Spec season

Regular as fireflies on the Fourth, October is the time of year that Nicholl inquiries begin to roll in. I’ve had the good fortune of placing spec scripts high in that contest two years in a row. Once they release the list of quarterfinalists and above, production companies and a few agencies will reach out the the writers and ask to read scripts that interest them.

I’m a little better prepared this year. I know the difference between an agent and a manager. I understand the concept of a “meet-and-greet.” I know that everyone loves your script desperately and would sacrifice a limb to see it made into a movie…right up to the point where they stop returning your calls.

But I also understand that the film business is charged with creative energy, interesting people and a boatload of talent. I’m still maintaining connections and possibilities from last year’s Nicholl run. Some have provided excellent feedback. I’m still rewriting last year’s script based on producer notes, and it’s getting better. I’m pushing it in new directions I never would have conceived before. Every phone call, email exchange and meeting I’ve had has improved my understanding of how the process works.

And the main thing that I’ve learned is that filmmaking takes time. A writer needs patience and persistence. And a writer also needs to focus on what’s most important: the next script. I’m wrapping up a first draft of next year’s Nicholl submission now. I’ll probably write a half dozen more drafts between now and the opening of the next contest. Then we’ll start the whole process over again.

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