Thursday, December 9, 1999
OK, you've mulled it over, talked out the plot, developed your characters over a brew or two, fantasized about who would play the leading lady. But have you rolled that mouse yet? No more excuses--you've got till Dec. 31 to submit your original screenplay to the Monterey County Film Commission's fifth annual screenwriting contest. Get it in tomorrow, and you'll save $10 off the $50 entry fee. The contest is only open to writers who have not earned money writing for television or film, and whose screenplays have not been sold (or optioned for more than $1,000) by the time of submission. Visit www.filmmonterey.org for rules and entry forms, or call 646-0910.
There's real money for the top three screenplays--$1,000 for first place, $500 for second and $250 for third--plus publicity that's invaluable in getting the right folks in La-La Land to look at your scribblings. It's already happened for some past winners. Tamika Lamison, writer of last year's third-place screenplay, "The Jar by the Door," has been optioned, while the two top-placers that same year have seen their scripts win other contests. Jerry Connelly, former KWAV radio personality and first-place winner in 1997 for "Shut Out," the story of legendary 1930s-era pitcher Satchell Paige, has an agent for his screenplay, which is "being considered."
And Joe Camp, who took second place in 1996 for "Deere John," actually got his film made in Hollywood, with Ernest Borgnine starring as an elderly guy who takes a trip on his John Deere tractor...hmmm, didn't David Lynch just come out with a movie like that? "It's similar to The Straight Story, but with a romantic twist," says Film Commission Executive Director Karen Nordstrand. "Unfortunately, the film is still looking for a distributor." Guess old Ernest isn't as hot a ticket as he used to be.
Shine the Unicorn's Horn
The Unicorn Theater's Hoffman Playhouse at 320 Hoffman St. in Monterey is badly in need of sprucing up. Originally a union hall for Cannery Row workers, the historic building has served over the past 60 years as a discotheque, music hall, hair salon, Meals on Wheels office, and home to several theater groups. Now the Unicorn troupe is reaching out to the community for help in restoring the building's appearance and making its innards more attractive and comfortable. They need roof and window repairs, new lobby furniture, new theater seats, computers, lighting fixtures, a fax machine...basically, lots of stuff. To that end, they're holding an open house Sunday from 1-4pm. The theater will be open for a walk-through, and staff will be on hand to answer questions, so drop by to see how you can lend a hand.
More Miller for the Miller Library
Two weeks ago we announced that the Henry Miller Library in Big Sur was closing down for the winter for renovations, and to prepare for the display of an exciting new acquisition. The word is out on that purchase now: The library has just bought the entire Henry Miller-Emil Schnellock Archive, a collection of rare Miller material, which library director Magnus Toren describes as "the most important collection, with the exception of the collection at UCLA, of Henry Miller material anywhere in the world." The archive contains manuscripts from the 1920s, including some materials unknown to Miller experts, and more than 100 pages from the real first draft of Tropic of Cancer, written earlier than the "first" draft sold at auction shortly after Miller's death.
Toren says the library was able to raise $146,000 to buy the archive "in a very short period of time," thanks to private donors and a generous $125,000 loan from the Monterey County Bank. "The support made it possible for us to save the archive and bring it to its proper home," Toren adds. "The archive would very likely have been broken up and sold at auction houses around the world had it not been for us buying it."