I was just sitting here thinking back over the last few years and all the contests that I've entered. MANY! I've had some success, but mostly its a lot of waiting, checking the web page, crossing my fingers, and going over the script I submitted with a finer tooth comb groaning at jokes that could have been funnier, and not seeing the difference between Hairy and Harry... Yup... "two harry feet..." I wrote that gem, and it was caught by a contest judge. But missed, by a dozen others... Just goes to show you that no matter how polished you think your script is, check it again! Anyway, I just wanted to say something about rejection...
Ok, so you know how you go to a movie and absolutely love it, while the other two people you went with hated it! Same thing happens when you're submitting to a contest. You'll find a reader in the first round that loves it! And get one that hates it in the next. It's so subjective. There's a painter named Mark Rothko. I HATE his work. I think its absolutely pointless. Despite a 4 yr argument with my Art History teacher about the importance of his work and a trip to the Albright-Knox museum in Buffalo, she still could not convince me it was good. The Jackson Pollock paintings in the next room mezmerized me... but Rothko... I painted a Rothko like picture one day when I accidentally knocked over my water colour pallette and wipe it up with a paper towel. ANYWAY... the point I'm getting at is this. For every Jerk who thinks he can write a better screenplay than you by simply mashing his hands on the keyboard, there are two people who appreciate the effort you put in, and enjoy the story you have brought to them. Got it? Don't get discouraged by the silence you hear from Contests, or the harsh remarks from a judge. Here's some comments I received from one Judge.
"...You're a good enough writer to really run with the theme, especially since the plot and characters are so good. What is the essential theme of the script? Every single scene in the film should be, at its heart, about that. It raises the stakes and increases the cohesion even more. I hate to turn this piece back, but it's mostly because I know you can be even better."
Same contest different Judge...
"...This script doesn’t have enough action to keep the audience in their seat. The dialogue is straight out of the 80’s except for the mention of modern electronic devices. The reader was left wondering if this was written years ago, then updated by changing the words 8 track player for Ipod. “Work it! Hit it like you own it!” Please."
Well no... It was written about 5 years ago... So no, I'm not using the current slang for things, but I'm using dialog appropriate to the age of the characters. My AGE! And yes, I'm a little bit of a dino (I'm over 30! - I'm straight out of the 80's).
You just need to take it in stride, and keep on writing. AND RE-WRITING!!!!
At the end of the day, if you're doing something that you love... Keep doing it.
Now go write something!