Author Topic: 2012 Bluecat Screenplay Competition - Call for Entries  (Read 1756 times)

Offline bluecatscreenwriting

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2012 Bluecat Screenplay Competition - Call for Entries
« on: July 22, 2011, 07:31:15 PM »
Naming Your Baby: How to Find a Great Title to your Screenplay
by Gordy Hoffman

How exactly does one work on the title of their screenplay? I recently came up with such a wonderful idea for a movie, one of those miraculous moments, like finding money on the sidewalk. I told somebody, and they said, ďGreat. Whatís the title?Ē Suddenly, and rather horrifyingly, my beauty of an idea is crippled. Instant orphaned bastard! You wanna strangle the person. You feel insulted. Whatís the title!? Why would you even ask that, like, right after I told you this incredible gem?

Well, of course they would ask that. Every movie needs a name. But unlike nearly every other aspect of screenwriting, there are no techniques to titling your script. We can practice the three act structure, workshop our dialogue, check the arcs of our characters, but what craft is there to naming your movie?

The first movie I wrote that was made was entitled LOVE LIZA. The movie was about a man whose wife has committed suicide. She has left him a note, and the movie is the story of his struggle to open this letter and read her final words. I remember finding this title fairly quickly, the name clearly referencing an element of the letter left behind. But what I found to be most interesting about this title was the lack of punctuation----the title wasnít LOVE, LIZA. When the press kits started to be put together, I had to keep reminding everyone there was no comma between LOVE and LIZA. The comma-less title takes on a different meaning in the context of the movie. I was lucky to find a title that meant one thing before you watched the movie, and meant something else after youíre done.

Sometimes titles come long before the screenplay has even started. I have come up with great titles that have no idea at all behind them. They function as stakes in the ground. I got so angry with someone for complaining about the shoes I was wearing that I vowed to write a movie called WRONG SHOES. Soon after, I came up with an idea of a girl taking her video camera to her cousinís bachelorette party, and starting casting, with an intention to write, develop and workshop the screenplay, WRONG SHOES, with the cast. Once we got into the second draft of the screenplay, the title, WRONG SHOES, didnít fit the tone of the story, and we found another, and renamed the movie, A COAT OF SNOW. This title strikes people a myriad of ways, and even after watching the movie, the audience is left to fit its significance.

So how do you get a great title to your screenplay? Well, the first thing you gotta do to find the great movie title is write a screenplay. You can find a great title before you write a screenplay, but then you donít really have a title problem, you have a missing screenplay problem. I asked a flight attendant once what the snack they just handed me tasted like and they said, ďPlane food.Ē I loved that. I thought, that would be a great title for a movie. Who knows what the story is, but there it is, a great title. But no script.

Letís say you have an idea, you have your outline, or your scribbling on napkins, polaroids, whatever, and youíre ready to start writing. Do you need a title right now? Of course not and why not. If itís gonna distract you and make you miserable and pull your focus, you should definitely not worry about a title at all. The reason itís distracting you is because the writing of your screenplay is making you uncomfortable. So if youíre fretting about what to call your movie before youíve started writing, you donít have a problem with a missing title, you have a writing problem.

If youíre ready to sit down and start writing, and picking a title isnít gonna make you crazy, go ahead and make one up. Writing a screenplay is a long, hard path, and putting a name on your work is good. What do you call the name of your labor? Itís called a working title. Working titles, like WRONG SHOES, get you working on your screenplay. Working titles often get swept away later by a much richer name. Working titles allow you to function, reminding us that everything we put down on paper is not final. I often wait to work and become immobilized by wanting something to be perfect RIGHT NOW. It doesnít work that way. Creation is mysterious, and like great endings, titles come to us on the road to something else. Working titles function as a lamp to that road. We are in play.

Letís say youíre done with your draft and your title still doesnít feel right. Itís been your working title for a while now, and itís worked, but you know thereís something missing, and you need the real one. Well, if youíre thinking about a good title and you donít have a good title, then your screenplay needs a lot of work. Itís time to let it sit for three weeks, then give yourself another raft of notes. You can drive around in your car and think about how your movie ends, or what itís called, and you might think a light bulb goes off, and youíve got the great title, but itís only a sign of discomfort with story.

I write something now and donít know what itís called, but I have a working title, which doesnít work so much, so I often call it ďmy next movie.Ē I know the absence of a good idea forces me forward to the greatness that lies ahead. I know from my experience that my fumbling in the dark for everything, story, title, ending, line, is the hard, true and honest work of real writing. How can I sit through this? I want to know what my title is, and I want it to be magnificent. In the end, itís called patience.

