BlueCat Logo
What's New, BlueCat?                                          
The Official Newsletter of the

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

May 8th, 2012    

Ashleigh Powell made waves as a BlueCat finalist with her script MALLPOCALYPSE - the tale of a mild mannered manicurist who winds up taking part in an epic battle between good and evil that plays out in a shopping mall. Now, she talks to us about her origins and devotion to writing, as well as her willingness to sacrifice sleep for creativity.   


When did you start writing screenplays?    


I discovered screenplays during my junior year of college. I went to college in my home state of Virginia, and I was an English/Creative Writing major. We had no real film program to speak of, but we did have an Introductory to Screenwriting course. I took it as a fun departure from the prose medium, and immediately fell in love.


Why did you start writing screenplays?   


First, I've always loved movies. And the stories I'd written up until that point all had cinematic qualities. But what really pushed me toward screenplays was the structure. I'd written two novels by my junior year of college (neither of which will ever see the light of day), and each one was several hundred pages that took several years just to get through a first draft. I found the idea of being forced to tell a full story in 120 pages or less completely refreshing. I also got it in my head that it would be easier to break into the screenwriting world than the book-writing world. I don't know if that's true or not... but, for me, it's a choice that seems to be paying off.

How many screenplays have you finished?    


Over a dozen, though I only have two or three that I'll actually show people. Every new project has been it's own  learning process, and I like to think I'm improving my craft with each new script.

How do you find time to write?    


I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, "Yeah, I want to write... I just don't have time." The truth is, everyone has the same amount of time. There are a million other things you could be doing with your 24 hours a day besides writing screenplays. Dedicating a specific time for writing takes discipline and sacrifice. In my case, I decided to sacrifice sleep. I was an executive assistant at a production company for a few years, which meant 80-hour work weeks and bringing work home on the weekends. Since I'm a morning person, I'd wake up at 5:45am and write for about an hour and a half every morning before I had to start my day. And that way, no matter what else happened during the day, I'd feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that I'd already met my writing goal by 8am.

What aspects of the writing process do you struggle with the most?    


Strangely, getting a foot in the door by getting representation has made the process of finding a new project more of a struggle. It's no longer as easy as coming up with an idea that appeals to me personally. Now I'm learning to take into consideration things like - Is there an audience for this script? Will it sell? Is it commercial? How does it define me as a screenwriter? Now that I have a strict vetting process, it means a lot of my new ideas get pushed to the side, which can be frustrating. But it also means that, once I've found an idea that meets all the criteria, I know it has a strong potential for success.

Why do you feel like you do well as a screenwriter?    


I feel like I'm a natural story teller, and have been since childhood. And I like to think I have a good ear for dialogue, which is important in any writing medium, but perhaps most important in screenwriting.

How does screenwriting make you happy?    


Ha, you should ask my husband! He can always tell when I'm in between projects or stalled on an idea because my mood noticeably shifts. I get dark and gloomy and preoccupied. For me, writing is more than just a passion - it feels like a compulsion. 

What do you think is the biggest problem with storytelling in Hollywood?    


I think Hollywood tends to be a bit conservative about embracing new ideas. Studios seem to always be on the hunt for something that's "the same, but different" - they're looking for a new twist on a familiar genre or convention that audiences have proven to love... which can make them hesitant to take a chance on a project that's too "outside the box". It can be frustrating, but thanks to all the leaps that we're making in new media, it's easier than ever to circumvent the Hollywood system and get new ideas out there. 

How can you improve in how you handle feedback?   


I'm learning that a big part of handling feedback involves understanding which notes to use and which notes to disregard. This is especially true if you're in a writers group, and you get half a dozen conflicting opinions on one topic. Ultimately, it comes down to having an innate understanding of the story you want to tell. That said, if you keep getting the same note from multiple sources, chances are it's a note you should use. 

What are your greatest fears about screenwriting?    


Just the usual - complete and utter failure. But I find it comforting that even established and award-winning screenwriters have this exact same fear. Comes with the territory, I guess.

What is your highest screenwriting goal for yourself?    


To be able to make an actual living off telling stories. That's the dream. 

What do you do to achieve that goal?   


Write, write, write. That's what's so great about screenwriting, as opposed to say acting or directing. It costs no money to do what you do, and there are no limitations to what you can create. Also, I'm not sure I could be where I am now without living in LA and immersing myself in the industry. And you can't be afraid to put yourself out there and get people to read your stuff. Competitions (like BlueCat!) can be extremely helpful in that way - especially competitions whose judges work in the industry and can pass your work on to producers, managers, and agents.


This was all informative, but we're still reeling from the part where you would willingly get up at 5:45 AM every day to write. That's some dedication! Congratulations again, Ashleigh - we're glad to see the sacrificed sleep is finally paying off!  

for the
Grand prize: $2000

Two Finalists: $500 each

   Have you got a great idea for a screenplay that just doesn't happen to be feature length? Maybe you've already written a short screenplay - between five and forty pages long - but you're not sure what to do with it. Maybe you're looking to get some perspective on your short before you try to produce it, and maybe pick up a little extra cash for the budget while you're at it.

