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CS Cyperspace Open Spring 2010: Round One (aka my only round)

May 20, 2010

I’m always curious to know what types of scripts (or scenes in this case) make the cut and which ones end up in the ‘pass’ pile.  Since there may be at least one other person out there like me, I’m going to start posting my scripts and scenes that I’ve entered in contests and the results.  At the very least, you can look at my crap as an example of what not to do.

Some of you may be familiar with Creative Screenwriting Magazine’s semi-annual 5-page scene writing contest.  (If you’re not,  click here to learn about it.)   Not surprisingly, I didn’t make it past the first round…  I thought my seen was okay and I was hoping to sneak into the second round, but I’m not surprised that it didn’t.

Here was the Round 1 Prompt:

Your protagonist is crushed. His or her plans have been dashed; his objective now appears impossible. And yet if he throws in the towel, bad things will happen. Write a scene in which a mentor, friend, love interest or enemy rallies or provokes your protagonist in an unexpected way. Be sure to give us your best dialogue here as your protagonist comes around and rises – or falls — to the occasion.

CLICK HERE to read the scene I wrote. The weekend that I wrote my scene, my girlfriend and I were considering adopting an English Bulldog.  So, big surprise, my scene featured an English Bulldog as the ‘friend.’  Not sure where the wedding / lost love part of the scene came from…now that I read it, I don’t like it at all…except Deebo…he’s cool.

Anyway, the results were posted this week.  There are four categories and each category has 25 possible points.  Here’s how my scene scored:

  • Structure:  21
  • Dialogue:  23
  • Style:  23
  • Originality:  23
  • Total Score:  90

In order to advance to the second round, you needed a score of 93 or higher, so it seems pretty close…but not really.  A score of 90 (or higher) was in the top 30% of all scores, but a score of 93 or higher was in the top 10% (those are rough figures…).  So, even though I was only three points away, there were A LOT of people who were only three points away.  I believe there were 1,400 entrants with scores ranging from 68 – 98.  I’m not sure what the average score was, but an rough guess would be about 85 or so.  Based on my own miscalculations, I’m above average!  Hooray!

The added value of this contest is that each submission was provided brief feedback from the judge.  Here’s my feedback:

Cute scene with good energy and spirit. While the DEEBO/DAVID intro is fun, it might’ve helped to get more of David low point situation at the onset, rather than wait until the middle of page 3. Perhaps a few more visual clues to the ex situation (maybe a shredded, Loves me, loves me not boutonniere, or a tacky though symbolic wedding party trinket, or rice by his shoes, etc.). The idea of bad things happening if David throws in the towel (well, he’s already done that ù she’s married) could be clearer, too. What’s the downside of the downside? Deebo’s provocation is a nice bit of fun. Good work, overall.

I agree with all the issues the judge had and, quite frankly, I’m surprised my score wasn’t lower considering the major plot/structure issues…I guess (s)he liked Deebo, too.

Regardless, it was fun and a small part of me is glad that I don’t have to write a scene this weekend, because I’ll be busy attending a my cousin’s wedding.  Either way, I encourage everyone out there to enter the next scene writing contest from Creative Screenwriting (should be in the Fall sometime).  It’s only 12 bucks and that’s well worth the validation of knowing that I’m slightly above average.

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