Would you like to know the winner of last week’s grudge match?
Before I give the final tally, I have to say that this was CLOSE. I’m not sure what I was expecting. But I didn’t think the competition would come down to the wire. There were too many voters. You figured someone was going to run away with it.
I wanted to read both scripts this weekend but I didn’t have time so I read the first scene of each. And I have to say, I liked the opening of both scripts. Grendl’s opening is more of a sequence but I found it clever the way the separate plotlines collided in an interesting and shocking way.
And I thought Kagey’s scene was good as well. When the friend decides to go steal some extra fishing gear and the drug guys pull up, my stomach dropped. So, for all the pomp and circumstance – of which there was plenty in the comments section, believe you me – this ended up being a good old fashioned writing contest. Two very capable writers bringing it.
And with that, the winner of our first ever Grudge Match was…..
His script, For Good Men To Do Nothing, received 25 votes. Grendl’s script, Haddegon Tails, received 22 votes (23 if you count Brenkilco’s late vote).
Congratulations, Kagey. And good job Grendl for keeping it exciting. I was checking the vote count multiple times a day all week. So I was into it, man.
I want to thank everyone who voted, everyone who tried to read the scripts, and especially those of you who read both scripts all the way through. And also those of you who left notes. It sounds like Kagey got some really good ideas for his script. And while we all know Grendl is a little tougher to puncture on the suggestions front, I wouldn’t be surprised if he incorporated a few notes himself.
That’s what I like about our showdowns – it’s the only place in the world where you get a ton of people reading your script and giving you feedback. They don’t even get this in the pro ranks. A few people read each draft, and that’s it. So if you’re smart, you can really take the feedback and make your script awesome.
I have a final thought before we wrap this up.
One of the themes of this battle was LUCK. Kagey’s argument was that the best writers will rise to the top and get noticed no matter what. Grendl’s argument was that it all comes down to luck, being in the right place at the right time. That’s what the grudge in this Grudge Match centered on.
Kagey said, if your old script is good enough, Grendl, someone would’ve bought it. Grendl stands strong on his belief that the only reason the script hasn’t been purchased is because Hollywood is a sham and there’s no difference between pro and amateur other than nepotism and luck.
I disagree with both writers to an extent. I don’t believe that you either have it or you don’t and if you do, you’ll get noticed. Nor do I believe that there’s an endless number of terrible writers making a living strictly due to luck and connections. Sure, they’re out there. But I don’t think they make up a huge percentage of working writers.
May I present a third option: WORK YOUR BUTT OFF. Work your butt off learning as much about screenwriting as possible — writing as much as possible. And then work your butt off as a salesman. Hustle, market yourself, cold query everyone in town, get your scripts into all the major contests and on all the major screenwriting websites.
Most writers are only good at one of those two things. So if you can be good at both, there’s a good chance you will find success as long as you keep at it. But if you’re average at both, it’s not going to happen. And that’s what most writers are. They’re average when it comes to learning and improving and they’re average at hustling.
So Grendl is right. If you’re only good at the writing part and crappy at the marketing part, you will need luck. And Kagey is right. If you’re really good at the marketing part but crappy at the writing part, you will need to put effort into learning so that your ability improves to a point where you’re writing good screenplays.
If you’re struggling in either of these departments, come up with a plan. TONIGHT. Write down how you’re going to get better at writing or marketing, set realistic goals for yourself, and get to work. Cause I guarantee you, you know where you’re weak. And knowing is half the battle. Now do something about it. Yes, I just quoted G.I. Joe.
What’d you guys think? Pro vs. Amateur. Is the line as clear as they say it is?
Oh, and let’s not forget the obvious question.