Monday, May 23, 2011


Last year I clicked on a Twitter link (twink?) from Danny Stack that introduced me to the wonderful world of Julie Gray.

At the time, Julie was running a screenplay competition which involved submitting a one-pager based on three random words she had chosen. Although the three words could be used however the writer fancied, the lighthearted premise was tempered by a strict ruling that the one-page script should still be treated as a professional submission and adhere to correct formatting and represent real time, with one page roughly reflecting one minute of screen time.

Julie's three words were: Plum, Sweater, Volcano.

I'd never really been one for competitions, but the idea did seem fun, and maybe I was also a tad inspired by Julie's rallying cry to US readers of her website: "Let's show those Brits how it's done!" So I planted my arse and soon found myself peering into the melancholy world of plums and their relationship woes. I sent in my script and was pleasantly surprised to receive a lovely response from Julie expressing her delight having read it.

The script was shortlisted for the competition's online vote and promptly bombed, finishing a proud but lowly last. It would seem my plums are not to everyone's taste. Who knew? The real prize, though, was meeting up with Julie in London later that year. Julie is as lovely, lively and fun as she comes across online, reassuringly obsessive about writing and a genuine delight to be around. She happily informed me that my submission was one of the best one-page examples she'd read from any of her competitions and she's subsequently been using it as a handout in her screenwriting classes as an example of subtext. That was genuinely nice to hear.

I recently discovered the forgotten script sitting in an unrelated folder. So, without further ado, here are my plums:

Reading it again reminded me of a more recent competition by The London Screenwriters' Festival. They organised a successful comedy weekend in April this year and offered a free festival pass to the winner of their own one-page screenplay competition (see what you started, Julie?) Their guideline being the script should reflect the tone of the festival and therefore be comical. Maybe inspired by my plums, I once again found myself in the angst-ridden world of fruit. The script was shortlisted but ended its journey there, though this time there was no online vote to relegate my fruit to the bottom of the no-win zone. Fruit have feelings too.

I thought I'd include that LSWF one-page script with this post, if for no other reason than it gets you closer to your five-a-day. Yes, that's right, reading this post WILL make you healthier.