by Corey Campbell

The Writers’ Program is pleased to announce the winners of its second annual screenplay competition. First place was awarded to certificate student Fracaswell “Cas” Hyman for Focus, a drama about a young single-mother, who, along with her son, escapes an abusive relationship in North Carolina, and winds up in the poverty-stricken Bushwick section of Brooklyn, New York.

Second place went to Greg Amici for his script Let x=2, a dramedy about two lonely high school teachers who find each other. Annabel Oakes took third place for My Invisible Savior, a comedy about an eight-year-old girl, raised in an ultra-liberal community, who sets out to prove to that her new best friend, Jesus Christ, is real.

The winning screenplays were judged by Rick Berg of Code Entertainment, Andy Shapiro of Wonderland Sound and Vision, and Cathy Tarr of Creative Artists Agency. In addition to cash prizes of $1000, $500, and $250 respectively, each of the three finalists received a one-on-one script consultation with a Writers’ Program mentor, valued at $700, prior to the final judging.

The 2007 UCLA Extension Screenplay Competition Runners-Up (in alphabetical order) are:

Robert Dorian, Suck

Scott Gensch, Cork

Graham Jones Jr., Washington

Susan St. Peters, Pandamonium

Markuene´ Sumler, B-Cups Unite

Stacey Warner, Looking for Cowboy

Michael Werwie, The Lottery

Look for our ad in the Monday, October 22nd issue of the daily Hollywood Reporter announcing the 2007 UCLA Extension Screenplay Competition top three finalists, along with the judges and mentors.

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Writers’ Program staff member Shannon Corder conducted an interview with first-place winner, Cas Hyman. See the full Q&A at our Writers’ Program blog. Here’s a taste of his story.

Writers’ Program: What was your inspiration or reason for writing Focus? What research, if any, did you do for your script?

FH: My inspiration came from looking at books of photographs one night in Barnes & Noble at The Grove while waiting for a movie. Most of the photos were of children and women who were victims of poverty, abuse, and ignorance. The faces touched me, and I began to wonder about who was behind the camera…and a character was born.

Writers’ Program: What have you learned that has increased your writing ability?

FH: Hearing from other writers that they experience the same issues, insecurities, roadblocks and hurdles that I do has increased my writing ability. I no longer beat myself up or quit when I get lost, because I understand that these states are just a part of the process of writing.

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The Writers’ Program is now soliciting entries for the third annual screenplay competition. The competition is open to students who have completed three or more full-length feature film courses within the Writers’ Program between March 2006 and March 2008, and entries must have been developed in one of these courses. Deadline for entry is March 27, 2008. For more information, call 310-825-9415 or send an email to writers@uclaextension.edu.

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