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!