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JUDGING THE CONTEST. THE PARADOX OF A GOOD THING!

By Craig Kellem

Judging our monthly contest can be a bear for both of us. There's pain wearing two hats, first being supportive, creative mentors and then stoic, objective “deciders”. For me (Craig) this duty goes against deeply held instincts in the area of personal loyalty, which is a big part of my natural makeup. I'm a guy who's been known to “give hate” to folks who have unjustifiably wronged friends, only to find out that they made up long ago while I'm left still carrying the ax. I'm as loyal as a golden retriever folks!

But the contest is important and it isn't loyalty which is at stake here, it's our best call in a given month.

In the business of screenwriting, deserved recognition can be a rare commodity. After one finds success it's easy to see the gold, but before this happens good work can be overlooked out there. Thus it's really important for those of us who sit alone somewhere writing our hearts out to be told that someone can perceive the true value in our work, and especially appreciate it.

Any and all signs of light in this game are ever so nurturing and necessary, and being told that you've written something so special and professional that we'll put our name to it, can be just what the doctor ordered. Not to mention the fact that it's nice to have your script read by folks in the industry, and to be able to tell everyone that you’ve won something. The coverage remains on our site for a very long time, so in the click or two of the mouse, there's  your glowing and objective coverage for all to see.

However, not everyone wins at the exact moment they most want it to happen.
Sometimes a script which is also competing, simply has the edge. Or maybe the work isn't quite there yet, even though there's often real promise in the material, and it could payoff with the next revision or subsequent screenplay. It can be a conceptual issue, wherein the idea may be fine, but perhaps not necessarily ready for broad Hollywood consumption. The latter is not always part of the criteria, but sometimes it can be.

We try hard to accommodate our valued clients and even have a rule that if we don't have a winner for a given month, a script that didn't make it the first time around can now be slotted in as the current winner. This has happened many times and it's always such a pleasure when we can make this possible.

So, please know that we really do care and feel badly when a borderline project
(and there are many) doesn't make it. I always feel so awkward when that
happens because the material is often quite promising, and this makes our decision even tougher.

Ultimately we owe our loyalty in this phase of things to the very best call we can make at the time, and because it’s not easy to impress Hollywood, the material we send out (and sometimes contact Industry folks about directly etc) must be right down the middle of the strike zone.

So please don't think that we don't agonize over these decisions--because we do!
We also try hard to convey the idea that our contest is a PERK. The ULTIMATE SERVICE service we offer is to provide the creative help which is necessary to get your script right on target. This achievement is a BIG DEAL, and can also profoundly affect future projects one might have.

You may not have won the contest yet, but if we’ve helped you upgrade your script to PRO LEVEL or a pro script to a higher plane, and it’s the best script of your life, please don’t be mad.

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