During the first two quarters in the Screenwriting Professional Program at UCLA last year, I developed and wrote a script that I was pretty proud of. In this drama, a poor single mother gets out of prison for child abuse and sets out to regain custody of her eight-year-old daughter before she’s placed for adoption. I got some really great, constructive feedback from my teacher and fellow classmates and ended up with a first draft that I could work with.
I spent this past summer, rewriting and rewriting this script (I never want to see another colored Post-it again). I sent it out to a few trusted readers who also provided me with useful notes for the next rewrite. Finally, after about twelve rewrites, I got the script to a place where I was happy with it and submitted it to three screenplay competitions. Then, I did two more rewrites.
Because I had no luck with the Nicholl and Bluecat, I was expecting the standard form rejection letter when I opened the email from the Austin Film Festival. However, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my script had advanced into the Second Round. Although it wasn’t a Semi-finalist, it still placed in the top 20% of screenplays submitted this year. There was also a bunch of information listed about how to buy my discounted conference badge and how to sign up for the panels.
Today, I got the physical letter in the mail and enjoyed the handwritten note at the bottom of it. It’s not much, but it feels good to get some recognition for my writing. I’m also glad that hard work pays off. Thank you, Austin Film Festival for the opportunity. Hope to make it out there one day!