I was wondering whatever happened in the Cyberspace Open – the organizers seemed happy to find any excuse to email contestants earlier but I hadn’t heard anything in a while. I went over to check things out and found that the finalists have been selected, but so far no mention of the YouTube voting for the big winner.
You can read the top three here, if you want to see what a winning entry looks like. The prompt for this round was to write a scene in which one character has been betrayed by a confidant, and confronts the betrayer.
A hearty congratulations is in order for all three. They made something that sparkled and shone in the eyes of their peers. Not bad for a day’s work.
I considered whether to put my own thoughts on the top three here, but the contest is still going, and I don’t want to come off as a sour-grapes kind of guy, picking at the flaws of writers who scored better than I did in the previous round. I’ll just say that I think one of these scripts is substantially better than the other two, while another had nice moments but seemed fundamentally flawed.
It was a good exercise for me to read them, because there were several places where I could tell that the writer was not getting everything out of their head and onto the page (writing time was very limited, after all). In the future I will try to identify those places in my own writing, before I leave my audience flat.
Edited to add:
If this page is any indication, they have decided to go back to the old format (a ninety-minute period for the finalists to craft a third scene) for the next iteration of the contest. (In fact, that is the same page as last year, just with the dates changed.) This is either to make the contest work better in conjunction with the Screenwriting Expo or it’s an indication that the current format isn’t working out. Or maybe both.
I hope they get the kinks worked out — it’s a cool contest (despite my frustrations). As you will see in the comments, I wasn’t the only one wondering what was going on over there.