Amazon Studios, An Unexpected Turn of Events

A couple of weeks ago I received a letter from Amazon Studios saying that Children of Others had reached the semifinalist round in its Best Script contest. Yesterday they announced the five finalists, and my script was among them.

A kind of fun thing about the contest is that you can actually read the work of your competitors. I woke up early this morning and read two of the other four scripts in the mix. Both were well written. One I loved and one I hated.
The one I hated is called The Hipster and The Schoolgirl. The dialogue was witty, and the characters were stylish. If you like Quentin Tarantino and other guys who fuse gory violence with humor and style, then this is the script for you. Not so much for me. While I liked Pulp Fiction, I waited eighteen years before seeing Reservoir Dogs, because the ear thing sounded like the kind of things that would give me nightmares. When I got invited to a retrospective last year, I figured, “hell, there’s been a lot of episodes of 24 since 1992–I’m sure that ear thing people kept talking about probably isn’t even a big deal now.” I was wrong. That scene with the ear, along with almost the entire movie Seven, are pieces of cinematic entertainment I could happily have waited another eighteen years to see.
I was originally planning to read only one script this morning (I have writing to do, don’t ya know) but the first script left me so agitated and disturbed that I had to read the next one just to get the taste out of my brain. I read In the Silences, and it was exactly the kind of movie I love. The real world with a sci-fi/fantasy twist, heavy on characters and relationships. Think Source Code or Adjustment Bureau. I looked up the writer, who has a blog here. Another piece he has on the Amazon site won the Best Sci-Fi/Action Script award in a previous month.

As for Children of Others, I did a rewrite back in June that I tried to enter for the July deadline, but somehow the upload didn’t take, so this was first month that the new draft was considered. I was surprised, because I guess I’d started to feel that my script was just swimming in a vast ocean of other scripts–which is not untrue– but the recognition reminds me that there are readers out there whose jobs are to man the life rafts and search for for the living, so if you can keep splashing water, there’s always a chance to get rescued.

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