The Quest Initative: 3 days and counting!

May 20th, 2013 by

Three days away. It’s madness, really. There is no rational basis for what I’m doing with The Quest Initiative. Incredibly time-consuming. Odds that I will benefit personally from it ridiculously small. Combined with the prospect of managing, reading and assessing thousands of loglines…

As I said, irrational.

And yet my gut tells me to do it.

Why?

Frankly I’m not sure. One contributing factor I do know is this: I want to do everything I can to open doors to writers outside Hollywood. This, I understand on a personal level. I was a complete outsider when I wrote and sold the spec script K-9. Since then I have felt a connection to writers such as myself: No formal screenwriting education, little or no connections to Hollywood, just a lifelong passion for movies, a love for writing, and an experience of screenwriting that…

This. Is. It.

This is the narrative form I was meant to write.

If that describes you, you are why I am committed to a second round of The Quest Initiative.

You can go here to see the original announcement I made about The Quest last year.

You can go here for a post about this year’s Initiative.

For a primer on what you need to know, hit More.

What you need to know about “The Quest Initiative”

Cost: Free.

How many participants: Up to 4.

Who may apply: Any aspiring screenwriter who is not a member of the WGA or equivalent professional writing organization. Writers do not have to live in Los Angeles, and may be located in the United States or internationally based. Writers may be any age, gender, race, etc.

When will the workshop run: July 15-December 29, 2013.

How will I determine who gets accepted: There are three key standards. (1) Story concept: I am looking for strong story concepts that I believe when executed as a script can get set up as projects in Hollywood. In other words, I am almost exclusively interested in commercial high concepts. I will make exceptions if the story elements make me think the project is a marketable one, but the concept has to be extremely strong if it is not high concept. (2) Writing ability: I will ask applicants who make it past the first cut to send me a sample of their writing, as well as a detailed description of their background as a writer and a statement about why they want to be a screenwriter. (3) Personal interview: I will have a one-on-one conversation with applicants who make it past the next cut in order to assemble a group I feel will be compatible with each other.

How do you apply: A simple email with the word “Quest Logline” in the subject line, then a logline of your story in the text. If you have a title, please post that. If the genre of the story is not clear from the logline, you may include the genre.

When may you apply: I will be accepting loglines from May 22 through June 8, 2013. You may send them to me at: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com.

NOTE: THIS IS THE ONLY EMAIL ADDRESS YOU SHOULD USE!!!

If you are selected as one of The Quest participants, you must be willing to do the following three things:

1. You have to commit yourself fully to the workshop. That means active participation in constructive criticism and feedback, all writing exercises and assignments, and most importantly pledge you will finish the first draft of your original screenplay.

2. You have to write a weekly journal entry about your experiences in the workshop. As part of The Quest Initiative, I will be doing something akin to reality programming in that each week, I will post something on GITS about the group’s progress including excerpts from your journals. This is a great way for the GITS community to track how you are doing, something of what you are learning, see the ups and downs of the writing process, and so on.

3. If you write a script I believe has strong marketable potential, I have the right to attach myself as an executive producer. At that point, I will take you on into rewrites and we will officially be in producer-to-writer mode. Once your script is finished, I will take the lead in getting it to managers and agents, and try to get the project set up and you established in Hollywood.

You may only submit a total of three [3] loglines!

Last year some folks sent me dozens of loglines. As a result, I ended up reviewing over 3500 loglines. An overwhelming majority of them were not – in my opinion – commercially viable.

So if you are serious about wanting to have a chance to participate in The Quest, I encourage you — with extreme prejudice! — to raise your game. Give me your best shot. That means you have to set the bar high for what you submit to me. You need to ask: Is this really a movie? Can this story concept compete with what is currently out in theaters? Is this something I think Scott will respond to?

Here are genres I am most interested in reading: Action, Comedy, Thriller. Second tier: Drama, Family, Horror.

Cross genres like Action-Thriller, Drama-Comedy, Action-Comedy, those are fine, too.

Here are genres that will be tough sells: Fantasy, Science Fiction.

I love Fantasy and Science Fiction, but if you submit an idea that requires massive and complex world-building along with huge CGI requirements, I’m not in a position to do anything with that.

That said, if you have a truly great story idea that is either Fantasy or Science Fiction and it is low-to-mid-budget, that might work. A big idea with a contained environment like Moon, something along those lines.

Will I offer a free class for every entrant like I did last year? No!

I may be crazy, but I am not insane. There were 1500 entrants last year and a majority of them have received a free Core or Craft class through Screenwriting Master Class. It was a nice gesture on my part, but I simply don’t have the resources to make that offer again.

How should I submit my logline(s)?

In the subject heading of your email, just put QUEST LOGLINE or QUEST LOGLINES depending on if you are submitting one or more (NO MORE THAN 3!!!)

In the body of the email Title [if you have it], Genre [if you know it], Logline.

If you don’t have a title, that’s okay.

If you are not sure of the genre, take your best guess from the following: Action, Comedy, Drama, Family, Fantasy, Horror, Science Fiction, Thriller.

