Last July I entered the Shriekfest 2008 short script competition with 3 scripts. One of them made it to the Semi-finals – a WWI film called “GAS”. Unfortunately none of them won.

As usual, when your work is judged by faceless entities and by mysterious criteria, you have no clue as to how to take such a let down. You doubt your good judgement and your talents, questioning if you have any of either, just like when you receive any rejection letter. Well despite the fires that are currently ravaging Hell-A at the moment, Denise the festival organiser managed to survive 2 evacuations (not the bowel movements, the actual removal of persons from a problem area) and provide me with feedback.

The feedback comes at the end of a weekend where I have been doubting my value as a member of society – being recently made unemployed as a victim of the current financial crisis and as a writer who is unable to whip this 4 page treatment into shape as yet, but also due to suffering from some mysterious lurgy and plagued by water pouring through a part of one’s Kitchen ceiling, where water should never be pouring – so to receive any positive news is a boon indeed!

The feedback message is detailed below and is the combined view of a number of judges:

The judges’ don’t always write in full sentences, but hopefully you’ll get something out of it.

interesting, I like some of the others better though.  well written, not me, well written, vivid description of war time, little confused at the end, Is it Davey or one  of the other soldiers who stole his gas mask?, interesting, kept my attention, Definitely depicts the horrors of war, enjoyed it, well written, a lot going on, very heavy, good writer, above average, interesting story, enjoyed it, but enjoyed others better, can’t say anything bad about it, fine writing, very sad, great descriptions, wow, I really liked it, well written, it’s just there are some others I prefer more…can’t really say why.  Good WWI story.  Great depiction of a poem.  Could be a cool short film…would like to see it.  Writer knows what he is doing.

… do NOT doubt your talents…you have lots of talent!  Keep pushing forward!  We look forward to reading your future projects!

As I said in a previous post, the competition was fierce this year. A good friend and much more talented writer also only made it to the Semis, when he had won a previous year’s feature competition. So knowing that I am in good company and that my work has been positively received, means alot to me.

This will be the fuel for future endeavours.

If like me you doubt whether you should enter a competition, because you fear you have no chance of winning and perhaps it is a money making scheme and not really going to land you a film deal, let me say this: If you desire positive validation of the work that you have created and want direct feedback from your peers, if want to know if you should keep plugging away at those blank pages each night, then I believe you should enter a competition; especially one that is well known to provide this valuable feedback.