Recently, I had the opportunity to be a judge for the American University VISIONS Short Screenplay Competition.
As an AU grad myself, I was glad to help out. VISIONS is an annual competition that seeks the best in documentary, fiction, digital/new media production, screenwriting and photography from AU students and recent alumni. The theme for this year was, “Media That Matters.”
Joining me in the judging the short screenplay portion of VISIONS were Jon Gann (DC Shorts) and Sheri Ratick Stroud (Women in Film and Video). We read more than 30 scripts, ranging in length from ten to 40 pages. Every script was reviewed by all three of us. We judged the scripts on the following criteria:
- Originality of Premise
- Visual Originality
- Dramatic Structure
- The screenplay fits within the theme “Making Media Matter”
We selected Liberty Road by Jason Fraley as the winner. Set at a crab shack on the Eastern Shore, it’s a timely story about people on the margins of life. With its depiction of the economic struggles of ordinary folks, it fit in well with the “media that matters” theme. I liked the strong characterization in the script – these were real people – as well as the dialogue, which was punchy and original.
I was glad to give back to my alma mater, as well as help out the “AU mafia” of filmmakers, several of whom have been finalists in DC Shorts. It makes this International Relations major happy to see AU students doing something fun and creative.