The First Annual Overthinking It Linda Hamilton Memorial Women-In-Action Screenwriting Contest!

This started as a comment in a thread, but now it’s a FULL-BLOWN CONTEST. There are not enough good roles out there for women. Women who get shit done and are good characters to boot — more than just lycra-clad … Continued

This started as a comment in a thread, but now it’s a FULL-BLOWN CONTEST.

There are not enough good roles out there for women.

Women who get shit done and are good characters to boot — more than just lycra-clad eye candy with a miscellaneous set of super-assassin skills or whatever.

So, we can talk about it (which is sometimes a good read), or we can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Here’s the challenge — to everyone — women and men alike. Write an action movie with good female parts in it.

If you win, we will MAKE IT.

Continue reading for rules and more information…


1. Write an action movie. It doesn’t have to be long, it doesn’t have to be in any specific format, but it needs dialogue, and it needs action . . .

2. .  . . and it needs characters! Specifically, female characters. The LEAD must be a WOMAN. The MAJORITY of the characters must be WOMEN.

3. Specifically, the parts need to be GOOD PARTS. I want to see interesting, compelling characters with some depth who get to say and/or do interesting things.

4. Your movie should NOT be about MEN or about SEX. Your women can be sexy, but they cannot be EXPLOITATIVE.

5. Your movie must pass the Bechdel test — two women must talk about something other than a man.

6. Making your women LESBIANS just so they can MAKE OUT is CHEATING! Lesbians in general aren’t against the rules, but entries will be judged within the spirit of the contest, so keep that in mind.

7. Email it to [email protected].

All scripts remain the property of their authors. By entering this contest, however, the winning author grants permission to Overthinkingit to make, publicize, and show a movie based on the script, to post script excerpts, and to subject the script to the erudite and insightful microanalysis for which OTI is cherished and admired. The filmmakers, of course, retain their rights in their own work product in the film itself.

8. Do it by September 30, 2008


The winning movie will be MADE. I’m not sure how we’re going to do it, but we’ve made movies before, so we’ll make it happen, even if it takes a while.

We may not be able to make the movie in its entirety or with a huge budget (or even much of a budget at all), but you will see your movie MADE. And probably LINKED on YOUTUBE. Which will be AWESOME.

Second prizes: Other awesome scripts will be posted to the site and overthought by our stable of champion overthinkers! And you may get to be on an Overthinkingit podcast!

The Linda Hamilton Memorial Prize: Remember Linda Hamilton? Yeah, she’s still alive, but remember how awesome her performance was in Terminator 2? How she proved women could be awesome action heroes, and awesome characters, but then Hollywood never really stepped up to the plate on that level again, ever? The final prize is dedicated to the awesome legacy of Linda Hamilton.

Even if it isn’t the winning movie, movie with the best female character wins a LINDA HAMILTON DVD PRIZE PACK that I will BUY MYSELF, probably OFF AMAZON.

Which movie(s)?

You have to win to find it!

Come on folks, let’s see some scripts!!

21 Comments on “The First Annual Overthinking It Linda Hamilton Memorial Women-In-Action Screenwriting Contest!”

  1. mlawski OTI Staff #

    Everyone should see the second link (labeled “AWESOME”). It is AWESOME.


  2. fenzel #

    Folks, I ain’t lying.

    Although I can’t really guarantee the movie will be made by any reasonable professional standard. We’re living in a Mini-DV world, folks.


  3. Crazy Loco #

    Wow, I was hooked. Until I realized that the script would become the property of Overthinking it site. Seriously, dude. Why did the writers just go on strike?
    This comment brought to you by the society to retain copyright at all costs.


  4. Adrian #

    I agree. Is the property thing really necessary? I was totally into it until I read that as well.
    Great idea for a contest, though.


  5. fenzel #

    Pretty much every writing contest ever needs to say that stuff. Most newspapers or magazines need to say stuff like this just to print letters to the editor. We don’t mean anything sinister by it. And we also just didn’t bother to hide it on a subpage or put it in fine print.

    If you submit to the contest, presumably you want to win.

    And if you want to win, you want your movie either hyped up here on the site or made by us (however we manage to pull that off).

    We can’t do those things without the rights to the movie.

    So if you don’t want to win the prizes, and you think you can make a lot of money with your movie — then, by all means, you should be calling your agent and not entering our conest.

    I will say this — if you’ve got a script you want to talk about but don’t want to submit it to the contest, you can also email me about it (at the above address), and maybe we can work something out to talk about it on the blog. But that would be a side thing.

    But that email becomes our property and cannot be returned ;-)


    P.S. – The writers went on strike to negotiate payment with people who pay them to write. We’re not paying for you to write. I am not being paid to write this comment. This is a fun contest we are running in our spare time because we want to encourage creativity.

