LAISA is run by a consortium of Hollywood Professionals: working writers, producers, directors, agents collectively representing more than a century of television, feature film, and theater award-winning success. Their mission is to discover, encourage, promote and connect the best writers and their material to professionals looking to utilize their skillset. We had the opportunity to ask the Senior Judge, Robert L. McCullough, a few questions about the Los Angeles International Screenplay Awards. His answers are below.
Coverfly: What’s one unique piece of advice you’d give to writers who enter your contest?
Robert L. McCullough: Study character development! Then read as many good scripts as you can. Study each script carefully. Then write as many good scripts as you can and don’t stop.
CF: When a writer wins, what can they expect from you and your contest? And what can writers do to be best prepared for capitalizing on a win?
RLM: Our winning writers will get exposure to working Hollywood professionals and an opportunity to option their material for pre-production development. All winning screenwriters must be prepared to put their best foot forward. It’s all about first impressions. If you win then you clearly have talent. Now it’s all about working efficiently, communicating well, and putting your best foot forward and proving you can work at the highest level.
CF: Are there any special elements of the script your readers are looking for that you can share?
RLM: Character development. As professionals who have reached the heights of success, we know that a great screenplay is driven by character goals, needs, and motivations. To a writer, there should be no such thing as a “plot-driven” script. Go ahead and hit your plot-points, but understand that the heart of the story’s conflict must arise from character goals and motivations. And make sure your first 10 pages are killer.
CF: What does your reading process look like and who are your readers?
RLM: Our scripts are all given a thorough word-by-word analysis. Click this link to read more about it.
CF: Why is your contest valuable to writers?
RLM: Because our judges have major reputations in the business and stand for excellence. When our judges approve a script, it means something.
CF: Do you think entering contests is a good path for all aspiring writers?
RLM: Yes! With the over-saturation of scripts in the marketplace, doing well in a respected competition like the LA International Screenplay Awards is a critical step in having your material stand out in today’s film and television market .