Arts & Culture

IFF competition solicits screenplays

Competitors were given prompts with specific props, lines and locations to use in their screenplays

Contributing Writer
Monday, March 18, 2013

As a precursor to the Ivy Film Festival next month, the student group hosted its second annual seven-day screenplay competition for graduates and undergraduates of Brown and other universities.

The competitors wrote and submitted screenplays March 11 to March 17 in response to a prompt that included  elements the writers were required to incorporate in their scripts. The first-place winner will take home an all-access pass to the 2013 IFF and a $150 cash prize as a reward for producing a high-quality story and most successfully integrating the required elements into the script. The winner’s script will also place as an automatic finalist in the IFF’s annual screenplay competition in one of the short-form categories. There is also a second place prize of $50.

The prompt required participants to  incorporate a location, character role, line of dialogue, narrative device and two props from enumerated lists. The list of props included a spatula, lava lamp, beeper, wizard’s hat, Capri Sun pouch and cheese grater, while the list of locations featured a nail salon, a high school gym, airport security, a Department of Motor Vehicles office and a petting zoo. The list of lines of dialogue featured expressions such as “Stop clenching — you’ll make it worse!” The scripts were limited to 20 pages excluding a cover page.

“The prompt hasn’t changed much from last year,” said Samuel Torres ’15, co-coordinator of the IFF’s screenplay committee. The only change is that competitors must choose two props instead of one, he added.

The seven-day competition is judged by the 14 members of the screenplay committee, including Torres and co-coordinator Rachel Borders ’13, a BlogDailyHerald contributor. Each staff member judges every screenplay on a rubric that is then turned in to the co-coordinators, and the scores for each screenplay are averaged. The members then converge to deliberate and choose the winner.

“I like getting to read what students from around the country are writing and talk about (the scripts) with others,” said Leah Michaels ’13, who has worked on the IFF for two years. “I think it has helped me as a writer and as a viewer of movies.”

Torres said the competition aims to involve students who do not have much experience with screenwriting. “It’s actually really fun. Some of the prompts are meant to be silly,” he added.

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