May 20th to June 17th, 2020
Here we go again with another FREE 4-week screenwriting challenge!
Writercizes is a 4-week mini-tournament that operates in much the same way as the CI Pandemalogues Writing Tournament. Every Wednesday for four weeks we will announce a new writing challenge via e-mail and social media. You will then have until midnight the following Monday to submit your entry to us.
Did we mention that entry is FREE? Join us!
WEEK THREE ON NOW!
WEEK ONE: Subtext
WEEK TWO: Visual Writing
WEEK THREE: Narrative
WEEK FOUR: Rewrite
HOW IT WORKS
1. You write a single scene (or scene unit, or whatever the exercise calls for) based on the instructions below.
2. Your submission must be NO LONGER THAN 4 PAGES (not counting title page, if you include one) and must be in standard industry format. Submissions longer than 4 pages will be disqualified. Submissions that cheat the margins will be disqualified.
3. E-mail your submission to us in PDF format no later than midnight Pacific time Monday, June 8th (Week Three Deadline) at [email protected]. Put WRITERCIZES Week Three in the subject line, and don’t forget to include your name. Every submission receives a scoresheet and feedback.
4. We will announce the Week Three Winner on Wednesday June 10th — along with the Week 4 (final) challenge.
5. Your submission will be reviewed and graded by a CI senior story analyst. The opinion of the CI analyst is final.
6. You may submit one entry per week (up to 4 total throughout the tournament.) You do not have to participate every week.
7. Your submissions remain 100% your property to do with as your please. Coverage, Ink LLC assumes no rights to your submission in any way. By submitting to Coverage, Ink to review, you are agreeing to allow us to read your submission and offer feedback on it.
8. In addition to one weekly winner, we will also choose one Grand Prize Winner at the end of the 4 weeks. That winner will be announced June 17th.
Each week, one winner will receive:
CI SPEC FORMAT & STYLE GUIDE – EDITION X (e-book.) Written by CI founder Jim Cirile, this 124-page PDF book is like defribrillator paddles straight to the heart of your writing. Find out how to write quicksilver scene description, make your voice shine, and tighten up your craft for maximum effectiveness.
THE CRAFT OF SCENE WRITING (e-book). Jim Mercurio’s 344-page new book will shred, then rebuild, your notions of how to compose an effective scene. Mercurio is a gentle guide, walking you through topics like “Breaking Rules With Style” and “Delete Your Way to a Better Script,” illustrating with plentiful examples from movies and TV shows. It’s hard to imagine anyone coming away from this book and NOT being a better writer.
MINI-COVERAGE FOR ALL – Everyone who submits a scene will receive a feedback form with a grid, a paragraph of notes, and our grade: Pass/Consider with Reservations/Strong Consider/Recommend, for both script and writer. CI will announce each week’s winner in the subsequent week’s e-mail.
EACH WEEK’S WINNER will receive a free half-hour phone consultation with Jim, Tanya, or Anna, the CI management team.
THE GRAND PRIZE WINNER – At the end of the four weeks, CI will select one Grand Prize Winner. That person will receive a free CI Pro analysis ($295 value) on the screenplay or pilot of their choice.
Ready to go? Roll up your sleeves, crack your knuckles, and bring it.
WEEK THREE CHALLENGE: NARRATIVE
“Depending on how the narrative of your screenplay unfolds, it can either draw the reader into your story or alienate them.”
Below you will find a crap-ton of ugly, dense, unformatted text. Your job: put it into a screenplay scene and make it ROCK.
You may add dialogue, change details, restage, transform and edit as necessary. But you must stick to the general shape of the scene as presented. You can write it as whatever style you like — comedy, action, thriller, horror, drama, etc.
Remember what we’ve learned about visual writing and apply it here as well. Think punchy and tight. Think VOICE. Think ACTIVE VERB FORMS (he RUNS, not “he is running.”) White space on the page is your goal, and
are your friend.
Bwa ha ha ha. You’re gonna hate us.
JILL (18) leaves her house. She’s dressed up to go to prom. JACK (18) waits for her. He leans against his car. He opens the car door for her. She pecks him on the cheek. She gets in. He gets in on the driver’s side. He smiles at her. Then there’s a loud noise on the roof of the car. They are startled. Jill looks out of her window and sees BOB (18). She screams. Bob is her ex-boyfriend, and she ditched him right before prom — and he has a baseball bat. Jack starts the car and presses the gas. They drive away. Bob runs to his car and gets in. He starts his car and follows them. Jack sees Bob’s car in the rear-view mirror. He drives faster. But Bob still follows. There’s a red light. But Jack and Jill are scared so they drive through it. Luckily, they’re not hit by the car that has the green light. Bob’s headlights are getting closer. Jill cries because she’s even more scared now. Jack doesn’t know what to do. His car won’t go any faster. He punches the steering wheel. Bob’s headlights are almost on top of them now. There is a deer in Jack’s headlights. He makes his choice – hit the deer or go off the road. He can’t stop the car in time. The car goes over a cliff. It ends up deep down in a canyon and explodes. Jack and Jill are dead. Bob stops his car and gets out. He peeks over the cliff and sees the flames and has some sort of reaction.
E-mail your scene (no more than 4 pages!) as a PDF to us no later than midnight Pacific Time Monday June 1st. Please put WRITERCIZES WEEK THREE in the subject line and include your name.
Week Three winners will be announced June 10th. Sic ’em!
WEEK ONE CHALLENGE: SUBTEXT
Write a scene in which one character tells another that he or she is in love with him or her.
WITHOUT saying those words.
You may use any setting, era, other characters or props that you wish. No more than four pages, please.
Originality is one of the scoring categories, so consider this as well.
WEEK ONE WINNERS
Tim Rosenow — Untitled Broken Vase Scene
A simple yet punchy and moving scene about two people dividing up their belongings after a separation that actually made us mist up! Well-done, Tim!
Susan Mestl – “Don’t Tread on Me.”
A love story using routine tire service as an analogy which works spectacularly well.
Jasmine Gill – “One in a Million”
A touching scene between father and son boxers where we realize there’s more to dad’s tutelage than meets the eye.
Alberto Halfeld – “Blossomed”
This scene wonderfully uses gardening as a metaphor for the protagonist being trapped in a bad relationship while in love with someone else.
WEEK TWO CHALLENGE: VISUAL WRITING
Using THREE MAIN CHARACTERS and NO MORE THAN TEN WORDS OF DIALOGUE, write a scene in which your protagonist and his or her associates are trapped behind enemy lines. They must escape their situation, but the slightest noise may expose them. The wrinkle: your protagonist has figured out that one of the three is a spy or traitor.
You may stage this scene in any setting or era you like. Your characters do not need to be human. You can add anything else you wish to these guidelines as long as you nail the prompt. Remember: the goal of this scene is VISUAL WRITING. Body language is your friend.
WEEK TWO WINNERS
Alberto Halfeld – “Hiders and Seekers.”
Go-getter Halfeld used zero dialogue in this effective and visual scene showing a 13-year-old boy coping with a suburban apocalypse.
John Hooper – “Abercrombie.”
A gritty and punchy scene staged in war-torn Aleppo, Syria.
Kari Wolf – “Behind the Veil.”
You’ll all remember Kari was the co-Grand Prize Winner of last month’s Pandemalogues. She consistently writes strong sci-fi scenes. Yep, this week, too.
Scotty Cornfield, “Condo Wars,” and James Mecker, “The Trojan Nerds.”
Way to go, you guys!
Remember to save your submission as a PDF as e-mail it to [email protected] and put WRITERCIZES WEEK THREE in the subject line. Please include your name.
Good luck, everyone!