by Ruth Witteried
Twelve days and counting till the March 15th Script to Screen deadline. Have you submitted your short script yet?
While there are lots of short film festivals, you may very well question the benefit of writing a short or producing a short film. After all, do you attend short film festivals? Do you know anyone who does?
Aside from the inherent entertainment value, the short film serves two functions for the feature film writer: it serves as a learning exercise, allowing you to experience filmmaking without all the overhead; and acts as a calling card to highlight your abilities as writer, director, producer, etc. With the unique Script to Screen Film Lab Competition, Willamette Writers will pick up the tab on production costs leaving the winning entry with a mere $25 ($20 for members) outlay for the entry fee.
A great return on investment, by any calculation. Not only will you see your written words and characters come to life, you may find yourself racking up awards at Austin, Tribeca, Stockholm, Nashville and ….. Hollywood? We are nothing if not dreamers. A more likely scenario may be that experience in the short film format allows you to refocus your efforts into markets with great need for content: internet web series, apps, and corporate sponsored internet television. Think of the Netflix show, House of Cards starring Kevin Spacey. This critically reviewed show was aired entirely on the internet and may be the first show of its kind to win an Emmy. But very few Netflix subscribers are aware that the 50 million dollar show was paid for by Samsung. You will hear Luke Ryan and Seth Jaret speak more to this topic as they explore writing for transmedia this summer at the 44th Annual Willamette Writers Conference. Suffice it to say, Samsung, Netflix and Google aren’t the only ones reinventing film and television programming. As writers, we all have to adapt to the needs of a changing market. Trying your hand at short scripts may be just the ticket to reinvent and reinvigorate your writing.
AND … Luke Ryan, Executive VP of Disruption Entertainment, has agreed to be one of our contest judges! He will judge the final round and help choose the winning script. Who will the other judges be?
Tune in next week. Same bat time. Same bat channel.
Ruth Witteried is Film Coordinator for the Willamette Writers Conference and Executive Producer of last year’s winning short, “Alis Volat Proprils”. She teaches Introduction to Screenwriting at Clark College in Vancouver, WA, with her next ten week class beginning this April. You can follow her on Facebook at SitYourAssDown, or on Twitter @sityourassdown1.