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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

October 29th, 2013

  • Gordy's Reddit AMA
  • Interview with BlueCat Alum and PRISONERS Scribe Aaron Guzikowski  
  • Alfred Hitchcock MASTERS OF CINEMA Video Interview 
  • Thirteen Horror Movies Available on Netflix Instant 
  • How to Write an Awesome Movie 
  • Nicholl Fellowships Winners Announced 
  • The 50 Greatest Closing Shots in History
  • Eleven Movie Characters Without Names
  • Making Mistakes: Nine Hollywood Assistants Tell All 
  • How Great Screenwriters Prepare to Write
  • Selected Script: PSYCHO
  • Next Workshop: Austin - Wednesday 
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.
Gordy's AMA 
In Case You Missed It 
Gordy took part in a Reddit AMA last Wednesday, covering everything from the craft itself to what he looks for when reading scripts in the competition.

Follow the link below for Gordy's AMA.

Alfred Hitchcock Interview 

Alfred Hitchcock - Masters of Cinema (Complete Interview in 1972)
Alfred Hitchcock - Masters of Cinema (Complete Interview in 1972)
It's the last newsletter before Halloween, so what better interview to share than one with Alfred Hitchcock as the subject. Here, Hitchcock sits down with Pia Lindstrom (the daughter of Ingrid Bergman), and discusses his career and his approach to filmmaking. Truly a must-see interview.

"How to Write an Awesome Movie According to Some of Hollywood's Best Writers"   
From BuzzFeed  
This one's simple. This article features screenwriting tips from Richard Linklater, Paul Feig, Diablo Cody, Richard Curtis, Nicole Holofcener, Michael Weber and Scott Neustadter, David Wain, Rian Johnson, Jeff Nichols, Lake Bell, David Gordon Green, Greta Gerwig, Mark and Jay Duplass, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, and Brian Koppelman. Read it!   

From BuzzFeed:

"All aspiring writers have experienced the conception of a story, that little atom of an idea that explodes into a vision of a journey in a big bang 'aha!' that rattles the brain. But the difference between the daydreamers and actual filmmakers starts right after that revelatory moment, when the disparate strands of an idea either begin to take shape - and, at some point, migrate over to Final Draft - or just fade away.


BuzzFeed spoke with some of the industry's top writers and directors to learn how they develop a tiny germ of an idea into award-winning screenplay. They discussed everything from how they get started, to how to sit down and write, and how to balance dialogue and structure."


50 Greatest Last Shots in Film History   
FAT GIRL (Catherine Breillat) 2001

Last week we shared's list of 50 of the greatest openings in film history. This week, we've got the other end of things--last shots.

As mentioned in the article, this isn't a list of the best endings, but strictly "the (usually brief) time between when the director calls action!' and the closing credits begin to roll."

Did your favorite make the list?


"Like the final sentence of a novel, the closing image of a film has the power to color the entire narrative, echoing just a little bit louder than everything that has come before it. Unlike the final sentences of a novel, the last shot of a feature film has, in the medium's brief lifespan, already acquired its own formal language, certain camera movements and musical cues ('the camera cranes up, the soundtrack swells!') having conditioned viewers to read some final shots in a different way than they do the hundreds of others that comprise the movie. There's a unique weight to the last shot - a burden, but also a sense of infinite possibility, as though the cinema inherently realizes that its greatest potential doesn't live on screen but rather in those who stare at them, the moment at which a movie hands its narrative off to a viewer one of the great cruxes of the medium's power." 
Selected Scripts:
written by Joseph Stefano


Check out Cinephilia and Beyond for more info on the making of PSYCHO:
The Making of Psycho

Hey, Whaddya Say? 
"People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it."

-- Harlan Ellison 
Exclusive Interview
with BlueCat Alum and PRISONERS Scribe Aaron Guzikowski
From the BlueCat Blog

PRISONERS, written by 2005 BlueCat Finalist Aaron Guzikowski, scored the number one spot at the box-office during its opening weekend in both the US and UK. Since its premiere, the taut crime-thriller has been getting spectacular reviews and a healthy amount of Oscar buzz. Rarely does a grown-up film achieve such financial and critical success. Aaron's screenplay crafted a gripping mystery that will be remembered as a shining modern example of the genre.


Currently in production on his new original series for Sundance Channel, THE RED ROAD, we caught up with Aaron for a short interview about life before and after becoming a professional screenwriter.


Follow the link below to the BlueCat Blog for the interview.

"13 Terrifying Horror Movies You Can't Unsee" - Available on Netflix    
From Rolling Stone

Here's a great list from Rolling Stone in case you're in need of some scary movies for your Halloween enjoyment. Every title in the list is currently available on Netflix Instant. Enjoy!




"Netflix has you covered this Halloween, so you'll never have to sit through another major network marathon again. In no particular order, these are the creepiest movies you can stream to instantly get your spook on."


Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting 
Winners Announced

Four individual writers and one writing team have been announced as the winners of this year's Nicholl Fellowships.


Congratulations to this year's winners. Follow the link below for the winners and more information on the fellowships.


11 Movies Characters Without Names 
From Mental Floss  
Crafting a character's name can be a difficult task in the storytelling process. Sometimes, a film character doesn't need a name to be memorable. Check out this list of no-name characters from Mental Floss. Can you think of any others?

From Mental Floss:

"Namedropping is a popular pastime in Hollywood's most important circles. Which makes the fact that some of the movie industry's most bankable A-list stars have agreed to starring roles in films in which they have no name at all rather surprising. Here are 11 of them (technically more when we count the couples and all those 12 ANGRY MEN)."

"Making Mistakes: Nine Hollywood Assistants Tell All"  
From The Aspiring TV Writer & Screenwriter Blog 
Here's a selection of horror stories we can all learn from. This post, from the Aspiring TV Writer and Screenwriter Blog, features tales of screw-ups made by a variety of industry assistants and how they recovered from them.

From The Aspiring TV Writer & Screenwriter Blog:

"Being an assistant can be stressful. Even if you've settled in a comfortable routine, you have to deal with difficult, volatile personalities, and you often face new problems you have no idea how to solve. It also doesn't help that your boss will get annoyed if you bother him/her too much with questions. You're going to make mistakes -- but that's okay. I always remind people that your boss has a lot other things to worry about, and s/he will probably have forgotten about your mistake within a day. It also may help to know that we've all been there."

BAFTA: How Great Screenwriters Prepare to Write
From LA Screenwriter   
Here's a clip from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA), with six screenwriters sharing their insight on the writing process.

Writers in the video include David S. Goyer (THE DARK KNIGHT), Hossein Amini (DRIVE), Susannah Grant (ERIN BROCKOVICH), Tony Gilroy (the BOURNE series), Richard Curtis (LOVE ACTUALLY), and Peter Morgan (THE QUEEN).

From LA Screenwriter:

"BAFTA has shared a wonderful short video in which half a dozen screenwriters discuss how they prepare to write. The writers cover such topics as how much they outline, their method for outlining, how many hours a day they write, and what works best for them to keep them creative and productive." 
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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.

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


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