Irons in the Fire Updates

Well, I got into the Masters of Professional Writing (MPW) program at USC for fall, which makes me happy. I’m not absolutely sure it’s my next step, but I like to know that it could be. I need to investigate the availability of T.A. positions. If I get one, it would be a lot like life here, where I get paid for teaching a couple of classes and my tuition is waived. The program is multi-genre and taught by professional writers in the L.A. area, I met a woman at AWP named Dinah Lenney who just started teaching there. She spoke pretty highly of the program, and she just seemed nice and honest and energetic during the panel–like someone I would really like to work with–and that’s the point I think I’m at–figure out a way to keep working at my writing, and hopefully find a good community to do that in.

A few people have asked, and I realized I never announced, Paul, sadly, was not this years Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker. That’s all we know until Show West later in March, when they will announce the winning film. Although disappointed, he wasn’t disgruntled as there were two or three really excellent films on the site worthy of the win.

I, at least, am a bit more disgruntled with another competition he’s entered in, called the First Cut Film Series. Five winners are awarded a one million dollar budget and mentorship for their independent film. Paul had the flu the week the first round materials were due, so suffered to complete them. I was still proof-reading at 11:58 pm on the night of Feb. 15, and he got it in right at midnight. First round winners were supposed to have been announced last Friday, but the announcements have been delayed. It might have something to do with the fact that students from certain schools were given an extended deadline–someone we know saw an announcement on a USC website, then called and verified this was the case. I’m sure the extension was given with the best of intentions on the part of the sponsors, to get the strongest set of entries possible…but for those who paid the $50 entry fee and felt short on time to prepare, you can see how it might be a little irksome. And of course it changes the odds. Paul looked at the First Cut site and saw that there have been 160 additional entries since he submitted his–and since we know we were right at the bitter end, one has to assume these entries are the product of entrants given the extra time. It seems like it would have been better to contact applicants and let them know and offer them time to revisit their materials–my guess would be that the largest portion would not have bothered, and if anything, submitted another project.

The second round of materials–which includes a full length screenplay, comes around in about a month…I’m hoping that since the notifications are running late, that this deadline gets extended for finalists as well.

2 thoughts on “Irons in the Fire Updates

  1. B-Someone in our office sent this my way, and I wanted to hop in for a second to address your very fair set of concerns. We’ve been doing our best to create a level playing field for the competition, and it was actually to that end – rather than towards giving some students a special advantage – that we allowed a USC extension.The administration at USC initially stopped students from applying to the Series, though once they learned more about it – and decided that we were legit – they reversed their decision. That reversal happened *after* the deadline, however, so we gave USC students a small amount of extra time to apply. (Though, in fact, we gave them less time than nearly all non-USC applicants had, at least based on the gap between the final deadline and when most applicants initially set up their profiles.)While that may not have been the perfect solution, it was certainly the fairest we could come up with. So, apologies to you and to any other applicants who felt slighted by the process; that certainly wasn’t our intention.Looking forward to your second-round app; if we can answer any questions, or if you have any thoughts on how we can pull this all off more smoothly (seriously – this is our first iteration of the Series, and we’re figuring things out as we go, so we always appreciate feedback), certainly don’t hesitate to track us down.josh______________________Joshua Bryce Newman CEOCyan Pictures 17 E 13th St., 6th Floor New York, NY 10003212.274.1085

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