“Don’t feel bad. You had a good run…”
“To even get to the Quarterfinals of Nicholl is a victory! Think about how many people don’t get that far…”
“You wrote a great script. They blew it. Your script will find a sympathetic eye, just wait…”
A script of mine was just bounced at Nicholl. Made the Quarterfinals. I had high hopes. Alas…
Never knowing why your script got bounced, of course, is maddening. But that’s a constant. Unless you pay extra, you’ll never know why you didn’t make the grade. ‘Nor will you ever find out why you advanced. It’s a mystery. Perhaps you got a reader who loves romantic comedy while you wrote a “contained” thriller. Maybe before reading your script the reader got a parking ticket, or yawned their way through two other scripts that day before reaching for your magnum opus. Maybe they just didn’t “get” your withering, pithy POV. Doesn’t matter why, you’re out, so face up to it.
The real difficulty in getting bounced at Nicholl is the lost opportunity. With Nicholl, Quarterfinals are all right, but the real action happens at the SemiFinal round and beyond. The one time I made it that far I got 20+ emails and queries within the month. They came out of the woodwork, heavy people—-Benderspink, Jerry Bruckheimer, an agent from Endeavor, not to mention about 15 managers who were suddenly interested in my screenwriting career.
It’s wonderful exposure and why people pony up the entry fees for these screenwriting contests. Because without an agent, where the hell are you going to turn? How are you going to get some action on your script? One route are the contests. So, yeah, Quarterfinals are nice. But just nice, know what I mean? Talk about kissing your cousin…more like kissing your dog. It’s something you can put on a resume and beats scratching your ass…but isn’t going get your script much action. If only, if only, IF ONLY you could have gotten to the next round!
Here’s one way to get bounced from Nicholl in style: Do NOT go to see #1 movie THE EXPENDABLES (is that not sad?) Rather, kick back with some red wine, light a nice Cohiba, take out the Collector’s DVD of The Pope Of Greenwich Village. Watch Mickey Rourke and Eric Roberts in their prime, play small-time hustlers with all “the moves.” Marvel at Vincent Patrick’s dialogue and challenge yourself to try to come close. “Charley…they took my thumb!”
Realize that you can control only what you can control. Don’t agonize over rejection. Get by it, get over it. Move on.
I’ll leave you with a Charles Bukowski excerp about style, from the poem of the same name:
“Style is the answer to everything.
Fresh way to approach a dull or dangerous day.
To do a dull thing with style is preferable to doing a dangerous thing without style.
To do a dangerous thing with style, is what I call art.
Bullfighting can be an art.
Boxing can be an art.
Loving can be an art.
Opening a can of sardines can be an art.
Not many have style.
Not many can keep style.
I have seen dogs with more style than men.
Although not many dogs have style.
Cats have it with abundance.
When Hemingway put his brains to the wall with a shotgun, that was style.
For sometimes people give you style.
Joan of Arc had style.
John the Baptist.
I have met men in jail with style.
I have met more men in jail with style than men out of jail.
Style is a difference, a way of doing, a way of being done.
Six herons standing quietly in a pool of water, or you, walking
out of the bathroom without seeing me.”
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