Just Effing Entertain Me Screenwriting Competition Grand Prize Winner, Matt Morgan has already begun to collect his prizes and experience what it’s like to win and win big! Like us on Facebook to stay inspired and updated about next year’s competition!
6:30 AM. West Coast Time. After a crippling bout of insomnia, brought on by the usual avalanche of anxiety and self-doubt (okay, too much caffeine, too) the phone rings. I don’t recognize the number. That means Telemarketer or worse…BILL COLLECTOR. I press ignore and make another attempt at sleep. Phone rings again. I must owe these people A LOT of money. I answer this time, but I’m a bit delirious in that half-asleep state, so my first thought is: well, she’s the sweetest sounding bill collector I’ve ever heard. …But she’s not a bill collector. She’s Julie Gray, who runs the Just Effing Entertain Me Screenwriting Competition. This has caught me completely off-guard, quite literally with my pants down as I scramble into the kitchen in my underwear to down a five-hour energy. I had forgotten all about the contest! Not because I didn’t want to win or didn’t care, but because it’s my defense mechanism. I’ve gotten real good at putting things out of my mind in order to deflect rejection. But this time it’s different. Julie, with her infectious enthusiasm, informs me that my script, Kingdom Street, a long-time labor of love, has won!
I learned about Just Effing Entertain Me last year, while combing through a list of highly regarded screenplay competitions, many of which I’d always thought about entering, but never did. I finally decided to enter a script that was very close to my heart, a script I would revisit in between other projects that never seemed to reach the same level. Sometimes you get caught up in the “business” and lose track of what it is you want to say, and instead find yourself chasing trends or getting lost in people’s opinions.
Little more than a week has gone by, now, and I’m still reeling with excitement, validation, and a much-needed boost in self-confidence. Julie is quite simply, awesome. In addition to being an insanely sweet and positive human being, she has provided me with constructive feedback that has already improved my work. She has gone above and beyond what I ever expected, delivering far more than was promised.
Not only am I greatly looking forward to meeting Sheldon Turner (UP IN THE AIR) and Tom Benedek (COCOON), two writers whose work I adore, but Julie has also arranged to have my work read by writer/producer Stephen Susco (THE GRUDGE) and writer/producer Chris Sparling (BURIED), who is currently working with M. Night Shyamalan! I can’t even get over it. And this is on top of a slew of manger and agent contacts that have taken an interest. A producer is reading Kingdom because he’s looking for an assignment writer and I’m meeting with Lee Zahavi Jessup, who is a friend of Julie’s and is giving me a free consult about strategy! Just having the opportunity to pick the brains of industry professionals is an invaluable experience I will treasure. And this, I believe, is where Just Effing Entertain Me serves writers best: It affords us the chance to walk through an open door, which, as everyone knows, can make all the difference in the world. As the Just Effing Entertain Me Competition says – I am living the dream!
I want to congratulate the winners in the genre categories, and to all the writers who submitted their blood, sweat, and tears. I am humbled to have been in the company of so many talented people. You all rock!
And thank you, Julie! I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.