Hollywood type writerAspiring screenwriters share a big dream: Selling a screenplay.  That’s the ultimate goal, isn’t it?  It’s with that in mind that most put pen to paper – or more likely put fingers to keyboard.  As such, writing a screenplay that’s un-filmable seems like a fool’s errand.  Why would you write a screenplay that no studio would want to purchase?  Well because it’s sometimes these screenplays that get attention and become your calling card to the industry. The following are five types of un-filmable, not-likely-to-get-purchased screenplays that are still worth writing!


When Should I Start Sending Query Letters to Agents and Managers?

Stressing Query LettersWe get asked this question a lot!

You’ve probably heard about actors, actresses and models getting their big break by an agent at the coffee shop, stopped at the traffic light, on the beach! A good look and a charismatic vibe can be spotted a mile away. But how do writers get noticed? Are you supposed to work your abs, get a fit bathing suit and hope your script gets discovered while you strut your stuff? I don't want to disappoint you, but it's not gonna happen!


Nadeem RajwaniIn April of 2016, Fresh Voices named Kenyan born screenwriter, Nadeem Rajwani, the Grand Prize Winner of the 2015 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition. His Nairobi set screenplay, “City In The Sun”, took home the Grand Prize Award, and in addition won three Fresh Voices Spotlight Awards including the “Culture & Heritage Award”, “Best Ensemble Cast”, and “Best Foreign Script Award”.

The story is an interwoven tale of two men from very different backgrounds, providing for their families in profoundly different ways. It explores the family dynamic from these two divergent perspectives and touches upon such powerful themes as domestic violence, its effect on the family for generations to come, and the uplifting message of the limitless heights we will go to for our loved ones.

Additionally, the film is a portrait of Nairobi; an international city still struggling to shrug off its third world past. As such, the narrative investigates such timely and relatable social themes as police brutality, corruption and points a finger at the social injustices that remain between the have’s and have not’s. While Kenya may seem like a world away, it is very much a story that plays out in our own neighborhoods on a frighteningly regular basis. The climax of the film is a story of two worlds colliding in completely unexpected ways.

The deftness with which the script is written, and the confidence in how such a complex story plays out, is surely that of a writer we wanted to know more about.

Below is an interview with 2015 Fresh Voices Grand Prize Winner Nadeem Rajwani on how he came to screenwriting, how he came to Fresh Voices, and how he came to win!


Jupiter Ascending Theatrical Posterby Vance Berk

Since I first saw Jupiter Ascending in February 2015 it’s climbed the ranks as one of my all-time guilty pleasures.  Why?  Although the Waschowskis’ film was a catastrophic failure both critically and at the box office, I think it’s an important learning tool for any aspiring science-fiction writer on what NOT TO DO.

At the time of its release, I was writing a feature-length spec script based on a universe I’d been developing since high school.  Leaving Jupiter Ascending, I learned 6 important lessons that would influence every key decision as I developed my own Science Fiction Space Opera.


ATX FestivalWith the ATX Television Festival opening in Austin, Texas this weekend, Fresh Voices competition chairman Joel Mendoza was interviewed for an article on what makes a perfect pitch.

“I think that a lot of writers tend not to spend enough time…putting together a coherent pitch. And when they do get in front of somebody, they tend to go off on tangents and not be as focused as one needs to be,” he says.

Mendoza recommends focusing on the three basic points of your story—what does the protagonist want, what stands in his or her way, and how do they overcome it?

“If you can think clearly in those blocks then you’ve got a good chance of gaining somebody’s interest,” he adds. “Beyond that, always enthusiasm, positivity, and being able to be a salesman. At the end of the day, that’s what it is.”

Read the full article for Get In Media here.... 


Its Good Enough To Ship2

How do Bridezillas happen?  They happen when someone seeks absolute perfection where absolute perfection is impossible.  They happen when 99% isn’t enough.  They happen when you have someone who believes that everything must be in the right place or it should never be done at all.  Bridezillas should never be writers!

The best writing advice I ever heard was from a professor at my alma mater who told me that the greatest skill a writer can have is to know when his work is done enough.  I was, at the time, writing a paper on the gentrification of Washington D.C. during the 1990s, and I mistook the advice to mean that I could stop when I get to the bear minimum of pages required, not do a spell check, say “Eh, it’s good enough” and go to the local bar to have a 22 ounce glass of some frothy IPA I convinced myself was delicious, but really I hated and was just trying to convince that girl in my “Federalist and Anti-Federalist Writings of Pre-Colonialist North America” class that I was cultured and mature. - - Don’t judge me. We’ve all had that phase.

What this advice really means is that perfection is elusive.  You’ll never get that last percentage point.  Hell, you probably won’t get the last five.  You can spend two months getting your script from the idea to second draft.  Another month to get it to a third draft.  Another few weeks to get it to a pretty solid fourth draft.  Another month to get it to a fantastic fifth.  At this point it’s at about 95%.  You re-read it.  “My God!” you exclaim, “This is great!”

But….

“The father character becomes a bit flat in the second act…”

“Maybe it could take place in Cairo instead of Lebanon?”

“What if I made this about World War I instead of World War II?  I mean, World War II movies are a bit played out…”


2012 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition Grand Prize Winner

Stephen Hunt lo-resStephen M. Hunt won the Grand Prize Award of the 2012 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition. Stephen, an accomplished British playwright, lives in the south of France. His 1999 radical adaptation of The Merchant of Venice opened to rave reviews. His three year collaboration with Hildegard Neil (Royal Shakespeare Company) resulted in an award winning and highly celebrated six month regional tour of his stage play Impossible Steps.

Read what Stephen had to say about winning Fresh Voices and what's been happening since his win!!


jack messittGrand Prize Winner of the 2011 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition. Chosen from nearly 1,000 screenplays, ADVENTURES IN BABYMAKING is the story of a reluctant father and his persistent wife as they navigate the frustrating and often ridiculous world of trying to have a baby.

Please check out what Jack had to say about his approach to writing, and what has been happening since winning the competition.


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