Slamdance Writing Competition Awards Ceremony
In 2010, my idea was to write a screenplay to shoot in Nashville TN with money from local investors. The idea seemed solid and I even found a company who liked the premise of “Jug Face.”
Over the next five months, I wrote for a few hours every day in a coffee shop called Dose while my daughter was at Preschool. But during that time, my daughter brought home every imaginable germ possible. I lost 18 pounds! I didn’t have a two week span of being well. Somehow I made it through it and showed the script to that company. But in the end, they didn’t have the money to fund it and didn’t really understand the story either. A setback for sure.
I then focused my attention to horror festivals. I became even more determined to get “Jug Face” made. I figured that I would need more than just the script to convince local investors that it was worthy of being funded. I submitted to about 8 horror festivals. They either loved the script and it became a finalist or they apparently hated it and it didn’t make it into any round. But the big one was Slamdance.
When I found out that I had made the top 32 horror screenplays at Slamdance, I flipped out. I was pumped. I knew to make it to the next cut, the top 11, it would be a long shot. But I did. Now, I could attend the awards ceremony in LA at the Writer’s Guild of America. I booked my ticket that day in hopes that I would make at least one contact there. Then it hit me. If I’ve made it this far, why can’t I make the top 3? A day before the announcement, I could imagine my name on their website. And when I loaded the page the next morning, it was there!
I flew out to LA and went to the awards ceremony with my screenwriting friend Gary Dauberman. After two hours of drinking, they finally started to give out the awards! It was an eternity to wait but I did meet the guys who wrote the two other horror screenplays. They told me their ideas and I became scared. Both were good, but they each had a commercial feel to them. I thought to myself, I’m either the token freak or I might just win since my screenplay seemed so different!
As they announced the third place, second place, and first place in the other categories, I stood there with my heart beating out of my chest and my left leg going numb. I didn’t know If I was going to fall on my face or have a heart attack. I went through the emotions of each person that they called up.
Finally, I expected them to announce the horror winner with only the drama category left. But they didn’t. They did drama with horror last. I had no idea why. And when they got to the horror category, third place went to 19 Floors by Lee Brandt & Christopher Lawrence. Not me. Second place went to The Hollow by Will Simmons. Holy Shit! I won!
Gary patted me on the back and said “Congrats man.” At least that’s what I think he said before I walked up to the podium. People were clapping and watching me as I went up. It was so weird. Slow motion type of experience. I don’t even remember most of it. I just remember myself staring at the envelope. Waiting for it to be given to me so that I could retreat back to my hiding spot.
Peter Baxter, co founder of Slamdance, said “Chad, if you could, please stand next to me.” Why? I had no idea until he said “And now I want to announce that Jug Face is also our Grand Prize winner.” A first for a horror screenplay! I was floored. I said a small speech and after that, my life changed.
Photo by Maya Adrabi
On October 5th 2011, my horror script “Jug Face” won Grand Prize at the Slamdance Screenplay & Teleplay Competition.
Fast forward five months, and here I am 41 days from bringing that screenplay to life by directing my first feature film! Crazy as hell, you bet!
This blog will be the place where I share my experiences making “Jug Face.” I’ll post updates every Wednesday along with related items throughout the week.
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-Chad Crawford Kinkle