    In other words, like most of the Internet, this is for amateurs who do it for the love. :-)


  6. fenzel #

    Also, in response to folks’ concerns — this is the first contest like this we’re running, so I’m looking for a way to frame the legal language so that we can still accept entries, give prizes, publish winners, and make the winning movie, but the original author either retains or regains rights so there isn’t a sense of you guys losing something for working hard.

    The whole point is to just make this all _work_, and we take that seriously.

    If anybody knows a good lawyer who will help out for free, send ’em my way.

    Also, for all the trouble, I’m putting into this, I’d better see some entries from you folks :-)


  7. Crazy Loco #

    While I fully respect the position of the website, the writers went on strike because they failed to negotiate a proper deal at the beginning. As soon as their works became film, it became the property of the director. Does anyone know the name of the woman who wrote the screenplay for E.T.? Of course not. If she had retained her copyright through all the different phases of production for her work, we’d all be saying, “Spielberg Who?”. The writers are just trying to close the barn door after the horses have escaped. What they needed to do is insist on retaining their copyright, and they wouldn’t need to banter for more cash. They would dictate the terms and the cash. Then directors and studios would be out on their collective tushes, because, as you say, it is the world of UTUBE.
    I agree that the contest is a great idea, however, and do not fault you for such an original idea.


  8. fenzel #

    E.T. isn’t a great example of what you’re trying to discuss — it was written by one of its producers, who also happens to be Harrison Ford’s ex-wife and a millionaire many times over. So, don’t cry for her, Argentina. Hollywood writers come in lots of shapes and sizes — they are not all outcast Bohemians; a lot of them are working for a living in a way not remarkably different from everyone else.

    And E.T. is ultimately owned by Universal, and thus the shareholders of General Electric and Vivendi, not by Steven Spielburg. He just negotiated a good contract.

    Being able to bargain collectively so you don’t have to renegotiate every time somebody wants new work from you is a big part of why you want a union in the first place. If the writers went with your plan, they would make much less money than they do now, because they would constantly be undercutting each other on a project-by-project basis.

    Also, how would you suggest handling projects with more than one screenwriter, or a project where a screenwriter gets fired halfway through? That happens a lot — under your plan, you could pretty much never change writers, combine work from different writers, or scrap a project in development and start over. Those are some pretty big hamstrings for production for some pretty tenuous reasons.

    Also, under your logic, cinematographers could do the same thing, as could gaffers, as could talent agents — it’s not a surprise that people can prevent movies from being made by not agreeing to contracts. I love writers, I am a writer, and I consider it important, but it’s foolish to think it’s the only game in town. The writers need everyone else, too.

    We should probably take this discussion to a separate thread. Or, heck, I’ll probably just relaunch the contest page with a reminder at some point in the next few weeks.


  9. Adrian #

    Hey fenzel,
    thanks for clarifying the rights regained/retained part, that clears it up for me.
    Im not too worried about it myself, I was just more interested to hear why it was needed. But I think if the rights to the work is regained then it’s not an issue.
    Again, I think its a great contest and kudos for doing it. And since it’s really the first contest for this site, little things like this are to be expected.
    Anyway, Im wasting time writing this when I should be brainstorming!


  10. wrather #

    UPDATE: OK, we’ve edited the contest rules language for what I hope is the last time. We didn’t mean to scare everyone away, but we wanted to make sure everyone knows what’s going to happen to the scripts — especially the winning script, which will be made into an AWESOME movie.


  11. mickey #

    dude. YES. YES.

    fenzel: what if the submission happens to be ridiculously wrong? is that bad or can i write away?


  12. mickey #

    replace “wrong” with “long,” fuck.


  13. fenzel OTI Staff #

    I didn’t put in any length restrictions, specifically because of this contingency.

    If you’ve got an idea that you really think has legs that can last for a full-length movie, I say, run with it. Develop that. And we’ll consider it with the other entries.

    I expect most of the submissions to be relatively short, but long ones will get equal consideration (a short one could beat a long one, and a long one could beat a short one).

    Although, long or short, cutting out the fat in your own editing process, of course, is generally recommended. But that’s just general writing advice.


  14. fenzel OTI Staff #

    Also, another question for everybody — what do you think of the deadline? Is it way too short? I was thinking of extending it. A month isn’t very long. But if I extend it, I won’t do it lightly. Once the deadline is nailed down, late entries won’t be considered.


  15. Adrian #

    I think the deadline kind of separates the smokers from the jokers, if you know what I mean (Im not sure I even know what that means- that phrase is outdated in so many ways).
    Im behind the deadline. But I could go either way.


  16. Jesswa #

    I’m English. I live in England. Is that still kewl?


  17. ephany #

    I totally heart Linda Hamilton!


  18. willbeatsrock #

    just adapt the comic series Y: The Last Man into a film, and use Agent 355 as the main character instead of Yorick. Sure it might lose some of it’s effect but if you really want it…


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