Belated FiLMLaB Opportunities

by Ruth Witteried

Ruth Witteried, Film Coordinator

Ruth Witteried, Film Coordinator

Sometimes opportunity comes knocking exactly when you expect it; other times it just shows up, unexpectedly late, waiting for you to open the door.

Such is the case with FiLMLaB. Last week we received an email from a Northwest production company that features short film in many of its projects. They had only just discovered FiLMLaB and its Script-to-Screen contest and wondered, “… do we get access to these scripts to read through and look for possibilities?”

I’ll tell you how: you contact Bill Johnson, Master of All Things Willamette Writers.

To be clear, this company is looking for scripts that have already been vetted to avoid being deluged with short scripts. Not only will all of this year’s finalists and semi-finalists be eligible to forward their scripts; last year’s will, too. We will be providing contact information for the production company to those eligible and will update this column with any new opportunities that arise.

In other FiLMLaB news; we’ve had a few contestants express an interest in receiving feedback on their scripts and we are interested in opening the topic for discussion. If you are one of those people, please let us know in the comment section what kind of script notes would be helpful to you?

For example:

  • How did the votes split (Yes/No)?
  • What were the top three comments judges made?
  • General weakness (technical or story deficiencies)
  • Comprehensive written notes.

Most contests charge extra for notes. Would you be willing to pay an additional fee for such a service? If so, how much? Keep in mind that our judges are volunteers. Asking them to provide notes requires a far greater commitment of time and energy. Although it is unlikely we can proceed with comprehensive notes for 2013, we are interested in knowing how many contestants are interested in receiving feedback of some kind this year. Please let us know by leaving a comment with your contact information below and we will take your suggestions into consideration.


Ruth Witteried is Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference and Executive Producer of last year’s winning short, “Alis Volat Propriis”. She teaches Introduction to Screenwriting at Clark College in Vancouver, WA. You can follow her on Facebook at SitYourAssDown, or on Twitter @sityourassdown1.

Ruth Witteried

As Visual Media Director, Ruth Witteried works with all programs based in the visual arts, including screenwriting and film production. As Executive Director of the FiLMLaB competition and project, she produced the 2012 FiLMLaB short, Alis Volat Propriis, winner of the 2013 OIFF Best Comedic Short; 2013′s Coffee.Table.Book.; 2014's Unwelcome Guests, and in 2015, The Return of Bug Eyed Bill. She acted as Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference from 2011-2013 and occasionally teaches screenwriting at Clark College. She currently is Executive Director of Willamette Writers' FiLMLaB. You can follow her on Twitter @sityourassdown1 or Facebook at FiLMLaB. Contact her. ( 


  7 comments for “Belated FiLMLaB Opportunities

  1. susierodrigues
    May 3, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    way cool about the production company interest in our short scripts! another hooray for script-to-screen!

    also, any input, any time, is always appreciated. i like your suggestions, ruth, especially the last three, as far as script notes to provide to contestants:

    -What were the top three comments judges made?
    -General weakness (technical or story deficiencies)
    -Comprehensive written notes. (any notes are helpful)

    and, for my part, this would definitely be worth paying for. as you’ve aptly put, it requires someone’s time. [one thing i’ve realized through this, is that all the folks i’ve met, like you and randall, besides being teachers, etc., are also working writers, with the same aspirations as i.] everyone’s time is valuable.

    thanks for considering this, filmlab. thanks, ruth.
    susie rodrigues

    • WW_Film
      May 4, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Susie. Comprehensive notes are probably unlikely this year due to their very …. comprehensiveness, and the fact that we are addressing this after the fact. The other options are more do-able, but never say never!

  2. pongboy
    May 4, 2013 at 2:01 pm

    Dear FilmLab,

    I think all good things are happening with FilmLab @ WW and everyone involved—contestants, judges, and organizers! And I am happy to know and have good conversation over beer or coffee with some of you this past year! I’m with a great, talented group of writers. So congratulations to all who made that hard effort to write and submit! 🙂

    I think this suggested idea is great! But will this opportunity and idea only apply to the scripts and writers who were the chosen few selected as semi-finalists prior to the winner? Or will this be open for all writers who submitted even though they did not make the cut?

    I am one of those who did not make the semi-final round. But I would still be interested in some critique and feedback with my script! Perhaps there are others who share this thought? And a nominal fee is understandable considering the person’s time and effort. This would only benefit us for those who choose to enter FilmLab again next year. And I would think most of us would submit again in 2014. I will! 🙂

    I also would like to know what common mistakes and flaws the readers and judges encountered most for each year. And what would be there suggestions to do or not do! For example, I found Ruth’s list of “Tips & Trips” to be most helpful and encouraging! So thanks for that. 🙂

    I see this evolving, growing, becoming bigger, and it’s all great. Oh, it feels good to be a small part of it! 🙂 So until the next coffee chat or beer talk with some of you, remember this….

    In the beginning was the Word….

    ~~All my best, Pongboy 😀

    • WW_Film
      May 4, 2013 at 2:11 pm

      Hey, Maru. Thanks for your response and input on this issue. Typically when screenwriting contests offer “coverage” it is to all who enter and are willing to pay, of course. Because we are so new and operate on such a tight margin, we didn’t think to offer it this year but had hopes to include it in the future as an option. However, since several contestants expressed an interest, we are trying to work something out after the fact. I’ll keep you posted. Again, we really appreciate your feedback. Keep writing!

  3. Kate
    March 18, 2014 at 12:03 pm

    Is there an expected date of announcement for the semi-finalists?

    • March 23, 2014 at 3:59 pm

      Hi Kate! Yes. The five finalists were announced on March 17th. You can catch up with Mary’s announcement in her post. Thanks! Jenny

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