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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

St. Paddy's Short Scene Competition

Well, Wavers, we did indeed have an unintended situation arise on TRW that led to one entry being voted for aggressively and the others not so much. And it would appear as if now Wavers have lost interest since the vote is so lopsided.

I'm bummed - this is not how this is supposed to work. I have spoken to the writer of Silver Nickels, who sincerely regrets informing her extended group of supportive peers. She meant no harm or foul play, but nonetheless, the outcome was the same... a lopsided vote, which discouraged all voters.

For this time, nobody is disqualified, but no prizes will be awarded, either. Please, please vote for your favorite - I'd like to see your support even if you don't think your choice stands a chance - just show your support with your vote. I'm sure the other two writers would appreciate it.

I welcome any and all suggestions to prevent this from happening in the future. This type of thing endangers these competitions, clearly. Save The Rouge Wave Short Scene Competitions!

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Anthony Peterson said...

How about not displaying the results until the counting is over? It's not a perfect solution, but it might help.

Another option would be to limit voting rights to entrants.

DougJ said...

"Another option would be to limit voting rights to entrants."

This could work. Votes could be cast by email, matching up with the addresses from the submitted entries.

To open it up a bit more, you could allow members of RWII as well.

Of course, that's a lot more work for Julie.

Dave Shepherd said...

Not an entrant or a voter...

But I really don't see what the problem is.

If there was some kind of robot that was voting over and over, that'd be one thing -- but convincing people to vote for you? What's wrong with that? How do you think the Oscars work, anyway? It's not based on artistic merit.

So a screenwriter writes a script (or a short in this case), and uses themselves to build fans to help market their work -- you're going to penalize someone for being good at marketing?

The person who gets the job isn't the person with the best qualifications, it's the person who convinces everyone that they have the best qualifications.

The screenwriter has convinced more people that their scene is better than the other two. Whether or not the audience/voters are wearing rose-colored glasses is irrelevant. If I can convince execs that I'm a better screenwriter than Writer X, they're going to hire me -- regardless of whether it's true or not.

You can't ask for an objective vote on a subjective medium.

Even if you were the *only* judge, it wouldn't come down to what was the best scene, it'd come down to who's scene you liked the most. Granted, given your experience, you're likely a better judge than most, but still -- it's subjective.

The reason why the Academy only let's members vote is because they feel that they're the best group to determine which movies are good and which movies are bad -- but they're still subjective views. They're just "enlightened" subjective views. It's not the best movie that wins, it's the Academy's opinion that ____ is the best movie.

Anyway, in my opinion, you asked for people to vote on which scene they felt was best. The screenwriter managed to convince more people that their scene was best. If you wanted the scene that Rouge Wavers felt was best, then you should put that restriction on it.

In this industry, the more fans of your work the better. Yet you're penalizing the writer for being able to find more fans than the other two.

Marketing counts, folks. While I understand your concerns that's it's not fair, I'd like to point out there was nothing stopping the other two writers from doing the same. No rules were broken, nor (as far as I know) were the spirit of any rules broken.

The only rules were: you have to use the three words. That's it.

The writer didn't break the rules. I don't think they should be penalized.

I'm well aware I'm going to be in the minority on this.

As for future competitions, just limit who can vote. Then you'll get the scene that Rouge Wavers like the most (or the scene that bald people like the most, or the scene that males between 18-25 like the most).

R.A. Porter said...

I'd say go with a panel of "celebrity" judges. Continue to select your three finalists, but then turn it over to two or three writers or Script Department readers. You can even leave the open polling so people can see if public perception matches the experts, as there'd be no reason to stuff the ballot box in that case.

Tavis Sarmento said...

"The person who gets the job isn't the person with the best qualifications, it's the person who convinces everyone that they have the best qualifications."

I'm guessing you speak from experience.

Iain Urquhart said...

I gotta say, Ma'am. We don't like
the case. So this Emily's got
a network of friends. Ain't no
law against it.

We oughtta know.

Gal can write too. Funny.
Visual. Believable
characters. Real people.

Pregnant woman gone surly.
Husband's a dork. Ask any
cop. Cop'll buy that.

Then you got this Contestant #3.
Leprechauns, my ass. Them characters, they ain't real.
What you got there is pastiche.

Cop syntax, it ain't hard to

Smart aleck dialogue, it don't
make a screenplay.

Field, McKee .. all them big
guys. We checked it out, Ma'am.

Way we see it, that vote ain't
wrong. That vote's legit. It's
your call, Ma'am. But I was
you, I'd cut the lady some slack.

A cup cake at least.

