As you know, I took my novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven, and turned it into a screenplay last spring. Next, I entered it in the Austin Film Festival screenplay competition. They had a record number of entries this year — 9,100 screenplays!
It took me 7.5 weeks to write the screenplay. That’s not enough time, but it’s all I had before the contest deadline.Here’s how Pennies performed …
I made it to the Second Round. That’s the top 15%, or the top 1,365.
Am I proud of myself?
Am I disappointed?
Wouldn’t it have been cool to final, or better yet, to win the whole shebang? There’s a mishmash of emotions swirling inside me, but I have to remind myself this was only the second screenplay I’ve ever written, and the first one was over 11 years ago in 2005.
Writing a screenplay writing is completely different than writing a novel. Each is its own kind of hard. Each requires a different set of creative skills, which I discussed in Turning Your Novel into a Screenplay.
What Austin Said about My Work
The form part of AFF letter said, “This year’s scripts proved to be incredibly competitive, and featured a high-standard of exemplary stories, including your own. This is a tremendous accomplishment, and you should be extremely proud of your success.”
The handwritten comment on my letter said, “Your twist on the crime genre by having a twelve-year old homeless girl as the detective is fresh and compelling. Good work!”
I’ll receive my reader’s notes about Pennies in December, but I’m delighted. I was scared (terrified, in fact), but I wrote a screenplay, and made myself enter the contest. That may be my biggest victory.
I’m Pitching Pennies Next Week
I’m attending the Austin Film Festival, October 13 – 16, 2016. Because I’m a “Second Rounder,” I get to attend special workshops and round tables for the top 15%. Maybe, there will even be a special ribbon on my name tag!
But, wait! There’s more!
I’ve also entered the AFF Pitch Competition. I’ll have 90 seconds to sell them on my story. I made it to the finals when I competed back in 2005, so NO PRESSURE, Marcy!
Send Good Vibes My Way
I’ll do my pitch on Friday, October 14, between 10:45 am – Noon. There are 160 participants total, with 16 people in the 10 different pitching sessions. I can’t recall if 10 or 20 folks make it to finals on Saturday night.
Please send any and all good thoughts my way next week.
What advice to you have for me as I compete in the Pitch Competition?
Please leave comment. Let’s talk.
About Marcy McKay. I’m the author of the literary-suspense novel, Pennies from Burger Heaven (SkipJack Publishing). You can download my FREE short story, A Cemetery Plot Worth of Love (which is the precursor to Pennies).