I have upgraded from the usual Google home page to the customisable iGoogle. I have added a few 'gadgets' which include Gmail, quotes, a translator, news, sport, space invaders and, most relevantly to this post, Google Calendar.
As you can see from the picture above, my own calendar dates are in red and the Deadlines Calendar's are in blue. If I click on the link to that horror contest, for instance, then I can read the full calender entry without leaving the page.You can also set email reminders.
The Deadlines Calender has been updated with loads of things including the best of the US screenwriting contests, a major British feature screenwriting contest I've never heard of before but mostly playwrighty opportunities.
Piers has adapted a novel for the stage and Lucy - the script reader's script reader - has posted stuff on theatre and hints she might give playwrightering a go. While we may have ambitions to have our own primetime series on BBC1, we should maybe consider other arts as well. Stories are stories. Although Helen and Lara are going way too far with writing novels. Subtitles are bad enough, I can't be expected to read a whole book.
Although, having said that, the easiest way to get a film made is to write it as a novel first and insisting on being employed to write the first draft of the screenplay as part of the option deal. But I digress.
Some of the competitions I've added are for short plays or have specific themic requirements. Even if we don't win or not even bother sending the finished script, it won't be a waste of time as we have learned by being stretched and challenged. It can go in our portfolio to be re-worked or sold in the future or inspire a different story in a different art form.
Should we actually manage to get a reading or performance, then there is nothing like working with actors and a director to improve our craft. In theatre everyone's trying to get at what your story is and what you want to say - including the director.
There are stage opportunities due at the end of December and in January which are ideal for the upcoming holiday season. I'm not suggesting being anti-social and locking yourself away but we can ration the time we spend with relatives. We can spend the rest of the time outlining or writing our scripts.
In fact, if you're lucky, there might be a Corrie/Easties type revelation over the Christmas dinner in your household which might prove useful:
"Pass the sprouts, dad." "Actually, I'm not your real dad. And I used to be a woman." "Hold on, I'll just get my pen."