BlueCat Logo

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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

September 24th, 2013

  • BlueCat Alum Aaron Gruzikowski's PRISONERS is #1 at the Box Office
  • NOVAC Needs Your Support 
  • Fall Goalpost Week #2
  • Facebook Free Entry Contest
  • Writing Tips from John Steinbeck
  • 70 Short Films from 70 Directors from the Venice Film Festival  
  • Tips to Survive the Film Industry from John Hawkes
  • How to Be Prolific: Guidelines for Getting Done by Joss Whedon
  • Interview with Screenwriter John Ridley, 12 YEARS A SLAVE
  • 5 Cinematographers and Their Unique Techniques 
  • Selected Script: THE AVENGERS
  • 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.
BlueCat Alum Aaron Guzikowski's PRISONERS Captures the #1 Slot at the Box Office    
$20+ Million
Aaron Guzikowski with Hugh Jackman, star of PRISONERS
If you've been following the latest BlueCat news, you'll know that last weekend, PRISONERS, a film scripted by BlueCat Alum Aaron Guzikowski, opened to rave reviews and a big box office.

Guzikowski was a finalist in 2005 with his script PANACEA, about a boy that finds a tiny statue that apparently awakens his comatose father. His mother then sets out to heal the world, one person at a time, until she slowly realizes each and every cure has a disturbing cost.

To celebrate Guzikowski's success, here are a few articles related to PRISONERS, and the long path it traveled to production.

First up, from Hollywood Journal, is a piece by Adam Kolbrenner, co-founder of Madhouse Entertainment, who was the first to discover Guzikowski's script.

Next, is an article from The Wrap, in which Guzikowski describes the origin of the story and its path to theaters.

The final article recounts a visit to the set by Russ Fischer of /Film.

The Fall Goalpost, Week #2 
Or: How to Write 90 Pages in 30 Days

We're entering the second week of our Fall Goalpost. If you've been keeping up, you should have nearly 30 pages of new material written. 


Many of us hear tales of screenwriters who lock themselves in a room and blast out a screenplay in a matter of days.


These stories make it easy for us to believe we are capable of the same feat. Kudos to the few with this ability, but for most of us, the reality of our lives prevent this method of creation from happening.


To be an aspiring writer means that there is always an obligation somewhere else - work, school, family, etc. - and most of our energy and attention is diverted away from actually writing our screenplay.


Author Ray Bradbury shares the most common tip given by professionals to aspiring writers: "You must write every single day of your life." With all of life's responsibilities, attaining this level of discipline is difficult. But it is certainly within reach for everyone.

That is why BlueCat Screenwriting is starting its Fall Goalpost. Write 90 pages in 30 days. No, you don't have to buy something or do anything unreasonable. There is no secret, really-you've probably figured it out after reading the title. All you need is thirty minutes a day and the writing tool(s) of your choice.

For directions on participating in the Fall Goalpost, follow the link below the BlueCat Blog.

Six Tips on Writing from John Steinbeck   

Today's writing tips come from literary great John Steinbeck, and originally appeared in a 1975 issue of The Paris Review. Steinbeck touches on topics such as dialogue, writing freely, and finishing, among others.

"If this is indeed the year of reading more and writing better, we've been right on course with David Ogilvy's [10 tips], Henry Miller's 11 commandments, and various invaluable advice from other great writers. Now comes John Steinbeck - Pulitzer Prize winner, Nobel laureate, love guru - with six tips on writing, culled from his altogether excellent interview it the Fall 1975 issue of
Seven Tips for Surviving the Film Industry from Oscar-Nominee John Hawkes   
From MovieMaker  

John Hawkes has a built an impressive resum on both the big screen and television. With a career that started in 1985, he's learned a few lessons along the way. Earlier this year, he was kind enough to share seven tips to surviving the film industry with

From MovieMaker:

"Since making his debut in the 1985 horror-comedy FUTURE-KILL, John Hawkes has become one of Hollywood's most reliable character actors, racking up close to 200 credits thus far. The Minnesota native has been a familiar face on the small screen, with starring roles in DEADWOOD and EASTBOUND AND DOWN. He has stolen scenes on the big screen in films big and small, including THE PERFECT STORM, ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW, and AMERICAN GANGSTER. in 2011 he was nominated for an Oscar for his powerful turn as a meth addict in Debra Granik's WINTER'S BONE. He's appeared most recently in LINCOLN, and Ben Lewin's THE SESSIONS."


Vision Quest: 5 Cinematographers & Their Unique Techniques 
Director Ron Howard, left, and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle, Right, on the set of RUSH

With the help of, in today's newsletter we can show some love to cinematographers.

Profiled in the article are Anthony Dod Mantle (RUSH), Ellen Kuras (A LITTLE CHAOS), Emmanuel Lubezki (GRAVITY), Bruno Delbonnel (INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS), and Sean Bobbit (12 YEARS A SLAVE).


"The role of cinematographer is a sort of hybrid between translator (of a director's vision), guru (they impart wisdom to everyone on set on how a scene can be blocked, shot) and first mate. They're as close to a director's equal as you can get in the dictatorship that is a film. While every member of a film crew, to varying degrees, shapes the final product that we see in the theater, the cinematographer is second only to the director to the power they exert. They are, after all, involved in every single shot. It is through their lens that we experience a movie."


Hey, Whaddya Say? 
Help Support the New Orleans Video Access Center 
Not-for-Profit Media Arts Center

BlueCat has many important supporters, one of which is the New Orleans Video Access Center, or NOVAC, a not-for-profit media arts center established in 1972. 


Now, NOVAC needs your help in raising funds via Kickstarter to help make their Web Weekend 2013 a success.



