For many film critics, Logan’s Run is no great classic, but it’s another one of those films that is such fun to watch (much like The Cassandra Crossing, another 70s campy cult classic) that you can’t help but be drawn into the story. Both films even have the same feel. They both have a great story and great plot – actually, a can’t-miss story which is why this film is so beloved as a sci-fi classic.
I forget when I first saw the film, but it must have been in the early 80s because soon after I read the original book that it was based on written by William Nolan. The book and its sequel were a bit… racy. The film touched upon it but certainly not in the way it was originally written. Logan’s Run has great visuals – either from the costumes or the look of the domed city. The film must have been a success because there was a short-lived TV series of the same name in the late 70s.
I’m surprised that a remake has failed to make it out of the screenplay stage for what seems like decades now. I’m shocked because dystopian films are so “in” now. In fact, if you read through the backstory about the number of times there has been a failed attempt to reboot Logan’s Run as a film, it would make for an awesome book on the process of how to fail at remaking a film. The number of directors who have been attached to the remake is astounding. I don’t really know what the problem is – the hard part (writing the screenplay) should be the easiest. Yet, every article I’ve read about yet another failed attempt at a remake has involved yet another draft of a new screenplay. What can you screw up with this story? A trained monkey could re-write the screenplay and it would come out looking great.
If Logan’s Run is ever going to be remade, the studio, the director and the writer are just going to have to say ‘that’s it, let’s just do this.’ I’m convinced that the multitude of screenwriters who have written drafts are either torn between being faithful to the book or being faithful to the film – at risk of alienating the fans of the story. As a fan (and as a screenwriter) I’d be thrilled with even a hybrid. Maybe I should write it.
Here is a list of some of the most popular screenplay contests available for screenwriters to enter – as of 2015.
I do not endorse any of these contests. The list is simply a list in alphabetical order. When I am familiar with the contest, or have entered it, I will write a brief blurb about it.
Do your own research and make your own decision based on your own situation, levelheadedness and gut feeling.
Some general comments:
– Small contests are a great way to test the waters for beginning screenwriters. The biggies (Bluecat, Nicholl, Page) usually contain seasoned veterans of the contest “circuit” and are incredibly difficult to place in for beginning screenwriters. Discouragement and despair are killers for a beginning screenwriter. Avoid these career killers at all costs.
– For the beginning screenwriter, avoid those contests that allow already-optioned, professional screenwriters into the mix. It’s not a fair fight. Do your research.
– Screenplay contests come and go. Back in 2008 when I entered my first screenplay contest (and made it past the first round – surprise) the list was lengthy. I saved a website dedicated to listing these contests to ‘My Favourites’. Recently, when researching this article, I went back to that list and found that many of these contests had gone belly up.
– Some screenplay contests appear and are legitimate, with the people running them genuinely interested in finding new talent. Others are… just the opposite and it would appear that the only goal is to make money out of desperate spec screenwriters. Sometimes, contests don’t catch on or just can’t continue financially. In the end, it should be a priority for the screenwriter to do due diligence on any screenplay contest before they enter. Contests that are in their 10th or 15th year are usually a safe bet. Those with a slipshod website, no (or impossible) contact information, no person (or people) publicly named behind the contest, cash only, non-secure (http, not https) upload/transaction page, and a website that hasn’t been updated in months/years should be dissected with a CSI kit. Personally, I would avoid them.
For your convenience, each contest is a link to the contest’s web page.
American Gem Short Screenplay
Austin Film Festival
Creative World Awards
Fade In Awards
Final Draft Big Break
Mile High Horror
Nashville Film Festival
Nickelodeon Writing Program
SoCal Film Festival
Stage 32 Happy Writers
Zed Fest Horror
This was my final composition essay for a writing class at the University of Calgary. Born in an environment familiar to many, this ‘what grinds my gears’ piece would not easily fit in Reader’s Digest.
