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Monday, May 26, 2008

No I Am Not An Affiliate Of This Contest

Robin posts about this contest today: it's called "Write Here, Write Now".

I've already had one email this morning asking me why I would "lend my (blog's) name" to such a contest that costs EIGHTY QUID to enter, plus postage of no less than THREE hard copies to the judges.

The short answer: I wouldn't.

Maybe it's good, maybe it's not - but it's nothing to do with me. For another thing, the contest is for IRISH writers and I've never even been to Ireland, let alone been born or raised there.

Does raise some interesting questions though:

If there was a Bang2write script contest for features, would you enter?

What would make you want to enter? (ie. prizes, reads from specific people, specific companies/people as affiliates, etc)

Would you pay to enter? If so, what is a "reasonable" fee?

Would you want feedback, regardless of placing?

Over to you.

18 comments:

Elinor said...

I think that's an excellent idea Lucy.

Run along Bluecat lines maybe. Reasonable fees (80 quid? they're having a laugh!). Feedback is always useful regardless of placing or not and maybe an interview with an agent as a prize.

Lucy said...

The BSSC offers to get three short films MADE for a £25 entry fee (£35late fee). That always seemed quite a lot to me for a contest with no feedback, especially considering there are SO many entries so the odds of you getting to that final 3 are slim (tho you gotta be in it to win it, natch: it's still a good contest I think).

Gordy Hoffman said in his Bluecat Q&A with me last year that the first year he ran it, he got 300 odd entries (he now gets in the region of 2000 every year). They offer very big prizes though - $10,000! - so I can't believe a Bang2write contest would get that many; I think it would be lucky to break 100, especially in the first year.

Providing just half a page's worth of feedback for roughly 100 scripts between 90-120 pages would still take many,many hours. Obviously if I was going to do that I would want it to be worth it for me - I would NEED it to, got boring stuff like bills and I would have to not take any other clients for a while to fit it in - plus there's every chance I would need at least one more reader and I wouldn't want them doing it for nothing either as that doesn't seem fair. Plus there's all the admin too.

Provided I could find prize people who can DONATE their offerings, does matching the BSSC seem like a good deal in terms of a fee? It would be a features contest rather than shorts and there would be feedback for every entrant...I dunno if I could find people to make the winning scripts, but as you say Elinor, maybe meetings, free stuff etc?

Anya said...

£25/£35 seems fair Lucy - I would go for that, even though I'd be paying dollars. International contests could enter, right?

What I would be interested in would be how you decided the winner.

And what would be useful to me would be a website or dedicated blog for the contest, so we can see articles that would be useful or updates on how the contest is progressing, especially if you end up running behind time.

Anya said...

*I meant international contestANTS by the way... Also: what about a theme or "starter" for it, rather than people entering any old script?

Lucy said...

Alrighty Anya, yes of course International contestants could enter this (imaginary) contest, Paypal means there's no barriers to moolah any more.

How would I decide the winner?? Cripes, not sure, hadn't got that far yet... I suppose scores for such things as character, arena, dialogue, premise etc would be the key to that. Seems fairest.

It's funny you mention a "theme": I've floated the idea of a contest before with reader friends, citing that one of the conditions could be a female protagonist and/or strong female character as part of the supporting
cast. I'm so tired of seeing male protags or women who fall over or sleep with men to get what they want or are too self obsessed to see what's under their nose! We could use this as an opportunity to get more strong women out there on the page perhaps...?

philsan said...

Sounds good. I don't think prizes are so important (hear me out) compared to just knowing that someone is reading your script and judging it against others; if the reader likes it enough, it's worth that regardless of prize.

Written feedback is definitely a strong incentive for competing. The other selling point is knowing what's going on 'behind the scenes' i.e. knowing how far you got, who the winner is and what their script is about. (What sucks is the feeling of entering a competition for the big prize, with the chance of not hearing a peep and seeing only the name and title of the winner.)

Oh, and you're in Bournemouth, right? Maybe a discount for fellow Bournemouthians..

Lucy said...

Ah, now that IS interesting - I'd not thought of that before Philsan. But now you mention it, knowing how far you get etc is a big incentive in BSSC, isn't it? Many people (like myself) don't get further than a few rounds or so but it's still something for the ol' writing CV. And the anticipation is fun - though I don't think I would take so long over it.

Rach said...

Oooh an imaginary competition. I think £25-£35 is reasonable amount. Considering you get feedback. The BSSC rounds method would be nice. Always torture wondering how close you got.

I once entered a comp where they just announced the winner. I only found out I'd come second when one of the judges got in touch to ask if he could publish mine.

