My blog has moved!

You will be automatically redirected to the new address. If that does not occur, visit
and update your bookmarks.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Short Scene WINNER

Good morning, Wavers. Here is the winning Christmas Short Scene. Joshua James will be receiving a fifty dollar gift certificate to the business of his choice.

I tried to find a special guest judge but due to the holidays, many people are either out of town or too busy with other commitments. I was frustrated by that but then I thought, wait, I'm a pretty special judge, so we'll go with me. In the past, when I have chosen the top three short scenes, I know immediately who the winner should be (ballot stuffing aside, which is why we're using a new model - not popular vote but professional vote).

Of the 50+ short scenes that were submitted, only a tiny fraction were anywhere near what I had hoped for. Now, given, writing a compelling scene that tells an entire story in and of itself is quite a challenge. But it's a challenge that a screenwriter should be able to meet. This is why these competitions are a great exercise.

Many short scenes were too clever for their own good. I didn't get it, in other words. Things weren't set up and came out of the blue. Storylines were unclear. Keywords were repeated, on the nose or inserted a bit randomly.

Joshua's short scene was head and shoulders above any other submission I received. Head and shoulders. So what did Joshua do right?

His short scene used the keywords organically. The scene has a beginning, a middle and an end. It has a key moment that sets up a mystery and the pay off is satisfying and sweet. It sets up world, it is logical and it has universal resonance. Congratulations, Josh, you did a great job.

by Joshua James

Wind and snow howl. BARB (29) wades through the knee-deep
snow in the middle of the street. She carries a large
thermos. Wades up to a house. Shivering, Barb takes out her
keys. Notices a-

MAILMAN - struggling through the snow, three doors up.

BARB - checks the mailbox by the door. A letter.

Barb stomps snow off her boots, unwraps herself from the
scarves and jackets.

She opens the letter. Picks up the thermos. Walks into the hall. Stops midway as she reads:

“Dear Barb, enclosed is an all expenses paid trip for
two to MAUI for the Christmas holiday. You’ve put in so many
extra hours that the partners and I agreed to do something
special for you. It’s Maui, Barb, Maui! Best, Tracy.”

Barb? Is that you?

Barb steps on the pedal of a kitchen trash can. Lid goes up.
Barb drops the letter, tickets and voucher into the trash.

I can’t believe you went out in a
raging blizzard just for that.

EMMA (60) appears, in a wheelchair. Barb grabs two cups.

It’s your favorite. Cinnamon
flavored egg nog from Cuddy’s.

Barb pours egg nog from the thermos. Hands a cup to her.

I bet you wish you were somewhere
warm and sunny right about now.

Barb smiles. Sips her egg nog.

Not at all, Mom. It’s Christmas.

If you enjoyed this post, follow me on Twitter or subscribe via RSS.


R.A. Porter said...

Nice, really sweet scene Joshua. That moment, that eye-scrunching moment when Barb tosses the tickets led to a great payoff.

J.J. said...

Bummed that I don't know if I finished 50 something or second...

That aside, now I'm able to send you something guilt free and neither of us will feel the pressure (ha-ha) of influence looming...

Watch your mailbox.

Anonymous said...

congrats josh! any other titles from that tiny fraction come to mind Julie?

Mike Scherer said...


Congrats. Nice job.

Keep Writing!

Joshua James said...


Julie, thanks for giving me the opportunity for this1

2nd2Nun said...

Yep, very good. Enjoyed it. Good job Josh.

meg said...


Been busy so I didn't even remember what the "key" words were. Your use wasn't obvious--I had to go to the original post to find out what they were.

Nice job.

Désirée said...

A really good script. Congratulations.

Julie, I don't mind that you or another judge select the winner, but I miss the suspense with three candidates.

R.A. Porter said...

@Désirée, it's not just the suspense. I mean, what if Joshua couldn't fulfill all his duties as the Short Scene winner? The last thing Julie wants is to find her winner can't wear the sash and show up at a tractor pull in Bismarck.

Laugh all you want, but we don't know what kind of pictures of Joshua might show up that he took when he was in college, just trying to pay the bills. Next thing you know, Penthouse is paying some skeezy photographer a million dollars for the pics and that's that.

Please note that the following comment was brought to you by coffee and Bailey's in questionable quantities. Any humor present is complete luck.

Julie Gray said...

Ah ye olde baileys-and-coffee comedy syndrome. It happens to the best of us. :)

Joshua James said...

Ah man, you have no idea the shenanigans I was up to in college, no idea ... I'm sure there are embarrassing pictures of those years floating around somewhere ...