Tuesday, July 17, 2012

by Janet Lawler

You know those people who are just born lucky?  You know the type.  They win card games, hit the jackpot at Atlantic City and beat you at Words With Friends all the time?

That's not usually me.  I've won a couple of things in my lifetime... once, I won free Final Draft software when I answered questions correctly about Oscar trivia.  Oh, and I did win once at Wheel of Fortune in Vegas... like about $350... just before leaving for the airport.  That was sweet.  

But other than that... oh, and I did win about $400 at roulette in Atlantic City.

So I guess I'm kinda... quasi-lucky.

As for winning screenwriting contests?  I've only entered a few.  I guess deep down I always questioned their authenticity -- were they really legit or just cashing in on starving writers?  Let's face it -- screenwriters are dealing with rejection around every corner -- sometimes a contest is our last life line.  It's like an actress entering a beauty contest -- shouting "For the love of God, will someone recognize me... my talent... my swim suit!"

Hey, it worked for Michelle Pfeifer.  That's how she was discovered by a Hollywood agent - in a beauty contest. 

You have to put yourself out there any way you can.  Take a risk -- a gamble.  Screenwriting contests provide that platform.

I co-wrote an original screenplay this year with Chris Keller.  It's a family Christmas movie called HARK and HAROLD.  It has international and domestic appeal.  It's got great characters (elves).  I loved writing it.  It made me happy to sit down every day and spend time in the world of the North Pole.

Chris is a marketing genius.  I'm not, so much.  I love writing, but hate marketing my scripts. I think most writers are like that.  That's why we have agents and managers.

So I was thrilled to learn this weekend that Hark and Harold, the Christmas movie made it to the quarter-finals in the 2012 PAGE International Screenwriting Awards.  YAY!  Here is the link of the announcement:  http://pageawards.com/past-winners/2012-winners/2012-quarter-finalists-2/

Really, this cynical New Yorker asked?  How is this possible?  Among over 6,000 scripts submitted we're still alive?  Still in the game?  WOW!  Awesome.  It was thrilling getting past rounds one and two.  Now I'm caught up in the suspense... the possibilities...

It's like American Idol -- next the judges decide our fate on AUGUST 15th. Where's Jennifer Lopez  when I need her?  Will we make it to the semi-finals?

At least I don't have to sing to win.  We just had to write a good script.

As cynical as I've been about screenwriting contests -- some are prestigious and legit -- and open doors to top producers, agents, and studios.  So it's worth it to roll the dice.  To spin the wheel.  As they say about the lottery, you have to be in it to win it.

Chris Keller and I wrote a screenplay that is now in the Top 10% of those voted on by judges.  We have to compete against 664 other scripts to WIN the contest.  Our script is about Christmas... and miracles... and happy endings... so I'm keeping my fingers crossed... and keeping the faith. 

Lady Luck knows where to find me.  I'm in New York and on Facebook.

Until next time.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

by Janet Lawler
July 10, 2012
Hark and Harold: The Christmas Movie
So it's summer... and I'm enjoying deliciously ripe fresh fruits.. papaya and blueberries.  All from our neighborhood fruit stand right here in Astoria. 

Also taking time to celebrate the fruits of our labor.

Our screenplay has advanced to the next round of competition! Congrats are in order for my writing partner Chris Keller and thanks to The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards for recognizing our efforts, Hark and Harold: The Christmas Movie!

Here is a snippet of the email we received from the PAGE Awards committee yesterday:
The Judges have now finished evaluating all of this year's entries in the First Round of competition. Only scripts that received a score of 60 or higher (approximately the top 25% of all entries) advanced to the Second Round, and based on your Round One scores, we're very happy to inform you that you have advanced to Round Two with:  Hark and Harold, The Christmas Movie.

We find our Sunday if we advance to the Third Round. Let's put good energy out there to make it happen.

Hey, the world can always use another family Christmas story. A Christmas tale has international appeal and is a timely subject EVERY year.  Kids love Christmas as do adults.  It's a holiday and story about faith, hope and the magic of Christmas.

I'll keep you all posted. 

Upcoming soon here at The NY Screenwriting Life: author/studio exec DeVon Franklin.

We have studio executive and author DeVon Franklin of the recent hit book "Produced by Faith" dropping by next week for a chat.  Don't miss it.  His recent interview with Oprah had big ratings... he talks about looking at your life like a movie in development.  If we embrace its ups and downs, conflicts, twists... we'll grow as "characters" and our life story will get the green light into production.  Amen!

Until next time,
Write on!