If so, then submit your screenplay to BlueCat Short Screenplay Competition! Think of it as a smaller version of the annual Feature BlueCat Screenplay Competition - shorter scripts and a shorter timeframe, but just as equally lucrative and beneficial to your development as a writer.

at midnight PDT

All analysis will be sent by June 15th.

$35 entry fee (with analysis)

$20 entry fee (without analysis)

Winner will be announced August 1st, 2012 



Taking Notes
It's Not Just For Students Anymore

If only writing a screenplay were as easy as hammering out a draft, sticking it in an envelope, and waiting for the money to roll in. No, there's writing, there's feedback, there's rewriting, there's more feedback, and then there's more writing - and one day, if you're lucky, there might be a paycheck.

A big part of that process is being able to digest and apply the information given to you in your script notes - and fortunately, the good people at My Blank Page have put together a pretty exhaustive tutorial on how to get the most out of your feedback. 
Ask BlueCat
From Gordy's Mouth to Your Ears

Over our history, BlueCat's often been asked questions from our community, topics ranging from script formatting, improving dialogue or finding representation. BlueCat founder and judge Gordy Hoffman attempts to answers your questions in our video feature, Ask BlueCat
Untitled Sarah Palin Sex Doll Project Reading
What's This? Saucy Shenanigans in Santa Monica?

BlueCat finalist Zeke "Zekeness" Farrow recently held a reading of his finalist script, Untitled Sarah Palin Sex Doll Project, at a venue in Santa Monica. A bevy of BlueCat movers and shakers were in attendance, including BlueCat founder Gordy Hoffman. Take a look at the pictures on Facebook to see what you missed out on!

Why? Well, because...
THE 2013
will start accepting submissions on June 15th, 2012.  

Every entry will receive two written analyses.  



Heads up! There's two spots left for our May 12th South Florida workshop - register now! 
Please check the list below for complete information on all upcoming workshops.    
 About Our Workshops

We write screenplays for people. The relationship between the story on the screen in the theatre and the people sitting in the seats makes or breaks the artistic and commercial success of the movie.

What does a screenplay do to authentically engage an audience? What compels a reader to keep turning the pages? Why do specific elements elicit stronger emotional reactions to our stories? How does a writer write this into their screenplay? Where does this come from within the writer?


An award-winning screenwriter, Gordy Hoffman founded the BlueCat Screenplay Competition in 1998, having since presided over the evaluation and adjudication of over 10,000 screenplays. This unique combination of writer and reader of screenplays has allowed Gordy to develop and evolve a keen eye and feel for how a screenplay works successfully, and the intuitive, personal ways to address the problems of a screenplay through a writer's approach.


Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 Writers)

Participants read seven screenplays in advance of the workshop. Screenplays can be first drafts or rewrites, with first time writers and veterans all welcome. During the workshop, Gordy provides direct and in-depth feedback on each screenplay, with everyone encouraged to contribute his or her own thoughts and concerns. Gordy provides brief written notes to each writer after the workshop. Audit option available.


The First Ten Pages Workshop (Limit 12 writers)

Each writer submits the first ten pages of their screenplay to the group before the workshop day. On the workshop day, we read the ten pages out loud, providing each writer the valuable experience of hearing their script, followed by a discussion of the pages by the workshop. Audit option available.


What if I don't have a script ready, but I'd like to attend?

Do you want to participate, but do not have a script to submit at this time? You can audit the workshop, which allows you to attend without submitting written material, read the scripts in advance and still participate in the discussion.

Note: A workshop may sell out in regards to full registrations, but the audit option is always available.


Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers---2 spots left)
Saturday, May 12th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Hilton Garden Inn 
180 SW 18th Avenue 
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33004 
Full Registration $225 
Audit $45

San Diego  
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, May 19th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $225 
Audit $45
Register Now

Full Script Online Workshop  

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Thursday, May 24th, Midnight PST: Scripts due
Sunday, June 10th PST: Gordy releases comment videos
Sunday, June 17th, 6PM PST: Followup questions due
Wednesday, June 20th, 6PM PST: Gordy releases followup videos  
Full Registration: $180
Audit: $40

Washington, D.C.   
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers) 
Saturday, June 2nd, 9:00AM-6:00PM  
Full Registration $225  
Audit $45 
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, June 16th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $225 (ONLY THREE SPOTS LEFT) 
Audit $45

Los Angeles 

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers) 

Saturday, June 23rd, 9:00AM-6:00 PM

  Full Registration $175  

Audit $45  
Register Now

Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, June 30th, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM 
Full Registration $225 
Audit $45 
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers---5 spots left!)
Saturday, August 25th, 9:00 AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $395 USD 
Audit $75 USD 

First Ten Pages Workshop (Limit 12 writers)
Sunday, August 26th, 9:00AM-6:00PM 
Full Registration $150 USD
Audit $75 USD
Full Script Workshop (Limit 7 writers)
Saturday, September 29th, 9:00AM-6:00PM
Full Registration $225
Audit $45

                                 Join the BlueCat Community

Send us an Email

Visit the Website

Add us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter