Industry Insider Contest Testimonials

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Edward Saxon Round Testimonials

“I've used the tricks and tips I learned during the Industry Insider development process on the scripts I'm currently working on at USC. In April, I will be pitching those scripts to a multitude of production companies, agents and managers and I'm more confident about those pitches because of my time as a finalist in the Industry Insider competition.”

- Jordan Trippeer, Coke and Converse (Edward Saxon Round)

“The best part about working with Anthony was the incredible toolset he provided me by guiding me away from arbitrary plot devices and encouraging me to pursue storytelling derived from character development. Micki's notes were also astounding! Between Anthony and Micki, I gained a vocabulary to discuss problem areas in my own work and became more aware of opportunities for improvement when reading others'. No matter your experience level, the time you spend in this intensive mentorship is well-worth it! You'll walk away not only an improved screenwriter - but as someone who has learned to communicate and collaborate with professionals inside of your field.”

Jonah Heller, Fusion (Edward Saxon Round)

"The Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest was one of the most valuable experiences of my scriptwriting career three reasons:

1. The contest entry itself is a great proof-of-concept for a story idea. It’s a great way to bounce a story concept off a highly qualified audience without doing a complete draft.

2. The format of writing to an assigned logline within a 90-day limit is a perfect one for developing professional discipline.

3. The quality and the depth of feedback and constructive suggestions from my Industry Insider mentor, Mario was the best I’ve ever received on any project.

And a fourth reason -- Sadie and the administrators of the contest were highly organized, friendly and responsive.

It was simply the best!"

Paul Littell, Chasing Dakota (Edward Saxon Round)

Randall Wallace Round Testimonials

"When we first heard that we were finalists we were quite obviously elated. I mean Randall Wallace and Benderspink were going to read our work, but then a sinking reality set in... we still needed to write the script. Luckily for us our story specialist, Kay Tuxford was a Godsend. Bloodlines was far beyond any project we had ever tried to tackle before. It was bigger in scope, description and world building than we had ever tried and there were points we thought we had bitten off more than we could chew. Kay was right there the whole time to put voice to the nagging concerns we couldn't identify, offer spot on notes to help us fix problem spots, and whip our butts back into form when we went off course (nicely of course). We like to think we were pretty good writers before this contest, but we know that we are better writers after it. This is an absolute, don't even think about it, must enter contest. It will make you a better writer, it will enhance the skills that are needed to be a professional writer (deadlines, taking notes, re-writing, etc...) and it will open doors for you. We were already generating some interest just from being finalists. Who know what the future holds, but it is looking up thanks to this contest."

- Dave Merlino, Bloodlines - Contest Winner (Randall Wallace Round)

"We would not have won this competition without the help of our story specialist; Kay Tuxford. Kay understood the ideas driving our story right away, and helped us focus on character development and story pacing, and helped the script develop naturally. Where we would have gotten lost in the weeds of back story Tuxford kept us focused on the tale we were developing at the moment. Our other scripts operate within a world very similar to the one we live in today, and are streamlined with that shared human experience. Bloodlines happens in a fantasy world and we were concerned about creating that sense of shared space. With her help we were able to identify our weaknesses and smooth out the explanations needed to convey our fantasy world. I would highly recommend both the contest, and Kay individually, to any writer who wanted to move their script from "good" to "excellent"."

- Dustin Sweet, Bloodlines - Contest Winner (Randall Wallace Round)

Susannah Grant Round Testimonials

"If you're lucky enough to be a finalist in The Industry Insider Contest you've already won. The prizes are great, but the knowledge you gain from working with their mentors is invaluable. I went from my first fifteen pages to a polished feature length script in just a few months and learned plenty of new tricks of the trade. As if that wasn't enough, I got to spend an afternoon with Susannah Grant, a writer I've been a fan of for years."

Mickey Fisher, The Marginal Way - Contest Winner (Susannah Grant Round)

“My 12 weeks as an Industry Insider finalist made me a better writer, taught strong work habits and, most importantly, helped me define my writing voice.

Now I'm off to brainstorm some ideas for the latest round.”

Paul Singleton, The Last Lonely Days of Bernie Poplowski (Susannah Grant Round)

"This contest makes you work. Deadlines. Re-writes. Gloves-off feedback that lets you know where your writing sings and where it sucks. Personal war stories from your mentor about life on the front lines of the film business. It's real-world screenwriting that's not for the faint-hearted, but you'll be wiser, tougher and better for it."

Neil Conway, One Week Only (Susannah Grant Round)

“The Industry Insider Contest was truly invaluable to my growth as a writer. It gave me the confidence I needed to move to Los Angeles, enroll in my dream MFA program, and, most importantly, finish a script that I was proud of. There’s nothing more satisfying than writing that first FADE OUT. The contest and my genius story specialist, Mario, made sure I got there with aplomb.”

- Charlie Efron, Kings of Seas (Susannah Grant Round)

"The Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest gave me a chance to discuss my writing for weeks with an adviser who was as passionate about writing as I am. It was a collaborative journey that improved my writing, and one that I simply couldn't have gotten where I live."

