Drama students from CMU table-read the scripts. Final script judges were Asher Garfinkel, President of Readers Unlimited, Author, Screenplay Analysis: The Art and the Business, Bernie Goldman, Producer, 300, Land of the Dead, Minette Seate, Senior Producer, WQED Multimedia, and Laura Harkcon who co-wrote The Lost Room. It was very interesting to hear the judge's reactions to the scripts.
I wasn't a judge, and I liked all 10 of the semi-finalist scripts presented. But, in my opinion, these were the four best scripts of the day:
- "N'At" by Adriana Ramires. The strongest script of the semifinalists, with the riskiest theme - when is a rape a rape? And how does the rapist deal with it? Very good characterizations, good sense of place.
- "Jed the Humanoid" by Nate Minier. A fantasy about a robot who lands in 1996 and tries to adjust. Very funny; think of it as The Terminator turned inside out. The two stoners Jed winds up with were right out of "Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure." You can even friend Jed on Facebook!
- "Roll the Dice" by Lawrence Phillips, Dave Fedor, Joe Wincgryk, II and John Freightner (AKA the comedy team Hustlebot). A script by four guys submitted to a contest about four guys who won a script contest and took their winnings to a casino to try to win more...Hysterical in places, and self-referential in a Charlie Kaufman kind of way.
- "Lightweight" by Randy Kovitz & Deborah Hosking. A young woman returns to Pittsburgh after her father dies, and sees the clash between classic Yinzers and the rest of the world. Nice touch of magical realism, many good jokes about South Siders.
The contest judges will select five finalists, and I'll link to the list when they're announced.
I plan to go to the next Steeltown reading, which will be February 20th at Pitt, and see to how the five finalists revised their scripts. Steeltown will have information on that upcoming event soon!