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Platt Students Top Screenplay Contest
Originally posted on: 2003-07-01
Getting noticed in the film business is not easy, especially for those new to the industry. Sure, it might help if your aunt used to date the head of production at Miramax, but what if you don’t have those kinds of connections? Industry insiders say one way to get noticed is to win a contest. That is just what Platt College students Dominique Williams and Jennifer Bandrup did.
Dominique and Jennifer were among 10 Finalists in the 2003 American Gem Short Screenplay Contest. The contest was open to students nationwide and received 632 entries, placing Jennifer and Dominique’s scripts at the very top of a large stack.
The contest, by Filmmakers Magazine, allows finalists access to agents and literary managers, and gets their scripts read by production companies. Similar to HBO’s Project Greenlight, which provides access to Hollywood for neophyte filmmakers, the American Gem contest aims to give those without connections a chance to get their work noticed.
Jennifer’s script, "Klepto", is the story of a young woman who has a problem stealing. During a "shopping" trip, she meets what she believes is the man of her dreams.
Dominique’s script, "Red Light Run", is a tale of an American photographer who falls in love with a prostitute while in India. He and his friends must devise a scheme to rescue her.
"When I first heard I had to write a script (for the class), I thought there was no way I could do it," Jennifer says. "But my instructor, Mike Goedecke, showed me there was a process to it." Neither student thought seriously of entering a contest, but neither could refuse when Platt College offered to pay the entry fees.
"I didn’t think it was good enough," Dominique says. "But Mike convinced me he thought it was." "I never thought I’d even make the Top 50," Jennifer says.
Because there are so many screenplays out there, contests provide a way for agents and production companies to weed out material that is, for whatever reason, unacceptable. Having placed their scripts so highly in a contest is a sign these young screenwriters are headed in the right direction.
"Platt College congratulates Jennifer and Dominique for their outstanding accomplishment," says Mike Smith, Dean of Education. "Hopefully, they will provide inspiration for other Platt students to follow in their footsteps. They have provided our school with a great deal of pride."