Crash Reports: TOO MANY PREDATORS Contest Victory

While many celebrated the coming of the New Year, I had a date with MoviePoet.com.

Shannon Kelly and Ella West with Director Bill Shimp.
Shannon Kelly and Ella West with Director Bill Shimp.

The site offers a free screenwriting contest each month, and registered participants get to read and vote on the scripts – except last month. Each December, the site hosts a short film contest. The scripts must have been in a MoviePoet screenplay contest at one point, and are limited to a fifteen-minute time limit.

After giving my girlfriend a Happy New Year kiss, I made my way to the computer to check on the results. With eighty to one-hundred hours of work to bring the short horror TOO MANY PREDATORS to fruition, we took Third Place.

That’s a wonderful place to be for many reasons. First, my script did poorly in the initial competition and failed to earn even an Honorable Mention, but Chris Messineo at the New Jersey Film School thought it would make a worthy project for his Advanced Film Workshop. Second, to see what is officially a student film rise to the top is quite impressive, and those fledgling professionals should feel proud of their accomplishment. Finally, when it comes to open genre contests, horrors traditionally have a poor showing, while dramas, mysteries and even thrillers, out-perform horrors at a steady rate. At times, the quality and story of the horror may be poor, but there’s a stigma associated with the genre, much like romance novels in the book industry – they’re considered trash devoid of bringing any viable merit to the craft of writing. When composing TOO MANY PREDATORS, I had hoped to put a new spin on a subgenre, and I’m thankful it worked out for everyone involved.

In the MoviePoet Short Film Contest, the First Place winner is screenwriter Travis DeStein’s IZGUBIJEN (drama), followed by screenwriter’s David M. Troop’s INSOMNIAC (mystery/thriller). Both short films enjoyed some solid acting, though no film in the competition could touch DeStein’s production value. (The first Honorable Mention went to Kirk White’s comedy, LOUNGE ACT.) To see a horror do so well is wonderful – especially when it was only one of two to represent the genre out of sixteen entries (NIGHT 6, a horror/thriller by writer JeanPierre Chapoteau, also earned Honorable Mention).

With this success, I will enter TOO MANY PREDATORS in some film festivals, and I’m currently narrowing down choices. After all, as screenwriter/producer, I have an obligation to do what’s best for cast and crew, which means I have to get the short out into the world. I hope viewers will be impressed with what a group of dedicated students can achieve, as well as the wonderful acting of Ella West and Shannon Kelly, the special effects makeup talent of Paul J. Mason, and the power of Justin R. Durban’s music.

I’d love to hear what you think of TOO MANY PREDATORS, especially since I want to expand the idea into a feature. Follow the Vimeo link it you have three-and-a-half minutes of time to spare, and I’d very much appreciate your comments: http://vimeo.com/54583103

Feel free to indulge in filmographer Mark Menditto’s wonderful behind-the-scenes coverage: http://vimeo.com/56179741

Many thanks to Chris Messineo, the New Jersey Film School Advanced Film Workshop, and everyone else, for bringing the small miracle that is TOO MANY PREDATORS to life.

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