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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

September 10th, 2013

  • 17 of the World's Oldest Films
  • Filmmaking Tips from Robert Altman  
  • 10 Indie Films to Check Out This Month 
  • Ray Bradbury Interview 
  • A Lesson in Storyboarding 
  • Robert Towne Video Interview  
  • Joel and Ethan Coen New York Times Interview
  • A Rookie Writing Mistake: On-the-Nose Dialogue
  • Strategies for Breaking In & Advancing Your Screenwriting Career 
  • Selected Script: M*A*S*H
  • New Workshops: Kansas City and Rochester 
2014 Call for Entries
We are now open for submissions!

Official Call for Entries 
Next Deadline: Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Entry Fee: ($65 Features, $50 Shorts)
All entry fees increase after October 15.

This year, BlueCat establishes one of the largest cash prizes in the world for a Short Screenplay, with a Grand prize of $10,000, along with an increase in our Feature prize to $15,000.

Students will be eligible to submit their short screenplay at a discounted rate of $29 for the duration of the competition.


Each Short Screenplay submission will receive one written analysis, while each Feature Screenplay entry will receive two.


All submissions will be eligible for a Resubmission entry if received by the October 15th deadline.



Best Feature Screenplay

 $15,000 Grand Prize
Four Finalists

$2,500 Prize


Best Short Screenplay

$10,000 Grand Prize

Three Finalists

$1,500 Prize


The Cordelia Award

Best Feature Screenplay from the UK

$1,500 Prize


The Joplin Award

Best Feature Screenplay from outside the USA, Canada or the UK

$1,500 Prize



Recent achievements by BlueCat Alumni include:
  • Young Il Kim's script, RODHAM, a 2012 Blacklist Script, recently attached director James Ponsoldt (THE SPECTACULAR NOW). Young recently won the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Commissioning Grant from Sundance, where he will write a biopic on Stephen Hawking.

  • Elijah Wood produced Ana Lily Amipour's A GIRL WALKS HOME ALONE AT NIGHT, set for release in late 2013.

  • Aaron Guzikowski's PRISONERS, starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal and Melissa Leo, will be released September 2013.  The Sundance Channel recently bought Aaron's TV pilot, THE DESCENDANTS, making it their second scripted show after RECTIFY.

  • Ashleigh Powell sold her script, SOMACELL, to Warner Brothers, with David Goyer attached to produce.

  • SOMACELL, along with RODHAM, were two 2012 Blacklist Scripts written by BlueCat Alumni.
17 of the World's Oldest Films 
Captured by Thomas Edison
Newark Athlete - 1891 
Want to see what a 122 year-old film looks like? recently shared a group of films from the Library of Congress which feature Thomas Edison's earliest filmmaking efforts.

Follow the link below for a ride in the waywaywayback machine.

"Thomas Edison was a man of firsts. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that he built the first movie studio in 1893 (called the Black Maria, above). Stocked with a staff of fellow know-it-alls, Edison's Company made nearly 1200 films. Here are some of Edison's best oldies, from the first recording of a kiss to the greatest cat video on the internet."
Ten Indie Films to Check Out This Month 
If you need help navigating your September film-going schedule, here's a handful of suggestions from Indiewire. With a focus on indie films, this list is sure to provide some decent post-summer fare.

If you've seen of any the films, head over to Facebook and let us know what you thought.

"September  is about to offer quite the selection to movie-goers (even for those not heading to Toronto this week), with dozens of films on Indiewire's September calendar. As an extension of our recent fall movie preview, Indiewire is offering the first of four monthly fall "must-see" lists to make cinematic decision-making over the next 30 days as easy as possible. 

From Nicole Holofencer to J.D. Salinger to Joseph Gordon-Levitt, check out Indiewire's picks for September's 10 best options, and then check out the full September calendar, as there are many worthy films that didn't end up making this list." 
The Writer Speaks: Robert Towne  
From the Writers Guild Foundation
The Writer Speaks: Robert Towne 
The Writer Speaks: Robert Towne
Today's video interview comes to us courtesy of the Writers Guild Foundation. From their "The Writer Speaks" series, this video features screenwriter Robert Towne, whose took home an Oscar for CHINATOWN, which is number three on AFI's list of the greatest screenplays of all time. Towne also earned Academy Award nominations for THE LAST DETAIL; SHAMPOO; and GREYSTROKE: THE LEGEND OF TARZAN, LORD OF THE APES.

From the Writers Guild Foundation:

"The writer of CHINATOWN discusses his life as a Hollywood screenwriter."


Bonus Towne  
How They Write a Script 
Here's some bonus Robert Towne material from the Go Into the Story blog of Scott Myers. Culled from a number of sources, Myers collected some tidbits on Towne's writing process. Follow the link below to enjoy.