NOVAC has launched a Kickstarter Campaign for their October micro-conference Web Weekend. Designed to educate, inspire and nurture the talents of film and media makers who are creating content specifically for the web, Web Weekend and their lineup of distinguished panelists will also cover the latest trends in online video and digital media. Held at the BioInnovation Center and in partnership with the New Orleans Film Festival, Web Weekend will feature online and webseries celebrities like Mark Gantt (The Bannen Way), Claire Graves (Managing Director, The Webby Awards), Angela Tucker (Black Folk Don't), Andrew Mer (VP of Content Partnerships, SnagFilms), Mike Tringe (Co-Founder, CreatorUp!) as well as the writer/producer team Allison Hord and Charles Ingram from the hit web channel Funny or Die.  


As part of its organizational commitment to developing local filmmakers, NOVAC will also host a Web Weekend Think Tank, an opportunity for selected local web series creators to get the critical feedback from our visiting panelists and mentors that they need to improve and expand their projects.  Some of the local webseries creators showcasing their work and participating in the Think Tank inlcude: NOVAC Sponsored filmmaker Helen Krieger (Least Favorite Love Songs), CJ Hunt & Kyle June Williams (Sunken City), and Shannon Kitchens (The Adventures of Keith Flippin),to name a few.


But in order for NOVAC to bring these high level guests and to provide the community with the exceptional quality of programming they have become known for, NOVAC needs help from the community they have served for over 40 years to raise an additional $5,000. NOVAC launched their Kickstarter Campaign on September 3rd with 30 days to raise their goal of $5,000. NOVAC is sweetening the deal by offering backers prizes like passes and special seating at Web Weekend, Guest Blogging for the NOVAC website, deluxe equipment rental packages and more.


HOW TO SUPPORT WEB WEEKEND 2013: Visit the Web Weekend kickstarter page at or by visiting the donate page on the NOVAC website at For more information or for questions about sponsorship contact the NOVAC offices at 504-940-5780 or email NOVAC's Director of Programs at

Facebook Free Entry Contest
Connect with BlueCat 
We're offering you a chance to enter your short or feature screenplay for free!

All you have to do is "like" our Facebook page, where we share screenwriting tidbits and treasures from all corners of the internet.

There is absolutely nothing to lose, so what are you waiting for? Your chance at a free entry awaits!


70 Short Films from 70 Directors from the 70th Venice Film Festival 
Found via the website, here's a collection of videos commissioned by the Venice Film Festival to celebrate its 70th anniversary.

From TheDissolve:

"To commemorate its 70th anniversary, the Venice Film Festival (which just concluded last Saturday) commissioned 70 short films from 70 directors. The only ground rule was the duration: no less than 60 seconds, no more than 90. Otherwise, the 'great maestros, well-known directors, and young filmmakers of recognized talent' (as the festival's website puts it) were allowed to do whatever they wanted, something many proved by going over the alloted time."  
How to Be Prolific: Guidelines for Getting It Done from Joss Whedon 
From Co.Create  
Filmmaker Joss Whedon has seen great success in both television and film. He's produced mainstream, big-budget blockbusters, as well as indie fare. And he's always balancing a handful of projects at once. So the big question is: how does he do it?

Thanks to a posting on Co.Create back in June, Whedon shared some insight  into how he manages his workload and gets things done. 

From Co.Create: 
"Few people get things done in as consistent and impressive a fashion as Joss Whedon. His AVENGERS was the rare superhero movie to break box office records as it garnered critical acclaim. And while he was editing that Marvel-Disney monster, he secretly shot a version of Shakespeare's MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING at his own house with friends from many of his previous movie and TV projects...Whedon sat down with Co.Create to lay out how he manages to juggle so many projects. His secret? Identifying concrete steps, friends, and tough love."

Screenwriter John Ridley, 12 YEARS A SLAVE 
Video Interview: DP/30 
DP/30 @ TIFF '13: 12 YEARS A SLAVE, screenwriter John Ridley 
DP/30 @ TIFF '13: 12 YEARS A SLAVE, screenwriter John Ridley
12 YEARS A SLAVE has become a critical darling as its makes its way around the festival circuit, generating heavy Oscar buzz. 
DP/30 recently had the opportunity to interview screenwriter John Ridley, who discusses the film, which is based on the autobiography of Solomon Northrup.  

From DP/30:

"A few days before 12 YEARS A SLAVE won the Audience Award at the 2013 Toronto International Film Festival, David Poland had a chance to sit down with screenwriter John Ridley to talk about the project. Shot in Toronto, September 2013."
Selected Script:

Written by Joss Whedon 
Advertise With BlueCat
Would you like to advertise in our newsletter? Interested in a dedicated e-blast? We have nearly 13,000 screenwriters who read our newsletter every week. To discuss, please contact Heather at
BlueCat Screenwriting Workshops
Preston Sturgess
BlueCat Screenplay Workshops are an 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.

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, Australia, New Zealand 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, DC, and 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.




Participants read all screenplays in advance of the workshop. 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.


Each writer will leave with a great sense of what they can do specifically to improve their screenplay, as well as a better awareness of where they might properly develop as a professional screenwriter as a whole. Writers benefit from the direct focus placed on their screenplays by the workshop, along with the analysis of the other scripts.


Screenplays can be first drafts or rewrites, incomplete or partial, with first time writers and veterans all welcome. Scripts are due 10-14 days prior to the date of the workshop.


Note: Screenplays submitted to the workshop are not eligible to be entered into the BlueCat Screenplay Competition.



Regular Registration Option

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


Online Workshop - September 26th - REGISTER 
Kansas City - October 3rd - REGISTER
Rochester - October 15th - REGISTER 
Los Angeles
- October 26th - REGISTER
Austin - October 30th - REGISTER 
Austin - November 3rd - REGISTER 
Los Angeles - November 24th - REGISTER


     Youtube Instagram