A Script Competition That Embraces the Rewrite

This week’s guest on the Imperfect Podcast is Jenny Frankfurt who is the founder of the Finish Line Script Competition currently in its third year. The Finish Line Script Competition is based on the premise that rewrites are essential to be a successful writer. The panel of judges provides development notes when requested in order for writers to rewrite and resubmit new drafts for free throughout the entire script competition.

Rather than submitting your script and hoping for the best, the Finish Line Script Competition acts as a partner to up and coming writers with feedback from their mentors that have worked in every aspect of the film and television industry. The competition essentially echoes the reality of the business. Writers that work for a studio or even sell a feature film based on their script will go through a number of rewrites based on criticism and feedback.

The Finish Line Script Competition is essential for any writer that wants honest feedback and takes their craft seriously enough to bring it to the next level.

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Who is Jenny Frankfurt

  • A literary agent and manager with her own company, Highstreet Management based in Los Angeles for many years
  • Jenny went to NYU Film School but mainly about writing on the job
  • Reading countless scripts and books she would break down scripts for talent agents
  • All that experience led her to know what worked and what didn’t work

The Finish Line Script Competition Is Born

  • After burning out on management Jenny wanted to continue working with writers
  • There are many script competitions out there but they don’t provide notes until the very end
  • Jenny wanted to do something that hadn’t been done before which included the rewrites and feedback from mentors
  • Through her contacts she knew she access to a lot of talent to create the panel of mentors which proved to be valuable
  • As a reader for other competitions she would often say “If only this person had gotten really good notes before entering the competition.”
  • As writers submit new drafts they continue to work with the same script consultant on their rewrites

How Did You Get The Word Out About The Finish Line Script Competition

  • Budgets were small and they used Twitter and Facebook to start spreading the word its first year
  • Because of its unique twist and 25 mentors on board they received 300 submissions in year one
  • In its second year the competition grew by 500%

What Type Of Scripts Are Accepted

  • TV Pilots and Screenplays are both accepted
  • Writers can submit and not ask for notes for a smaller fee
  • Scripts that are over 135 pages there is an additional fee for notes
  • Each script is read by 3 people so there’s a balance of taste

Have You Had Any Success Stories From Past Winners

  • Last years winner was a TV Pilot called Sugarland by R.B. Ripley
  • He’s taken over 30 meetings and now has a producer attached to the script

Who Are The Mentors?

  • There are over 30 mentors this year from all over the world that mentor and take meetings with the winning writers.
  • Steven Rogers – Writer/Producer of the award-winning film “I, Tonya” starring Margot Robbie and Allison Janney.
  • Colin Vaines – Co-producer of “Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool” starring Annette Bening. Previously produced “The Gangs of New York” directed by Martin Scorsese.
  • Michael Andreen – Producer, “Master & Commander“, “The Day After Tomorrow“.
  • Karen Lunder – Senior Film Exec at Imagine Entertainment, Lunder recently oversaw production on the upcoming “The Spy Who Dumped Me” starring Kate McKinnon.
  • Joey Chavez – Sr. VP, Original Programming at TNT (“Animal Kingdom”, “The Alienist”“Claws”).
  • Christine Conley – Director of Development, Working Title Television. Produced “Gypsy”at Netflix & “About a Boy”at NBC.
  • Elaine Goldsmith-Thomas – President, Nuyorican Productions & Goldsmith-Thomas Productions who used to be Julia Roberts agent and now producers for Jennifer Lopez and Halle Berry.

Advice to Screenwriters

  • This is your calling card and a way for people to know you
  • Do you research and put the time in
  • Your effort matters including the formatting on the page
  • It lets people know you’re taking it seriously and that you put the work in

 

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