Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We Fall Down...

That is ... Fall into this season's writing contests.  Even if you're not a writer, I'm sure September 1, opens a door of new possibilities for you.  It almost feels like January 1, when we get to start again.  We fall down, but get back up again.  

And there's the other side of it.  

Summer is emotionally and officially over after Labor Day weekend.  I'm both sad and excited. The sadness comes from not being able to watch the sunset on a Hawaii beach before dinner, unless I create a mural of it on my living room wall.  

My excitement centers on my book submission and entering the Scriptapalooza Television Writing Contest.  Of course, I'll probably be kissing that deadline date. Here are my contenders for entry:

(The Middle)

 (House of Payne)

(Army Wives)

1. The Middle
2. Tyler Perry's House of Payne
3 Army Wives

I'm leaning toward The Middle because the Mom, Frankie Heck, doesn't get anymore Average Joan than her.  I love the plot premise: 

The daily mishaps of a harried woman and her semi-dysfunctional family and their attempts to survive life in general in the city of Orson, Indiana.  What Average Jane do you know isn't harried?  As long as there are families, computers, shopping malls and double coupons -- our lives will be harried.  Thank goodness for chocolate.   I'm just saying.

 (Super Mom)

Patricia Heaton's Frankie Heck is the "every woman," at least in the land of Average Joans.  And her husband Mike is the husband many of us have but won't admit it unless we're strapped to a lie detector.  I won't tell if you won't.  But at the end, these "every men" always come through in a pinch.

(Everybody Loves Raymond)

Frankie makes Debra Barone look like arm-candy taking her to the next hilarious level.  She basically accepts her family for who they are ... the good, but mostly the ugly.  She fights it, but she often have bouts of "Keeping up with the Joneses ..." okay, staying in their shadow.  Why can't her daughter, Sue, take a great class photo?  Just once could she not reach the re-take limit of three.  And why can't she get into a school club?  Even being Safety Girl's reaching high.

Frankie wonders that maybe she's taking this acceptance thing too far.  Maybe she should push her children more.  Shall I dare say it.  Why must they always be average?  (I'm speaking from her perspective, of course.  She's just having a moment.  It doesn't take her long to realize that in all of us Average Joans, something extraordinary always lurks beneath the surface.  It emerges when we least expect it. 


Brick, her baby son, is brilliant but weird in a social misfit at 8 kind of way.  (Average doesn't mean you have less intelligence.) Sixteen-year-old Axl gives new meaning to the word slacker.  He spends more time in his boxers than in his books.  I love Sue the middle child.  No matter how many clubs she don't get into; no matter how many photos of her come out awful, and how many things she just can't do -- she shrugs it off and tries something new.  That alone is extraordinary. 

In our super-sized world of super babies who read by two, this simply does not compute to the over-achiever.  That's why The Middle is my choice of entry.  

Sure, Frankie has Sue tendencies at her job selling cars.  It's not her forte, but she's going to sell a car by hook or crook.  Even if her youngest can't attend school because he's sick, and she has to stow him in the back seat of a car on the lot in his pajamas with his pillow and blankie.  Don't judge.

My fave episode ... "Average Rules."   No surprise there.  Here's the recap.  Go to and check it out.  It's hilarious! 

After attending year-end school parent-teacher conferences, Frankie and Mike are shocked to discover that Brick may be held back from going to the third grade because the school librarian, Mrs. Nethercott, has it out for him due to 31 unreturned books. Meanwhile, as Axl's aptitude test results reveal him to be academically gifted, Frankie makes it her mission to get an overlooked Sue the recognition she deserves when none of her teachers even remember that she's in their classes.

(Sue Heck)
Even though it's the last week of school, the coach allows Sue (due to Mom's incessant begging)to be included in the closing year's track team if she's able to run a certain amount of laps around the track.  Sue trains so hard she injures her leg and ends up with crutches.  Did you just say another chance bites the dust?   Oh, not so.  This is when the extraordinary part shows whose in charge.  

She hops with her crutches determined to make the team.  Torrential rain doesn't stop her, a hit in the head by a flying object doesn't stop her, her crutch breaks ... she keeps on crawling until she crosses the finish line to a standing ovation.  That's my girl!

Oh yeah, Scriptapalooza TV- International Television Writing Contest ... Joan B. Average is heading your way.   

Here are my top picks for upcoming scriptwriting contests from

Scriptapalooza TV Writing Competition 
Final Deadline: 10/01/2010 
Entry Fee:  $40
Our intention is to help open doors for the aspiring television writer. There are four categories you can submit to, which include 1 hour existing spec scripts, 1/2 hour existing sitcom spec scripts, original pilots, and reality programs. This competition is designed with the TV writer and crossover screenwriter in mind. The participants we have chosen to read the winning scripts are individuals from established production companies. 
Overall rating:

3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars

The Annual Script Contest
Entry Fee:  $50
Final Deadline: 09/30/2010
Our Objective is to provide new writers with feedback, exposure and cool prizes they can show their friends. Our mission at is to provide new writers with helpful insight and tools to make their writing better. Overall rating:
5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars5 stars

Acclaim Film
Final Deadline: 10/23/2010 
Entry Fee:  $55
To introduce writers to the decision makers in film and multimedia markets. Top script receives $1,000 and ALL competition winners, runners-up, and finalists will earn the chance to have their scripts read by established production companies and agents in LA and NY. We strive to provide commentary on each script.  
Overall rating:
4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars

Acclaim TV Screenwriting Competition
Final Deadline: 10/23/2010 
Entry Fee:  $50
To introduce writers to the decision makers of traditional broadcast television, the cable market, and multi-media outlets. Competition winners will have their material read by experienced producers and agents in L.A. and N.Y.  
Overall rating:
3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars

LA Comedy Scripts Screenplay Competition
Final Deadline: 12/20/2010
Entry Fee:
$35 features/$30 shorts/$30 Half-hour Comedy pilots (by October 2nd, 2010); $45 features/$40 shorts/$40 Half-hour Comedy Pilots (by November 3rd, 2010); $55 features/$50 shorts/$50 Half-hour Comedy Pilots (by December 3rd, 2010); $75 features/$70 shorts/$70 Half-hour Comedy Pilots (by December 20th, 2010

The L.A. Comedy Shorts Film Festival and Screenplay Competition is dedicated to promoting the comedy genre and helping comedy filmmakers and writers take the next step in their careers. L.A. Comedy Shorts was ranked one of the ''Top 25 Festivals Worth the Entry Fee'' by MovieMaker Magazine, and listed as one of the ''Top Ten Festivals in the U.  
Overall rating: 4 stars4 stars4 stars4 stars

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