DAILY NEWS: New Script Site; Nicholl Fellowship Record
by Brian Brooks and Maud Kersnowski/indieWIRE
>> New Script Coverage Site Hopes to Offer Access
(indieWIRE/06.13.01) -- The new website, StudioNotes.com, aims to tilt
the scales of film industry access for writers that don't know anybody.
"Traditionally there are only two conduits into the industry, agents and
lawyers. We're trying to make a third," StudioNotes CEO/President Brent
Armitage ("Grosse Point Blank") told indieWIRE. "If you come to us and let
us help you in a completely confidential environment we can at least
help you better your screen play."
For a $300 fee a script receives notes from an experienced development
executive -- the staff works primarily on a part time basis. The collective
resume covers most of the major studios and production companies. Several
are heads of development departments who have taken time off to have
children but still want to stay involved in the industry. The notes focus on
what's working in the screenplay, what needs fixing and how to do it, as
opposed to coverage which traditionally is a synopsis pointing out flaws. In
Armitage's opinion, "Getting coverage is the worst thing that you can do to
a new screenplay." If you want additional input sign up for an "individual
consultation" for $100 an hour. StudioNotes also acts as a development
office for smaller production companies. "We offer studio quality services
on a consulting basis," said Armitage.
Every Thursday, beginning next week, StudioNotes will send out the "Weekend
Read," a script that Armitage and others believe is ready for acquisition.
The script is only available to companies signed on as affiliates -- a list
that ranges from Tom Hank's Playtone to Artisan Entertainment to cineBLAST. "You've got to have a great reputation. We've turned down a ton of people," Armitage explained.
Armitage also turned down VC money believing that if he kept the business
small he'd stand a better chance of surviving. "I don't need 25 people here
picking up screenplays and sending them out. We do that online," commented
the CEO. "We're not in this to make a billion dollars. We all have
successful careers. We just want to give something back." [Eugene
>> Nicholl Fellowship Entries "Smash" Previous Records
(indieWIRE/06.13.01) -- A record 5,500 hopefuls entered this year's
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Don and Gee Nicholl
Fellowships in Screenwriting competition, Academy President Robert Rehme
announced yesterday. Entries came from 49 states as well as the District
of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico and 28 countries, increasing the
submissions which had been more than 4,000 for the previous six year.
Writers who have not sold or optioned their screenplay or teleplay for
more than $5,000 or are not involved in other such agreements relating
to their work are eligible for the annual competition. Recipients will
individually complete a feature-length screenplay during the one year
duration of the fellowship. The Academy does not receive rights to their
work and does not promote the scripts commercially.
In a prepared statement, a gushing Rehme commented, "We didn't just break
the entry record, we smashed it to smithereens." The Nicholl Fellows
received nine writing credits last year from films including Susannah
Grant's "Erin Brockovich," and "28 Days," Raymond De Felitta's "Two
Family House"; Ehren Kruger's "Scream 3" and "Reindeer Games"; "Titan
A.E." by Randall McCormick; Andrew Marlowe's "Hollow Man"; Mike Rich's
"Finding Forrester" and "The Virgin Suicides," which was based on a novel
by Jeffrey Eugenides. [Brian Brooks]