- Sam A., The Hunt (Susannah Grant Round)

Todd Garner Round Testimonials

“Sounds like a cliche but winning the Todd Garner round of the Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest was life-changing. Not only did it open my eyes to what's expected of working screenwriters, it also opened more channels with legit industry folks who will happily read my scripts now. On top of that, the mentorship that finalists get is like taking a one-person master class in screenwriting. Don't miss out!”

Paul Boyer, Triangled – Contest Winner (Todd Garner Round)

“I took the screenplay I wrote for the Industry Insider Contest and turned it into a television pilot. That pilot went on to win Best Original TV Drama in the 2013 Creative World Awards. The guidance I received from my Story Specialist mentor really helped me nail down the concept and the characters, and I think that's part of the reason the pilot was so successful. Thanks to the work I did during my time with the contest, almost everything was in place when I sat down to craft the pilot. All I had to do was expand the story line a bit and change the formatting!”

Jennifer Green, Triangle (Todd Garner Round)

Robert Mark Kamen Round Testimonials

"No other screenplay contest offers what the Industry Insider Contest does -- a chance to develop your script alongside an industry professional. Some contests are about cash and prizes. The Industry Insider Contest is about advancing your career and developing material that can be successful in the marketplace. It's about opening up doors.

Not only was my Specialist, Mario, a consummate professional but an invaluable source of critical feedback. He brought tremendous energy and insight to each of our weekly sessions. You would think he was earning a ten-percent manager's cut. Mario (expletive) rocks."

- Tyler Marceca, The Disciple Program - Contest Winner (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

"Being apart of the Industry Insiders Screenwriting Contest has been a rewarding experience unlike any other. Whereas most contests just offer a cash prize and figurative pat on the back, The Writers Store provides professional opportunities and valuable feedback. The Story Specialist sessions were very helpful and we're happy to have been apart of the Industry Insiders experience."

- Jess Phillips & Eric Day, Carrier (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

"I was amazed at how useful my experience in this contest proved to be. Anthony’s invaluable feedback and advice pushed me to develop as a writer in ways I hadn’t even considered, boosting my skill and confidence simultaneously. On top of that, the whole experience was just fun—and instilled in me a work ethic and a drive to write which has persisted even after the contest’s end. Because of the Industry Insider Contest, I’m a better writer and I have a complete screenplay that I never would have written otherwise. It’s way too awesome an experience for any writer to pass up."

- Zan Gillies, The Dark Side of Eden (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

"I could not have had a better experience with the contest. My story
specialist Mario taught me an enormous amount through the process and
I'm a much better screenwriter for it. I'm very happy with how
everything turned out and I can't thank him enough."

- Tommy Cleary, The Brave (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

"I found The Industry Insider Contest to be that rare opportunity to go on a screenwriting journey where you don't have to go it alone. The weekly interaction with the Story Specialist guides you along each step of the process, ten pages at a time, making it much less intimidating than usual. And the knowledge they impart is invaluable in molding your ideas into a functional screenplay. My specialist -- my mentor -- Anthony, changed my entire perspective on how to approach and execute my writing to its fullest potential. I can't thank him enough. Just like a character in a screenplay, I started the contest hoping the reward would appear at the end of my journey and then realized that the reward was the journey itself. This is a contest you have to enter if you want to become a better writer."

- Dan O'Donahue, The Magnesian Protocol (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

“I thoroughly enjoyed working with Kay Tuxford and with her guidance, we got my script "Alien Underground" to a level where it made top ten finalist in multiple contests, and took first in the Red Inkworks contest. AU has been optioned along with two more of my scripts. I am currently working with two amazing guys, my manager and a story expert, and we are melding all three scripts into a Sci Fi trilogy that is one epic adventure!” 

- Kari Ciardi, Alien Underground (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

"When I got the phone call that I was one of the top ten finalists I was on cloud nine. Best day ever... and then the reality sunk in that this means work - hard work. But I never enjoyed 'work' so much! My weekly sessions with Anthony were so productive that I couldn't wait for the next one. He really took me in a different direction than I planned and the story was all the better for it. If the story isn't there then the script is meaningless. He helped me sharpen my character building skills and dialog, which as a new writer is so beneficial. I wish everyone had the opportunity that I did and wish all of the future contestants the best of luck. Remember, being in the 'top ten' IS winning because the rest is up to you."

- John Torma, Salmon Falls (Robert Mark Kamen Round)

Allan Loeb Round Testimonials

"I’ve always felt that the best thing you can give a screenwriter is the knowledge that there’s someone, somewhere, waiting to read his or her finished script. That’s what gets us to the computer every day, and what motivates us to do our best work. One of the great gifts of this contest is that not only do you offer that knowledge, but you offer it in the highest order: the people who will be reading your script are exactly the people you want reading your script.

