From the creator of the notorious cheerleading cult classic “Bring it On,” comes a competition that could jump start the career of an aspiring young screenwriter. Jessica Bendinger knows firsthand how hard it can be to make it in the film industry. She pitched “Bring it On” 27 times before it was bought by Universal Studios and now she is offering one lucky writer the big break she never had.
Bendinger is holding a screenwriting competition where students are invited to adapt a scene of her new book, “The Seven Rays,” into a screenplay. The winner will receive a one-on-one script consultation by Bendinger, a huge opportunity in a business that is nearly impossible to break into.
“I enjoy teaching screenwriting so much,” Bendinger said in an interview with The Miami Hurricane, “and to mentor a young screenwriter, I thought, what a cool opportunity to open what is normally a VIP process to an aspiring writer.”
Bendinger is currently in the process of adapting “The Seven Rays” for the screen. She feels that adaptation is an important skill writers should master and that mentorship can be a useful stepping stone in getting original work read by Hollywood executives.
“If you don’t have a contact, you’re not getting your foot in the door,” said Daryl Axelrod, a UM alumnus with a master’s degree in film theory. “The film industry is really closed and difficult to get meetings in unless you know somebody.”
Not only will Bendinger’s grand prize winner find a mentor, but five second-place prize winners will get the chance of a lifetime: to pitch their own original scripts to film executives.
In addition to “Bring it On” and “The Seven Rays,” Bendinger has written for “Sex in the City” and the movie “Aquamarine.” She also wrote and directed “Stick It,” a film she called her “love letter to gymnastics.” In the past she has mentored other young writers, a process she finds worthwhile.
“I want to give what I didn’t have. I struggled to find a mentor in Hollywood,” she said. “It’s extremely rewarding when you connect with someone who is really talented.”
Though she met rejection initially, Bendinger’s “Bring it On” has become a “popcorn movie classic,” and her successful career has led her to a place where she can provide a similar opportunity to another aspiring writer.
To enter the screenwriting competition:
Log on to thesevenrays.com to read the first chapter of Jessica Bendinger’s new book “The Seven Rays,” for free.
Adapt a scene into a two to five page written screenplay.
Submit the entry by logging onto www.withoutabox.com/login/8612 deadline is February 15, 2010 at 12 a.m. PST
For more information and contest rules log on to thesevenrays.com/contest-rules