Utah Women in Film recently announced the winner of our annual screenwriting contest (I couldn't enter since I serve on the Board of Directors). The submitted screenplays were given scores by a panel of judges. The scores were all over the place. A screenplay could score high with one judge while another judge ranked it low. After sifting through the results, the top six were given to each of the board members to read, then we met to discuss which one we would produce. And, like the judges, our opinions were all over the place. What one person considered a beautiful moving story, I considered sappy. What I considered well-written with a compelling story, others considered dull. One well-crafted story was rejected because it was too similar to what we recently produced. I rejected another because we don't have the budget to film a complicated scene within the screenplay. (Hey, as Treasurer, I have to consider these things.)
Art is subjective, and it's maddening at times. I can send a screenplay to a festival or competition, but where it goes from there depends on the opinions and whims of the readers. It might not even make it to a judge, and even if it does, it is at the mercy of their views and what they are looking for.
There are times when I envy those with predictable jobs. Go to work. Do the work expected. Get paid. There are times I wish I worked in data entry. Take the information, plug it into the fields. It's all objective. As Treasurer, I find satisfaction in balancing to the penny; it means I did something exactly right. It's either right or it's wrong. No guessing. No whims.
But no fire.
Art is subjective, yet for some of us the desire to create burns so deeply we must do it anyway. Shoot the work down, tear it apart, criticize it...yeah, it hurts...but we'll keep on creating because it hurts worse not to.
A room full of writers gathered when UWIF announced the winner of the screenwriting contest. Only one earned the honor of having the script produced. Many felt disappointment, but in reality they are all winners in the battle of the arts, and they will keep on writing.