nicholl time

So it is Nicholl time. Not for the readers, readers will not be reading for a while here, but now is when people start sending scripts in. It does not do any good to bitch about brad injuries after everyone has sent the scripts in already so I figured I would post something now while you have time to save yourself — and the poor bastard you are about to impale on that unfortunately long evil and sharp brad.

Greg Beal, Program Coordinator for Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, made a list of “ten things that might make a reader think a little less of your script before it has been ‘cracked.'”

scripts[Greg puts it nicer than I would, I would call it ten things that might mean to a Nicholl reader your script is going to suck. Good thing you got Greg’s title instead of mine.]

1. Art on the script cover.
2. Hard, slick, Acco covers with long metal connectors.
3. “Permanently” bound scripts.
4. Commercial, “college paper” covers.
5. Wimpy brads.
6. Long, “dangerous” brads.
7. Cut, “dangerous” brads.

[Notice “dangerous brads” comes up twice? I am not kidding about brad injuries.]

8. Overly thick scripts.
9. Overly thin scripts.
10. The color of the card stock cover just bugs the reader.

Okay, number ten is maybe not your fault, how could you know the reader was struck by a powder blue van that morning? But —

Everything listed there was something that made an impression on someone before they opened the script. Did you get that? Before they opened the script. And not a good impression. A bad impression.

You should really try not to make a bad impression before the script is even open.

:::nicholl fellowships in screenwriting:::

23 Responses to nicholl time

  1. I’d read a script called “Dangerous Brads”
    That would be the first one I’d reach for.

    On the other hand I’ve also cut my hand on a ‘floating bone ‘( don’t ask ) once so if you need a script page turner call me.

    I can take it ;-)


  2. Who knew brads were so important? Thank God I’m not a writer. I thought the weird stuff I have to go through at auditions was bad, but a brad? That’s bad.

    Happy reading and don’t get hit by a van of any color, at least not pastel ones.

  3. People in theater get persnickety, too.

    At least my drama coach said so.

    Gotta be careful with not weirding out the big people!

    Happy Reading! Will you be commenting on the various scripts or does that break some sort of code of honor?

  4. What are commercial “college paper” covers?

  5. Oh, I need to get cracking on that script. Sigh.

  6. Eddie

    Where does the time go? I’m entering a couple of scripts into BlueCat this year just to get my ass into gear for Nicholl.

  7. max

    Hey, after the first hundred scripts? It is not persnickety. It is survival of the fittest.

    I do not talk about stories in the specific. I do talk about broad stuff. Like, Elvis jokes are old, and action scripts should not break for twenty minute card games.

    Michele, I do not know what commercial college paper covers are. Which is as good an indication they do not belong on scripts as any.

  8. aj

    I have the brads, but no script. Half way there.

  9. max

    You have a script. It is just not right yet.

    By the way, if I get a script and recognize the script/writer, I disqualify myself and turn it back in un-scored to go to another reader.

  10. I have the brads too. At least something is ready.

  11. aj

    Well that sucks, I was hoping to win based on the “someone you know” theory.

  12. She said, script/writer so an alias won’t work. hmmm I don’t see her taking bribes either. hmmm What would work? What would work?

  13. You have to open up that Final Draft and start tapping away. Get it down on paper.

    Thanks for the tips, Max.

  14. I don’t know about other states, but until I shopped in an Office Max in L.A., I thought the ACCO (whatever the standard brad company name is) were the same, but they’re not. In L.A., there are strong brass brads, and they’re available in the normal length. Here in Baton Rouge, the same brand name turned out to be brass-plated brades, and were not available in the right length. I know it sounds dumb, but I bought a box there and brought them into my Office Depot store and showed them the difference; they said I’d have to order online to get the right kind. Most writers outside of L.A. aren’t going to know that, and they’re going to assume that because they’re buying the right brand and it says, “brass” on the label, that they’re getting the preferred kind. It’s a small detail, but I figured ordering them was better, since one box would last a while.

    (from the “all you never needed to know about brads” file, which is right next to “ways toni is procrastinating finishing book 2 before the deadline next week. sigh.)

  15. that should have been brass-plated brads, not brades. I have been up too long tonight. grrr.

  16. max

    I do not know who came up with this stupid brad tradition. Chicago screws never stabbed anyone but do we use those? No, we use stupid brads.

    Those “brass plated” brads do not work worth a damn either, they do not stab you they just won’t hold a script together the scripts with those things in them implode mid-read.

    Be rebels. Do not use brads at all. Use Chicago screws. Yay!

  17. Shit I am now getting brad anxiety.

    I ordered 3 boxes of ACCO No. 5 brads (1 1/4 inch) from the Writer’s Store – I hope they are right.

  18. max

    It is The Writers Store, Michele. They cater to screenwriters, their brads are right.

    *If anyone is looking for The Writers Store, the website is

  19. Yes, the writers store is where to get them. Since I’m linking to this post, I think I should add the writers store link.

  20. max

    Does this mean the time lapsed flowers are out?

  21. Pingback: planet pooks Do you hear that sound? «

  22. max

    That ping back looks so ominous. There was no way to make it look fluffy like a bunny and friendly?

    That is not a warning, it is a guideline, sheesh.

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