Empire Screenplay Contest:

LETTER TO WINNERS


March 6, 2002

Dear Empire Screenplay Contest winners:

The competition has now officially concluded and the winners have been posted.

The main objectives in closing out the Contest, and transferring efforts to other operations, are to:

  • Maintain the primacy of the Contest mission, i.e., to advance writer careers.
  • Deliver on the non-cash awards, so important to achieving this mission, i.e., guidance, publicity, marketing to Hollywood, and free screenwriting software.
  • Equal or exceed the value of promised cash prizes with guidance and marketing services (that go beyond those offered originally) until the cash prizes can be satisfied (at which point winners will have received twice the value originally offered).
  • Satisfy cash prizes through weekend screenwriting workshops, designed to test understanding of guidance offered free through this site, and professional critiques.
  • Enhance the resources available at this site, using them as a basis for delivering on promised value, and continuing to make them available for free to all Contest entrants, and to other screenwriters from around the world.

Considerable progress has been made against these commitments and resolutions, with the expectation that all will be satisfied by year-end 2002. Those writers cooperating in these efforts to advance their careers stand the best chance of benefitting fully.

The free extensive guidance made available at this site, especially as related to content, presentability, readability, and marketing, serves as the basis for meeting Contest cash prize commitments. Beyond the entire contents of an intensive screenwriting workshop, the career-advancing pointers have derived from years of reviewing thousands of Contest screenplays. One entrant noted the website itself was "worth the price of admission". Getting this resource in sufficient shape to serve this function has required allocation of substantial time and effort, including the learning of website design fundamentals. The result is an internet resource that many thousands of screenwriters benefit from each month, representing a delivery of significant value all by itself.

The real prize in this Contest has been advancement of an entrantís writing career. Not only can Hollywood deals yield significantly more financial return than the prizes offered, but a screenwriting career successfully launched can be highly rewarding as well as lucrative. Numerous successes have already occurred in this area, with further success requiring professional cooperation with writers being assisted. No fee or extra compensation of any sort is expected for these marketing efforts, just the sense of ďa job well done".

This screenwriting competition introduced numerous innovations over it's five-year history, many of which influenced other contests. A program of wholesale redirection of the Contest--designed to make it more effective in helping screenwriters advance their careers, and producers identify exceptional projects and writers--seemed to move the process in the right direction, but these innovations also contributed to severe declines in submissions.

For those entering writers dissatisfied with the handling of this competition, contemplation of any course of action might best take into account the potential impact on:

  • their own writing careers
  • others' writing careers
  • the ability to meet Contest commitments
  • the desire to surpass Contest commitments

The well-established record of assisting Contest entrants beyond their expectations--often giving newly-added benefits to writers who entered prior to their introduction--might best be allowed to continue. An adversarial relationship with those who desire only to help you would likely prove disadvantageous to all concerned.

The demands of other activities and operations, to which Contest staff have been necessarily diverted, limits the ability to respond to every e-mail received. Sufficient information has been provided at this site to guide entrants in their next steps in the process. Following this guidance closely best supports efforts to deliver on commitments.

Thank you to all who have participated in the Empire Screenplay Contest over the years. Apologies go out to all for whom this has not been a thoroughly satisfactory experience. The policy of over- delivering on promises until everyone is satisfied will be maintained.

Sincerely,

Contest Administrator