I’ve had so many other things to talk about over the past of months, I never got around to posting that I have started dabbling in screenwriting. It all started because of a prompt I saw back in July for a mentorship program called Imagine Impact. In normal times, they run the competition once a year and choose promising new screenwriters to do an in-person fellowship in LA. But this is 2020, so things looked a bit different. Instead, II partnered with Netflix and had four specific genre calls for screenplays, and the finalists have their idea pitched to Netflix.
The first prompt was for action adventure for the whole family, and Riftmaker seemed like a great candidate. And boy, adapting a novel to a film is HARD. I have a whole new appreciation for the people who do it, and a greater understanding of why the book is pretty much always going to be better than the movie. I had to make some pretty drastic compromises for length, which also meant fundamentally changing one of the characters in a way I didn’t love. Needless to say, I did not move on in that competition, but it was a wonderful experience to cut my teeth on this new way of telling the same story.
So I turned my eye to television next, and adapting my second novel, No Rest for the Wicked. There’s a lot more space to tell the story. I finished the pilot in about a week and just for the heck of it, entered as an early bird submission to Screencraft back at the end of July. They run a ton of different competitions and fellowships, and looked reputable from my research. I didn’t really expect anything to come of it, honestly, and had pretty much forgotten I’d even submitted it anywhere when the e-mail came at the end of October that I’d made it to the quarter-finals.
They had around 4800 submissions across the three categories, 1 hour, half hour, and short film. The quarter-finals took that number down to 1465. And then yesterday, they announced the semi-finalists and I made it through to the next round! The pool has shrunk down to 567, and there will be 50 finalists announced Dec. 9. At the end, there will be one winner in each category and one grand prize winner overall. These winners get cash prizes, but the real reward is to be accepted into the Screencraft development program and receive consultations with industry professionals about both the craft of screenwriting and the best way to achieve career goals.
Considering I started down this path on a whim, I’ve got a lot of catch-up to do when it comes to learning the business. But now that I am doing it, it feels so natural and so fun that I could definitely see myself transitioning to movie and television full time. I have always loved movies, from the amazing to objectively terrible. This is such an obvious match that I can’t believe I didn’t think of it sooner! Over the past 5 months, I have written the pilot and two features, one of the features completely from scratch for another Imagine Impact prompt for female-led thrillers. I’ll find out about the one on Dec. 11, so between that and the pilot contest, it’s going to be quite a week 🙂
Leave me a comment below with either your favorite adventure for the whole family or female-led thriller movie and keep the conversation going.