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A Day in the Life of a Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Assistant

May 5, 2014

(Note: I am not a Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowship Assistant.)

Check the Nicholl email.  8 out of 10 questions are already answered on the FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) page or the Facebook page.  I direct these “aspiring screenwriters” to their answers, but can’t help thinking they’ll never become professional screenwriters, because if they can’t be bothered to find simple answers to simple questions that have previously been answered over and over again, how can they possibly take the initiative to write, re-write, edit and re-write a quality screenplay?

Perhaps some of them have collaborators, who they lean on for these things.  I wonder what will happen when their collaborator-crutch disappears?

Wow, there’s actually an insightful question I’ve never heard before.  Thank you insightful, aspiring screenwriter.  I hope you win.

Another worthwhile email, from… “no, it can’t be… is it really?… My Hero?!?!”  This job rocks!

Floating on the high of corresponding with my film idol, I sift through reader comments – the good, the bad, the ugly, and the fantastic.  Dear people yearning to read excerpts of reader comments from poor screenplays – “You do not want this.  Trust me.”

“But, I think it might be helpful.”
“No, seriously, trust me.”

Wow, this screenplay sounds amazing.  I love these reader comments.  But, there’s so many references to screenplay specifics that might give it away.  I want to use these reader comments for excerpts, but this will require some serious surgery:

This teen, popcorn zombie flick starts with a flourish and punches you in the gut with blood, guts, death and rotting flesh.  I was immediately engaged by the zombie, mermaid trucker, which I never thought would’ve worked, but it did.  This screenplay managed to stay true to the genre, while simultaneously subverting it in a fresh, imaginative way.  While it was primarily categorized as a Horror genre, with secondary genres of Action/Adventure and Zombie, it clearly could have received 5 or 6 secondary genre classifications that would’ve worked.  It was rather magical how the screenwriter wove various elements of western, dystopian apocalyptic fantasy and comedy together into this zombie, horror action adventure.  It was a true page turner all the way through to the climactic finale where the zombie, mermaid trucker returns to avenge the death of her father in a classic western zombie shoot-out that you have to read/see to believe.”

Yes, that works.  Reader Comment Excerpt for the day:

“flick starts with a flourish and punches you in the gut… I was immediately engaged… This screenplay managed to stay true to the genre, while simultaneously subverting it in a fresh, imaginative way.  it clearly could have received 5 or 6 secondary genre classifications that would’ve worked.  It was rather magical how the screenwriter wove various elements… It was a true page turner all the way through to the climactic finale… you have to read/see to believe.”

Post.

Surprise!  An aspiring screenwriter thinks it sounds like their screenplay.  Another writer KNOWS it’s their screenplay.  Another barrage of previously answered questions.  Do these people spend ANY time searching for their own answers?  I mean, the answer is posted on the website AND on Facebook.  Heck, I answered the exact same question three days ago, in the comments section of another reader comment excerpt.  (Maybe someone else will answer their question for me… cross my fingers.)

Ugh.  Not again.  Another bitter writer.  Really?  You post this on social media for the entire world to see?  You really want to burn all these bridges before you’ve even begun crossing them?  “Nicholl is shit”?  Really?  Where do these people come from?  Do I really have to find a polite way to respond to this buffoon?  What’s that rule again?  Reference figures, numbers and statistics, because this person clearly isn’t a human who responds to anything remotely emotional.  This job sucks.  But, maybe it’ll be good practice for dealing with other buffoons later in life.

How many people left their names on their screenplay submissions today?  “Twenty-three?!?  UGH!”  I hope none of you ever win.  Is it really that hard to follow directions?  (How will you ever be a professional anything?)  I understand some screenwriting software makes it a little more difficult, but there’s a reason we remind you over and over again not to wait until the last minute.  Heck, we even gave you seven extra hours… and, now, that’s a problem?  Shoot me now.

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