I know this might be old news to a few of you, but for those that are hearing it new, I received my first negative set of “Notes” from a writing competition. Now these notes of constructive criticism were paid for with the entry fees. I had gotten one set of notes telling about what areas I can improve, grammatical errors, formatting errors and what they really liked about the story. They also included they felt the script was about one or two drafts away from being a Winner, basically. I made changes, edited the errors, used those notes as best I could, then I resubmitted for another set of paid notes. Now when the next set of notes came, it was obviously from a different reader/judge. You can tell by the way they spoke. They didn’t like anything about the story. It seemed like they were telling me to completely rewrite or scrub the story. The most interesting character, they said, was the one whose name is just dropped because he’s a mystery character. LOL Now, I will tell you what I think about these notes. I take them very seriously. They make me laugh and they make me worry. First, they make me laugh because of how vehemently this person did NOT like my story. I’m talking, AT ALL! Second, I have to set these notes to the side for now. At a writer, my first instinct is to make changes or throw it away. We writers wear our work and hearts on our sleeves, I think. Here’s why I’m not doing either for the time being, though. So far, this story has gotten Finalist and Semi-Finalist position in four different competitions already. If I make the drastic changes this particular judge suggests, it would be in poor choice. I can’t base changes THAT major on one opinion after so many other people have found it to be worthy of awards. I WILL hold onto them, however, in case someone else ever gives me similar notes. It’s THEN that I will consider changes they are suggesting.
As a side note, I couldn’t help but be a little perplexed at the contradictions that were being said between the two different judges. The first suggested one way of a format for how to write “Off screen” dialogue and the second suggested the way I had it to begin with. So, again, I will leave it the way it is and just accept that I didn’t win this contest this go around. This was a second time submitting to this competition, I had hoped to win this go around. Obviously I am not what they are looking for. And I am NOT bitter about it. I understand that THIS is the gig. THIS is what script writing involves. And that THIS will not be my first negative review or competition to tell me I’m not their cup of tea. And I’m content with that.
This morning we got the results of Korben’s evaluation. Back story, he’s three years old and I first noticed he didn’t make eye contact at five months. He is very interactive, once you get his attention that is, but didn’t have very many words. His main form of communication was gestures and grunting/yelling. He entered speech therapy at a year and a half. Though I asked his doctor about possible autism, there were never any other symptoms or characteristics to suggest autism. So, speech therapy was the only sort of therapy he had until he got passed up for special education at the local preschool. Before we even moved out here I made an appointment with the school district to get re-evaluated. Yesterday, the school called to tell me he qualified for cognitive and speech, and they were still tallying his test scores up but that he could start school later in February. Back to this morning, his new doctor says he did test on the Autism Spetrum. To be clear, I expected and suspected this for a while now, so this was in no way a surprise. I am proud of myself, I didn’t find it shocking or sucky, the news. I feel happy that we finally have an official diagnosis to get him the therapy and assistance he needs.
My husband left with a ton of paperwork to read over, fill out, research. We have homework to watch on YouTube tonight. No movie nights for a few days. I will download a book for us to read that was recommended, as well. Before we left that meeting, the speech therapist had called us to make an appointment for Korben for next week. Yes! We also have a tour of his new classroom next week. I feel we are on the ball with this. We came into this as prepared as you could be, I think. The saddest part in all of this is that he is labeled (for the time being) as “Non-Verbal.” Though he has words, which his vocabulary has exploded in the last month or two, he doesn’t have active use of those words. For example, if asked his name, he couldn’t tell you. But I’m confident he will get to that point with therapy, which we are on the list for already. He went from a vocabulary of maybe 75 words to at least 150, if not more, in the span of two months from watching Wow English on YouTube. Anyone reading this who has a little one needing speech therapy, I highly recommend watching Wow English (WattsEnglish/Steve and Maggie). It may or may not help, but I truly believe this was the turning point in his language development.
For today, I’m going to do what I always do, work, write, edit, network. Tonight, my husband and I will conquer the homework we have together.
Should anyone have any advice or resources you’d like to share, feel free to share in the comments. Even if I don’t need/use them or already have it, there may be others reading who would.
It’s been a good minute since I last posted. Once again, the app crapped out on me. Not too sure what to do about it. If anyone knows anything about Weebly having technical difficulties, please be a friend and share. I will, of course, Google it myself, too.
Since my last blog entry, I’ve finished my feature script. It still has a ton of editing to be done, it’s just the first draft, after all. It is my second script I’ve ever written. I have NO idea who will want to read it, but I’m excited to just have written it. It’s a story that I’ve wanted to get out on paper, outside of notes and my thoughts, for a better part of 10 years or so. I always thought it would be a book, man was I wrong.
