Forecast: Chance of Success…3%?

Two pieces of encouragement from the universe last week: A script I’m writing with partner Janice Rhoshalle Littlejohn, called Lovers in Their Right Mind, advanced to the second round for the Sundance Screenwriters Lab. From the time we were notified until ten minutes to the deadline, we made a marathon push to give the selection committee at Sundance a newer and stronger version of the script.

And one evening as I was sitting and typing at Janice’s kitchen table, I got word that My Zombie Parents, written with my husband, Paul Seetachitt, had advanced to the quarterfinals in the ScreenCraft Comedy competition.

I wanted to answer a question a reader (Hi Jenny!) posted in a comment on one of my posts. She asked, if, in the face of an unpromising response thus far, I would continue to host a script there.  My answer is, “not right now–but that doesn’t mean not ever.”  To do it right for just one script I now think means buying maybe four or five sets of coverage, and at present that seems a lot of monetary investment for not a lot of return.  Along with it being difficult for any one script to get noticed among the hundreds or thousands on a display platform, it’s very difficult for the display platforms themselves to rise above the white noise of the marketplace. I haven’t yet heard any anecdotes or data that suggest (after the initial splash of landing in the pool) has been able to make any ripples that can be discerned in the already wavy waters for its writers.   For the moment it seems more attractive to take the same time and money I would spend on this one platform and spread it more widely–for contest entry fees and entrance fees to pitch fests and other networking opportunities.  There is no guarantee that this will work better, but it feels at least, like creating a more diverse portfolio of investments.

Which brings us back to a recurring question for artists–are these “investments” just illusory lottery tickets? And today’s response to that is a little more optimistic than usual.  It is this article by a writer who made a spreadsheet of all the responses she received from workshops, publications and contests in a several-year period (the article actually links to an excel spreadsheet ).  She calculates the rate of positive news at about 3%.  This means that she was rejected 97% percent of the time, which 97 days out of a hundred can start to feel pretty grim, but 3% is still much better than lottery odds.


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