Goodbye to the Frenzy

I recently received an email with some bad news: Script Frenzy will no longer be held.

It was hard for me to to digest, though somewhat ironic: every year that I’ve tried it I never wrote anywhere near the required number of pages.  But still, it was easy to get excited to be starting on a script with many other people in the same situation.

Apparently that number wasn’t very high.  According to their website, far more people participate each year in NaNoWriMo, the annual contest for writing a 30,000-word novel in 30 days.  To me, it’s hard to imagine that so many more people would attempt to write a novel rather than a script in a month, let alone in any amount of time.

Why do I think that?

First off, simply the length.  It’s really not that hard to write a screenplay (at least to me).  The structure is more defined than a novel, and the formatting is far more rigid as well, but the fact is there’s far more whitespace on each page of a script, and the total length (both pages and words) is far less than a novel (normally 1 page = 1 minute of screentime).  So for so many eager novice writers, shouldn’t attempting a script be far more tempting?

Second, consider the era that we live in.  Movies are as popular as ever (although video games seem to be on the cusp of edging it out).  Nobody really reads novels anymore (for the most part), and those that do seem to be taking up eReaders and leaving behind the dead-tree form (please note the slight sarcasm I inject into this sentence).  With so many people going to the movies (and even now the advent of online streaming), shouldn’t they be far more motivated to try to write one?  In the past everyone had a great idea for the next Great American Novel; aren’t we now in the time of looking for the next Great Hollywood Blockbuster?

I don’t know if any other website or community will pick up where Script Frenzy left off. I do think there’s plenty of aspiring screenwriters out there. Maybe it really is the structure and formatting that kept alot of people from trying. Even though some software is still expensive (Final Draft) there are far more cheaper and free alternatives available now (Scrivener, Celtx, Trelby, etc.) that can allow people to get into writing. The increasing popularity of streaming services (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and Apple) and the rise of the indie pictures should surely encourage writers, as well as trying to break into the traditional Hollywood system. If and when an alternative does turn up, I’ll gladly become a part of it.

The End of the Frenzy

April has come and gone, and that means the end of Script Frenzy.  For the last month writers from all over the world have been hopefully busy working on a script.  At this point, that script should be completed.  While I am nowhere near finished with my script, I can still call it a success.

Why?

As I mentioned in my previous post, this has been a great cause to encourage me to write more overall.  Although there have been plenty of days this past month where I haven’t written anything, I’ve still been far more productive.  I’ve also re-affirmed that screenwriting is still my favorite form of writing, a feeling I haven’t felt since I first got into it many years ago while at St. Thomas.  While other forms of writing will still receive some attention, there’s no doubt that screenwriting will occupy the majority of that time.  While I love to read novels and such, it’s hard to deny that a good movie or tv episode is more exciting to me.  So the potential to create something in that medium  still excites me.

So where does my writing go from here?  I’m still continuing work on that script, and hopefully I can celebrate its completion before too long.  I have some more ideas for other scripts, both original works as well as for existing franchises.

The Frenzy Begins

Today is April 1.  For most that will mean juvenile pranks on people and wading through countless unimaginative articles littering the web, hoping to elicit a laugh but usually getting nothing more than rolling eyes.

For a very few select, this day marks the first day of Script Frenzy.  This is a contest where participants have the month of April to write a 100-page script.  That averages to about 3-4 pages a day.  For a script that’s not a whole lot of writing per day, so this is someone that pretty much anyone should be able to complete successfully.

So far I am on Page 2.  That’s not very much writing at all, even though in line with the daily goal.  However, that’s far more than I’ve put down in I don’t know how long, so that is an accomplishment on its own.  With the weekend coming up, I hope to maintain or even surpass the daily writing goal, along with plotting a rough outline so that later on I don’t get stuck trying to figure things out or worrying I’ve written myself into a corner.  As I don’t work on the weekends and should be home for the most part, I have no excuses to not do this.  I’ve spent alot more time working on drumming and other things, but completing this would show other people as well as myself that I still have what’s needed to call myself a “writer” and be proud in knowing that’s not a lie.