Wednesday, October 5, 2005
AN EXTRAORDINARY OPPORTUNITY TO BREAK INTO HOLLYWOOD
A New $50,000 Script Contest Seeks Entries By First-Time Writers Of Religious Films Acknowledging God
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
HOLLYWOOD, CA (ANS) -- Dr. Ted Baehr, Chairman of the Christian Film & Television Commission™, has issued an extraordinary appeal to first-time screenwriters with a compelling religious message to enter a competition that will give a chance to break into the big time and get their scripts read by top Hollywood executives. (Pictured: Ted Baehr speaking at the Movieguide awards).
Dr. Baehr made the appeal while announcing the First Bi-Annual John Templeton Foundation Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays, which is co-sponsored by the Templeton Foundation and the Christian Film & Television Commission™.
“The top three winners not only will receive prizes totaling $50,000, their names and scripts will also be announced at the 14th Annual MOVIEGUIDE® Faith & Values Awards Gala and Report to the Entertainment Industry, attended by more than 200 top executives, filmmakers and celebrities,” he said in an interview.
Dr. Baehr went on to say, “Very seldom do scriptwriters, new or old, get read by major Hollywood studios and producers. We have had several of the six biggest studios say that they would read the scripts that win. This is a chance, if you win, to get read by DreamWorks, Disney, 20th Century Fox and Universal and that is a tremendous asset for any scriptwriter.
“It is so hard to get recognition and the people who said they are going to read by those at the very top of the studios so this is going to be an incredible blessing for any scriptwriter that wants to write a great script.”
TREMENDOUS TALENT WAITING TO BE DISCOVERED
When asked if he felt there was the talent out there, Dr. Baehr replied, “To be perfectly frank, I think that there is more talent out there than could be possibly be imagined. The problem with Hollywood, and with any industry, is that you stick with just your friends and it becomes very closed and they just don’t get to see beyond their own community of interest. This also happens in academia – they call it ‘The Ivory Tower’ – and also in business. So it is not just like it is a Hollywood thing. It is the way life is. You stay with your friends and your associates and sometimes you see that there are people out there that really could be a blessing.
“If you look at the movies this year; the year has been a disaster for the box office and most of the movies have scripts that are very weak. Many are fantastic bores with 40 minutes of establishing character. Nobody wants to wait 40 minutes for the character to be established; they want to get into the action.
DOING HOLLYWOOD A GREAT FAVOR
“I get scripts all the time and book proposals and books drafts that are much more exciting than many of the big budget movies that came out of Hollywood this year, so I think we’re doing Hollywood a tremendous favor by opening up the process to people in the hinterland.”
Dr. Baehr then had some practical advice for people who wish to enter scripts for the competition.
“They need to read some books on scriptwriting so they can understand what scriptwriting is about. If they would do that, I know there is great talent out there. My favorite statement comes from Steven Spielberg who said that someday he is going to wake up and some 15-year-old kid from Des Moines is going to have written the most successful movie of all time. And I believe that this is what could happen this time around. It could be a kid or be a 50 something news reporter or anybody, but there is somebody out there who is going to do a tremendous story and we are hoping that we can find that person.”
He went on to say, “The biggest problem is not producing a cohesive, intelligent script; it is understanding that you have to have a plot point within the first ten pages, and you need to understand that dialogue is conflict. So they should understand the basics of scriptwriting and they could do that by reading a book like, ‘The Art Of Dramatic Writing: Its Basis in the Creative Interpretation of Human Motives’ by Lajos Egri. This will show them how to make a script great. This and other books could help them and they should also get a copy of the software called ‘Final Draft Pro 4.’ They should also be craftsmen, people who like to tell stories and write.
NEED TO BE ABLE TO TELL STORIES
“I’m always getting people who claim to scriptwriter, but they couldn’t tell you a story if you plied them with rum. So, you need to get people who like to tell stories and who can learn the craft of scriptwriting.”
