Balls of Steel: From Contest to Career

This week’s Balls of Steel is coming at you early simply because its time-sensitive contents include an opportunity I truly believe you should take advantage of. Many of my network have asked me how to find a mentor after reading last week’s Balls of Steel: How Far Will You Go? I found my mentors by going after projects… and on Twitter… go figure. But, I have recently become aware of a contest that awards a mentor, not only to the winner, but also to the top 10 finalists.

Now, I’m not a big contest person, and I won’t “pimp” something I don’t believe in. Just to be clear, I’m neither a part of this contest nor connected to it. I’m simply informing you, writer-to-writer. That’s how I roll. You can always count on me to “keep it real.”

Check out The Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest and see for yourself. When I read it, I immediately was impressed, not only in the prizes, but also in the process.

Here’s the bottom-line, but please read all the details on the contest page as well:

The logline is supplied, and from that concept, you write the first 15 pages of your original script.

Logline: A soldier returns from an 18-month deployment and finds that the family home is missing – even the address no longer exists.

Several things set this contest apart:

  • It’s only 15 pages, not an entire script. You can do that in your sleep.
  • They allow you to download the past winners’ entries to learn what the judges are looking for. Crawl inside their heads. Bonus.
  • You can create the first 15 pages in any genre.
  • All 10 finalists receive a mentor to guide them through writing the entire completed script! Not just the first act, or looking over the script at the end, but a true mentor. A real, live human being to bounce ideas off of.
  • After the script is completed, the finalists get development notes to best prepare their script to be judged by the panel of Hollywood executives to determine an overall winner. Notes are a huge part of the process of working with producers, so learning the art of handling them is a prize in and of itself.
  • Every finalist receives a copy of Movie Magic Screenwriting Software.
  • Randall Wallace (Braveheart, The Man in the Iron Mask, and more) and production company Benderspink judge the scripts and choose the winner.
  • The winner gets flown to L.A. to have lunch with Wallace and meet with Benderspink. Free food and great conversation. I’m down with that.
  • You can sign up for the contest without submitting your pages until May 15th – a procrastinator’s dream.

While I’m not getting anything out of sharing this information, you are. Oh yeah, a discount is coming your way.

Get $10 off if you register by April 30th, and you still have until May 15th to submit.

Discount Code: SCRIPTCHAT412

A mentor, Movie Magic software for the finalists, and a chance at lunch with Wallace. I’d say that’s a worthy incentive to give it a shot. What have you got to lose?

Last year, I shared how Chuck Wendig got his big break by entering a contest to garner a mentor. I’ve also stated before how much I’ve grown as a writer by having amazing mentors, like Doug Richardson (Die Hard 2, Hostage, Bad Boys) and Unknown Screenwriter whose honest industry blog is a must-read, and one of my writing partners, Douglas A. Blackmon, former senior national correspondent of The Wall Street Journal. They elevated not only my writing but also my confidence.

A mentor is essential for personal and professional growth. The Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest is a great way to get one… without even having to complete an entire script.

Movie Magic Software is what Douglas A. Blackmon and I used when writing the adaptation of Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Slavery by Another Name. It’s the software I started out on, and it’s still my favorite. I write with a lot of partners, and the notes feature is the most intuitive. We each create our notes in different colors to allow us to quickly see who is saying what. I need my notes on the page, not hidden in a box. That feature alone makes it a good fit for my writing style.

Since I like things in plain sight, just imagine how messy my desk is. And no, I will not be adding a picture of it to this post. You’ll have to catch me tweeting it out one day… because I have. But that’s another post entirely.

This contest is my challenge to you to see how far you’ll go to succeed. More importantly, I want you to challenge yourself. Step outside of your comfort zone. I’d say 15 pages is totally doable. So, do it.

Keep me posted on your progress. I’m always available on Twitter for what I call “writing sprints.” Tweet me @jeannevb and simply say you need a #writingsprint, and I’ll jump in and write with you.

Now get to it!

8 thoughts on “Balls of Steel: From Contest to Career

  1. maxfield

    Jeanne, thanks for the contest review and the Discount Code! And in general, all the stuff you’re doing. Awesome.

    I Just registered. I’ll buy you a drink if I get into this thing.

  2. Cliff Francis

    Last year I got to the final ten of the Alan Loeb round of this contest. The following few months were a tremendous experience, especially as this was the first competition I have ever entered. I did the mentoring session every week by Skype and my mentor, Mario, was absolutely outstanding. He was patient and encouraging every step of the way – helping me complete a 110 page screenplay. The feedback coverage was positive and useful. Unfortunately, I didn’t win – but it was a really unbeatable insight into the whole process. I’m just about to enter again!

  3. Michael Kempesta

    Hi Jeanne,
    I learned about this a couple of months ago, and laid aside another project I was working on so I could enter this contest. I have my 15 pages pretty much ready for submission. If I am accepted as a finalist, this will become my first ever finished screenplay. As I have no experience in the industry, I am encouraged by your comments about the value of this contest due to the mentoring. I read your articles whenever I see them on Facebook. Sorry, I don’t always remember to give them the “thumbs up” feedback, but I always enjoy them.

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