Leastways, you don't got no donuts.

Dave Shepherd said...

""The person who gets the job isn't the person with the best qualifications, it's the person who convinces everyone that they have the best qualifications."

I'm guessing you speak from experience."

It's just how it works. I've been given jobs when writers who were better than me were in the running (in my opinion) simply because I'm more persuasive and better on my feet than they are.

I imagine I've lost out on jobs for the same reasons.

(Note: not all of these were screenwriting jobs, but all were writing related)

It's not right or wrong, it's just how it is. You don't have to the better writer, you just have to convince people you're better for *THIS* job.

Your experience, your scripts, your personality, your box-office -- all tools to convince people you're better for the job.

I'd be willing to bet that a better writer with no experience, no personality, and no box-office would lose out on a job against a writer with worse scripts, but who has experience, a good personality, and a big box-office.

This is an industry where personality counts. But most people don't factor that in.

As much as we wish it were all about the writing, and that writing was the only thing you had to be good at -- it ain't. There's other factors involved. Pays to be good at those two.

And sorry for the tangent, Julie.

Julie Gray said...

@Shepherd - you are 100% correct. Personality counts for A LOT. Being persuasive and better on your feet, that is a gift that pays off well. I'm not sure why there is this myth that what's on the page is the ONLY determining factor. I have met and worked with SO many writers over the course of time and some are just putting in person. Nervous, creepy, physically..yucky. But good writers. Then you have the charismatic types. Ryan Condal is a good example. He was a TSD client and I remember the very first time I met him face to face and I thought - geez, look at him! He's sunny, he's nice looking, he's clearly clean and normal and conversant. He is just the most pleasant, articulate guy. Well - put him in the room with a similarly qualified writer who stammers, can't meet my eyes, has dirt under his fingernails and dandruff and sweaty hands....I'm gonna go with Ryan. I have definitely met both types. Multiply. Go to any screenwriting event and you'll meet the Stammering-Sweaty-Hands writers. They come in droves. And what's to be done about those qualities? Well, you know, take a shower, use Head & Shoulders, put clean clothes on and I don't know, get therapy so you can actually look at and talk to people..... I know that sounds unempathetic but if you are THAT shy and socially inept, it's gonna hurt you bad, man. No doubt about it, and I don't care how well you write. Long gone are the days when writers could live in a garret and send manuscripts in by horse and carriage. Today writers are brands unto themselves. You gotta be able to shake hands and talk yourself up.

Trina0623 said...

Interesting discussion and many good points here that I agree with, especially what Dave is saying. Some of that may even warrant a post of its own. There should be a "finishing school" for writers. :)
That would be the prerequisite before pitch class.

While I'm sure that's how it really is in the business, this contest is not the real world. Meaning that this is not a test of whether people want to work with a particular writer. It should not be a popularity contest for the writer because that misses the point. The writer and the work should be separate, in this case.

Having the Script Department readers be the judges might be the only fair answer. And comparing it to popular vote would be an interesting gauge.

E.C. Henry said...

Here's your voting solution, Julie.

Every voter has to post their vote like they're posting a comment, with no annonymous votes accepted.


- E.C. Henry from Bonney Lake, WA: the capitol of voting reform in this U.S of A.

Tavis Sarmento said...

I totally agree that being socially adept (and hygienic) is key to being a successful writer

There's nothing wrong with that.

However, my uneasiness lies with the fact that people already seem willing to eschew putting effort into the writing of a script in favor of glad-handing to get it sold.

Of course I'm an idealist -- I like to think that the only things that keep us from achieving our goals is our own ability -- not the fact that someone can talk their way into a job better than you. But as pointed out -- this is the reality we live in as of now. Of course, it doesn't have to stay that way.

The main reason things stay as they are is our foolish insistence that it is the only way they can be.

I know you're right, Dave -- I only wish that you weren't.

Liza O. said...

I think it is wrong to assume that there was an actual overt campaign by the entrant to garner votes for a lopsided win.

The accusatory tone of the Rouge Wave's subsequent postings about the contest is disappointing and forces me to rethink being a regular reader and potential customer of its services.

adetter said...

I agree with Iain and Liza O. I'm wondering how you know, Ms. Gray, that Wavers "lost interest since the vote is so lopsided." If you did not have the foresight to restrict voting to only the readers you believe are worthy of the privilege, then how in the world do you know who ISN'T voting?

You also chose to post this item, with its assumptions and, as Liza O. said, "accusatory tone" two full days before voting was to end.

If anyone is doing any discouraging, it's you, not the writer of Silver Nickels or any of the other talented contestants.