Yep, it’s that time of year again, the Nicholl deadline, and you’re going crrrrrazzzzzyyyyy! Pulling out all the stops, making yourself a complete nuisance to friends and family to read your freakin’ script. Hitting the message boards at Trigger Street or Moviebytes…
It’s the annual screenwriter’s ritual, like salmon swimming upstream. The uptick in script evaluations here at Script Gods in the month of April is a direct result of contest season.
By now you know that May 1 is the Nicholl deadline this year. The cost for entry is $52. I suppose I could Google this, but…was it $52 last year? I seem to remember it being $35. And wasn’t the deadline May 15? Love the new clock that ticks down the deadline second by second, adding to the paranoia and frenzy to get that killer thriller or HANGOVER 3 wannabe in to the Nicholl Fellowship powers that be.
How many scripts came into Nicholl last year? 8,000? 10,000? Whatever the number, your odds are better than winning the lottery and for a mere 52 bucks, why not take the shot? Some folks take the same attitude with middling contests like Blue Cat or Final Draft or Slamdance or Page or….you get the picture. Multiply $50 by 10 or so contests, you have a definite investment in your career. And while submitting to all these contests is fine, they ain’t Nicholl. Not even the most money hungry contest runner would question who the Big Dog is here.
How do you know they’re the Big Dog?
#1: They don’t spam you. Aren’t you guys tired of getting spammed by these super-slick sites? I could name names but what’s the point? You get their email blasts too. Somehow you signed up for something and now, even hitting unsubscribe, you hear from them one, two or three times a week. From the smallest fish spamming me on LinkedIn, to the larger ones offering free advice on this or that but really baiting you in for online classes or screenwriting contests. Nicholl doesn’t need to spam you, and they don’t.
The middling contests? Never much bothered with them. That’s not to say folks like Slamdance or Final Draft or Page are scamsters, but what can they actually do for you? Ever hear a SINGLE memorable movie coming from there? Their claims to hook you up with industry insiders and jump start your career is music to your ears. Common sense says if something sounds too good, it probably is.
Nicholl, the Big Dog, doesn’t make outrageous claims. They don’t need to. When I finished with just a semifinal finish a few years ago, overnight I had 25 or so emails from managers, agents and production companies seeking out my script. There were some big fish in that list, including Jerry Bruckheimer Productions and Benderspink. These folks cherry pick the Nicholl list, sending out an email blast to the Semi winners on up for their new blood. And you wonder why they didn’t answer your query letter.
Nicholl Fellowship is a decent shot in the dark, and at $52, for a writer without contacts, I say why the hell not.
Two days left before the deadline.
Things will work out fine.
Win or lose, you’re a nice person, I’m sure.
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