I’ve always been a big fan of pouring myself into my writing. I write about subjects that matter to me. Stories that explore my own personal experiences, and the behaviours I notice in people around me. I follow my curiosity, and all too often, let my sense of humour take over. This all leads to writing that is distinctly “Chris Griffin”. I also enjoy reading pieces by other writers who do the same thing. Submerging myself in other people’s unique worlds/experiences/views is an adventure I revel in.
None of my screenplays I wrote for competitions. I either wrote them for fun, or because a story/theme was nagging at my mind. All the same, as with many an entertainer, I often find myself starved for attention. This wretched pandemic mess of 2020 brought with it a healthy dose of loneliness and neediness. Who am I to deny my fragile ego the attention it craves? In a fit of desperation, I screamed to the heavens “Bring on the competitions! Daddy needs him some ripe eyeballs!”… And eyeballs heaven did deliver.
Desperate Times Call For Desperate Measures:
I entered many a screenplay competition, and with low expectations to boot. Like I mentioned above, I entered them out of desperation, not so much optimism. Optimism is for bankers and people on morphine, it’s not a natural state of mine. My expectation wasn’t to win any competitions. I thought I’d be lucky to receive a couple “semi-finalists”, and if I was a really fortunate, a big old “finalist”. I did in fact acquire a number of both, but also, to date, my screenplays have won five awards, and nine additional nominations.
These awards certainly were a surprise, but I didn’t enter this process overly naive. I knew well, that although I’ve always been able to entertain people with my writing, that I’m no Aaron Sorkin. I don’t write historical dramas, political thrillers, or “coming-of-age” stories. My writing doesn’t follow strict formulas, and I enjoy cracking jokes in my scripts’ description for shits and giggles. To many screenwriting “academics”, I’m nothing more than a belligerent and clueless hack. I’m in acceptance of the reality of how I rub some people. With this in mind, I became very selective as to which competitions I entered my screenplays into.
Fuck the Cool Kids, Geeks will Inherit the Earth:
For one, I entered competitions through “Film Freeway”, and most of them were associated with existing film festivals. These weren’t necessarily “prestigious” festivals, but ones that sounded appealing to me. I’d enjoy attending those festivals. Also, I focussed on competitions aimed towards genres and peculiar stories. I love writing science fiction and comedy, so I entered competitions geared towards those genres. If a competition had categories for “Dark Comedy” or “Dark Science Fiction”, I knew it was for me. I mostly avoided competitions that bragged about furthering writer’s careers, and when I caved and entered a few, I regretted it. I wanted to be judged on the genuine appeal of my work, and not based on someone’s bias towards what is commercial, and what is not. To me, that’s a losing game, and one I don’t want to play.
Buffalos and Boobs:
The awards I won shocked me. My science fiction/horror screenplay “Black Out the Sky” won first place at the “Buffalo Dreams Fantastic Film Festival, 2020” out of Buffalo, NY. It’s a story about killer crows in Newfoundland, and I thought I was crazy when I started writing it. Apparently, judges enjoyed the read. One hilarious award I won, was for my science fiction/comedy screenplay “Colonize This”. It’s about a subterranean bug monster who falls in love with capitalism. It won “Best Sci-Fi Comedy” at the “Boobs and Blood International Film Festival” in Los Angeles. You can view the listing at http://blog.boobsandblood.com/winners/. What surprised me the most, is that B&B has a completely female panel of judges. My short films on YouTube always got far more male viewers in analytics, so it’s a relief to know that women also enjoy my writing. It’s also good to know, if I want to impress the ladies, all I have to do is describe a lake of arthropod physogastric discharge. Drives ’em wild… apparently. Beyond that, don’t ask me to explain women. “Boobs and Blood” also raises money for breast cancer research, which is cool.
“Losers” Tell the Best Stories:
I admit, I have no idea how to become successful as a screenwriter. All my money comes from working as a lighting technician on film and television sets. Yes, I make a living blinding famous people… if only I could justify blinding myself… Maybe one day I’ll be rich and famous, and I can selfie-flash myself to death, but until then, I’ll have to settle on making people laugh, cry, and hopefully think for themselves.
You can learn more about the bizarre awards I won at Awards.
You can learn more about my screenplays at Screenplays.