NYC Midnight Screenplay Competition – Round 2

Last week, the results from Round One of the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Competition came out. I wrote about my experience here and what I thought my odds were off progressing on to Round Two. In short, I didn’t expect to make it into the top five.

My main purpose for browsing through the results list was to read the loglines of the stories that won in my heat. I wanted to get a rough idea of what other, better screenwriters did with the same prompts.

My script ‘Puppy Love’ came third.

I burst out laughing. Then I quickly felt like throwing up.

Round One had been stressful and I had mentally ruled myself out of the game. I even made plans for the weekend which would eventually eat into my writing time. On top of that, I was unsure I could manage the shorter page count and three day deadline.

But when I signed up for the challenge I made a commitment I had to see through. I waited for the next email.

The judges feedback on your script is a fantastic aspect of this competition. I was pleasantly surprised by the comments and felt the criticisms were spot on. There identified elements of the script that I just didn’t have time to fix and knew were a mistake to leave in the way they were. There were other comments made that I can work with and apply to the rest of my writing regardless of what form and genre it might be in.

On Friday my time I received the Round Two prompts: Mystery / setting a trap / a tutor.

The clock was ticking.

I didn’t have any immediate flashes of brilliance, but I love a good mystery and felt this was one genre I might not completely suck at. But I didn’t have a lot of time to do much with the prompts immediately after I received them because I had children commitments to deal with and I was going out to dinner with friends. Friday became thinking time whenever I could manage it.

I spent most of Saturday getting down to the hard part of brainstorming, which in this instance looks like this:

Brainstorming

These were double-sided. I didn’t use any of the ideas you might be able to read on the papers above, although I did use some of the character names. What it shows is how I regurgitated everything inside my head onto the page. Eventually I made a decision on plot and stuck to it. I began to write, albeit much slower than I would have liked. it didn’t help that I’d thrown obstacles in my own way and life tends to do it regardless of what you may have planned.

I think Sunday night was the least I’ve slept since my children were little. My brain was so wired it didn’t want to let me rest. In the end I gave up and caught about three-four hours sleep in total. When I did wake at 5.30am I was motivated to get the story finished and I did it within an hour. Then I got Mr Alpha (the husband) to read and comment on it before I could do a final once over and submit which wouldn’t happen until after the morning school run and other errands.

The stress made me feel sick and sucked me into a very touchy place for a couple of days. It didn’t help that when I was attempting to submit my new screenplay with ten minutes to go (actually, it was just over an hour but I didn’t know that at the time), my computer malfunctioned and the web pages wouldn’t load properly. I was panicking until I could finally hit the submit button and the confirmation email came through. The relief when it did was amazing.

In the end I have a screenplay I don’t hate. In fact, I kind of like it. If you want to know what it is about, well, you’ll have to wait. It is a mystery after all. 😀

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