Wednesday, August 29, 2007

twenty per cent

On August 13th I received an email saying my submitted screenplay was in the top 20% of those entered into the Nichol's competition. This means that about a thousand scripts were better than mine, but about four thousand were worse.
It actually felt very good to get this email. Prior to that, I'd only learned that my script didn't make it into the top-5%-quarterfinals. I started to wonder if the script had been rejected right away as being too weird or whatever. I remember saying to Rodrigo, "It sounds funny, but I feel bad for my characters. I cared about them so much. I wanted them to be understood."
I'd obsessed over the screenplay from last fall until the week before the deadline, when I mailed it. I took a screenwriting class in the 1980's, and wrote a script I was embarressed to read again last year. Since then, I hadn't written anything in that format. Somehow, at the end of last summer, dialogues started to occuring to me, as if dictated by God. I typed them in, tried to put them into story format, and realized it had to be a screenplay. I looked up "screenplay" on Wikipedia and learned about the Nichol's competition.
By the week before the deadline, I knew I didn't have the best screenplay in the world. "It isn't going to win, should I still send it in?" I asked Rodrigo.
"You've been working towards this deadline. You may as well, " he replied.
Twenty per cent may not seem like a great writing credit. But it gives my writing some validation. I'm not a total flake raving about something that's completely incomprehensible to rational beings. Was that worth the $40 entry fee?
That, along with the sense that I tried, and took myself seriously, makes it worth it to me. Those who know how very cheap I am (and how short our funds last summer) may be surprised to hear it.

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