The submission period for The Quest Initiative runs from May 22-June 8. Each day I will provide an update.
Today: Marks the 10th day of submissions for The Quest Initiative. Number of entrants: 295. Number of loglines [estimated]: 550-575.
Question of the day: If I get selected for The Quest Initiative, what sort of time commitment should I be expected to make?
Answer: It depends on how fast you read [with comprehension], and how focused you can think and write. The Quest itself lasts 24 weeks: Core (8 weeks), Prep (6 weeks), Pages (10 weeks). Generally you can figure this:
Core: 10 hours per week.
Prep: 10-15 hours per week.
Pages: 10-15 hours per week.
While the focus will be on your own story and writing, part of your responsibility will be to read and critique your fellow Questers’ ideas and pages. This workshop experience will not only help each of your stories as you develop and write them, it will also force you to use your critical analytical skills. This is a huge part of what we do as professional screenwriters: Assess story problems, then brainstorm and articulate possible solutions. At the end of the day, a screenwriter is a problem-solver, so your ability to analyze stories is important. You will do that each week in The Quest, so you will have to figure that into your time commitment.
Tip of the day: We can look at a screenplay universe as being comprised of two parts:
* External World: This is the physical universe in which characters live.
* Internal World: This is the psychological universe of the characters’ emotional journey.
But there is a third dynamic at play: moral and/or philosophical issues often in the form of Big Questions:
In The Wizard of Oz, will Dorothy find her home?
In The Apartment, will Baxter find success, but lose his soul?
In The Godfather, will Michael become like his father?
In Star Wars: A New Hope, will Luke become what he’s meant to be: Jedi warrior?
In Groundhog Day, will Phil manage to live one authentic day?
In The Shawshank Redemption, will Andy find freedom and will Red embrace hope over despair?
In Little Miss Sunshine, will Richard, Frank and Dwayne sort out the meaning of ‘success’ and ‘failure’?
Stories have things going on in External World and the Internal World. But good stories are always about something, posing significant questions that play throughout the narrative, and typically only resolved by the very end.
So as you consider your loglines, ask this: What potential does this story have in terms of moral or philosophical concerns? Are there any Big Questions at work here?
If you have a great story idea, one that has compelling philosophical stakes, why not submit it for The Quest Initiative?
For specifics on how to submit loglines and general background, hit more.
Here are the essential bullet points you need to steer you through the process of submitting your loglines for consideration:
* What is the submission period? 12:01AM [Pacific / U.S.], Wednesday, May 22 – 11:59PM [Pacific / U.S.], Sunday, June 8.
* What is the email address? thequestinitiative at gmail dot com. This is the only email address at which I will accept submissions.
* How many loglines may I submit? A total of three .
* If I am submitting multiple loglines [2 or 3], how should I submit them? In the subject heading write QUEST LOGLINES and send them all in one email.
* What information should I provide with my submission? The following:
– Subject heading: QUEST LOGLINE / QUEST LOGLINES
Then in the body of the email:
– Story title [if you have one]
– Genre [if you know it]
That is it. No biographies. No additional information about the story.
* What type of stories are you looking for? The following:
– Action, Comedy, Thriller [what I am most interested in]
– Drama, Family, Horror [what I am also interested in]
* What type of stories are you not looking for? The following:
– Huge big budget science fiction, fantasy or epic period pieces.
– Obscure independent movies [as much as I love them].
IN OTHER WORDS, I AM MOST INTERESTED IN LOW-TO-MEDIUM BUDGET MAINSTREAM COMMERCIAL MOVIES WITH STRONG MARKETABLE HIGH CONCEPTS.
* If I am a member of the Writers Guild of America or an international equivalent, may I submit a logline? No. I created The Quest Initiative with the goal of opening an alternate doorway into Hollywood for those outside the system.
* Do I have to have an extensive background in screenwriting to apply? No. While it is helpful if you have written at least 2 or 3 scripts, The Quest takes participants through a unique character-based approach to screenwriting that will transform whatever knowledge or practices you have re the craft.
* Is there any cost if I get selected for The Quest Initiative? No. The Quest Initiative is free.
For more background, read on:
What you need to know about “The Quest Initiative”
How many participants: Up to 4.
Who may apply: Any aspiring screenwriter who is not a member of the WGA or equivalent professional writing organization. Writers do not have to live in Los Angeles, and may be located in the United States or internationally based. Writers may be any age, gender, race, etc.
When will the workshop run: July 15-December 29, 2013.
