Jeffery Stevenson | Script Revolution

Jeffery Stevenson

Jeffery Stevenson's picture
Jeffery Stevenson
Austin, United States

After many years writing webcomics and comics, I found myself stuck in traffic and listening to someone on the radio talk about the upcoming Austin Film Festival. Oddly enough, I used movies as part of my training when learning to write comics by pausing scenes at their most critical points and describing what I saw in a way an art team could reproduce it, so I made an impulsive decision to attend. I went to panels where the writers and directors of some of my favorite movies and shows spun tales and tips about their adventures in the industry.

And I was hooked.

I gathered up all my notes from the conference, downloaded a ton of sample screenplays, bought a copy of The Screenwriter's Bible, and decided to write a screenplay for the next year's conference. I enjoyed learning about the craft so much, I nearly forgot to write a screenplay, so with six weeks to go, I cranked out my first screenplay ever while maintaining two weekly webcomics and developing work-for-hire scripts for a video game to comic book adaptation. I sent this barely-past-the-rough-draft-stage screenplay off to AFF just under the deadline and decided to also send it to the Nicholl Fellowship... and freaked out when I got a letter stating my screenplay made it as a Second Rounder at AFF. A while later, I received a letter from the Nicholl Fellowship stating I hadn't made the cut, but Greg Beal included a handwritten note on the bottom, "Among the next 50 scripts". The next Austin Film Festival was a whirlwind for me, and I followed a bunch of advice from producers and managers and story editors to keep going. So I rewrote and pushed my screenplay but continued to barely make the cut at a number of contests--top 100, top 25%, honorable mention, and quarterfinalist.

I couldn't figure out how to move beyond that when I entered a pitch contest and heard the words loud and clear, "What else do you have?" So, I sat down and wrote another script and repeated my submissions... and it went nowhere. After hearing crickets with my second screenplay, I withdrew for a while and studied movies and scripts to fling myself past whatever plateau I was hitting, and every rewrite led to the same result. I soon found myself too deeply buried in a pit of self-doubt and second-guessing to finish any scripts. I'd get that urge to write when a new idea hit and always leapt in with renewed energy, but that inner critic wields a mighty club capable of kneecapping any enthusiasm. So, I wrote half of four more stories and a few short stories, felt like a fraud, became my own biggest obstacle, gave up on screenwriting, and started writing a novel in my spare time instead.

After a few years, I chatted with an old writing buddy, and as we were talking, she suggested I get some feedback on my scripts. I begrudgingly sent them off, and saw similar responses for both scripts... "fun characters and dialogue" ... "needs some plot and structure work" ... "too big budget for serious consideration as a spec"... "this would make a great graphic novel though". I suddenly realized I'd been trying to write screenplays like comic books, so here I am after those years away from any serious screenwriting, trying to complete those unfinished stories and give this another shot.

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Scripts By Jeffery

Unnatural Selection
In a dog-eat-dog world, always fear the chihuahua.
Short Drama For sale 5pp
Arazel & Xarenia
The past catches up with two female adventurers as the mad plot of an undead lord draws them out of retirement and into the craziest journey of their lives.
Feature Adventure, Comedy, Fantasy Example of work only 112pp
Familiarity Bleeds
A delusional, malnourished POW survives a failed occult experiment and brings terror to a remote prisoner of war camp ending its deadly research.
Short Action, Horror Example of work only 10pp
The Mascot Fetish Ranch
A mockumentary uncovering the secrets of the infamous Mascot Fetish Ranch where all your mascot fantasies can be had for a price.
Short Comedy Example of work only 15pp