on Twitter and blogs to being rejected. Most are remaining positive, which is the best way, but some are taking it very hard. Regardless of the opportunity that the competition provides, you should feel motivated to finish your script (if you haven't already), and to keep writing.

To succeed in this business, and to even get a breakthrough, takes a lot of hard grind and a bit of luck. It's not going to happen overnight (not usually anyway), so don't let a competition refusal, or any presumed 'industry opinion', sway you in your efforts. If you want to write, keep writing. Keep trying, keep sending stuff out, and see what happens.

I read recently about screenwriting that 'rejection is the norm, success is the aberration', but we should try to embrace and celebrate that, to inspire and push us, rather than let the rejection drag us down. Some rejections may take more time to recover from than others but ultimately you got to get back on that horse, and write on out to the sunset.

Red Planet 2nd rounders now have most of February to polish and finish their scripts, and then we really tear our hair out as we try to choose a final shortlist. I'LL KEEP YOU POSTED ON EVERYTHING as and when it happens. For now, back to writing.


Anonymous said...

Hi Danny,

Thank you for your words of wisdom. I'm a very new writer (since April 2010) and my first entry last year got through to the second round which was a great feeling.

This year I wasn't going to enter, and then did, and so wanted to get through again. I didn't (don't know if you read my entry), and it really surprised me (does that sound arrogant) I hope not, as I'm not at all.

I still believe in both projects, and until I read your words above, was thinking that maybe I was 'kidding' myself and that I couldn't write at all.

But it is all a learning curve and my entry this year is now going to be the film screenplay that it was originally going to be.

So thank you for helping one 'new kid on the 'writing' block !

Do you think it would be good for me to attend the LSF in October. I don't feel that I'm 'worthy', but then I feel, most of the time, that my work is worthy.

PS.... I am an actor by profession (as well as having a part time day job)

Keep up the good work.



Danny Stack said...

Nice one, Ross, go for it! And defo go to the LSWF! There's no hierarchy there, and useful for everyone, no matter what experience.

Rachael Howard said...

Got the dreaded email but also got a 1hr TV script out of it so not down at all. Thanks for giving us all a chance at this.

Jonathan Mills said...

If you think reaction to RPP was bad you should have seen the bile on the Bruntwood Prize website after their finalists were announced. As Alistair Campbell would say 'Dignity, people, dignity.'

Danny, it would be great to have some feedback in terms of whether any particular genres/ideas dominated, what there was a glut of etc.



Danny Stack said...

Sure thing, Jon. Might blog about it later but we had loads of:

- supernatural scripts
- amnesia stories
- families in crisis
- aliens, and various sci-fi
- one room dramas
- flatshares
- graduates finding it difficult in the real world

Which isn't to say that the 2nd round is not without these types of scripts!

j l s said...

How interesting, mine was none of the above, it was a period drama... did you get many of those?

Danny Stack said...

Yeah, a few!

S said...

Hey Danny,

I'm one of the lucky few to have made round 2.

Just out of interest, how many scripts usually make the 3rd round?

Friends/family members have been harassing me to know, and it's becoming increasingly obviously that 'I don't know' isn't satisfying their curiosities!



Ross Holland said...

Thank you again Danny.

I am going to keep writing my entry but make it a film screenplay (with the originally title), which is what I originally intended. Let me know if you read my 1st round entry - or is that not allowed.

My entry last year (which made the finals) is now an 8 part crime drama series and I believe it has HUGE potential.

Appreciate your great advice and hope to see you at the LSWF.



Danny Stack said...

Hi Sam - well done! Round 3 usually goes down to around 20 or so (varies, depends) before a final shortlist is made, and then the winner chosen. Hey, just saw you're Bournemouth based - will we be seeing you at Prequel to Cannes?

Hi Ross - that's great, nice one. Sorry, can't say what entries I read & didn't read! Cheers.

S said...

Hey Danny,

Unfortunately not!

I've got university all day tomorrow, and work all day Thursday.

I hope it goes well for you and everyone involved though!

Thanks for the help,


Danny Stack said...

Well, there's networking & events tomorrow evening, if you're free.

S said...

I may well pop down then!

Hopefully I'll see you there.


Richard Dowling said...

I am chuffed to make it to round 2! And as my script features strong supernatural elements I can confirm that genre does not hinder the chances of a script.

Thanks to all involved for running such a great competition!


very omg

Richard Dowling said...

Hi Danny, just sent in my entry for Round 2. Is there an automated confirmation email? Just want to make sure that my entry was received okay.

Danny Stack said...

Hi Richard- you will get a confirmation email, yes, but it's not automated so you'll hear from Camilla as soon as she gets through all the emails!

Edwin Hall said...

Hi Danny,
I'm another first hurdler, but it's all good, in retrospect I felt my work was going in the wrong direction, so this has gave me the opportunity to reassess.

However quick question, the project I'm working on is heavily colloquial, so I tend to write the dialogue phentically, such as Berkoff does in his stage plays. However a recent critique of my work addressed that this makes it hard to read, and could alienate potential producers. So would you recomend standing by my inital dialogue structure? Should I take heed of the criticism, and change the dialogue?

Edwin Hall

Danny Stack said...

Good question, Edwin! I think the trick is to write the dialogue as it would be spoken without confusing the reader or making it hard for them to figure out what's being said. So, any dropped vowels or consonants or use of a particular slang is all fine but if it's indecipherable or too oblique, then that would be a turn off.

Although sometimes it's a case of the reader having to make an adjustment to the way characters speak, and pick it up from there (a la Irvine Welsh's Trainspotting, the slang in The Wire, etc). But always think of your audience/reader. Get across what you want to get across in terms of dialogue/character, but not at the expense of losing your audience.