From the Go Into the Story:

"The screenplay for CHINATOWN is considered one of the greatest of all time (it was named the #3 best script in the WGA's 101 Best Screenplays list). The script was written by Robert Towne, who also received writing credit for a slew of other movies including SHAMPOO, TEQUILA SUNRISE, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE II. Towne is also one of Hollywood's busiest 'script doctors' having worked on yet received no credit for a host of movies including HEAVEN CAN WAIT and 8 MILLION WAYS TO DIE.

Here are some of Towne's reflections on screenwriting as a craft and a profession, excerpted from interviews in books and magazines I've read over the years."


And if you're feeling especially academic, be sure to check out the PhD dissertation on Towne's career below the video on this blog post on Cinephilia and Beyond:

Strategies for Breaking In and Advancing Your Screenwriting Career
By David Trottier 
Looking to make a career as a screenwriter? Aren't we all? Well David Trottier, the script consultant who is perhaps best known for his book The Screenwriter's Bible, shared 21 strategies to get the ball rolling. Follow the link below for his advice.

From FilmmakerIQ

"When you write your first screenplay, the path to glory seems clear-find an agent who will get you a six-figure deal. A hundred and fifty query letters later, you're languishing at Hollywood's front gate. You've received a lot of encouragement, but, as Pauline Kael put it, 'Hollywood's the only town where you can die of encouragement.' Maybe it's time to try another approach."

Filmmaking Tips from Robert Altman
Today's tips come from seven-time Academy Award nominee Robert Altman.  Follow the link below to read about Altman's approach to working with actors and operating within the studio system, among other subjects. Thanks again to Film School Rejects for compiling the info.

"It's sort of fitting that Robert Altman was nominated 7 times for Oscars but never won. He was naturally gracious when awarded an honorary statue for a truly distinguished career, but handing him the hardware earlier might have been a bit like offering an anchor to a man as reward for clearing a new path out of the jungle.

A product of the wide open mindset of the 1970s, Altman nonetheless successfully navigated decades of changing tides within the industry, carving out a career that took him from effective workman to pioneer to contemplative auteur."
Ray Bradbury Interview  
Paris Review (via GITS)  
We're always interested in reading interviews with writers within a variety of mediums.

A recent post on Go Into the Story, led us to an interview with Ray Bradbury published in a 2010 edition of Paris Review.

Bradbury, perhaps most well known for his novels, actually dabbled in screenwriting, writing for ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and adapting MOBY DICK for John Huston.

Follow the link below for the interview. 
"We're the Establishment Now" 
Coen Brothers in The New York Times 
The Coen Brothers' new film, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, which will be released in December, has already received a warm critical reception. According to this interview with The New York Times, this latest effort may be of note for another reason for the Coen Brothers: it might be their last movie shot on film.

Opening up about their collaborative process and gauging their opinions on the current state of Hollywood, the interview is a must-read. 

From The NYT:

When Joel and Ethan Coen were growing up, they used to make Super 8 films, including remakes of Hollywood movies that they had watched on TV. Since then, the Coens have continued to let their imagination loose while ranging wide across cinematic and literary genres, drawing on pulp literature (BLOOD SIMPLE,
MILLER'S CROSSING) screwball cinema (THE HUDSUCKER PROXY, INTOLERABLE CRUELTY), Homer's Odyssey (O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?), the Bible and their own suburban Minneapolis childhood (A SERIOUS MAN) to make movies that, increasingly, have the quality of an evolving, distinctly American mythopoeia."

A Rookie Mistake 
From Ken Levine 
Here's a useful post from a blog that we like to frequent. By Ken Levine is the blog of comedy writer Ken Levine, who has worked on television shows such as M*A*S*H, CHEERS, and FRASIER, among many others. Levine tackles a wide range of topics. In this post, he approaches a straightforward craft issue. 

From By Ken Levine:

"From time to time I try to flag rookie writing mistakes so you can avoid making the same blunders I did early in my career. Today's topic: writing on the nose.
Selected Script:

From the novel by Richard Hooker
Written by Ring Lardner Jr.
Connect with BlueCat 
Be sure to follow us on Twitter and "Like" us on Facebook and become part of the BlueCat community. You'll be able to stay up-to-date on the latest developments with the competition, and take part in contests to earn a free entry!

Recent posts include Emma Coats' "22 Story Basics" she picked up while working at Pixar. 
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BlueCat Workshops
BlueCat Screenplay Workshops are a one-day, intensive opportunity to certifiably improve your script in a small group environment, led by award winning screenwriter and BlueCat founder Gordy Hoffman.

Your script will be read in advance both by Gordy as well as the other workshop participants; everyone receives in-depth feedback on their script from a number of different perspectives.

Online Workshop - September 26th - REGISTER 
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Rochester - October 15th - REGISTER 
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- October 26th - REGISTER
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