When asked if there were topics that were out of bounds for the competition, he said, “There is no genre that is out of bounds. It can be science fiction or sports or romance; in fact it can be any genre. The writers have to be people who want to tell stories of faith and values that are spiritually uplifting, not spiritually depressing. We say in the competition rules, however, that we don’t want occult or New Age materials. We are looking for traditional faith and values stories given the great tradition of the monotheistic religions.”
Dr. Baehr explained, “This new prize for films yet-to-be is designed to encourage aspiring screenwriters to create more movies with storylines that help to increase man’s love for and understanding of God, similar to the criteria for the Epiphany Prizes for Inspiring Movies and TV.”
The John Templeton Foundation Kairos Prize for Spiritually Uplifting Screenplays includes a $25,000 grand prize and runner-up awards of $15,000 and $10,000 each. First-time scribes need to submit their scripts right away to be considered for this inaugural edition of the prize, which will be awarded along with the annual Epiphany Prizes at the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards Gala on March 2, 2006 in Beverly Hills, California.
“We hope the establishment of the Kairos Prize will encourage talented young screenwriters with new ideas and a great respect for the Christian faith to move forward on that project they have in mind, and to inundate Hollywood with moral, inspirational movies,” said Dr. Jack Templeton, son of Sir John Templeton.
Sir John Templeton has long believed that the media, and specifically the entertainment media, plays a role in how individuals form their ideas about faith and values. For this reason, nearly ten years ago he and Dr. Baehr established the Epiphany Prize for Inspiring Movies & TV, to honor those films and shows that help increase man’s understanding and love of God, similar to the famous Templeton Prize awarded every year for progress toward research or discoveries about spiritual realities.
CRITERIA FOR THE COMPETITION
Specific criteria for the Kairos Prize describe screenplays that are wholesome, uplifting and inspirational, and which result in a greater increase in either man’s love or understanding of the “one true creator God.”
Dr. Baehr, as Founder and Executive Producer of MOVIEGUIDE®, and Founder and Chairman of the Christian Film and Television Commission™ works to provide a bridge between the entertainment industry and the traditional family audience. Every two weeks throughout the year, the commission publishes MOVIEGUIDE®, which reviews and recommends movies for their moral and spiritual principles, as well as their production values -- films that tell a story that is both redemptive and inspiring to their audiences.
“We are so grateful to Sir John, and now Dr. Jack Templeton, for their recognition of the impact of entertainment on faith and spirituality,” Dr. Baehr said. “Not only do they realize this, but they want to do something to make a difference. The Templeton Foundation investment in inspirational and God-based filmmaking has already impacted Hollywood, and we hope to see this new prize do so to an even greater extent.
“While more than 50,000 original screenplays are submitted every year to the Writers Guild of America,” Dr. Baehr concluded, “lackluster box office numbers show that by and large, the best and most creative scripts are still not being discovered and produced. The Kairos Prize offers a real chance for the untried and fearful “Davids” to take on the Hollywood Goliath. This prize package is larger than the vast majority of hundreds of other scriptwriting contests, and it is one of the few guaranteeing the script a review by a major studio or producer. We are pleased with their participation, and recognize its invaluable contribution to the careers of our winners.”
More information and submission guidelines are available online at www.kairosprize.com. The deadline for early entries is Nov. 25; the late deadline is Jan. 6. Quarter-finalists will be notified by February 1, 2006. The three winning scriptwriters will be recognized in front of key entertainment industry leaders, producers and talent at the MOVIEGUIDE® Awards Gala. In addition, key entertainment industry studio executives or independent producers will review the winning script and/or agree to hold a pitch meeting with their creative development team and the winning screenwriters, following the awards presentation.
|Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). Wooding is the co-host of the weekly radio show, "Window on the World" and was, for ten years a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. He also co-hosts three days a week a live phone-in show called "Pastor's Perspective" with Brian Brodersen which is carried on KWVE, Santa Ana, California, and other radio stations across the USA. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to www.fromtabloidtotruth.com. firstname.lastname@example.org |
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