NYCMidnight · Writing

NYCM Screenplay Challenge – AKA WTF Did I Get Myself Into?


I did it. I signed up for the NYCMidnight Screenplay Challenge. I write fiction… and dialogue is one of my favorite parts of the fiction writing process… and I’ve been told by many a reader that my dialogue is sharp and true to life (I love those readers with all my heart). I’ve wanted to try my hand at script writing for… like… ever. But crippling self doubt is real when you’re a writer, and so “thinking about it” was as close as I ever got.

So, I paid hard-earned money for a contest just to convince myself to move through my own mental issues long enough to produce 12 pages of script.

And I did it!

This time of year is tough… it’s the end of the school year, and adult responsibilities pile up like the laundry on my couch. (Which is both a metaphor and yet another adult responsibility)

Last Friday night, I waiting up until 10PM to check my prompt, and then forgot all about it and went to bed without even looking. The next morning, I woke up and was like, “Oh yeah! Contest!”

I popped over to the NYCM site and saw something I’ve been dreading for the last four years since I first became addicted to these silly things.

My genre was to be Political Satire.


Once I recovered from the initial shock that 1) I got the genre I’ve been dreading the most and 2) I didn’t get Crime Caper — again… I dug in and thought for all of 2 minutes before the entire story hit me.

The complete prompt I had to write from was: Political Satire / A fundraising event / A furniture mover. (Genre/setting/character)

I went into my office, jotted down a few notes on a piece of scratch paper, and then realized just how much I had to do that weekend, and knew I wouldn’t see the inside of my office again for days. Between ice skating competitions, band concerts, junior high prom, hockey tournaments, my day job and trifles like feeding my children, I wondered how I’d fit it all in.

It was Thursday evening before I put fingers to keyboard. To be completely honest, I wrestled with the entire concept of actually writing this script from Saturday morning until I typed the first line on Thursday. There were moments I convinced myself that the entry fee wasn’t that big of a loss… I didn’t *have to* write if I didn’t want to. But the truth is, it’s a new thing for me, and I was afraid I’d totally suck at it. I worried myself into an “I don’t know how to do this” frenzy. Eventually, I told my brain to STFU, and I just… wrote.

Fortunately, I’d been stewing on the story all week, and it fairly fell out… and I’m super thankful for my wonderful husband, because he bought me my Scrivener license for my birthday. The program formats a script with almost zero effort expended on my part…. which is good, because the idea of formatting a script still terrifies me, even after the fact.

I had until Saturday, 9 PM my time, to complete my script. Saturday morning, I enlisted the help of 4 amazing beta readers… one who found my duplicate words and copy/paste errors, one who helped with my formatting (Scrivener is good, but not perfect), one who helped me shovel clarity into a gaping plot hole, and one who helped me frame the entire vibe with three words in the opening action. Also, Amazing Husband lent his two cents and listened to me (poorly) read it out loud (wow, I can’t act).

Long story short, I was able to craft what ended up being a fun piece of satire (that’s probably a little too close to the truth), and I’m now only somewhat terrified of the script writing process. Here’s to hoping mine makes it into the next round. It will be posted here for your reading pleasure later this week! Until then, here’s the title and logline:

Two Percent 

When it comes to charity, the wealthy elite are ready and willing to give. But who is on the receiving end?

9 thoughts on “NYCM Screenplay Challenge – AKA WTF Did I Get Myself Into?

  1. Congrats, Shanan!
    I’m not on FB , but I do read some of your stuff here!!
    Amazing how far you’ve come professionally the last few years!!!


    1. Hey! Glad to hear from you!! And yeah, I’m amazed, myself. It’s been quite the ride, and I still kind of wonder how I got from point A to point B sometimes. There’s still so far to go, too! LOL But it’s nice to be writing every day 🙂


  2. Congratulations. Shanan. I enjoyed your short essay about the process. I look forward to reading it here soon. Nice work.


    1. Thanks Jimmy! It should be up soon… and the process was interesting this time around. I had more self doubt that normal… lots of life-things happening. Life-things make writing-things harder, generally speaking 😉


  3. woo-hoo, you did it! I hope you’ll be as successful as I was when I drew political satire for my NYCM SSC R1! Sorry I didn’t have time to beta help the way you beta helped me!


    1. Here’s hoping they like it! You never know with NYCM judges. LOL And it’s interesting… I’m in a heat with a bunch of people from England… and we got Political Satire. Could make for an exceptionally interesting round. Not that I’d know… I’m forever alone on the forums, as usual.


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