Closed - Original Series - Writing Competition

If you are a talent agent representing actors we’d love to take a meeting. DM us on twitter (@thespicedao)

Not an agent, but I know a number of actors. I could get the content in their hands when it’s ready.

Fantastic. 10,000 to 50,000 is a great budget, although it would be good to know if it’s more like 10,000 or more like 50,000.

These comments mostly relate to how you can optimise this call, to get a really great bunch of submissions in. I think even if you don’t follow these suggestions, you’ll still do just fine, and get something you can work with.

(1) Reaching writers who are unfamiliar with crypto. If you want to reach a broad pool of writers, make it clear we can take our prize in USD, and/or give other guidance.

(2) Winner’s later involvement. To generalise a bit, writers are emotionally invested in what we do. Although you will be expecting the winner to assign copyright, try not to present it more like a creative opportunity than a purely commercial transaction. Mention that the winner will retain the right to be credited as “From an original concept by.”

Partly it’s a vibes thing: I would be happy to provide feedback on the exact wording of the announcement, if you feel it would help (with my writer / editor hat on).

For the same reason, the ideas of inviting ongoing input from the writer (joining the creative team) and a continued economic stake (royalties, even if very small) are very good ones. At the same time, you’ll want to word the contract carefully, so that the winner’s continued creative input is only if it is mutually agreed, and can be withdrawn by you later on if it’s not really working out.

(3) Timescale. On a short timescale (two weeks) there is a strong probability many contributors will be repurposing things they’re already working on, rather than coming up with something from scratch. I think that’s probably fine, to be honest.

But I’m also not 100% sure if two weeks is really enough time to get the word out. I would be tempted to give it longer But you may have other reasons for wanting to keep up momentum.

(4) Main recommendation: prize structure. I think my strongest recommendation would be to create some smaller runner-up prizes. When a writer sees this opportunity and thinks, “Hmm, do I spend my weekend doing this?” the runner-up prizes would be a great incentive.

I don’t have strong feelings about the breakdown, but I might suggest something like:

  • USDC 30000 top prize (or as high as you want to go) - will be developed into series
  • USDC 5000 second place - also includes IP transfer, and may be drawn on for further inspiration
  • USDC 500 ten runners up - if you make the shortlist but don’t win first or second place, you still get some prize money. This compensates a wider group for their work, and also is decent incentive design for attracting good submissions. IP is not transferred, so they’re free to go and develop their work themselves if they want.

There are many other options, e.g. perhaps you want to offer three top prizes of 10000, and then let your hired Hollywood writer choose which of the three they feel most inspired by to develop.

However you break it down, the key point here is that distributing the award budget a bit will be more appealing to writers, and get you more high-quality submissions.

(5) Judging process. I’m not 100% on how you’re planning to go from longlist to shortlist. Is the idea that the Core Team picks a shortlist from all the submissions, and then presents them for the Snapshot vote? If so, that process sounds fine to me.

(6) Signal boosting. I have ideas for signal boosting, once the call is out.

(7) Precedents.

Price precedents, fwiw:

A decent “pro rate” SF fiction magazine might pay around $500 for a piece of work this length (see SFWA for more details). Funded projects that are more prescriptive about what you can write about may pay more: the most I have ever got for a story is $2,500. These typically don’t include full IP transfer, however, just first publication rights.

Edgeryders were recently paying $3,000 for short stories to support their Witness worldbuilding project.

Corporate clients who want futures work can often pay a lot more. These involve tight turnarounds, specific remits, and IP assignment, so they have some strong parallels.

Writing competitions can vary a lot. Grist’s recent Future Fictions prize had this structure:

The winning writer will be awarded $3,000, with the second- and third-place finalists receiving $2,000 and $1,000, respectively. An additional nine finalists will each receive a $300 honorarium.

Of course, partly you want to set an amount that is a flex - show you have resources, keep the buzz going, counteract negative publicity, demonstrate ambition and magnanimity, etc.

Those numbers are also based on fiction. I don’t have much personal experience of screenwriting, but my impression is that it’s a very competitive world, where the exact same kind of work (e.g. writing a treatment / pitch bible like this) might be done for “free” or paid magnificently well, depending on whether you’re trying to get into the industry or already established.

(8) Jorodowski IP: Framing the pitch bible’s relationship with the Jorodowski Dune Bible needs careful thought. My hunch is that it should be something like, “Inviting original work inspired by the themes and tone of the Jorodowski Dune Bible.” A spiritual successor, etc. People who think the Jorodowski Dune is cool will think this is really cool., etc. But I’d be interested to hear others’ views.

3 Likes

#3 - Time - We are expecting submissions from amateur or unpublished writers who have completed fiction projects. Two weeks gives them time to dust off scripts that have already been written. We do not expect any high quality material to be produced from scratch in two weeks.

#5 - Judging - Longlist is every submission. Shortlist is compiled from the top 3 or 5 submissions that receive the most votes, most comments, most views, etc from community.

#8 - Book - The book and the animation are two separate verticals of the DAO’s activity. They have nothing to do with each other.

1 Like

This is an exciting way to crowdsource creative writers & content. I want to be sure the longlist is filled to the brink with entries. To do that it I have some suggestions for this proposal.

Timeline Suggestion
Two weeks doesn’t seem like enough time to both spread the word and partake in the competition. I’ve participated in creative contests in the past and they are typically month-long endeavors. This is nice because it gives me time to ruminate and experiment.

Idea: Allocate one week just for getting the word out there, and another 3 weeks for the participation itself. Start it in February so everything cleanly fits within the month. Dedicate the month to emphasizing creative exploration and collaboration.

Feb. 1 - Contest begins
Feb. 25 - Contest ends
Feb. 26 - 28 - the voting period

Collaborative Option
If multiple writers wish to collaborate, we could offer to equally split the contest purse between the parties. This will help incentivize those that like to create collaboratively. It also aligns with the spirit of the community.

Contest Purse
The flaw with single prize contests is that some people feel disincentivized to partake because their chances are lower. Why not introduce small prizes for the runner ups to up the chances?

Somewhere in the middle of the range you’ve provided would be good for the finalist.
Maybe:

  1. 20,000 USDC finalist.
  2. 1,000 USDC - runner up
  3. 500 USDC - runner up - maybe extend this to multiple entries.

^^^ more chances = more incentive = more entries.

Narrowing down the longlist
In an ideal world this vote should be weighted. One user should be able to vote for multiple entries. Like a primary & secondary vote. This helps bring stories to light that might’ve been under-recognized.

Let’s extend this discussion & timeline so we get it right. I’d push the snapshot vote to the 27th.

1 Like

These are great suggestions.

Only thing I’ll repeat is that two weeks to create a longlist ensures quality submissons. We are not looking to run a contest for “the first script someone has ever written.” We are expecting submissions from amateur or unpublished writers who have completed fiction projects. Two weeks gives them time to dust off scripts that have already been written. We do not expect any high quality material to be produced from scratch in two weeks.

I will advocate again for continued involvement by the selected winner in the ongoing writing process, now that I am seeing others suggesting the same.

Core team says their aim is for writers to bring their already developed stories to the table for this contest. I can guarantee you, no writer who has a developed project worth contributing as an IP is going to hand it over with zero guarantee of an influence over its development. If you intend to have the writer involved post-contest that must be made clear, and if you do not, you can pack up and go home.

I strongly recommend including some kind of option for the winner to have an active role in the development of the story, post-purchase; along with creative credit and royalty/percentage option of whatever the series earns monetarily.

I agree with the option for the winner to have a passive role in the development of the story, even in a small way. This could happen in the form of a discussion between the writer and the core team to formulate a plan for equitable treatment of the writer and their work.

Honorary credits should be included out of appreciation for the foundational work of the writer.

I support the team’s goal to make the work CC0. Let’s strike a balance and offer the contest winner a passive role in the DAO’s community should they choose to accept it. This would free the production team up to produce their own creative iteration of the work. Then the writer can also stay connected to the community/ production team for future opportunities.

also- it is a pretty decent cash award here. Almost half of what some writers get paid annually. tbh most people will be happy with that alone.

1 Like

True. I would take the price in a heartbeat. But it’s the condition that essentially would bar the original writer from future involvement with their own creation that makes any writer hesitate, I think.

It’s less about the money and more about control over the direction of your creation. I don’t think anyone ever really likes to give that up for a payout. If there were more time to create something new, that would be a different story. In that case, you’re creating with a specific intent to market. But if the DAO wants to pay me to take one of my children away from me and do what they want with it, that’s a lot less appealing.

2 Likes

we have a screenplay attached to our treatment that my co-producer and i have been developing for the DAO since late November.

we have four big actors that have said yes to the screenplay and would sign on to making it. one is the biggest young star on netflix and the other on HBOMax. the two of them combined would slam a sale out of the park

i agree with you, having actors attached is far more important than a writer or director!

Hi

How is there a script if the DAO has yet to decide on an original IP?

Or rather, why is there a proposal for a writing contest if a script already exists? Is the treatment you’re speaking about simply what you are going to submit into the contest?

Is the number of episodes fixed at 6? I’m working on something for 10

6 episodes, 22 mins each. One page of a script equals one minute of screentime. But as per the proposal, the competition will be for a series bible, not a screenplay.

1 Like

Similar question, this project is being characterized as a limited series. Is there no consideration for additional episodes after the initial six?

With the announcement of the deliverables from RobleRidge Productions, I am still immensely confused as to the trajectory of this project.

Is the Writing Competition an alternative to the treatment completed by RobleRidge? To provide other options if the community decides not to proceed with RobleRidge’s pitch?

Why else would there be a competition for an original IP while we are also already receiving proof of work for an original IP

You confusion is well founded. Snapshot #2 is the last commitment made by the multisig before the core team was elected and a proper proposal system was put in place. The two Discourse proposals submitted by the core team place the power in the hands of DAO membership. We are all guided by the transparent and orderly process of building consensus before any decisions are made. We all decide together on how to move forward.

1 Like

Comments have closed now that this proposal has gone to Snapshot for a vote by community members that hold our $SPICE governance token: Snapshot