I've been attempting to write screenplays for about three years now. After an aborted attempt to scribe a feature length comedy, I made a decision to try to write a really solid crime noir short. I suceeded somewhat and got good feedback from a couple of actors and writers here in the New Orleans area. My first short was a 25 page story, "The Caper", about three New Orleans low lifes who decide to pull off an ill conceived heist. After I polished it up, I submitted the script to seven screenwriting competitions to see if I could get some feedback from people who read a lot of scripts. "The Caper" received "Official Selections" in four competitions and the script was a finalist at the 2008 Vail Film Festival in the short screenplay competition. This limited success prompted me to write another short to continue my efforts to learn the craft of screenwriting.
Last year, after a multitude of re-writes, and some sage advice on the ending from my good friend Holly Hughes out in California, I finished a 20 page short titled, "A Night Full of Blues". This script is set in a small juke joint in 1954 Mississippi and tells the story of two brothers wrapped up in racism and blues music. Again the story was well received by my friends in the New Orleans acting community and I decided to fork over a few more dollars to get some feedback/coverage from a few film festivals and screenwriting competitions. I submitted this one to nine festivals and so far it has been an "Official Selection" in three and is currently a quarterfinalist in the highly regarded "FadeIn Magazine" scriptwriting competition.
The good news is, the script actually won for "Best Short Screenplay" at the 2010 Bare Bones Film Festival in Oklahoma! I was very pleased to see at least someone out there thought the script was above average!
I know that Oklahoma isn't the hotbed of screenwriting and movie making, but I have enjoyed the accolade and it has given me some validation that I can write a decent feature length script if I work hard at it.
I have three or four good story ideas for my next script which will definately be a feature. I hope that I have learned enough over the last three years to be able to put down enough words in the right order to make 120 pages of a good story!