Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Forever

I discovered something very interesting just now. I was looking through past posts in my google reader from blogs I follow, and I found one that I wanted to reference. When I clicked the link to get the exact address, I received an error that the page did not exist on that blog.

Strange.

So I went back to the reader to confirm, and there it was. But it's not on the blog. This means the author must have decided against including that post and deleted.

But I still have it.

Similar to the old "if a tree falls in the woods" story, if a blogger writes and publishes a post, and then deletes it, is it really gone? Not if it was published and then picked up by feeds and sent along the way to inboxes, apparently.

Along those same lines, I think that our idea of time has changed. Our lives can change so quickly with instant notifications. News is spread faster than ever - good, bad, gossip, truth. But along with that is the fact that what we write in this cloud of html stays out there forever. There is no piece of paper to shred, no file folder to throw away. We can try to delete all we want, but the right search phrase can bring it back to life in an instant. So now has become smaller than a pinpoint in time, and forever is truly, well, forever.

I sometimes wonder why it takes me so long to publish even the simplest post. I guess it's because the UNDO button is a lie - after a certain point, nothing can truly be undone. So I review, and rethink, and rewrite ... until I'm comfortable with forever.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Back to the Beginning


For as polite as the Austin Film Festival was with their rejection, the Script-a-thon was quick, like ripping off a band-aid. I was waiting, expecting to hear on the 20th, but I got an email today that the finalists are posted. Even though I knew I wasn't a finalist (since I hadn't heard from them at all), I checked the list anyway. Bummer.

So I'm back to where I was before submitting. I must admit, I did allow myself about a 1-hour pity party, but I think I'm over it now. Maybe the screenplay was a great step on the way to writing the story as a novel. Maybe someday I'll show someone the screenplay, and they'll spot the genius of it (wink wink) and rush it to a theater near you. And maybe it will join my first novel, Crossroads, on my shelf. But it was worth the effort. I still believe in the story. Now I move to Plan B.

Unfortunately, Plan B is even less exciting to read about than Plan A. There are no deadlines, no notifications, no contest prizes. Just me sending queries to anyone who might be in the market for a young adult screenplay.

Maybe I'll create a tally widget for this blog that will show the number of queries and count the rejections as I receive them. Because I know there will be rejections. Probably lots of them. Will that make it sweeter in the end? Maybe. Only time will tell.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Kindest Rejection

I planned to write about the letter I got last Saturday days ago, but this week kept swirling and time got away from me. So here's the update - I am not a finalist in the Austin Film Festival contest.

And that is the good news.

I really did not have the screenplay in shape when I sent it. Now, if I could do it again, I'd be more patient and not enter this year. I'd wait until next year, after it was refined and revised and improved. But there's always that little sparkle of hope that maybe it's better than I think, maybe I'm too hard on myself, etc. Nope. Not true.

In fact, looking back at what I sent them, I'd actually be convinced that their contest was a scam if I had made it into the semi-finals. What I sent was bad. Yep, bad.

But it's much better now. And I just have 10 more days to hear about the semi-finalists in the Script-a-thon.

I have to quote some parts of the rejection letter I received from Austin. It is better than any college rejection I've ever seen:

Regretfully, I must inform you that your screenplay is not one of the top 10% that advanced to the Second Round in the Drama category. Don't let this discourage you. Your writing talent and the measure of your script's success in the marketplace are not subject to the outcome of a competition. I encourage you to continue working to get your script recognized. Competitions are a good start, but don't stop there. This is an industry that demands persistence. If writing is your passion, continue to pursue it!

Now I know that is a form letter, and I know that every one of the 4000 or so rejected screenplay writers received one of these, but I have to say that it made me smile as I read it. And isn't that the mark of an excellent writer - someone who can make you feel good even as he's telling you that your work is crap?  Love it. So thanks, Matt Dy, Screenplay and Teleplay Competition Director. You actually made my day with your letter.

I believe that if I have another screenplay next spring, and I just might, that I'd definitely enter this contest again. And I can't help but wonder how amazing the Congratulations letter would be!

Friday, September 3, 2010

No More Excuses

I've been telling myself that it's ok not to update this blog because I'm waiting to hear from the Austin Film Festival contest (not really - don't think I will be hearing from them) and the Script-a-thon (slight maybe - I keep checking their website, but I'm trying not to get my hopes up). But now the Script-a-thon has changed notification to September 20th and there's no news from Austin, so I'm out of excuses. I need to get back to writing.

I've been making mental notes on a wide variety of projects, but nothing has grabbed me yet. So I'm going to try an experiment starting next Tuesday - the first day of school for my crew. I'm not sure exactly how it's going to work, but I hope it will keep me writing and keep you somewhat entertained while we wait. If it works, I'll explain next week.

I thought August would be a long, wonderful escape from writing. I would take a break, enjoy some new books, and not worry about writing until September 7th. But I miss it. Desperately. So that tells me two things:
  1. I need to write every week, if not every day, to feel at peace.
  2. School needs to start BEFORE Labor Day next year.
That said, here's the list of books I've read since my last post. Not nearly as many as on vacation, but significant considering I only managed to finish 3 from January-July.
Enjoy your holiday weekend. I'll try to stop counting the hours until 8AM Tuesday...