Thursday, July 29, 2010

And the Winner is....Out of the Box

In my last blog entry I said let the fun begin. The fun times at the 2010 Action on Film (AOF) International Film Festival,  did unfold and part of me is really sad that the screenings, seminars, and networking is finally coming to an end.

I still can't believe that my week here is almost over. Tomorrow night will be final night for the 2010 AOF, time really does fly by when you are having fun.

Yesterday evening I had the privilege of attending the 2010 AOF writer's awards dinner. My short script, Out of the box was nominated for 'Best Short' and the 'Hollywood Scriptwriter 2010 Written Word Award,' (and I wasn't aware of the latter). Being nominated for a second year was a great honor in itself. I know a lot of the writers in this fest and the competition is tough.

To my surprise I was awarded first runner-up for 'Best Short' and won the 'Hollywood Scriptwriter 2010 Written Word Award.' When my name was announced as runner-up I couldn't believe it. I walked to the podium and graciously accepted the honor. This time I didn't cry, but when I heard my name announced as the winner for the 'Hollywood Screenwriter 2010 Written Word Award' the tears began to swell and I cried tears of joy. I did recover a lot quicker than last year and managed to get a coherent thank speech out.

Even though the awards ceremony is a few hours ago, I still feel elated. Part of me is still in shock. Moments like these are few and far between. A night like last night, is a night that all screenwriters dream of. We endure so many rejections. It has taken me fives years to get here and I still don't believe I've cracked the service of my screenwriting iceberg. My journey and career are just beginning.

The script that won tonight was conceptualized five years ago with Lawrence J. King, the co-writer. We initially came up with the story for a BET screenwriting competition looking for scripts that were about HIV/AIDS. The winning short would be produced by BET. Lawrence and I submitted, but were not chosen. The script follows the lives of five African American women who are HIV positive. Their lives intersect as they cope with untimely demise of a group member, which in turn forces them to face their own personal demons. I continued to submit Out of the Box to a ton of contests and when I got coverage I would revise it to make the script better. I've been doing this for four years.

Last night, was a pay-off and testament to the many rewrites I've done throughout the years. I feel validated and believe my stories are worth telling.  I don't expect to win every contest. Rejection is part of the process, but I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The Action on Film International Film Festival has been my light. One day a producer or production company will option my script or offer me a job on spec. Until then, my job is to keep writing.


Russell Waldman said...

What wonderful news!!!!

Cinti Laird said...

Congratulations! You deserved to win and you did. One down, next! Keep writing and as you said productions and job offers are the goal. You will meet with more success.. Even thought you started writing 4 years ago, this is just the beginning of the better things to come. :-)

Halima Flynn said...

Congratulations Aaliyah on another well-deserved accolade...with many more to come!!!!

A. WIll Brown said...

This is amazing! Congratulations, I look forward to reading more about it soon.

Caitlin said...

Aaliyah, you deserve every success! You are talented, driven, hard-working, and beyond nice. Bravo!

denning said...

Way to hang in there, Aaliyah! The winner is the last one standing... :-)