05 April, 2006

Oscar Moore Screenwriting Competition - Result

After careful consideration of all 154 entries, the Judges of this year’s Oscar Moore Script Writing Competition have concluded that no prize should be awarded this year. In a first-time decision for the Foundation, it has announced that the requisite standards for winning were not surpassed though some entries were notable for specific reasons.

Chairwoman of the judges Anne Marie Flynn said in a statement:

“As judges as well as trustees of the Foundation, the final panel has the responsibility of ensuring that the good standing of the Oscar Moore Screenwriting Prize is maintained and its judgements are consistent with the qualities of previous winners.

This year, though a number of scripts were deemed notable either for the quality of writing or originality of premise, it was our final opinion that none reached the requisite quality to merit the prize.

Only by reserving the award on occasions where the requisite standards are not achieved can The Oscar Moore Screenwriting Prize continue to be a mark of high attainment and a competition worth winning.”

It is noted that ‘comedy’ is often claimed as one of the hardest genres to write for.

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Well, they make the same point I did in awards season, how the comedies were neglected for nominations when they are hardest to write.

I think the next category is going to be drama, although it may be thriller. I'm not sure whether that result is an incentive to try or not to bother. My problem is that even when they do announce a winner, we don't get to read the script. Obviously, it's still in development and there are commercial considerations but in the history of the competition has there ever been a chance to turn up at your multiplex - or even arthouse - and see the winner?

I can't help thinking that with Project Greenlight, you could read all the scripts and then eventually see the movie so there are ways around it. Of course I couldn't take part in PG and read all the scripts as I'm from outside the US and would not dream of pretending to be American so I could. Like, that would be way bogus, dude - like totally.

The standards of judging for the competition seems quite high and the irony is the money is meant to fund development but most film-makers in the UK don't seem to believe in development and just rush their first draft to production. In fact the process is so quick you could probably send your script to a production company by the competition deadline and it be in the can and unable to get a distributor before the competition results are announced.

I guess what I'm saying is that the more work that is done on a script to improve it, the more chance it will win competitions and the better the resulting film is likely to be. Shane Meadows has the opposite view and to his credit he has managed to get an appreciative audience - albeit a very small one. However there are numerous plotting and logic flaws in Dead Man's Shoes, his most acclaimed film, which killed the word of mouth from ordinary members of the public. It was written in a week and production started before he knew how it was going to end. Why the big rush? The ending he came up with was laughable. I just think you owe it to your potential investors and potential audience to write the best film you can.

Of course the answer to the question "is it worth entering the next Oscar Moore comp?" is "yes". If you place or even win, that's going to look quite good on your CV. It forces you to think about the genre - which is crucial. And most importantly it's a target and a goal to finish a screenplay. We shouldn't need targets, we should be constantly writing but we all need a kick in the arse sometimes.

2 comments:

Dom Carver said...

Next year's genre is drama, heh? Do you think I can get away with submitting the same script for a third time? Never saw anything in the rules to say I couldn't.

While studing for my scriptwriting degree there were those writers who liked to jump straight in with the writing to see where it took them. I can't write a word unless I have the charcaters and the plot worked out in fine detail. I write a better script that way and they need less rewrites too.

Robin Kelly said...

I think if you have a script that could fit comedy, thriller and drama genres then you could try it again. However, I think it needs to be focussed on one genre to stand a chance of winning.

I submitted an action drama for the thriller genre and instantly regretted it. I didn't want to write something new and convinced myself it passed the genre test.

Of course if the next genre is drama then I can resubmit it but it might have been rejected for being crap as well as for the wrong genre so that's a risk.

I'm going to re-write it and keep it as option B but option A is to write something new. That drama was written two years ago and I've learnt a lot since then.

Writing's annoying enough as it is without doing it the hard way and, as you say, it is much easier to just work everything out before you start the dialogue stage.