". . . Thanks to guys like you and (the) Empire Productions contest, there remains chances for writers worldwide to make it in such a lucrative and volatile industry."
Michael C. McPherson
Second Annual Semifinalist

  • Simon Goltsman: an engineer from Brooklyn, his first screenplay, "Natural Selection"--a finalist in the High Value category of the Second Annual Contest--sold to MGM for a "mid- to high- six figure deal". His second screenplay, "Nice Guys Finish Seventh", was a finalist in the Hollywood or Bust category the same year.

  • John North: from Arizona, his "An Average Joe" won the Second Annual High Value category (and placed or won in a handful of other contests), which got him manager representation with the Doug Draizen Company, and saw him featured with a photograph in the January 4-10, 1999 issue of Variety ("Pay for play--scribe contests flourish").

". . . Wow! What a couple of months! Winning the Empire Screenplay Contest seems to have set off a firestorm of activity around my script . . . Itís been a whirlwind ride.

Iím extremely excited about the staged reading of "An Average Joe" . . . It will be rewarding to hear the script performed aloud by actors . . .

I want to thank you again for your generosity . . . I want you to know that the Empire Screenplay Contest has truly been a tremendous blessing."
John North, 1997 Winner

  • Kimber O'Neill: from San Rafael, California, she sold her first screenplay "Once the Fog Rolls In" almost as soon as she entered it into the First Annual Contest. A short film she wrote was tracked for the Sundance Film Festival, the sound being re-mixed for free by the Oscar- winning sound designers for TITANIC--because they saw it as Oscar material. She also penned Intel's 30th Anniversary Film--"a half million dollar thirty minute film". She's gone on to launch her own production company and screenplay contest.

"I am thrilled to have made it to this point in what I am sure must be tough competition. As always, I enjoy sharing the little coups I achieve with you - since our great phone chat December 1996 - I know you can appreciate the efforts and payoffs! . . . thanks for your good wishes, and I hope our paths may cross one day. "
Kimber O'Neill

  • John Holton: from Canada, a Third Annual Contest finalist and Fourth Annual Contest entrant, enjoyed an extraordinary amount of publicity--largely as a result of a personalized press release prepared and distributed by contest administrators.
    • he appeared as a guest on a one-hour phone-in talk show broadcast from CBC Halifax entitled "Maritime Noon" which covers all of Atlantic Canada. The topic was "What have you done that you've always wanted to do?" Staff at the local CBC station in his hometown of Charlottetown had suggested that he would be a good choice for a guest. As John states: "Oh well, at least I'm a bit of a celebrity around here . . . 'big splash in a little pond!'"
    • a half-page newspaper article in the Journal-Pioneer of Summerside, Prince Edward Island.
    • a taped 20-minute radio interview for CBC Radio, FM 96.1 in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Normally, these interviews run 6-7 minutes. John enthuses: "The interview went so well that the host of the show has chosen to run it in the holiday period when he can devote a half hour time slot (less weather, etc.) to the subject."
    See his screenplay synopses at

". . . Thanks for my '15 minutes of fame'."
John Holton, 1998 Finalist

  • Chris Rogers: from Houston, she was the First Annual High Value winner with "Mirror's Edge", which was also a semifinalist at Nicholl's that year. She has since gone on to sell a three- book series based on the female bounty hunter, Dixie Flannigan, of which Bitch Factor and Rage Factor have appeared on the shelves. The movie-of-the-week rights to Bitch Factor have been optioned to Dan Paulson Productions, who may also acquire future titles in the series.

  • Sue Rauch: from Sacramento, California, her "Tosca's Kiss" was a Second Annual High Value finalist. One of the Contest producer-judges and Lawrence Mattis of Circle of Confusion in New York shopped the script around all summer and had it passed on by some "very illustrious production companies". Planet Girl Pictures was interested in optioning the project, although terms had not yet been reached.

" . . . both these producers, youíll notice, came from last yearís contest, so a very big thank you . . . for all this activity. "
Sue Rauch, Second Annual Finalist

  • Carole Bellacera: of Manassas, Virginia, entered "Border Crossings" in the First Annual Contest which then went on to be published as a book, now appearing in bookstores everywhere.

  • Jeff Michael: a Third Annual finalist, signed to a management contract with Smith Entertainment.

". . . I'd also like to thank you and let you know that as of tomorrow, I'll be signed to a management contract . . . This is thanks to your contest, and I really appreciate the exposure I got from it . . . I've made a big step forward thanks largely to the Empire Screenplay Contest. Thank You (I can't say it enough!)"
Jeff Michael, Third Annual Finalist

Three other projects have been optioned. A producer-judge wanted to option "Rosebud Was a Sled", a Second Annual High Value finalist, but the writers preferred to seek other arrangements.