07 September 2006

warning track power

In baseball, that phrase—"warning track power"—is used as a friendly jab at those hitters who seem able to hit the ball hard or frequently but who don't have quite the pop to put the ball into the seats for a homerun.

"Close, but no cigar," in other words.

And right now, that's kinda how I feel about my screenwriting efforts for the year. I entered Queen Of The Sky, my based upon factual events WW2 story, into both the Nicholl Fellowship contest and the Austin Film Festival contest.

A week or two ago I got word that Queenhad dinked out of the Nicholl contest as a Top 10% finisher.

Today I got word from AFF that Queen had dinked out in the second round of AFF with a Second Round finish.

"Warning track power."

Don't get me wrong—I'm not trolling for praise nor am I peddling false humility here. The script is good. I know this, I can accept and admit this. A Top 10% Nicholl finish is nothing to get depressed about, and the second round punch in Austin gets me some additional cool roundtable opportunities plus an always-useful discount on my badge. But still... I was kinda sorta secretly hoping that maybe this year I'd finally make sufficiently solid contact that I finally launched one a little farther, far enough that there would be no doubt that "ya know, the kid's got pop."

Instead, it's just a loud out. And now I have to suck it up and stand ready to spend some more practice time in the cage, taking BP and seeing if I can find just a few more feet on the end of my swing.

The finish in both contests is encouraging to a degree, and I'll use the placement in both contests as an aid in trying to market the beast to whatever folks out there might be willing to look at the script and possibly help find some commercial use for it, but for now I have to take the finish as source of motivation to keep on working, keep on improving, keep on swinging hard and praying for good wood.

"OK, meat. Gimme the gas. Throw that double-A cheese in here and lemme show you what I can do...."
loving the smell of pinetar in the morning B


suzbays said...

Somehow, I know just how you feel and I haven't even heard how I fared in the screenplay competition...

Beauty Princess Susan

Harry Connolly said...

Have you tried playing for the minors (as in, writing scripts for direct to DVD companies)?

aggiebrett said...

It's an idea, but nobody says "when I grow up, I wanna be a AA ball player!"

I think for now I'd still rather ground out in the bigs than be an all-star in Dubuque.
never averse to stretching a metaphor to its limits B

suzbays said...

I got my dink letter--not even the second round. I'm kinda hoping my personal summer of rejection ends soon.

Lisa H said...

I am so jealous of what you’ve accomplished this year, I could spit… pine tar.

--- Lisa, the lovely and wonderful, and green with envy ; )

Thomas Crymes said...

Good use of baseball analogies. It is great to see that sport is worth something nowadays.

Must be frustrating to so close, yet so far away. Just know that there are tons of writers aching for a 10% letter to give them some idea that they have chosen the correct time hole.

Pooks said...

With me, it has been football metaphors.

The "warning track" image that taunts me is "Half the distance to the goal." I keep watching the goal get closer and closer, but you do realize that you can gain "half the distance to the goal" infinitely without ever getting there, right?


Wait. Why so dismal? Um, yay! We're still CLOSE, right?

Curtis Edmonds said...

Nice metaphor. You could also go with "losing to the eventual national champions by eleven points at Kyle Field".


Hey, you said you weren't fishing for compliments...

Warren said...

"Instead, it's just a loud out."

Top 10% in Nicholl ain't a loud out, it's more like a bases-clearing double. Sure, you missed hitting one out, but you've shown extra bases power in the clutch. Number four hitter? Not yet. But no manager in his right mind would put you in at eight or nine either.

Give it time, savor your accomplishments, and always remember that contests are an enormous crap shoot.

Truth be told, you done good.

aggiebrett said...

I guess the trick is to not see this rejection as a standard rejection. They're not saying "you're no good." They're merely saying 'We thought these OTHER guys were more gooder."

And of course they are dead wrong, but hey. ;-)


For now, I'd sit on the bench of the majors than be the batting champ of double A ball.


While I appreciate the love, I do not want to fall into the trap of happily settling for every scrap of validation and evidence of progress. yeah, a top 10% finish beats dinking out with no advance, but unless I stay hungry and demand better, I'm not nearly as likely to see further improvement in any near term scenario. At this stage of the game, I'm not looking for moral victories. As Patton said "If we are not VICTORIOUS< let no man come back alive!"


To continue your football analogy: I'm not looking just to advance the ball to the goal line-- I am laboring and intending to punch it through with speed and violence, therefore any time I get stopped short of the endzone is, from a certain point of view, a form of failure. Demand excellence, and settle for nothing less. Yeah, "I don't suck." Hardly the stuff that dreams (or championships) are made of. ;-)


Uh... alrightee.


"Bases clearing double"? Who scored? Where's the tangible benefit? For now, contests remain BP time-- a chance to show what is theoretically possible, but it's not real gameday pitching. I'm looking for a tryout, and right now there are a lot of guys poking balls into the bleachers while I'm lining balls to the base of the fence.

I'm fine with my accomplishments. I just want more, and bigger, and soon. ;-)

Thanks to all.

Well, most. ;-)

Systemaddict said...

Hell, I dinked out two scripts- but, I don't expect to make contact without getting my swing down first. I'm just making sure I keep at it, improve with every page.

You'll get yours though. Probably won't be through a contest either.