Thursday, November 05, 2015

Five Screenwriters Receive Praise and $35 Thousand Each to Write Their New Script
by Janet J. Lawler
November 5, 2015
Award Ceremony at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater
Ever wonder what it's like to win the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting?  The following five fellows discovered what that achievement means.   Each called it "life changing" for their writing careers.  Their feature screenplays were celebrated (with a scene read live) last night at the Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting Awards and Live Read:

What They Had

Great Falls

Best Sellers

Free Agent

Addis Abeka

All accepted their award (a leather-bound script of their winning work and a $35,000.00 prize.)  Each fellow now has a mandate from the Academy to write a new feature script within the year of their fellowship.
Nicholl Program
They gave speeches and thanked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, their new agents, and spouses and families for supporting them.

Sam Regnier gave an emotional, heartfelt speech about how he kept a bottle of champagne in the fridge that he'd only open when he sold his first script.  It remained unopened for seven years.  At one point, when he and his wife had moved, the "champagne box" came up empty... Sam thought his wife had thrown it out.  Instead, she had placed it in their new fridge.  Together, they kept the dream alive... and his script FREE AGENT won the fellowship and has since sold to CBS Films.

Each screenwriter spoke about the many unsold spec scripts it took to get to Nicholl.  They know rejection like most writers.  The one theme running throughout the night was persistence and trusting your own VOICE on the page.  A reader will respond when you're honest and dig deep to find an emotional truth.  
Janet Lawler at Nicholl Awards;  2015 Nicholl Quarterfinalist
It was a fun evening in Beverly Hills!  This was my first time attending the awards and live read.  Go, if you're able to some year.  It's open and free to the public.  My script The Tenant was a quarterfinalist in Nicholl this year.  I wanted to be there in person to root for the FIVE fellows who were selected out of over 7,000 submissions in 2015.  

Congratulations to all: Elizabeth, Andrew, Anthony, Sam and Amy!  Many of the fellows had been rejected numerous times prior by Nicholl... so if you didn't win this year, never give up and keep writing your next draft for 2016!

Until then...

Janet Lawler is an author, playwright and screenwriter. Her screenplay The Tenant advanced to the Quarter Final Round in the 2015 Nicholl Fellowship for Screenwriting and the semifinals of the 2015 Austin Film Festival. Janet's debut novel From the Ground Up is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kindle.    Visit Janet's website at  Follow Janet on Twitter @JJLawler

No comments: