Friday, October 02, 2009

Technical Regrets - UPDATED

Every year, come spring, screenwriting contests entice entries like fresh blossoms to thirsty bees.

Hopeful scribes plop down their funds for a variety of prizes, coverage and the occasional scam.

Several of the contests have risen like the proverbial cream on an otherwise dull bucket of milk.

The Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, sponsored by the Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences,
Yeah. Them.

is the extra-creamy top of this bunch.

I've been entering the Nicholl's for a while. I've quartered, semi-ed and once had a script in the top 30. When I had a manager, he told me, he heard from a Nicholl reader, whom he also represented, that my script, that year, had the highest ever rating of a script that didn't win. I put this down to gossip and so what.

Entering the Nicholl is a Rite of Spring around here. Sweating out the placement, a summer ordeal.

Imagine my reaction when I receive this email today.

Hi Cynthia,

Congratulations again on reaching the Nicholl finals.

( . . . )




That's what we EMT folks say instead of --

Shit. You're having a heart attack.

Didn't last long though, as this was the next email in the queue.

Hi Cynthia,

As many of you already are well aware, we sent two e-mails to you this morning. The first was a regret e-mail telling you that you did not advance to the Nicholl finals. Sadly, that was the correct e-mail.

( . . . )

All of the Nicholl finalists received phone calls yesterday alerting them of their status. If you only received an e-mail from us, that means that you did not advance to the Nicholl finals.

( . . . )

Best of luck with your writing. Again, we apologize heartily for the confusion engendered by the congratulatory e-mail.

Best wishes,

Greg Beal
Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Don't know the technical term for when the heart just breaks, but I have to say, fucked, works for me here.

I wonder how many, and hope it is only a few.

Should we accept the apology and move on?


Does anybody care about the momentarily risen then dashed hopes of a few unproduced screenwriters?

Ask me later. I'm still wading in spilled milk.

~ P O S T S C R I P T ~

Saturday, 10/3

News of the screw-up with the Nicholl Fellowship notifications is traversing the Internet. 84 of the 09 semifinalists received the finalist email in error.

Greg Beal posted this on the American Zoetrope Screenwriting Board.
Since most semifinalists have realized that finalists receive phone calls, I'm surprised that the e-mail was not immediately recognized as an error.

Well, pardon the hell out of me for not immediately recognizing YOUR error.

No matter, this should not have happened, and we beg your forgiveness. Please accept our sincerest apologies.

Okay. Moving on.


  1. Stella3:35 AM

    I just wrote the academy a not so nice note, but i think also we should fill up beals e-mail with spam.

  2. Don't do that. It wouldn't help.


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