Those who know me may recall that I’ve done all six Script Frenzies to date and finished all of them, usually by writing twenty to thirty pages on the last day. In that time I’ve written three original screenplays of varying quality (2007, 2008, 2009), a musical (2010), a screenplay adaptation of my own novel (2011), and a radio play that I’m converting to a stage play (2012). I’ve made friends, grown closer to some of the ones I have, and learned a lot about writing in the process, both scriptwriting and novel-writing. So when fewer people participated over the past couple of years and I noticed the community getting quieter and less lively, my concern hat went on, to the point where I wrote a very long spiel on this in the post-event survey suggestion box. (To whoever read those, I’m sorry?)
So when I got the email from OLL executive director Grant Faulkner yesterday saying that Script Frenzy was being retired, I was simultaneously surprised and unsurprised. The event had always been operating at a loss due to lack of donations and other sources of funding, and even though I donated every year funds willing, that didn’t mean everyone was. That combined with dwindling participation and community meant that growth was likely to be slow if it happened. Even when Script Frenzy did grow, it was unlikely to make up for all those years OLL wasn’t recouping the funds it put into Screnzy.
On the other hand, this is a writing challenge I did since the beginning. Script Frenzy taught me the basics of scriptwriting and playwriting, and not just writing like this:
Sushi: Script Frenzy's been retired, I got stains on my Script Frenzy shirt, and to top it all off, the color on the shirt's wearing off because I soaked it and forgot all about it. Can this day get any worse?
Mr. Carrot Friend: What if I told you I was going stale soon?
Sushi: You'd be delicious with chicken.
Script Frenzy taught me about real formatting and how to see the world through all sorts of scripts. Thanks to Script Frenzy I have a play I really like and plan to edit and see through. (That’s the one about the gnome and the time machine, for the curious.) I’ve struggled through writing the scripts but have seen the writing process through new eyes that novel-writing doesn’t quite give me. And even though none of my scripts will be making millions any time soon, I still had a blast writing all of them.
So what next for the scriptwriter? For those still looking to write scripts in a Frenzy-like challenge, here are a few things that may be up your alley:
48 Hour Film Project: Make a film in 48 hours based on certain prompts given out in the beginning. The crew tours different cities throughout the world all year long. All the films are shown afterward, and some films get shown at other film festivals. There is a fee to enter officially.
24 Hour Comics Day: Create a full 24-page comic in 24 hours. This has a lot of in-person events. The 2012 date is October 20, 2012.
Script Race: Write a script in a month. Hosted most months (used to be every month, but there didn’t appear to be one in June 2012). Lots of smack talk, usually via Twitter. Free to participate.
April Fools: Set your own goal and complete it in April. Don’t be fooled by the URL; any form of writing is accepted. Some Screnzy writers would do this as well. Free to participate.
National Play Writing Month (NaPlWriMo): Write a play in November. This challenge has been around since 2006. Free to participate.
There will also be a Script Frenzy forum on the Nano website for Screnzy folks to keep in touch and talk scriptwriting, and the staff are looking into ways to keep the old site up. OLL folks, if you need any help with archiving any of it, Wikiwrimo is always here to help out.
A great light went out in the writing community this week, and I am sad to see it go. Script Frenzy, you will be missed.