Winning Screenwriting Competitions: Lessons Learned

Years ago when I received word that my screenplay, Control; Alt; Delete, had won not one but two screenwriting competitions, I believed that all the hard work, years of struggle, self-doubt, and rejection had culminated to a glowing achievement that would forever wash away the specter of failure: I had climbed the mountain to see my shining new horizon as a working screenwriter.

And it was marvelous.

Things just seemed to be going my way: I got an agent, a manager, and a well-known producer who was going to make my script into a feature. I had meetings with big production companies with studio deals, pitched projects to major producers, was courted with screenwriting assignments – it was my time to shine.

And then it unraveled.

Not suddenly… no. It was more like an incremental closing of a window that you thought was wedged open by accolades of your winning script. One thing happens, and then another, and another.

In and of itself, not one was a devastating setback, but collectively they amounted to an avalanche of overwhelming loss. My agent left the industry, my manager ceased being a manager, and the producer moved on… so did those screenwriting assignments.

In the end, I was back to where I started from, a scribe in name only with little to show for but a glimpse at what could have been.

Was I crushed? You bet. I questioned everything I did; every decision made. What could I have done better? Was I too cavalier? Was I too dedicated? Did I try too hard; could I have tried harder? Was this window of opportunity squandered forever?

Well, was it?

It’s not an easy question to answer. I do believe that those changes have come and gone like that girl you didn’t kiss when you should have: that magic moment will never be replicated.

However, I did learn a lot from the experience – the stuff you don’t learn in film school – call it the film school of hard knocks. And with that, I would like to share some of those lessons learned.


David R. Flores is a writer and artist (aka Sic Monkie) based in Los Angeles. He is the creator of the comic book series Dead Future King published by Alterna Comics and Golden Apple Books.

Website: www.davidrflores.comwww.deadfutureking.com
Twitter: @drodflo @deadfutureking@sicmonkie
Tumblr: davidrflores.tumblr.com& deadfutureking.tumblr.com
Facebook: Dead Future King
Instagram: @drodflo


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