Back in June, I made it through to the second round of the NYC Midnight Screenwriting Challenge. I wasn’t expecting to, as I had no screenplay experience, but I finished third in my heat. It was a pleasant surprise, and reassured me that I had made the right choice in picking Fiction + Script writing for my Masters in October.

The second round judging came out earlier this week; I wasn’t expecting to make it through to the final round, and I was right. I didn’t enter this competition to win, though, I entered it to learn. The combination of deadlines and random prompts for NYC Midnight makes it a great learning exercise. You’re given a genre, a subject and a character type that you must use in the screenplay somewhere; I was given Fantasy, an examination and a paraplegic.

The fantasy part I was comfortable with, it’s one of the genres I naturally incline to, but it still took me a while to work through possible ideas and find one that wasn’t just entertaining, but said something important that I wanted to say: We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and the weaknesses shouldn’t define who we are.

Feedback was really encouraging. All the judges said that they enjoyed the story, the characters and that there was an emotional payoff from the screenplay. I was also complimented on the strength of the action sequences, which surprised me because I didn’t feel I had done those well at all! What I did fall down on though were technical issues, how to lay things out, how to format them. Although I’d done my best to cram study for writing screenplays, there is no substitute for experience: But now I have some.

For those who enjoy that sort of thing, I’ve attached both the screenplays I wrote for NYC Midnight this year. I’ll try again next year, time permitting. In the meantime, I’m waiting on September and the results of the Flash Fiction Challenge.

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