It’s a fantasy - romance, telling of the children of Tuatha de (go ahead and Google that, I’ll wait). So, obviously the script will have a prelude, think Starwars but less dramatic, at the beginning. A prince and princess are a part of a peace treating to end a mass war between many different species of mythological creatures. Trick is, he’s in the present modern time and she’s still stuck in a magical bubble in the past, where time goes by much faster than it does for him. We watch them court each other, in a way. It’s a slow story, the only action being towards the end, really.
For a little bit I worried about it being so slow but then I remember it’s a romance first, it doesn’t need a ton of action, except for what happens between the two main characters. I’m still learning, so if I’m wrong, I’ll find that out the hard way. I probably wont pursue this script for pitching or anything like that, but I will perfect it as best I can for portfolio and experience purposes.
Then, THEN, I wrote a short script thriller. It was a short story, three pages, that I wrote a long time ago and always loved it. There’s only about three lines of dialogue and by just one character. But I love it. I entered into a short monthly contest with feedback to see how I can make it better because I KNOW it isn’t a winner the way it is right now. Again, more experience. I would like to perhaps sell this one to a small production company for filming one day though. I think it would be a fantastic short film for a small film festival once it’s polished up a bit more.
I entered into the Screencraft Fellowship, too. It was really nice to be able to attach the finalist statuses from the four contests. Not that there wont be others who have “Winner” statuses, it just made me feel better for entering. Like I had just as good a chance as a few others who entered.
Anyways, this weekend I will focus on editing the feature. I hope to get it ready for a test run in a competition that gives feedback, just like I am doing with the short script. Once all of the editing is done and I wait for the feedback on that, I will start a spec script for either Arrow or Daniel the Tiger. Both will test my writing ability and show what I’m capable of so either will be a huge step for me.
Wish me luck!
P.S. Did I mention myself and my two younger children are sick? The baby and I have already lost our voices. But I hope to still get the editing done. Fingers crossed!
I can now say that I have officially entered a Fellowship competition. Again, this is something, that though I hope to win, I would be ecstatic to just get quarter-finalist for. This Fellowship would be an amazing opportunity and if I don’t get it this year, I hope to enter next year. And the next, until I and my work are worthy enough and earn it.
Still, if you all could keep your fingers crossed for me, I would appreciate it. I buy my tickets for the writers summit, with the same company too, tomorrow. I’m excited to make that a solid commitment. It’s all good and fine for my husband and I to talk about me going and it’s a whole other to commit and get the tickets. I will buy the plane tickets later and work on making connections before going out there. I like to find someone online before going to these sorts of events, kind of an ice breaker. Know one person and then meet others along the way.
I am going to have to figure out what is going on with my website management app. It keeps crapping out on me and I have to delete and reload the darn thing when it does. Ugh. I was hoping the update they had last week would take care of it. I was wrong.
I’m going to get back to working on Across the Veil now. I’m so close to being done, I can taste it. Once it’s done I can work on a spec script. Either for Arrow or Daniel the Tiger. It’s all about variety, right? :)
Hey everybody! Yesterday I found emails that I must have overlooked or completely missed during the move late last year from Wildsound Film Festival that I had entered Summons for their screenplay competition in 2017. I didn’t get selected for that festival but they did like the concept of the story and asked if I would like to Showcase a Best Scene from the script with a reading. Of course I did’t want to completely miss out on that, so I emailed the director, who sent the emails in the first place, and asked if it was still available to me. Turns out they had just finished reading and judging my script and sent me notes, along with a new “Not Selected” judging. Some good news though. The notes they sent back were fantastic and detailed. A lot of grammatical issues that were easily fixed, some changes to the ending and character development. Luckily I was able to make those changes before bed last night. I knew I wouldn’t get a good chance to do it during the week. Husband works long hours, we get tired with the kids and I may not have the energy later. Resubmitted and I am still able to do a reading, too. I’m not entirely sure it will be considered, with a new revision, in the competition but I think the notes helped with future competitions, the Fellowship and pitches I have going on now and in the next few months.
I discovered WB’s Writers on the Verge program, which sounds super awesome and an amazing opportunity, should someone get in, but not something I can take advantage of. With my three young kiddos and living in an entirely different state from Hollywood, California, it’s really not realistic for me to go there for once a week classes for a couple/few months. I mean this in a completely realistic and sad tone. I understand the problem and appareicate if for what it is, it’s just not for me. At this point, I am good with just selling scripts or finding another way to get into the television industry. I know it’s not realistic. If you want to work in the tv industry, you should live in Hollywood. But my life right now is mostly about my kids. I will still continue to write and pitch and explore what I’m capable of as a screenwriter but as a stay at home mom. My husband has a great job where we’re at now so no way would it be worth it to move.
