HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
THE YEAR OF THE WATER SNAKE IS UPON US!
If your energy is guided in a positive direction, it can bring intelligent and innovative ideas and successes. (But beware of cunning, unpredictable and deceptive elements!)
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For info, festival news, fast-forward contest winners, insider tips, recommendations, great photos & thoughts for the day!
MOVIEBYTES.COM lists Moondance as one of the top 10 film festival competitions worth the entry fee!
The 2013 Moondance OFFICIAL CALL-FOR-ENTRIES is open for submissions! Get your entry in EARLY for this great opportunity to showcase your talents and for a good chance to win the Moondance!
3 EASY WAYS TO SUBMIT YOUR ENTRY:
(save $5 on entry fee)
We look forward to previewing your submissions!
MOONDANCE 2013 FAST-FORWARD CONTEST WINNERS ANNOUNCED*
Prize: 2 free tickets to attend 2013 Moondance film screenings!
|Alma Murray Dunham|
|Amy Mc Corkle|
|Diane Lynn Gardner|
|Gar & Beth Hoover|
|Jeana H. Grady|
|Muri Mc Cage|
You may pick up your free tickets at the box office during the film festival
All “FAST-FORWARD” submissions with a final status of winner, finalist or semi-finalist, to be announced in August, will receive an official certificate of your submitted project’s award status!
* The prize-winners listed above include all who submitted a project to the special Moondance 2013 fast-forward contest, regardless of award status.
A MOONDANCERS WRITES US:“I thought your most recent news blog was GREAT! I was particularly interested in all you had to say about short stories, which is my new-found love. You are REALLY very helpful to writers. I guess that’s one of your very important missions in life, and you certainly do come to the fore.” ~LORNA KANTER, award-winning artist & writer
MOONDANCE INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
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Special Promotional Opportunities Available for Partners, Donors, Sponsors & Friends of Moondance!
Moondance International Film Festival provides our sponsoring partners with a full spectrum of marketing visibility, including on the website, the blog, print & Internet advertising, flyers, the festival print program, & social media! Make your donation today at: www.acteva.com/go/miff
INSIDER TIPS FOR SCREENWRITERS:
HOW TO GET AN AGENT!
What Agents Want (and Don’t Want) to See
By Elizabeth EnglishFirst, call or write to literary agents who are listed as being willing to look at unsolicited screenplays. Do not send a script unless you are invited to do so!
How to find listed agents:
- The Hollywood Creative Directory’s Agent/Management directory
- Writers Digest
- Writers Guild of America (East & West)
Guidelines for getting an agent:
- Write killer titles, loglines and one-sheet synopses for the all the scripts you want to submit to agents.
- Write up a one-sheet document with titles and loglines of all your completed screenplays. You may be asked to send these before sending in a screenplay.
- Presentation of script: be sure to have a plain cardstock cover, front and back; a title page with all your contact info; three-hole punch white paper; two solid-brass brads in the top and bottom hole.
- You may be asked to submit your script digitally, via email. In that case, ask if the agent wants it in a screenwriting program, such as Final Draft, or as a .pdf.
- In any case, always be sure to register your script with WGAw or WGAe, and/or copyright it before sending it out!
- “Attachments”, in the form of actors, director, producer, and most importantly: money, to your project, will always help get almost any agent interested. Mention this, if applicable, in your cover letter. But don’t send a “wish-list” of actors, director, etc.
- If you’ve had a film or films produced from other screenplays you’ve written, definitely mention this in your cover letter.
- Getting your screenplay to an agent is a 4-step process:
- Have more than one screenplay completed. At least three of your best screenplays need to be completed and ready to go, when and if requested.
- In your initial phone call or e-mail, try to find out what genre of story that agent is looking for, at the moment. Agents generally know exactly what the buyers and/or producers want to see, and will usually only request those genres. But needs change all the time, and at a moment’s notice, so let them know what you have, even if they’re not looking for that at the time of your call or email.
- Story: This is the first thing agents look at, when considering whether to read your script or not. Write a unique story, well-told.
