By Sarah Chaisson-Warner
Shore Scripts’ annual feature screenplay contest has a proven track record of helping emerging writers achieve their goals of becoming full-time working screenwriters. Our strategic approach to script circulation and strong relationships within the industry have helped over 100+ writers launch and sustain their careers.
This year’s prize package for the feature screenplay competition winner includes a $5,000 cash prize, guaranteed meetings with industry professionals, and mentorship from the creator of Atomic Blonde and writer of Resident Evil Village, Antony Johnston.
Why Do I Need A Mentor?
The entertainment industry is challenging to enter and navigate, and going at it alone is a difficult strategy. Having an excellent script is just the beginning – this industry is built upon connections, relationships, and trust. So, in 2022 Shore Scripts has decided to leverage its extensive industry connections to give the winner of the Feature Screenplay contest a unique opportunity to further their screenwriting career.
Having a mentor can be key for avoiding pitfalls, understanding how the industry works, and building a career plan.
Even for people who grew up in the industry, a mentor is still a valuable part of the learning curve. Ella Jones, a member of Shore Scripts’ prestigious Directors’ Roster, credits much of her learning to her mentor, Becky Martin (Peep Show, Veep). Since then, Ella has gone on to serve as a mentor herself as well, which she has found equally rewarding.
“I love the idea of an endless chain of mentoring – of being mentored by someone further along, whilst mentoring someone earlier on. Mentoring people earlier on in their careers has allowed me to recognize how far I’ve come in mine, what I’ve learned, and the progress I’ve made. Something that we often struggle to do in a field where we’re always looking forward to the next big thing.” – Ella Jones
The Shore Scripts Mentoring Experience
Our competitions are designed to help writers build strong and lasting careers in the entertainment industry, and our mentors are uniquely positioned to help competition winners advance their professional goals.
This year’s feature screenplay mentor is Antony Johnston. Antony is a New York Times bestselling author and screenwriter. He is the creator of Atomic Blonde and writer of Resident Evil Village, and his novel The Exphoria Code is in development for TV. In 2020 he wrote and directed the indie short Crossover Point, made entirely in quarantine.
The grand prize winner of the feature competition will have their script read by Antony, and will receive a phone or Zoom meeting to talk more about their project. Antony will offer insights about the strengths and weaknesses of their script, and offer any suggestions for improvements.
Antony is thrilled to serve as a mentor for the winner of this year’s feature competition –
“There are so many great writers out there who just need a helping hand, and I’m delighted to help Shore Scripts to do that for the year’s best feature writer. I can’t wait to meet them and hear their story.” – Antony Johnston
Antony built a solid network of friends and colleagues who provided support and advice to him along the way. “I was lucky enough early in my career to connect with both Greg Rucka and Andy Diggle, both of whom have been good friends and a great source of advice and wisdom over the years,” he says. He also took some of his learning from reading books and articles by other writers sharing how they work.
“I think it’s important for all writers, especially those who don’t have access to a mentor, to understand how valuable those can be too. What I’ve learned from all of that, and especially from Greg and Andy, is simply to focus on what feels right to you as an author. Your own voice is the most important and valuable thing you have, so don’t hide it.”
Antony advises writers who engage in mentoring relationships to come to the experience with an open mind. “In a general sense, be open to everything, and try everything at least once,” he advises. “Not every piece of advice will work for you, but you won’t know until you try it.”
He’s also keen to remind new and emerging writers that there are no shortcuts. “If a mentor explains the hard work you’ll need to put in, listen to them; if anyone tells you there’s a no-effort way to ‘cheat’ your way to success, ignore them.”
The mentorship will be awarded and available to the winner shortly after the final placings are awarded in December 2022. We are also thrilled to be awarding mentorship prizes in our TV Pilot Contest (1-Hour and ½-Hour) and in our Short Film Fund too.
After 15 years of working in state and national politics, Sarah Chaisson-Warner is moving into the entertainment industry. As the former Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Athena Magazine for Girls, Sarah is now focusing her passion for creative arts through screenwriting. Many of her feature-length scripts focus on the often, unseen experiences of gay women throughout American History, and she is currently writing sci-fi and a family Christmas script. Her script, Serafina Stavinovna, was placed in “The Next 100” in the 2021 Nicholl Fellowship Competition.
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