How will I determine who gets accepted: There are three key standards. (1) Story concept: I am looking for strong story concepts that I believe when executed as a script can get set up as projects in Hollywood. In other words, I am almost exclusively interested in commercial high concepts. I will make exceptions if the story elements make me think the project is a marketable one, but the concept has to be extremely strong if it is not high concept. (2) Writing ability: I will ask applicants who make it past the first cut to send me a sample of their writing, as well as a detailed description of their background as a writer and a statement about why they want to be a screenwriter. (3) Personal interview: I will have a one-on-one conversation with applicants who make it past the next cut in order to assemble a group I feel will be compatible with each other.
How do you apply: A simple email with the word “Quest Logline” in the subject line, then a logline of your story in the text. If you have a title, please post that. If the genre of the story is not clear from the logline, you may include the genre.
When may you apply: I will be accepting loglines from May 22 through June 8, 2013. You may send them to me at: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com.
NOTE: THIS IS THE ONLY EMAIL ADDRESS YOU SHOULD USE!!!
If you are selected as one of The Quest participants, you must be willing to do the following three things:
1. You have to commit yourself fully to the workshop. That means active participation in constructive criticism and feedback, all writing exercises and assignments, and most importantly pledge you will finish the first draft of your original screenplay.
2. You have to write a weekly journal entry about your experiences in the workshop. As part of The Quest Initiative, I will be doing something akin to reality programming in that each week, I will post something on GITS about the group’s progress including excerpts from your journals. This is a great way for the GITS community to track how you are doing, something of what you are learning, see the ups and downs of the writing process, and so on.
3. If you write a script I believe has strong marketable potential, I have the right to attach myself as an executive producer. At that point, I will take you on into rewrites and we will officially be in producer-to-writer mode. Once your script is finished, I will take the lead in getting it to managers and agents, and try to get the project set up and you established in Hollywood.
You may only submit a total of three  loglines!
Last year some folks sent me dozens of loglines. As a result, I ended up reviewing over 3500 loglines. An overwhelming majority of them were not – in my opinion – commercially viable.
So if you are serious about wanting to have a chance to participate in The Quest, I encourage you — with extreme prejudice! — to raise your game. Give me your best shot. That means you have to set the bar high for what you submit to me. You need to ask: Is this really a movie? Can this story concept compete with what is currently out in theaters? Is this something I think Scott will respond to?
Here are genres I am most interested in reading: Action, Comedy, Thriller. Second tier: Drama, Family, Horror.
Cross genres like Action-Thriller, Drama-Comedy, Action-Comedy, those are fine, too.
Here are genres that will be tough sells: Fantasy, Science Fiction.
I love Fantasy and Science Fiction, but if you submit an idea that requires massive and complex world-building along with huge CGI requirements, I’m not in a position to do anything with that.
That said, if you have a truly great story idea that is either Fantasy or Science Fiction and it is low-to-mid-budget, that might work. A big idea with a contained environment like Moon, something along those lines.
Will I offer a free class for every entrant like I did last year? No!
I may be crazy, but I am not insane. There were 1500 entrants last year and a majority of them have received a free Core or Craft class through Screenwriting Master Class. It was a nice gesture on my part, but I simply don’t have the resources to make that offer again.
How should I submit my logline(s)?
In the subject heading of your email, just put QUEST LOGLINE or QUEST LOGLINES depending on if you are submitting one or more (NO MORE THAN 3!!!)
In the body of the email Title [if you have it], Genre [if you know it], Logline.
If you don’t have a title, that’s okay.
If you are not sure of the genre, take your best guess from the following: Action, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller.
If you have a cross-genre movie like an Action-Comedy or sub-genre movie like a Romantic Comedy, that’s fine. But if you put down: Action Comedy Mystery Adventure Contained Thriller? That suggests this story has not found itself yet.
If you have multiple loglines (remember: no more than three entries), please put them into one email.
Email your submission to: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com.
I WILL ONLY ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS AT THIS NEW EMAIL ADDRESS. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NOTE THE ADDRESS AND USE IT TO MAKE MY LIFE EASIER!
Up to 4 writers will have what I believe to be an incredible opportunity, not only to write an original screenplay aided by other writers and myself, but also a chance to learn how to think and write like a professional. Because my goal with writers who go through The Quest is to educate and train them so they have the best shot possible not only at breaking into the business, but succeeding month after month, year after year. That’s one of my guiding principles with The Quest: solid screenwriting theory matched with solid screenwriting practice.
If you have any questions, please post them in comments.
Onward and upward!
OFFICIAL LOGLINE SUBMISSION PERIOD: MAY 22-JUNE 8, 2013.
EMAIL ADDRESS: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com. USE THIS ADDRESS ONLY TO SUBMIT YOUR LOGLINES FOR THE QUEST INITIATIVE!!!