- Writing ability and style. Everything depends on this.
- Dialog: your ability to write good, memorable and believable dialog is paramount.
- Format and structure: in submitting your work to an agent, you should be sure the script is in proper format and structure. There are many books and online articles on these vital subjects.
- Print out your script and read it in hard-copy, checking every word and every line for typos, edits needed, and etc.
- Submit a reader’s script, not a production script! No camera angles or technical suggestions. Don’t use (continued) or (con’t.) after every character name and scene or bottom & top of each page.
- Remember, you’re the writer, not the director, director of photography, costumer, set director, producer, cinematographer, lighting director, editor, music director, and so on.
- Budget: yes, a screenwriter needs to know about this. Many buyers are looking for specific subjects with very specific production budgets. Currently, a low-budget feature film will be $10-20 million, for example. If your script requires action scenes and/or CGI graphics, double that figure.
- If you know The Business at all, make the agent aware of this, so he or she will know you are a professional.
- Let the prospective agent know you are open to re-writes and edits of your scripts. You will almost always be asked to do re-writes, edits and revisions, sometimes “on spec”, so prepare yourself mentally and be agreeable to it.
- Be willing and able to pitch your screenplay to production companies and studios, with the agent, in person. If you live far from L.A., let the agent know you can arrange to go there for pitching appointments. Try to schedule more than one pitch meeting at a time.
- Be friendly and easy-going, yet professional and self-confident. Hollywood, even though it’s a “snake-pit” at times, is run on connections and contacts. If they don’t like you, and don’t feel they can work with you, you don’t have a chance there.
- Be honest! Never, ever hype yourself or your script unless the information is absolutely true & provable. If you’ve won a contest with your script, let them know. And if you’ve been submitting your scripts around to everybody for years, and they ask, tell the truth. Production companies and studios keep lists of what has been submitted to them, and you don’t want to embarrass your new agent!
How to get “discovered”:
- InkTip.com is a good website to post your scripts on, to be seen by many agents, producers, and development company executives)
- If you live in or near Los Angeles, attend parties and other events where Hollywood types will be.
- Enter the top film festival competitions, and win!
What should an Agent do for you?
- Send out your loglines and one sheet synopses, and scripts to Development Executives at production companies and studios
- Give suggestions on potential edits, revisions and re-writes that may be needed to sell the script
- Set up pitch sessions for you at production companies and studios
- Get the best deal he or she can for you, at or above schedule of WGA minimums.
- Encourage and inspire you to create new material and projects.
- An agent should NOT charge you any reading or consultation fees, nor for any expenses incurred for promoting you or your script. The agent will be compensated from his or her 10 or 15 % of the sale of your script.
What agents DO NOT want to see:
- A script sent to them “cold”, with no phone call, e-mail or letter first
- A script that is too long (over 130 pages), or too short (under 90 pages)
- A script that is bound incorrectly (no brads, no cover, no title page)
- A script that is not formatted correctly & has grammatical and/or spelling errors
- A cover letter that is more than one page long
- A script that is mostly descriptions of people and locations, like a novel
- A script with unrealistic or stilted/boring dialog
- A script where the real action of the story begins late, after page 10 or 20
- A script with more than 100 scenes (each scene costs money)
- A script with a prospective production budget over that what is requested
- A script that has a lot of well-known copyrighted music noted in the text.
- A script that is not in the genre requested
- A writer who is unwilling to consider re-writes, revisions and edits
- A script that has any typos, misspellings or poor syntax
- A script without conflict in the plot and story-line
- A script without interesting, memorable characters
- A story without character development
- A storyline that has been done a million times
- An incomplete screenplay
- A script that has been shopped around for years
- A writer who calls or e-mails sooner than 2 weeks after the agent received the script
If and when you do call an agent, after you’ve sent your query letter, title & logline, and synopsis, then the screenplay, if requested, and waiting at least two weeks to get a response, don’t ask, “Did you get my screenplay? Did you read it? Did you like it?” Ask, instead, “Have you had a chance to take a look at (title of screenplay)?” If the agent or assistant or intern says “not yet”, and he or she probably will, ask when it might be OK to call again to follow up.
