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Yesterday I was talking to a carpenter I know and he was asking me about the FEAR AND FANTASY festival when our conversation turned to the writing of screenplays. "How many scripts have you written?" he asked me. "Four features in the last few years, one of those made it to the screen.. but total some? I don't know, two dozen completed.... and many more who died during the process and whose half written corpses still lie at the bottom of a dresser drawer somewhere".

He told me that he is an aspiring screenwriter and finds himself caught in the limbo of numerous ideas and half written scripts. We discussed the "discipline" of sitting down EVERY day, at the same time and (hell or high water) writing SOMETHING. No, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" does not count.

I told him that our festival actually has a screenplay comp. for un-produced manuscripts. That we don't pick a "winner" but rather we seek out the five screenplays that we feel are the most ready for screen as well as checking structure, originality of ideas, ease of dialogue and (since we are screenwriters.. and Directors) could the thing really get made?? I told him, for instance, if you are aiming at directing or joining up with a new director, the chances are high that your budget will be a bit tight... alright, F'n Tight!

So those battle scenes in your screenplay that involve over one thousand land creatures, three Master ships colliding overhead and an Alien ocean that is busting through an exotic damn... as two main characters exchange a bit of salient dialogue (e.g can't be cut out)... it may be best to get your guys behind an otherworldy rock (that can be build reasonably) to exchange this un-cutable dialogue.

I really started to think about how hard it REALLY is to get someone to read your screenplay. Not your mom, or friends. Other filmmakers who have had to use the screenplay as a real world blueprint for photographing a film. To have people read your work who can actually decode the complex nature of timing, plot points and weather the damn thing really holds water.

So at our fest I  made it a priority, ONLY Screenplay writers with experience seeing their work on a screen can read the submissions. No interns. Not to mention that ALL submissions recieve a short liner of notes about structure or what could bump a script that is a-l-m-o-s-t there, into the next level... so that your script will be one of those that "got shot" rather than sleeping inside final draft for years.

See you all at THE LOS ANGELES FEAR AND FANTASY FILM FESTIVAL in May. Submissions are open at Withoutabox or come on by the site.

Write on

Logan Thomas

Festival director

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About 1st Annual Los Angeles Fear and Fantasy Film Festival