As to prize? Hmmm. Having it made would be lovely but is that going to happen with a feature? Maybe an agent or production company giving it a serious look over. Or a nice bit of software? Or a training course voucher?

Eleanor said...

£25 sounds fair for a half page of feedback for every entry.

Howsabout the winner and finalists get full feedback as the prize - as well as the pleasure of knowing they are THE BEST. ;)

I'd enter something like that.

I like the idea of basing it around strong female roles as well.

Go for it!

Good Dog said...

No, the short answer is:

"I wou--"

Tell them you've seen John Ford's The Quiet Man over a dozen times and does that count?!

Bob said...

£40 entry fee and feedback, and the winner gets free feedback on all their scripts for a whole year :-)

John Fox said...

Hi Lucy,
Think the idea of a contest shounds great, and wouldn't mind paying 25 quid, knowing there was feedback. I think it would also need the interview-with-an-agent/production-company-type prize though. I think most people see competitions as a chance to open a few doors that they wouldn't normally have access to. Or at least I think thats what the best competitions do. The idea of including a "strong female protagonist" as the theme is cool, even if I don't like the idea of competitions imposing a theme in general (especially if its "the nation's health"...mmm...). One question - where would you stand on scripts that you had already given feedback on? Or people asking for feedback before the deadline on something they were then going to submit? Unfair advantage? Or just taking advantage of a system that's already there? (I've never sent you a script (bad John!) but was wondering...)

Chip Smith said...

Eighty squid - that's OUTRAGEOUS!I'm just wondering if that's a world record? And you get nothing in return? I'd want at least a carriage clock or one of those novelty hats that hold a couple of beer cans (or Guinness in this case).

I've entered competitions before and even had a script placed in the top ten of a relatively minor one: what good did it do? Nothing, and there wasn't any prize money either. I'm always a little suspicious of cometitions that promise meetings with prodcos and/or agents as prizes - in which case, I would say if you're thinking of running a comp, make the prize COLD HARD CASH. 100 entries x £30 a pop = £3000 - top prize of £1000. Sounds good to me.

Caroline said...

Yes - great idea. And for me as a relative newbie feedback is definitely the main incentive plus the hope of getting through rounds as good to put on a CV.

I'd pay BSSC rates for that.

And love the idea of a strong female protagonist theme.

Lucy said...

Ok, cool: the idea *seems* to be getting the thumbs up, with equal lurve for the strong female protag idea. Could this be the fabled GIRLS ON FILM initiative???

John, I agree - I think some sort of prize that is a potential door opener is a good one. If I could find a prodco and an agent willing to read and/or meet with the winning scribe, I think that would be best. Of course, they're not going to guarantee representation or option for a small contest like this, but maybe some other prizes too would help? Dunno about Chip's notion of COLD HARD CASH though: see the logic, but I've no idea who's going to enter or how many - if I guarantee prize money, what happens if I end up OWING people money? Yikes!

Also a good point re: scripts that have already come through Bang2write, though if we go for the "strong female" approach I'm not so sure I would see many replications as I get so few. Obviously I think scripts would have to come in "blind": no names on the title page. I may still recognise titles of course - perhaps if I got loads of entries I could pass those I recognise on to a 2nd reader? Though that won't be viable if I only get a few...

What do you lot think of this?

Chip Smith said...

With regards to cold, hard cash, there's nothing to say that you couldn't make the prize money dependent on how many people enter - you could describe it as your comp's unique selling point, with a daily/weekly running tally via your blog (ie, the more people enter, the higher the prize fund). That way you won't end up owing anything!

That said, I'll be amazed if the Irish WHWN attracts enough entrants to cover the prize money, especially at £80 a pop.

John said...

I don't think there needs to be prize money at all. Knowing how far we got, and some feedback would be great. If a meet with a prodco or agent (no strings) isn't possible, maybe lucy could offer some a script reading package? That way she doesn't have to guarantee paying out, not know how much money is coming in (I think its gonna be a lot of work for her anyway, without creaming off anything she might make on it). Another idea, what about contacting some produced film/tv writers to over mentoring on the script as a prize?

Just a thought....

John said...

Oooh... forgot to say.... As for scripts you've already given feedback on, I don't think its an issue, as long as its made clear in the rules. In fact, I think it could even become part of the comp/something that makes it a bit different. People could send scripts throught the normal feedback service, get them back, work on them, and then enter them in the comp. It doesn't compromise Lucy cause she still judges the final version against the other submissions. Having read an earlier version doesn't really change things. Or would it, Lucy?