So, right now, I have a pitch in for the Austin Television Festival. I am entering the Screencraft Fellowship this month and attending their Writers Summit in April. I think those are solid ways of getting a toe into the industry, meet people and network.
It came! If you’ve been following, I missed out on getting my award for the Canada International Film Festival from 2018. I got it just a few minutes ago though. And I am super excited to add it to the other two Finalist awards. I’m ready to find a place for them on the office wall. Yasss! I also got 5 solid pages in during nap today. I am really into this scene. I’m debating adding one last fight scene before the conclusion. I think I will have to see during the first edit, see how that goes. I have it already planned out so it wouldn’t be too hard to add but I don’t want it to be overkill. I always feel good after having a great writing break. My kids have been napping really well the last couple days and I’ve been utilizing that time really well. Bedtime....not so much. I have been going to bed early to catch up on sleep because, duh, I’m missing naps. LOL
I’m sitting with my daughter at the table asking her to take each individual bite. This is ADHD. Sighhhh. It takes about an hour for any medication to start working for her, and today is the first day we are trying something new to help her anxiety as well as her ADHD. I really hope this works. I have been trying to get her on something for her anxiety (counseling wasn’t helping) for a year now. I, myself, started anxiety medication on Friday so I am really hopeful that with the two of us on the medicine we need, that we can start having a better relationship. We have done nothing but yell at one another it seems for the last year. She’s seven and I’m 35 and with neither one of us handling our stress well, we haven’t been handling ourselves very well. The gym and writing is how I dealt with my anxiety but going to the gym seems nearly impossible with another special needs child who doesn’t play well with kids. I am actually considering getting a cardio machine for the house instead of the gym. I love the atmosphere the gym can give me but this town is so small, there usually isn’t very many people there to work with or even chat with during breaks. Which is what I loved about my old gym. It’s been a big adjustment, this move, for all of us. I’m working on it though. I’m please to say that Korben, my son, is also on the path to getting what he needs as well. He was evaluated for special needs at the school district here, yesterday. I’m pretty sure he qualifies, which is great. He needs the social interaction apart from his sister who doesn’t handle working with others well, either. His vocabulary has exploded since moving here, but his cognitive communication is still lacking. He’s still a smart little guy though He doesn’t play games, so you only see it when he wants to show you. Don’t ask him what color that crayon is, he’ll tell you when he feels like it. LOL
I know this isn’t writing related, but I know some people, writers included, can relate. Love you all and be kind to one another, as Ellen says. :)
I did it! I actually made a video pitch and submitted it to the Austin Television Festival. At this point, since I am a total beginner, I am just hoping for Quarter Finalist. They take 25 entries from three different sources, that’s a total of 75 entries, from the hundreds each source will receive. This is the festival I plan to attend, whether I win or not, in June. I missed it and was super bummed in 2017 and had a newborn last year. This year it’s happening. It’s a well known and reputed festival full of television professionals. I hope to learn stuff and meet a lot of new people while I’m there. Though I’m not looking to start a serious career with three young children, I don’t want to just settle with the “Finalist” titles “Summons” has acquired. I want to see if it can go further. As I do, I am working on finishing my feature. I honestly have no idea what others will think about the story, but I know it’s giving me experience and I can twerk it with editing later. This is a story that I’ve been wanting to write as a novel for ten plus years now. It feels good to finally get it down and watch the story unfold, apart from my mind.
That’s all for today. I want to get some writing in before nap is over today.
Hope everyone is having a great day! School started for us here, so I’m enjoying some real quiet time. :)
A lot has happened since my last post. First and most exciting, on Tuesday I received an email telling me that Summons had become a semi-finalist in the Los Angeles CineFest script competition. I can not tell you how excited I was. I got into this on a whim. I happened to follow a very well known and successful screenwriter on Twitter because of something funny she commented on someone else’s post. I literally though, lets just see how this new writing goes for me, without knowing a single thing about it. Then...THEN! I got another email the following day, informing me that Summons had bumped up to Finalist. Now, I have three finalist certificates for Summons, and a semi-finalist status. I still have a few festivals I entered, I got a little crazy, I know. My next step is pitching to the Austin Television Festival in June. The pitch is a 90 second YouTube video and is due the end of next week. I have already started to test out how long it takes me to just blurt it out, no prep, no notes, and see how it goes. I suck at notes, I hate memorizing stuff, so I’m going to do it as natural as possible to make it as confident as I can. As I understand, confidence in your script’s story is a huge part of pitching it, not just the story and characters.
Today, I believe, we are expecting to receive notice on who the winners are. So fingers crossed for Summons!
Thank you for your support, guys. I know I’m a newbie (showing my age) and I’m extremely low on the totem poll, but I have gotten a lot of support from my friends and family on this and I just want to say that I see it and appreciate it.