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Year End Clearance

2001 is a wrap. Contests have come and contests have gone. So please indulge me while I do a personal post-mortem of the contests I entered this past year.

I entered eight contests with four different scripts. These included the Scriptwriters' Network Carl Sautter Memorial Competition, Hollywood Symposium, Sundance Screenwriting Lab, Writer's Digest (for both feature and television), Disney Fellowship, AFI/Maui Screenwriting Conference, Moondance, and Scriptapalooza TV. I spent roughly three hundred dollars in entry fees, not counting what I spent in script copies and postage.

So how did I do?

Though it would have been nice (very, very nice) to win the money, the prestige, the big break, my main goal in entering these contests was to get some sort of positive feedback somewhere for something I had written. Woo-hoo! My feature, Evelina, was a finalist in Hollywood Symposium's contest. The Scriptapalooza TV winners haven't been announced, but the others were all big ole rejections. Impersonal form rejections that made me feel like a major loser, at least for the thirty seconds after I opened the envelope and realized I hadn't won.

After receiving these rejections, I may eat some chocolate to chase out the bitter taste of failure, but I always end up filing them away and forgetting them pretty quickly.

Why, you might ask, did I enter those particular contests? It usually had to do with the timing. I'd finish a script and want to see how it'd do in the big, wide world outside of my friends and writer's group. I'd check to see what contest deadlines were looming and if I thought my script had at least a snowball's chance in hell, I'd send it.

Doing this column has made me realize that with the plethora of contests, I can focus my contest submitting in such a way as to give my scripts a slightly better chance than slush in the lower domains. I've tried to share that info with you and if there are any questions that I'm not asking or particular contests you want info on, let me know and I'll try to accommodate in 2002.

Best wishes and Happy submitting,

Monica Zepeda


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