The early deadline for this competition is just a few days away, on April 14th. If you get your script in then, you'll save £10 on the entry fee. I'll be aiming to have something ready in time for the late deadline of 26th May. I did start something for this a while back, but have adandoned it on the basis of it being utter crap and have now got a much better idea to work on, so I'll be cracking on with that once I am liberated from Coming Upsynopsis hell. I have decided I hate synopses - story breakdown I can do, but a sexy synopsis is beyond me. But I will persevere with it.
Anyway, for anyone entering the Kaos comp, scripts will be accepted if they are post-marked by those dates. I'm on the Kaos mailing list, and this morning they sent a useful little interview with the founder of the competition, Arif Hussein. It's useful whether you intend to apply or not, so I've copied below for your reading pleasure:
We are constantly asked by writers: What are the Judges looking for? Can I see the previous winning screenplays? In this article we've put these questions and more to Arif Hussein the founder of the BSSC.
Q: First of all I'd like to congratulate you on behalf of the writers out there for what is widely recognised as the best and the most prestigious screenplay competition in the world.
A: Thank you and I'd like to thank the writers and the sponsors who have supported the competition without them we wouldn't be here. This is the fifth year of the competition and it really has exceeded all our expectations. Today we have The NFTS as an associate partner THE TIMES newspaper as our media partner, Working Title Films are supporting us. And in this fifth year of the competition we have great prizes for the writers. The winner will not only have their screenplay produced but will be invited to the awards ceremony of The British Independent Film Awards to receive an award. All the finalists will be invited to apply to the NFTS to go on the MA in screenwriting and will by-pass all the preliminary rounds. Any one who has ever applied to a film school knows the true value of this prize and of course all the runners up will receive screenwriting software. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the judges who have put in an enormous amount of work each year particularly Nik Powell, Stephen Woolley and Michael Kuhn. I'm hugely grateful to them for their support.
Q: Let's start with the one of the most frequently asked questions. Why don't you publish the winnning screenplays on your website?
A: The main reason is that we want to produce the film and allow the film to have a reasonable exposure in the market place before we publish the screenplay. The winner of 2002 competition THE HANDY MAN by Tom Beach is a thriller with a twist in the tail. It is important for the audience's enjoyment not to know the ending. The 2003 winner THE STARS DON'T TWINKLE IN OUTER SPACE by Hank Isacc is a very powerful drama with a twist. Again, it would kill the film if we publicise the ending. And the same goes for the 2004 winner LIKE FATHER by James Walker which is about to go into production in Bosnia.
Q: Well that gives us some insight into the winning screenplay, in that all three you've mentioned have a twist in the tail. Is it reasonable to assume that the judges are looking for a screenplay with a "twist in the tail"?
A: No, not necessarily. Yes the first three winning screenplays of BSSC do have that in common but last year's winner THE OTHER ME is just a very clever piece. What they all have in common is a great story with a beginning, middle and an end. They are all mini features and that is what any script reader, production company or competition wants to see in a script. Some people say but it's only a maximum of fifteen minutes! I say to them think about the best commercials on television, the ones you remember. Now ask yourself why do you remember them? Because they tell a story with a beginning, middle and an end and they do it in just thirty seconds.
Q: Is that what the readers are looking for?
A: The readers are asked to judge the entries in six categories. 1. Plot/premise 2.Structure and pacing. 3. Characterisation. 4. Dialogue. 5. Cinematic potential and 6. Quality of writing. You don't have to get ten out of ten in each category to be the winner. We often receive scripts with no dialogue it doesn't mean they will receive zero in that category. It's not how it works. The marks of each category carry you through to the next round.
Q: So you need to score high marks in the categories that apply to your script.
A: Yes. In all the categories that apply to your screenplay.
Q: Okay, so you can't publish the winning screenplays, what about the runners-up, why don't you publish them?
A: We don't own the copyright on the runners-up. If we publish them we could be in serious trouble.
Anyone else intending to apply for this one?
Red Road The Devil Wears Prada Little Miss Sunshine Away From Her The Departed Stranger than Fiction Mean Creek Switchblade Romance Somersault Keane The Wind That Shakes The Barley United 93 Breakfast On Pluto
So far this year I've read
Stuart: A Life Backwards, Alexander Masters Tilt (play), Ailis Ni Riain Comfort Woman, Nora Okja Keller The Cement Garden, Ian McEwan Stasiland, Anna Funder Starter for Ten, David Nicolls Night, Elie Weisel Silver Bay, Jojo Moyes Noise, Hari Kunzru In Cold Blood, Truman Capote Notes on a Scandal, Zoe Heller The Vanishing Hitchhiker, Ian Harold Brunvand The Courage to Create, Rollo May Bad Behaviour, Mary Gaitskill If You Want To Write, Brenda Ueland