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

Bluecat Screenplay Competition   

November 5th, 2013

  • Screenwriting Tips from Akira Kurosawa 
  • Filmmaking Tips from Ron Howard  
  • Interview with Screenwriter Peter Morgan (RUSH)  
  • Five Things First-Time Directors Aren't Told  
  • Tips to Beat Writer's Block  
  • Advice for Finding an Agent or Manager 
  • 12 Strategies from Stanley Kubrick for Perfecting a Film 
  • 50 Most Hated Films Ever Made 
  • Kurt Vonnegut's Eight Basics of Creative Writing 
  • Selected Script: FROST/NIXON
  • 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.
Screenwriting Tips from Akira Kurosawa  
From Facebook 
Here's a great find that we originally posted on our Facebook page. From the blog Cinephilia and Beyond, which is known as a "comprehensive, educational and hopefully inspiring film haven," this posting features behind-the-scenes looks at the making of a few Kurosawa films.

Among the clips, about halfway down the page, is some great writing advice from Kurosawa, who says, "With a good script a good director can produce a masterpiece; with the same script a mediocre director can make a passable film. But with a bad script even a good director can't possibly make a good film." 

Follow the link below for the full post.

Five Things First-Time Directors Aren't Told  
Here's a selection from the recent "How to Make a Movie" series by Vulture. In this article, Vulture gets five pieces of advice from first-time director John Krokidas, about what to expect from your directorial debut.

Follow the link below for the insightful comments.

From Vulture:
"If there's anything that's even harder than making a movie, it's making your first movie. All week long, we've been sharing words of hard-won wisdom given to us by some of the veterans of the industry, but what about the first-time filmmakers who've miraculously managed to mount a movie despite overwhelming odds (and underwhelming budgets)? For their perspective, we talked to John Krokidas, whose first film, KILL YOUR DARLINGS, stars Daniel Radcliffe and Dane DeHaan in the true story of the murder that brought Beat icons Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and William S. Burroughs together as young men. Here, Krokidas shares the five unexpected things he learned on his directorial debut."

Ten Tips to Beat Writer's Block and Finish Your Screenplay   
From The Aspiring TV Writer & Screenwriter Blog  
Amanda Pendolino's The Aspiring TV Writer and Screenwriter Blog provides a lot of useful info and tips for writers. In the case of this article, Pendolino answers a reader's question about beating writer's block.   

From The Aspiring TV Writer and Screenwriter Blog:

"Finishing a feature - or any script - can be a daunting task, but you can do it! Here are my 10 tips for getting it done."


12 Stanley Kubrick Strategies for Perfecting a Film   
From MentalFloss
Here's another selection of filmmaking tips, this time, they're derived from looking at Stanley Kubrick's body of work. Follow the link below to see what strategies Kubrick followed, according to, to find success.


"Director Stanley Kubrick died in 1999, but he still remains an integral part of our culture today. The recent documentary ROOM 237 explored various conspiracy theories about THE SHINING. An extensive Kubrick exhibition is touring the world. And Kubrick's work is continually noted as influential on contemporary directors of huge blockbusters such as Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese. Here are 12 things Stanley Kubrick would do in order to perfect a shot, performance, or film."
Selected Scripts:
written by Peter Morgan
nominated for an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay in 2009

Hey, Whaddya Say? 
"Writing is finally about one thing: going into a room alone and doing it. Putting words on paper that have never been there in quite that way before. And although you are physically by yourself, the haunting Demon never leaves you-the knowledge of your own terrible limitations, your hopeless inadequacy, the impossibility of ever getting it right. No matter how diamond-bright your ideas are dancing in your brain, on paper they are earthbound."

-- William Goldman
Filmmaking Tips from Ron Howard
From Co.Create and Film School Rejects
Ron Howard's been in the business since the age of six. It's rare that a child star can achieve longevity in entertainment, and even rarer that they go on to become a filmmaker of great stature. With that in mind, here are two separate postings featuring filmmaking tips from the great Ron Howard.

From Co.Create:

"One does not reach a position of Ron Howard's cinematic stature without acquiring rare insight into the inner-workings of what makes a film a success. With his latest effort, the Nika Lauda racing biopic, RUSH, now in theaters, and Project Imaginat10n contest videos available online, Howard offered Co.Create three bits of wisdom for filmmakers that could also apply to creatives in any field."




From Film School Rejects:


"It's also impressive that Howard has evolved so thoroughly that we often don't even think about him as a child actor who emerged to continued success. For several generations, Howard has always been a sophisticated filmmaker with a wry sense of humor and a keen ability to deliver a fist-pumping moment of Hollywood satisfaction. Every once in a while, the realization that he's been in the industry since he was six hits home and puts his career into both a surprising and completely sensible context. Of course he's done what he's done...and yet how many child actors can make the same claim (or have enjoyed the same enormity of success)?"



RUSH Screenwriter Peter Morgan on Biopics     
Screenwriter Peter Morgan has penned several successful biopics, including THE LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, THE QUEEN, and FROST/NIXON.
With his latest script, RUSH, Morgan once again collaborated with Ron Howard.

Follow the link below for the an interview with Morgan in which he discusses working with Howard and structuring his biopics.

From FilmSchoolRejects:


"Director Ron Howard and screenwriter Peter Morgan have taken a real liking to each other over the years, and for good reason. With FROST/NIXON and RUSH, the two have produced critical darlings that pit opposites against each other. While the 2008 drama was about fighting with words, RUSH - which portrays the Formula 1 rivalry between James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) - the battles are done on a race track.


Morgan wrote about their budding relationship out of pure, personal interest. This started off as a spec script which eventually led to a $50m British indie, not your standard Hollywood-produced Oscar contender. Of course it also helps when a storyteller has some distance from the story."


Practical Advice for Finding an Agent or Manager  
From the LA Screenwriter Blog

Thanks to the LA Screenwriter blog we were able to get a taste of the Austin Film Festival online. A recent posting featured the highlights of a panel whose subject was breaking into the business and finding an agent or manager.


From the LA Screenwriter:

"One of the great things about the Austin Film Festival and Screenwriting Conference is how well the conference creators have balanced panels about the craft of screenwriting with the business of it. On Friday, I attended a panel called 'Breaking In: Finding Representation.' The panel featured two up and coming writers, Justin Marks and John Swetnam, and their representation. Justin's manager, Adam Kolbrenner is a co-founder of Madhouse Entertainment (currently accepting submissions), and John's agent David Boxerbaum is in the lit department over at Paradigm."


50 Most Hated Movies Ever Made  
Here's a straightforward list of divisive films, that, for one reason or another, suffered from some a vicious backlash upon their release.

What are your thoughts on the list? Anything missing? 


"Hell hath no fury like a fanboy scorned."

Kurt Vonnegut: Eight Basics of Creative Writing   
Here's another article from our Facebook
page. This article features creative writing tips from the late great author Kurt Vonnegut. Follow the link below for the article. 


"Kurt Vonnegut created some of the most outrageously memorable novels of our time, such as Cat's Cradle, Breakfast Of Champions, and Slaughterhouse Five. His work is a mesh of contradictions: both science fiction and literary, dark and funny, classic and counter-culture, warm-blooded and very cool. And it's all completely unique.

With his customary wisdom and wit, Vonnegut put forth 8 basics of what he calls Creative Writing 101."


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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.

Grand Rapids - November 11th - REGISTER 
Los Angeles - November 24th - REGISTER


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