Many screenwriters enter screenwriting contests in hopes of getting the attention of an agent or manager. Meet Jeff Cassidy, winner of 2018 Final Draft Big Break's feature category, with his script, Daisy's Story.
Final Draft Big Break is celebrating its 20th anniversary! We wanted to share some of the success stories, starting with 2018 feature winner, Jeff Cassidy.
Jeff Cassidy is a Canadian-born writer and director.He began editing music videos at the age of 19 and soon after joined the camera department.As of 2015 he had worked behind the camera on over 70 major network television series and feature films as well as countless commercials and advertising spots. Jeff’s short films have played in numerous film festivals. His latest short Sidekick received over 400,000 views, garnering attention from media outlets like Collider and Entertainment Weekly. He is currently in development on several feature films and television projects including a movie with Oscar-nominated producer Robbie Brenner. Jeff was selected for the 2018 WB Television Director’s Workshop and just recently directed an episode of The Flash for CW. He is represented by William Morris Endeavor and Gotham Group Management.
Why did you decide to enter Final Draft Big Break with all the other contests out there?
Final Draft is a name I know and trust and literally use the software everyday of my life, so it was a natural fit. When I saw the contest pop up in my inbox, I felt like it was a great opportunity to see what people thought of the script and best-case scenario, would help get the word out to the industry.
What has happened to your screenwriting career since your advancement in the contest?
Since winning the feature grand prize we’ve been sending Daisy’s Story out to producers and have been getting great feedback. It feels like we’re closer than ever to getting it made!
What advice would you give to someone considering entering their scripts in contests?
I think the trick is to find the right contest(s) and then it’s a no-brainer — you get the opportunity to have your script read by multiple people, get feedback (oh, so valuable!), and potentially get it sent out to the industry. As the goal is always to get something made, any leverage you have is SO VALUABLE! There’s really no downfall and everything to gain!
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What advice do you have for contest-winning writers to take the most advantage of that success?
Great question! I think regardless,, if you use the contest to launch your career, get/change representation or as a barometer for how ready your script is, the most valuable thing you can do is keep writing. Take the confidence from the win and get right back to work because the GUARANTEED question everyone asks is "what else do you have?” You don’t want to be left staring blankly at the wall because you didn’t see the question coming!
Tips for meeting executives?
Smile, take the water, know what your next project is!
What's the biggest mistake writers make when entering contests?
As I don’t judge contests for a living I don’t want to say I truly know the answer to this, but my educated guess is that they’re not ready to send it out. This industry is built on “you have one chance to make an impression!”
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