Hundreds of meters above the valley, the turquoise-tinged lake looked like a drop of water. I stood on a pile of rocks and looked down at the live portrait. My hiking companion was a few steps ahead of me. When he realized that I no longer followed closely behind him, he stopped and turned to look at me. I didn’t hear him as he called my name. All I heard was nothing. It was a superb sound. There might have been a hint of wind in the air that created a distant murmur, a sound that if I strained to listen to it, I would almost certainly damage my hearing. I was lost in the peaceful nothingness until I was wrenched out of it by a sound so raw and so obscene in the scenic, silent wilderness that it could have easily caused the top of one of the nearby mountains to shake, shatter and crumble to the valley below. Civilization had stalked me into the backwoods.
The vulgar sound was the ear-piercing ring of a cell phone. ‘No’, my brain cried, ‘not in this anti-electronic device territory!’ But there it was: the soul-crushing ring tone of the latest cotton candy-derived ditty by some terminally-saccharine boy band that was probably named Hello Doggie or The Boy Brigade. Shaken from my solitude, I narrowed my eyes and looked at the offending party as if she was the target in a knife-throwing circus act. I wanted to run over, grab either the criminal device or the person that it was attached to and hurl it off the side of the mountain into the abyss below. I understood the need for cell phones in remote locations, but to slap Mother Nature across the face with them solely because someone wanted the latest update from their vacuous girlfriend about how the Justin Bieberish guy next door blinked in her general direction was going too far. How far did I have to go to escape the cacophony of the city: airplane cruising altitude?
It was because of this kind of ear invasion that escaping to the mountains was one of my top priorities. The solitude of the back country not only brought relief to my sizzled city senses, but it also rekindled memories of the quiet, hushed tones of country life. As hard as I have tried, I haven’t recaptured that sense of absolute quiet that I grew up with in the country. The mountains were my escape from the madness of city noise and an attempt to go back in time to recall the simple notion of solitude.
I grew up in a small town in Nova Scotia where there was nothing much except trees and the ocean. During the day, when the scream of an ambulance, a police car or a fire truck siren erupted from the main highway, everyone looked because it was such a rare sound to hear and it broke the silence. At night, only crickets and frogs broke the silence. But the most memorable sound was from the street lights on the main highway, scattered randomly at intersections, and from the glow of the windows of the sparsely placed houses. In the quiet of the country, this kind of light had a sound: the sound of nothingness.
When the gravel road that our house was on finally got street lights installed on the telephone poles, it was a huge event, even though the lights were like alien invaders. Even with the new lights that illuminated the neighbourhood, I still saw every star in the night sky. I eventually warmed to the new lights. They had become part of the nothingness because there were so few of them. When I stood outside on a warm, rural summer night and heard nothing but the silent murmur of the lights in the dark, it was comforting. I didn’t know that doing the same thing in a city years later was going to elicit an entirely different feeling.
When I moved away from home, it was a jarring experience; not because of the culture shock of the big city on a small town boy, but because of the noise. If I wouldn’t have looked like I had just lost my mind or had just escaped from a mad scientist’s laboratory, I would have clasped my hands over my ears as I walked around the city. It wasn’t just the endless list of all the things that made noise in a city; it was the sense that the noise was endless, as if it was being transmitted over loudspeakers on every corner 24 hours a day, reminiscent of a propaganda broadcast in the Second World War.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that night time respite from the roar of daytime noise was not going to happen. Whether it was the yowling of an annoying dog the size of a purse; the entitled drunken frat boys and their air guitar tributes to AC/DC; the residential drag racing of their similarly incapacitated younger brothers; the chanting of the wiccan neighbours around their burning cauldron of poisoned dragon’s liver; or the never-ending night terrors of Albertans who blame Pierre Trudeau of stealing their oil, city night noise was just as bad as city day noise.
The silent murmur of soft, warm lights in the dark that I grew up with might have sounded like nothing to a lot of people, but to me it sounded like a silent symphony; especially after experiencing the noise of a city. I have tried to replicate that nothingness by escaping to the mountains, but I am followed by the city like a ‘Night of the Living Dead’ mariachi band. Quiet is the greatest and most elusive sound ever heard.
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