FMS Students Serve as First Readers for the 2019 Baltimore Screenwriters Competition

Again this year, FMS students supported the local cinema scene by providing script coverage for the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition, sponsored by the Baltimore Office for Promotion and the Arts. Winners will be announced on Saturday, May 11 at the Maryland Film Festival.

Under the supervision of FMS Senior Lecturer Lucy Bucknell, four seniors covered features and shorts for the 2019 competition. Here’s what they had to say about their experience:

Sarah Crum, Class of 2019  As a Writing Seminars major focusing on screenwriting, having the opportunity to read for the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition was an invaluable experience. The best way to start any piece of writing is not by focusing on the audience, but on creating the best possible work you can in a kind of vacuum. This being said, if you ever want to take a script anywhere, someone will inevitably read and critique it. In this sense, getting to take on the reader’s perspective and see how scripts are typically scored was an important reminder of how to approach your own work once you start editing. Reading for the competition was also a good lesson on what makes any script stand out: authenticity and originality. I think this is advice we hear all the time, but it rings true. Of the three features I read, one really stood out from the rest because it was such a creative story and was written in a consistent and unique voice. I would encourage any aspiring Hopkins screenwriter to read for the competition!

Jacob Golden, Class of 2019  This was my first year as a First Reader for the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition, and I very much appreciated the experience.  As a First Reader, I not only had the opportunity to engage with strong, entertaining, and thought-provoking scripts from a variety of genres, but also experience the originality and talent that the Baltimore community has to offer.  The process left me with a better sense of what it truly means to tell a good story, while also providing me with a valuable opportunity to improve my own skills as a script analyst, writer, and producer.  I truly look forward to following this competition for years to come.

Katie Luo, Class of 2019  Reading for the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition was a wonderful experience. I was privileged to read both hilarious exchanges that had me laughing out loud, and truly terrifying scenes that had me jumping at soft noises in the night. It’s inspiring that Baltimore has such a thriving screenwriting scene, and I’m honored to have been even a small part of it. While I’ve workshopped plenty of prose, poetry, and student films before, this was my first chance to experience the process of critiquing a screenplay. In many of the same ways, I had to look for all the small details in setting, dialogue, and character evolution that would make a story work; however, the subtle differences between screenwriting and fiction-writing meant I also learned a lot about which elements of storytelling translate across all narrative mediums. Ultimately, I had a great experience being a first reader for the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition.

Giovanna Molina, Class of 2019  It was wonderful to return for a second year as a first reader for the Baltimore Screenwriters Competition. As a student studying writing and film in Baltimore, I enjoyed reading a range of work about the city from writers outside my peers. I wrote coverage for four short screenplays and was impressed by how inventive and distinct each script was. The competition is an excellent opportunity for writers to get feedback on their work and for students to gain experience writing professional script coverage.