About the Author

Winner of the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award at the Sundance Film Festival for LOVE LIZA, Gordy Hoffman has taught screenwriting at the USC School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, as well as led workshops all over North America, Poland and the UK. He has served as a panelist for the IFP Script to Screen Conference in NYC, Women in Film's Script DC Conference in Washington, D.C., the George Eastman House Film Festival, as well as a judge for the McKnight Screenwriting Fellowships in Minnesota. Gordy Hoffman founded the BlueCat Screenplay Competition in 1998 and remains its judge. He's currently writing a movie about Christmas Shopping. For more articles written by Gordy Hoffman on screenwriting, visit:

BlueCatís 2012 Movie Title Contest!

After years of discovering incredible movie titles throughout the thousands of submissions weíve received, BlueCat has decided to have some fun with your wonderfully named screenplaysÖ
Every screenplay entered in the BlueCat Screenplay Competition by Aug 1 is automatically entered in our Movie Title Contest. The Top Three will receive $250! And, of course, everyone remains eligible to win BlueCat.

BlueCat Screenplay Competition
Hollywood CA 90028
« Last Edit: August 02, 2011, 05:57:49 AM by Nick »

Offline Bluecat1

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2012 BlueCat Screenplay Competition CALL FOR ENTRIES!
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2011, 04:36:14 PM »
2012 BlueCat Screenplay Competition CALL FOR ENTRIES!

***Early Bird Deadline Aug 1:  be eligible for the Best Screenplay Title prizes!  Top three awarded $250.

Script Analysis
This year we will be offering two written screenplay analyses for each submission!  Two different readers will read each script, with each reader providing written script analysis.

Winner receives $10,000, with four finalists receiving $2,000 each.

Best UK screenplay $1,000.

Best screenplay from outside the USA, Canada and the UK $1,000.

Every entrant who submits by August 1st is eligible for our Title contest, where three scripts will be awarded $250.

One writer will be awarded a live, staged reading with professional local actors at Screenplay Live in Rochester, New York, as part of the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival. The prize includes travel, hotel and a $250 stipend.

Official Deadlines
Early Bird: August 1, 2011  (Best Screenplay Title Contest)
Regular deadline is October 15th with an entry fee of $60.
Final deadline is November 15th with an entry fee of $65.


Founded in 1998 by screenwriter Gordy Hoffman, the BlueCat Screenwriting Competition continues to evolve as it enters its second decade. With an open exchange of feedback with the screenwriter, BlueCat has developed into a large community of writers passionately committed to writing original, unforgettable work.

BlueCat Screenplay Competition
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Offline bluecatscreenwriting

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The BlueCat Screenplay Competition: DEADLINE APPROACHING
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2011, 05:31:29 PM »
The BlueCat Screenplay Competition:  DEADLINE APPROACHING

Deadline: October 15th (Regular $60) November 15th (Final $65)

Latest News:

BlueCat Winner The Man in the Rearview Mirror sells for low six figures. (October 2011)
Michael Fassbender (X-MEN: FIRST CLASS) attaches to BlueCat Finalist Aaron Guzikowski's Blacklist Script.

BlueCat Finalist Jim Beggarly currently has two feature films in post-production: FREE SAMPLES which stars Jesse Eisenberg (THE SOCIAL NETWORK) and Jason Ritter (Oliver Stone's W.) and THE KITCHEN, which stars Laura Prepon (THAT 70s SHOW).

Discovering and Developing Writers Since 1998
Founded by a writer, the BlueCat Screenplay Competitionís passionate commitment to develop and discover the unknown screenwriter continues to define our work today.

Our Winners and Finalists have been signed by major talent agencies like UTA, CAA and WME, sold their work to studios like Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal, and won major awards at the Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, all after being discovered by and winning BlueCat.

We provide each writer who enters BlueCat two written analyses, ensuring each entry is reviewed by two readers, while supporting screenwriters of all levels and stages of development with the constructive feedback all writers require.

All entries submitted by October 15th will receive their written analyses by November 11th. Screenplays submitted after October 15th and before our final deadline of November 15th will receive their analyses by March 1, 2012.



Grand prize $10,000, with four Finalists winning $2000 each.

The Cordelia Award will be given to the best screenplay from the UK and will win $1000.

The Joplin Award will be given to the best screenplay from outside the USA, Canada and UK and will win $1000.

One writer will be awarded a live, staged reading with professional local actors at Screenplay Live in Rochester, New York, as part of the 360|365 George Eastman House Film Festival. The prize includes travel, hotel and a $250 stipend.

Visit our website to learn more about the BlueCat community, watch videos on screenwriting, read interviews and articles on the craft, meet our readers and more!


BlueCat Screenplay Competition