Steeltown hosts second scriptwriting competition

By Natalie Bell

Steeltown Film Factory

“So you want to make a movie?”

Tomorrow 10:30… Steeltown Film Factory

“So you want to make a movie?”

Tomorrow 10:30 a.m.

Pittsburgh Filmmakers Melwood Screening Room

Free (includes continental breakfast)

To RSVP (only 70 total seats available) call 412-622-1325 or email [email protected]

Due date for entries

Steeltown Film Factory is trying to bridge the gap between Pittsburgh and Hollywood.

Steeltown Entertainment’s contest, which is open to anyone, will give participants a chance to win $30,000 to make their film and to show their skills to “Hollywood Heavyweights,” as the company describes them.

At the event’s kickoff party tomorrow, attendees will see producer Kim Moses, a Donora, Pa., native, and her partner Ian Sander, as well as David Conrad, star of “Ghost Whisperer,” and Joe Batteer, screenwriter of “Windtalker.”

“If you were in Hollywood, you’d never have access to these people, even if you called 100 times,” said Carl Kurlander, a screenwriter turned Pitt professor.

Last year was the first competition, and Kurlander explained that Steeltown Entertainment received more than 100 scripts from hopefuls. In the end, two films shared first place – “Anywhere But Here” and “Roll the Dice.” Ross Thomas’ powerful film, “Anywhere But Here,” is about a man who, along with his young son, visits his estranged father in Pittsburgh.

Local comedy troupe Hustlebot’s film, “Roll the Dice,” is a sort of movie within a movie. It shows the group after it wins the contest. The members debate if they should try to double their money so they can get Matthew McConaughey to act in it.

The variety in the winners mirrors the kind of variety that the judges see in not only the scripts, but also in the contestants. The only requirements are that applicants’ work must be created in the southwestern Pennsylvania/Pittsburgh area and it must be 10-12 pages long.

Kurlander reccommended that this year’s candidates writes stories that offer fresh perspectives.

The judges from last year often said to him, “‘We want people to write their unique stories; we don’t want them to try to pretend to write like someone else,’” he said. “You need to find the story that only you can tell. So if you’re a lonely guy working down in the computer lab, write about that.”

This year’s kickoff will provide hopeful applicants or just entertainment enthusiasts a chance to get advice from people who are Hollywood success stories.

“Even if you’re not planning on entering the contest, it’s a great opportunity,” said junior Ryan O’Shea, president of Pitt in Hollywood and a film studies and communication major.