If you have a cross-genre movie like an Action-Comedy or sub-genre movie like a Romantic Comedy, that’s fine. But if you put down: Action Comedy Mystery Adventure Contained Thriller? That suggests this story has not found itself yet.

If you have multiple loglines (remember: no more than three entries), please put them into one email.

Email your submission to: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com.

I WILL ONLY ACCEPT SUBMISSIONS AT THIS NEW EMAIL ADDRESS. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE NOTE THE ADDRESS AND USE IT TO MAKE MY LIFE EASIER!

Up to 4 writers will have what I believe to be an incredible opportunity, not only to write an original screenplay aided by other writers and myself, but also a chance to learn how to think and write like a professional. Because my goal with writers who go through The Quest is to educate and train them so they have the best shot possible not only at breaking into the business, but succeeding month after month, year after year. That’s one of my guiding principles with The Quest: solid screenwriting theory matched with solid screenwriting practice.

3 days and counting. What are you doing to prepare for The Quest Initiative?

If you have any questions, please post them in comments.

Onward and upward!

I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY LOGLINE SUBMISSIONS BEFORE WEDNESDAY, MAY 22, 2013. PLEASE RESPECT THIS SCHEDULE!

OFFICIAL LOGLINE SUBMISSION PERIOD: MAY 22-JUNE 8, 2013.

EMAIL ADDRESS: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com. USE THIS ADDRESS ONLY TO SUBMIT YOUR LOGLINES FOR THE QUEST INITIATIVE!!!

15 thoughts on “The Quest Initative: 3 days and counting!

  1. TheQuietAct says:

    And yet my gut tells me to do it.

    Why?

    Scott, the feeling over on the Black Board is that the Quest has been a great exercise for helping us to wrangle our loglines. So the massive amount of time that you have and will dedicate to it, is reaping rewards for those participating, whether we’re selected or not.

    As to why you’re so irrational….?

    Can I just clarify for everyone that the email to send to is
    thequestinitiative@gmail.com

    And that this is not a browser link, just want to clarify. Please delete if it causes confusion.

    1. Scott says:

      Thanks, TQA, for the ongoing clarification.

      Email address: thequestinitiative at gmail dot com.

      This will allow me to handle the flood of entries.

      Submission dates: Wednesday, May 22-Sunday, June 8.

      Subject heading: Quest logline / loglines

      Title [if you have it]
      Genre [if you know it]
      Logline

      Nothing else. Just that.

  2. What if you have a logline and a synopsis of the plot that you think could be a marketable movie, but don’t have the confidence or experience needed to pen a script? You know, I’m just a man with just an idea an e-mail account. No teleconference. No Final Draft. No IMDB credits. Could I try?

    1. Scott says:

      Carlos, obviously I’m looking for the best story concepts possible, but The Quest Initiative is based on a holistic philosophy, combining theory and practices based on decades of experience working in the entertainment business. My ultimate goal is not just to have the participating writer emerge with a great script, but also to know how to think and conduct their approach to writing like a professional screenwriter.

      So my first question is this: Do you want to be a screenwriter? Then this: How much do you want to be a screenwriter? Next this: Do you believe you have the talent, persistence and drive to succeed?

      If the answers to those questions are positive AND you have a great story concept, there’s a solid chance you will – at least – make the first cut. Then we can talk. Depending on that interview, anything can happen.

      But in theory, every writer – regardless of experience – is eligible for The Quest Initiative.

  3. Scott, I’m in the nemesis class this week and considered posting a synopsis in the forum but it would be for one of my quest entries.

    Is that okay?

    1. Scott says:

      Barbara, that’s a good question, one that hasn’t come up before. I try to approach The Quest Initiative process as ‘blindly’ as possible. I don’t read ANY submissions until AFTER the end date. I avoid looking at the names of the senders. Really just focus the actual logline itself.

      Obviously working with you in the Write a Worthy Nemesis class on a character in your story will give me some familiarity with the character and your story.

      My advice would be this: Pick another story to workshop. Then privately on your own, use the questions, tips and principles from the class to develop the Nemesis character for the story you want to submit. That way I won’t be influenced either way.

      Does that make sense?

      1. Yes, thanks. I was thinking it wouldn’t be fair if you had additional information about my story.

    2. Erica R Maier says:

      This is great to know. I was wondering if you read them as they came in or not …

      And I’ve said this before, but I am beyond grateful for your willingness to pay it forward …

  4. Despina says:

    Pretty incredible thing you’re doing, Scott!

    1. Scott says:

      Let’s hope some writers with talent and drive come up with some strong commercially viable story concepts, great ideas that have MOVIE written all over them.

  5. John Geraci says:

    Whew, man, you are about to get deluged.
    Anybody picked the over/under on it yet?
    That might be another little contest.

    I was curious: What’s happened to the winners of last year’s quest? Can you share any info?
    Thanks.

    1. Scott says:

      I am working with 7 out of 8 on their scripts with me as an exec producer.

  6. Two of my potential logline submissions would be based on short stories I wrote and have up for sale on Amazon.com. Would that be a problem?

    1. Scott says:

      As long as you own the rights to your short stories, that’s fine.

  7. Wait. Can we send loglines for scripts we’ve already written or sketched out?

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