There’s also a really wonderful sense – from the beginning of the contest on -- of how invested everyone at The Writers Store is in helping the finalists write a great script. From Mario's, my Story Specialist’s, weekly call to the amazingly detailed Development Notes after the rough draft, to the terrific, encouraging updates and emails throughout, there’s a great sense of motivation and professionalism that’s very inspiring. I can’t say enough about this screenwriting contest. If I could, I would be a perpetual finalist!"

- Joshua Rebell, Old Boys Club - Contest Winner (Allan Loeb Round)

"I think that this program was really well thought out and set up with 'success for the the writers' in mind. The weekly meetings with the Story Specialist really were great. Mario and I clicked right away and he kept me focused on the direction that I wanted to go. His insights were a writer's insights and those are so valuable to another writer. He always supported me and never bogged me down with biases or pre-conceived ideas. I could not have been given a more nurturing environment."

- Normann Pokorny, Battling Pica (Allan Loeb Round)

"I have a B.A. in Screenwriting, but I am an even better writer for having been a finalist in the Industry Insider Competition. This is boot camp for screenwriters -- and it only takes fifteen pages to open the door to an invaluable experience. You'd be crazy to pass this up."

- Kelsey Rude, Imaginary Bachelor (Allan Loeb Round)

"I had an amazing experience during the Industry Insider Contest. My story specialist, Anthony, was wonderful and the experience working with him was invaluable. I'm walking away from this competition with a well written screenplay and insights that I will carry with me throughout my screenwriting career. I recommend this competition to anyone who wants to challenge themselves and really take their screenwriting to the next level."

- Tiffany Diamond, Imaginary Bachelor (Allan Loeb Round)

"I'm a writer who lives on the opposite side of the world to Hollywood. The opportunity to work one-on-one with Hollywood writers and get industry standard Development Notes, all without having to endure a 14-hour plane ride, was too tempting to pass up. The contest has surpassed all my expectations and my writing methods and processes have greatly improved thanks to this experience. Working to deadlines, re-writing and re-working after notes and comments is the life of a professional screenwriter, and this competition has given me an invaluable chance to experience that first hand. And most importantly I've come out the other end with a screenplay I'm really proud of."

- Adam Cece, The Last Viking Stag (Allan Loeb Round)

"The Industry Insider contest through the Writers Store was far and away the best writing experience I've had. Every script I'd tackled before this had been on my own time. No due dates looming, no one waiting on pages. The fast pace of this contest kept me cranking out scenes against real deadlines with no room to maneuver. It had to get done, no excuses, and it's under this type of pressure we often produce our best work. All in all, no matter what the outcome of the contest, you walk away with pages of valuable notes and a completed spec script. The perfect reward."

- Stephen Judge, The Man-Up (Allan Loeb Round)

“I am tremendously grateful to have been a part of the contest. The lessons I learned with Anthony as my mentor helped build my storytelling skills in a way that reading a book or attending a seminar could never do. My work since the contest has grown by leaps and bounds, and that result is directly attributable to the mentorship I received.

I haven't entered my contest script into many other contests, but it did make the second round of the Austin Film Festival screenplay competition. It has also received positive coverage from multiple sources.

More than anything, the experience of working through the mentorship program gave me the confidence to keep moving forward in pursuing my dream of being a working screenwriter. I would not hesitate to go through the experience again. I wish I could write all my scripts that way!”

- Jason Nave, Toasting Julio (Allan Loeb Round)

Simon Kinberg Round Testimonials

“The entire process of the Industry Insider contest was a life and career changing event for me. The mentoring accelerated my writing skills (thanks Mario!!) and I learned not only how to better write a screenplay, but how to do so in an industry standard timeline. Since winning the contest in 2011 I have written four screenplays, each of which has won first place in prestigious contests, three shorts, all currently in pre- or post- production and was hired based on a writing sample, to write a feature for an Emmy and DGA award winning director. None of this would have happened without Industry Insider.”

- Mary Krell-Oishi, Secret Asian Man – Contest Winner (Simon Kinberg)

"After my wonderful experience with the contest, I became a full time writer and landed on this year's Blacklist while securing representation at Management 360 and APA. Along with my Blacklist spec going out now, I have a TV pilot that is being produced by TV360. "

- Leo Sardarian, Historia (Simon Kinberg Round)

"Writing a feature is such a big investment of time and energy, it's not always clear whether or not it's worth it. However, writing the first 15 pages of a screenplay is such a relatively small investment, you almost can't afford not to. Then, if you're lucky enough to be chosen as a finalist, you definitely can't afford not to write the whole feature length script."

- Alex Berger, Onu (Simon Kinberg Round)

"I’d like to thank The Writers Store and the other sponsors of the Industry Insider Screenwriting Contest for such an enriching experience... Of all the screenplay competitions in which I have been fortunate to be a finalist, this contest has been the most rewarding to my growth as a screenwriter."

- Kenneth Lemm, Drum (Simon Kinberg Round)

"Thanks to all of you for a fantastic experience. I learned a lot about writing. More than I could have just reading the books or going to writing groups. The screenplay contest and my work with Anthony have been an integral part of my development as a writer."

- Araby Patch, Spy Dad (Simon Kinberg Round)

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