SUGGESTED READING & RESOURCES:Relevant articles, by Elizabeth English:
- Titles & Loglines: http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/Article-16-Titles.html
- Pitching in Hollywood: http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/Article-15-Pitching.html
- Making of a Hollywood Film: http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/Article-13-Hwood.htmlTwo Brads or Three?: www.moondancefilmfestival.com/Article-07-Brads.html
- Characters in Screenplays: http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/Article-06-Character.html
- Conflict in Scripts:http://www.moondancefilmfestival.com/Article-05-Dreams.html
Books & Magazines:
- Lew Hunter’s Screenwriting 434
- Linda Seger’s How to Make a Good Screenplay Great
- Linda Seger’s How to Make a Good Screenwriter Great
- David Howard’s A Writer’s Guide to the Craft and Elements of a Screenplay
- Creative Screenwriting
- Scr(i)pt Magazine
SOME THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:“May you have warmth in your igloo, oil in your lamp, and peace in your heart.” ~ INUIT BLESSING
“It is a great paradox, yet a powerful spiritual principle, that an act of sharing benefits the giver infinitely more than the receiver.” ~ YEHUDA BERG, Kabbhalist
“One of the hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which bridge to burn.” ~ DAVID RUSSELL, Scottish classical guitarist ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ “It is better to sleep on things beforehand than to lie awake worrying about them afterward.” ~ BALTAZAR GRACIAN, (1601-1689) Jesuit & writer of the Spanish Baroque literary style ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“In this world, I would rather live two days like a tiger than two hundred years like a sheep.” ~ TIPU SULTAN, (1782-1799) scholar, soldier and poet, also known as the Tiger of Mysore, India ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” ~ NELSON MANDELA ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Take a leap of faith today, even if you’re not sure what’s going to happen. Your chances for success are greater than you think. Let go of expectations, and embrace the unknown. You’ll be amazed at what you will find!” ~ Source Unknown ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
“Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, wind braces us, snow is exhilarating; there is really no such thing as bad weather, only different kinds of weather. ~ JOHN RUSKIN
READ THE MOONDANCE E-ZINE:
Read about: how to win a screenplay competition; how to win a film festival competition; winning titles & loglines for films & scripts; screenplay submissions; movie script writing; writing character, dialog & action; how to get an agent; what Hollywood wants to see; directing indie films, documentaries, short films, animation; film scores; stage plays; short stories; TV MOW; TV pilots; kids films; music videos; radio plays, and more!
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE MOONDANCE:
- As Moondance’s founder, executive director & artistic director, I have had the rare pleasure of personally previewing and judging every single film, reading all screenplays and other written works, and listening to all music and film scores submitted to the annual competition.
- I have selected all the films to be screened and all the winners in every category, and have done so, successfully, from the very first Moondance, in 2000.
- I do not travel to other film festivals looking for films to invite. In the rare event that a very special film is invited to be screened at Moondance, it is clearly labeled as “invited”, and it can have no chance of winning an award. Only submitted films have that opportunity.
- When submitting your work to the Moondance annual competition, you can be 100% assured that it will be carefully previewed and judged fairly.
MOONDANCE GOOD NEWS:
• LINKEDIN.COM lists Moondance in the top 1% of visits, endorsements, & networking by their over 200 million world-wide members! Also, Moondance was recently listed at LinkedIn.com as a top LinkedIn Influencer!
• WORDPRESS.COM lists this Moondance blog as “an Internet phenomenon”, with an incredible 80% open-rate & a 50% click-through rate, compared with the standard 8% open rate & less than 1% click-through rate for other WP blogs!
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|MAKE A SPLASH WITH THE MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL!||23 Ways to Get Your Screenplay Rejected|
|MAKE A SPLASH WITH THE MOONDANCE FILM FESTIVAL!|
|23 Ways to Get Your Screenplay Rejected|