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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

October 22nd, 2013

  • C. Robert Cargill (SINISTER) Reddit AMA
  • Gordy's AMA - Wednesday at 2pm (EDT)
  • The New York Times Previews the Austin Film Festival
  • Nine Horror Films Under Nine Minutes
  • 30 Essential Movies for Screenwriters to Watch 
  • Ranking the Best One-Man Movies
  • The 50 Greatest Last Shots in History 
  • Hollywood's Effort to Keep Scripts Secret 
  • First 2014 Oscar Screenplays Available for Download
  • Briefly: Billy Ray on How He Landed CAPTAIN PHILLIPS 
  • Selected Scripts: TV Pilot Scripts
  • Next Workshop: Los Angeles - Saturday
2014 Call for Entries
Final Deadline is November 15

Official Call for Entries
Entry Fee: $70 Features, $60 Shorts

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:
  • Aaron Guzikowski's PRISONERS, starring Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Melissa Leo, was released in September 2013 and opened at #1 at the box office. The film has made nearly $50 million to date.  The Sundance Channel recently bought Aaron's TV pilot, THE DESCENDANTS, making it their second scripted show after RECTIFY. 


  • 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.

  • 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.
Reddit AMA - Robert C. Cargill
Co-Writer of SINISTER  
There are precious few days remaining in October, so we hope you're getting your fill of spooky/creepy/Halloweeny films.

One possible candidate: SINISTER. One of the screenwriters behind the film, C. Robert Cargill--who you may know from 10-year stint as a film critic on Ain't It Cool News--recently took part in a Reddit AMA.

Cargill covered a lot of ground, including many topics on the craft, so follow the link below for his insight.

Gordy's AMA 
Wednesday at 2pm (EDT) 
We've shared a number of AMA posts featuring a variety of filmmakers in past newsletters, so we're thrilled to announce that Gordy himself will take part in an AMA on Wednesday at 2:00pm (EDT).

Get your questions ready.

30 Essential Movies for Screenwriter to Watch  
In Progress at Go Into the Story 
Scott Myers, the writer behind Go Into the Story, the official blog of The Black List, is soliciting suggestions from his readers in order to compile of list of 30 essential films that every aspiring screenwriter must see.

Myers writes, "...this is not a best of or favorite list, rather this is about movies a working screenwriter ought to have a working knowledge and understanding of."

Follow the link below and be sure to share your thoughts on what films should make the list. 
From Go Into the Story:

"Everyone who works in Hollywood film development, whether studio exec, producer, director, actor, manager, agent, or writer constantly refers to previously produced movies when in conversation. Not just casual chat, but in actual development meetings. In order to make a point or a quick reference, it's often easier to suggest the escape sequence in THE SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, the train scene

in STAND BY ME, and the hitchhiking scene in
IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT than fabricate something out of thin air.

Which means if you, the screenwriter, don't know the movie reference, you not only can't get what they're saying, you also run the risk of looking like a complete laggard. What do you mean you haven't seen THE GODFATHER: PART2?!?!.'" 


50 Best Opening Scenes  
Your opening scene sets the stage for your entire film. From, here's a list of 50 of the greatest openings in film history.

Did your favorite make the list?


"Creating the right opening scene may not always be the most difficult part of making a movie, but it's invariably the most perverse.  Every film ever made begins with the same sense of endless possibility, the infinite canvas of the universe at its disposal, and then - in a flash - limits it all to just. One. Thing."
Selected Scripts:
Thanks to the LA Screenwriter blog, this week we've got a collection of script from this season's pilots. LA Screenwriter writes, "Here are links to several pilot scripts from shows that have recently made their debut. Some are great, some are terrible - read them all to learn what it takes to get a show on tv."



Follow the link below to scripts from:
Hey, Whaddya Say? 
"Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great." 
-- Mark Twain
BlueCat at the Austin Film Festival  and the London Screenwriters' Festival 
Come and See Us
For all of those traveling to Texas for this year's Austin Film Festival, stop by our table and say hello. The festival kicks off on Thursday and runs through the end of the month.

If you're across the pond, visit our table at the London Screenwriters' Festival from October 25th through the 27th.
Austin Film Festival 
Shane Black in Austin 

The Austin Film Festival starts Thursday and runs through the end of October. If you're unfamiliar with the event, here's a special preview from The New York Times, which describes the festival as a "...two-decade-old event that has long extolled writers as the true stars of the entertainment industry."


From The New York Times:


"Writers who have appeared at the festival describe an almost summer-camp-like atmosphere. 'It's all of these talented people - some established, some newer to the game - and everybody saying, 'Let's all get together and help others,' said Ric Roman Waugh, the writer and director of SNITCH. Last year, Mr. Waugh directed a staged script reading of an unproduced episode of LUCK, Mr. Roth and Mr. Milch's canceled HBO series.'"

Nine Horror Films Under Nine Minutes     

Ah October. That time of year when you can cozy up under a warm blanket, turn off the lights, turn on a movie, and--if you're lucky--be absolutely terrified.


Here are nine short films to help you get in the spirit of Halloween. Enjoy!




"This Halloween, you can enjoy zombies, demons, madness, and suspense all in delicious bite-size pieces. Though short, these 10 films are well-made, real horror movies, which include all the terror and gore you demand from your Halloween viewing. Just take note: None of the below are suitable for children."


First 2014 Oscar Scripts Are Available for Download
From Rope of Silicon 
It's that time of year when studios start making scripts available of potential awards contenders.

Thanks to the blog Rope of Silicon, you can keep track of the scripts as the become available.

First up, MUD, from Roadside Attractions, and LONE SURVIVOR, from Universal Pictures. 
Hollywood Steps Up Security to Keep Scripts Secret  
From The Wall Street Journal 
We know it's important to keep in-development scripts secret, but we had no idea what lengths studios go to in order to protect projects.

Security gates, barren rooms with a single physical copy of a script, locked iPads, and more. This article from The Wall Street Journal details just how serious studios take the prevention of leaked scripts.

The Best One-Man Movies 
With the release of ALL IS LOST, starring Robert Redford, the folks at decided to take stock of movies featuring one character, deciding which was best.

Follow the link below to see if you favorite made the list. 


"Where does ALL IS LOST fit in the best one-man movies of all time? There haven't been many -- and tragically, even less with women, whose single-character entries have been committed to telemovies. But Hollywood has taken enough chances on the challenging format to see a spectrum of end products. Here are our picks, from 'good' to 'impossibly great.'"

Screenwriter Billy Ray on How He Landed the Job Writing CAPTAIN PHILLIPS
From WGA West  
Billy Ray on how he landed the job of writing Captain Phillips
Billy Ray on how he landed the job of writing
Here's a brief clip of Billy Ray describing how he landed the job of writing CAPTAIN PHILLIPS.
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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.


Los Angeles - October 26th - REGISTER
Austin - October 30th - REGISTER
Grand Rapids - November 11th - REGISTER 
Los Angeles - November 24th - REGISTER


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