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Nicholl Fellowship and The Black List

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Nicholl Fellowship 2014 is now open for submissions.

You can read up on it with the provided link. It's sponsored by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (the people that do the Oscars) and it's a long running and respected contest. Early entry fees are 35 dollars which gets your script 2 reads. They award up to five, 35k fellowships. Last year over 7k scripts were entered. Competition is steep.


Also, wanted to mention The Black List, which is an ongoing "contest" source for scripts to be spotlighted. Check out the "About" tab on the provided link. This is more expensive, in that you pay for a reader ($50) and you pay for your script to be hosted (25 a month). Reader notes are given to you and numerical scores for Overall, Dialogue, Characters, Plot, Setting, and Premise are assigned. Scores are on a 1-10 scale. If your overall score is high enough (an 8, 9, or 10 from a reader) you will get in an email blast to executives so they can peruse the site, and download your script from there and see if it interests them. "Regular" people cannot download your script. The industry people are there by invitation only.

Writers are getting managers/agents and some sales and options from this. In my opinion this is NOT for those that are only "dabbling" in screenwriting, because it's too expensive. Pro scripts are also hosted -- you are competing against pros on this site. Most scripts on this site end up scoring a 5, and nobody's going to download that. So please know that going in.

In addition to that, a reader score = an opinion. Which, is just that. An opinion. Doesn't mean it's the correct opinion in all cases. Everything's subjective.

The site founder/CEO is Franklin Leonard, who used to be at Overbrook (Will Smith's company), and he's great about answering questions and being available.
#1 - January 25, 2014, 06:46 AM
« Last Edit: January 25, 2014, 07:02 AM by CC »

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Thanks for all this info, CC! Is anyone planning on entering either of these?
#2 - February 06, 2014, 05:04 AM
twitter @VonnaCarter

I already entered the Nicholl. I've previously quarterfinaled there 4 times with different scripts. (quarterfinal = top 5 percent). From that I got a handful of industry people requesting each script that had quartered. If you get high enough, scripts will sell and get made.

The Blacklist is more of a real-time event. There aren't specific entry times. It runs continuously, in real time, so scripts are constantly being uploaded or removed by their writers...

I currently have a script on the Blacklist. (A retelling) titled, The Velveteen Rabbit Redux.

It scored high enough to be on the "Top Uploaded Scripts" list, which sort of highlights the higher scoring scripts. You don't have to be high scoring for someone to download your script, but there are a ton of scripts there, so the highlighting helps. Otherwise its a sea of scripts people are slogging through. So far I've only gotten 3 industry pro downloads for my current script. So, we'll see....

...(if the script had scored even higher I would've been included in an email blast that alerted EVERY professional on the site -- producers, agents, managers -- to the script... I had previous script do that, and got 16 or so downloads, but nothing has come of it so far.)...

It's one of those, be-as-perfect-as-humanly-possible-and-then-have-someone-nitpick-every-thing-you-do-to-death. So, it's a lot like writing kid lit in that aspect.  :ranting:   :hahaha

I do want to make sure everyone knows -- this isn't a lottery. It costs money to host and get a review. The reviews don't sugar-coat anything. This isn't a hand-holding experience. They hand out 1's and 2's in categories all the time. Most scripts will get zero traction. Even a high-scoring scripts might not attract attention. You are "competing" against pros.
#3 - February 10, 2014, 06:42 AM
« Last Edit: February 10, 2014, 07:02 AM by CC »

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Congrats on the quarterfinal achievements!  :yay
#4 - April 08, 2014, 10:40 AM

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Thanks for the resource, CC!
#5 - April 08, 2014, 12:54 PM

Barb  :owl


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Thanks also for all the additional info. It's good to go into these things with our eyes open.
#6 - April 08, 2014, 01:43 PM
twitter @VonnaCarter

Congrats on the quarterfinal achievements! 

Thank you, that's so nice of you...  :yup

The Nicholl facebook page (you don't have to be on Facebook to click on) posts a judge's "Reader Comment Excerpt" every day from a top-scoring script. They don't give the script title or author, but you can usually guess the genre from the comment. They're pretty fun to read. Lots of good writers out there.
#7 - April 11, 2014, 03:27 PM
« Last Edit: April 11, 2014, 03:33 PM by CC »


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