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2024 mentors

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Mark Fergus

Mark Fergus is an OSCAR-nominated screenwriter, having crafted memorable scripts for hits like CHILDREN OF MEN (2006), IRON MAN (2008), and the TV series THE EXPANSE (2015). His broad range of expertise across various genres has solidified his reputation as a skilled and adaptable writer. Mark Fergus will hold a 1on1 masterclass with 2024's 1st place winner (FEATURE category). 

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Jessica Sharzer

Jessica Sharzer is writer, producer, and director best known for her work on NERVE (2016), AMERICAN HORROR STORY (2011-2015), the mystery thriller A SIMPLE FAVOR (2018) and NINE PERFECT STRANGERS (2021). She has been nominated for three Primetime Emmys for her work. Jessica Sharzer will hold a 1on1 masterclass with 2024's 1st place winner (TV PILOT category).

WHAT OUR WINNING WRITERS SAY

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Cathriona Slammon

2023 Feature Script Winner

Winning the Golden Script Competition for my feature script was a huge boost of confidence. Meeting with John J McLaughlin, co-writer of one of my favourite films, was incredibly exciting, and John was so supportive and kind. The circulation of my script to production companies is a really exciting prospect, and I can't recommend the competition enough. Their communication is great, feedback is insightful, awards are meaningful. I've already gotten so much from this and I will always be grateful to the Golden Script team for believing in my writing, giving me a platform, and connecting me with such an amazing mentor.

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Weslie Lechner

2023 TV Pilot Script Winner

Meeting with Jessica was so, so helpful. She was incredibly generous with her time and insight. While I continue to love this script, she gave me a lot of really helpful notes AND a road map to address them in a way that honored the story I'm trying to tell. I left feeling even more proud of what my script accomplished and inspired to make it better. Not only that, but she took the time to answer all the burning questions I had about the industry in general, giving me invaluable advice on how to navigate the next steps of my career. I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to talk with someone so well-practiced in her craft and so well-versed in the ins-and-outs of this often confusing industry.

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2022 mentors

WHAT OUR WINNING WRITERS SAY

Zach Jansen

2022 Feature Script Winner

Going into my meeting with Bobby Moresco, I had no expectations; that is to say, I literally did not know what to expect. Then, during the hour we talked, my entire philosophy and approach on screenwriting was completely upended and changed—and all for the better.  Keep in mind, I have a B.A. in screenwriting, so I kind of felt like I knew what I was doing when writing a script. But Bobby’s insight and advice gave me a new perspective on how I should be writing with a simple phrase: write into the problem. While Hadleyville is a good script, Bobby pointed out areas where I created potential conflict, but didn’t deliver on it, because I wrote around the problem. His direct, frank approach about making characters face their conflicts directly and decisively has already made Hadleyville an even better script. And I should add that his direct and frank approach was a revelation. He didn’t beat around the bush about the script’s weaknesses (which is common in writing groups and feedback from friend and family readers). If something didn’t sit right with him, he pointed it out and stated why it didn’t work. The fact that he cared so much about the script was encouraging, because all of the criticism wasn’t directed at me as a writer, but at the script, because to paraphrase Shakespeare, "the script’s the thing". His focus on making the script as good and powerful as possible was inspiring to no end, and I hope I get another chance to talk with him.

Marine Mondelot

2022 TV Pilot Script Winner

The meeting with Jessica Sharzer was thought-provoking as she questioned every aspect of my script. It pushed me to re-evaluate the narrative choices I made and the reasoning behind them. In the end this useful exercise made me feel that my choices were valid and in line with my vision, but most importantly, it highlighted the need to really own them and be prepared to stand up for them.

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2021 mentors

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WHAT OUR WINNING WRITERS SAY

Sarah Deakins
Sean Chandler
David Leeper

Sarah Deakins

2021 Feature Script Winner

Sean Chandler & David Leeper

2021 TV Pilot Script Winners

Paul Haggis, who is a master of story and structure, went through the script page by page with me (at least every page he'd made a note on), as well as discussing the overall shape, goals and direction the script is headed in. This was invaluable, as he had a great balance of letting me know the stuff he loved as well as what he thought could be improved upon. He hashed out with me some brainstorming ideas of how to rework a few specific issues, and seemed truly invested in the story and wanting to give it its due. I now have a lot of work ahead of me to move forward with my next draft, but it will be an informed and goal driven next pass, thanks to the feedback from Mr. Haggis. In short, it was incredibly encouraging and heartening to see a path forward at the end of the session; I didn't feel in the least bit lost or unclear what to do next, which can happen when one gets vague notes.

David and I video chatted with Jessica and were absolutely enlightened by her amazing suggestions and answers to our questions. In all honesty, some of these terms and concepts were a bit foreign to me and learning them really helped solutions fall into place. We learned three things: to define the type of show we want to produce and matching the format of the pilot to those episode types. Then we learned that our main framing device character needed to have a much stronger story. Last but not least, we learned to be economical with the number of characters. Of the many things we learned from Jessica, these three points were invaluable. She is a pro and a wonderful mentor, and David and I appreciate the opportunity provided to us as part of our award from The Golden Script Competition!

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