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.


APAThe stand-out writing team of Scott Robert Waldvogel and Matt DeMartini have signed with Agency for the Performing Arts and The Gotham Group for agency and management representation respectively.

Scott and Matt entered Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition in 2014 with nine scripts in various genres. What was more remarkable was that all nine scripts read by The Gotham Group Logodifferent judges across different genres and formats advanced to the quarter finals. Four different scripts were named finalists and ultimately three scripts earned honourable mentions in the screenplay competition. Following up with awards and placements in such notable competitions as Page, Final Draft, Stage 32, Austin and Bluecat, their hard work and perseverance paid off last year when their various successes, accolades and achievements landed them both a reputable agent and manager. Great work guys and congratulations!!


New CW2010 Fresh Voices Drama Winner Louise Ransil has set up her winning script and her story of MARLOWE to Aaron Kaplan’s Kapital Entertainment and The CW Network for CBS Television Studios.

Marlowe is based on the true noir life of Samuel Marlowe, an African American PI in 1930’s Los Angeles who served as the real life inspiration for Raymond Chandler’s famous Philip Marlowe character. Samuel worked for many of the movie studios during the Golden Age of Cinema, protecting and investigating their starlets and working in collusion with the film bosses, mob bosses and the Los Angeles Police Department of the time. 

According to The Hollywood Reporterthe story has been redeveloped as a TV procedural written by Devon Greggory (CSI, New York). Louise Ransil is Executive Producing alongside Aaron Kaplan. Congratulations Louise!!


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…”


Moutaz JadMPower Pictures Makes Deal on 2012 Competition Winner Megalopolis

In the first deal since announcing the winners of the 2012 Fresh Voices Screenplay Competition just one month ago, 1st place winner in the Science-Fiction/ Fantasy category, Moutaz Jad has struck a deal with established Hollywood production company MPower Pictures, to attach the company as producers to his winning script Megalopolis. MPower Pictures has produced several movies including Snowmen, American Carol, and the Golden Globe Nominated Machine Gun Preacher directed by Marc Forster and starring Gerard Butler.

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 messittSince winning last year's Grand Prize, Fresh Voices circulated Jack's winning screenplay Adventures in Babymaking to leading production companies and ultimately caught the eye of A-List Screenwriter Jeremy Garelick (The Break-Up, The Hangover). Since their first meeting, the two are collaborating on a project with an eye towards Jeremy directing. Jeremy was most recently hired by New Line to write the reboot of the Police Academy franchise.


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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