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Red Inkworks

Some contests offer cash prizes, trips to Hollywood, a chance to make your own movie ... but very few offer feedback on the script. Red Inkworks offers feedback to all writers who submit and finalists are listed with the Writers' Script Network, but you're going to have to buy your own ticket to Hollywood. Larry Myles of Red Inkworks, which is based in Vancouver, British Columbia, answered a few questions about the competition.

Q: How did the contest start?
A: Our competition started after an interesting lunch with the folks who founded Voyageur Films. The two partners were moaning about the lack of good material. I promised to have a dozen quality scripts on their desks within three months. That was a couple of years ago.

Q: How many entries do you receive?
A: Less than 100 suits me just fine.

Q: What happens to the script once it arrives in the mail? What's the selection process?
A: The very first thing we do is list and date the script. The next step is for one of us to read the script through once, make a few notes and grade the material between 1 and 10. The next time I pick it up, I'll glance at the grade and read through the material...making notes as I go. After consulting the original set of notes, I contact the writer and offer the notes in a constructive manner. The whole idea is to make sure that each writer receives constructive notes that in the end will make the material tighter and increase the marketability of the script.

Q: Is one genre more popular than another?
A: Personally, I'm a junkie for material like RESERVOIR DOGS, but am just as comfortable with ANNE OF GREEN GABLES.

Q: Who reads the finalists' scripts?
A: I read all the finalists' material and make the final call as to the order of finalists. In the past this process has led to some pretty spirited discussions around here. Then my job is to make sure that our 'friendly' prodcos know about the material submitted by our finalists. We also have an arrangement where the Writers' Script Network offers a six month free listing to the finalists and they are included in the WSN newsletter.

Q: Who are your success stories?
A: One writer submitted three scripts for our last contest and I had a real hard time coming up with any notes. His low budget script (JUPITER LANDING) has been optioned and production is expected to start late spring, 2002.

Q: What are your plans for the contest next year?
A: Part of me is of the school that is something works, why fix it? While another part of me wants to offer a cash prize to our writers. They try so hard and I know that some of them could certainly use a little cash to boost their confidence. At this point, I've not decided which way to go.

The deadline for Red Inkworks is February 28th and you can read their complete rules at www.redinkworks.com. There are script consulting services that charge hundreds of dollars for coverage. If you've got the money and your script needs that extra set of eyes, it's your checkbook. But using a contest, especially one that gives feedback for the cost of the entry fee, is a more economical way to go.

Monica Zepeda


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