FiLMLaB:The Problem Of “You Don’t Know What You Don’t Know”

I recently met a screenwriter with loads of talent and drive. He’s young and just starting. He wants to get a short film made but he simply doesn’t have the resources. He doesn’t have thousands of dollars to spend on making his film and he doesn’t know people willing to help him get his film made inexpensively. Like many of us in the writing game, he knows how to write, but he doesn’t know how to take the next step. He’s a little lost.

This is where FiLMLaB comes in.

As my new young friend has discovered, and as has most of us, once we’ve written our story and want to share it with the world, we often come to an impasse. How do we get it out there? There are countless answers to that question, but the answer always boils down to two options: Do it all yourself, or know people will do it for you.

One year ago I was in a similar boat as this young fellow, but I had an even bigger problem. I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I didn’t know the value of getting a short film made. I didn’t know that it’d give me a calling card. I didn’t know it’d give me credibility with other people. I didn’t know the value of the credibility and confidence it’d give to myself.

I didn’t know I wanted to get a short film made.

One year ago I didn’t know much about FiLMLaB. As an active Willamette Writers member, I’d heard of it, but I’d skipped the first couple of years. I was blocked on what I was working on and needing a break from it. A friend was entering the contest and it sounded sort of cool, I guess, but no big deal.

Then I was fortunate enough to win, and I found out that it IS a BIG deal.

Not only did other people “get it out there” for me, but these are highly qualified people. I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but Portland has one of the most talented and active film communities in these United States.

Thanks to FiLMLaB, I’ve met and have gotten to know a lot of these talented and active people in our filmmaking community. I have so many more resources than I had a year ago and it’s inspired me to really up my game.

That’s priceless.

Is that all you get for winning this contest? Priceless value? Wait, there’s more!

You get a three day pass to the Willamette Writers Conference, which is worth several hundred dollars right there. You also get a free pitch session at the conference, which  would cost about the same as entering the contest, and pitching’s a whole lot easier when you’re a FiLMLaB winner. Ask me how I know this.

ImdbJonDragtPlus you get registration with IMDB— that’s worth the price of admission right there. I mean, I get to rub (virtual) shoulders with the likes of Jon Hamm and Jon Favreau. How’s that for a confidence booster?

And there’s so much more! Just check out for the full list of prizes and benefits.

You don’t have time to waste, but you still have plenty of time to conceive of a short story, write it, review it, rewrite it, rinse and repeat as needed before the March 29th, 2015 deadline. It’s only 7 pages. The cost is next to nothing, $25 for members, $30 for nonmembers, about the price of a burger, fries and a pint or two at a local brewpub.

Don’t make the mistake I made the first years of FiLMLaB. Write your story. Get it out there. Give yourself a chance to get your story made into a short film. Give yourself a chance to meet people who can help you with your future endeavors. Give yourself a chance to know what you don’t know.

Just give yourself a chance.

Enter this contest. Enter this year.