At a glance:

What They Wanted To Do

Demonstrate Skrawl’s ability to produce high-quality, commercially viable content across varying levels of writing experience through its unique, anonymous collaborative platform

What They Did

Brought together six writers, five established Hollywood writers and one writer chosen from the Skrawl community, for the Screenwriters Room Challenge, with the first bit written by Jaws screenwriter Carl Gottlieb

What They Accomplished

Created the collaborative screenplay "Unexpectedly", providing the Skrawl community with the experience of a celebrity writers room in real time, as well as the ability to share their creative voice and help evolve the screenplay in the process

Collaborative writing platform Skrawl creates crowdsourced screenplay featuring Jaws screenwriter, Will & Grace Emmy Winner

Screenwriters Challenge

Background

Skrawl, a unique, competitive writing website from BoomWriter Media, Inc., makes traditional writing more social by having users start a portion—or "bit"—of a story, idea, or discussion and then users can open their work for collaboration, either with a select group of friends or the Skrawl community as a whole. All participating writers then submit their entries for what they think should happen next, and then everyone votes on the anonymous submissions to select the best next bit. This process continues until the "skrawl" is completed, and members of the Skrawl community have the ability to read along as the project develops.

unexpectedly

The Challenge

In the Fall of 2015 Skrawl sought to demonstrate its ability to, not only create high-quality content amongst its users, but to produce quality writing across varying levels of experience by bringing together six writers, five established Hollywood writers and one writer chosen from the Skrawl community, to collaborate on a screenplay, with the first bit written by Skrawl’s Honorary Writer in Residence, Jaws screenwriter Carl Gottlieb. The Screenwriters Room Challenge would establish the effectiveness of competitive and collaborative storytelling in producing successful, quality content through Skrawl’s unique audience participation and anonymous crowdsourcing platform.

The Screenwriters Room Challenge began first with the quest to find the sixth writer from Skrawl’s community, from which Gottlieb would select from three finalists. Participating Skrawl users were randomly assigned into one of three separate writing rooms—Yellow, Magenta, or Blue—and invited to submit a 1000 word script on any genre or subject of their choosing. The Skrawl community then voted to determine the winner from each room. Out of hundreds of entries and thousands of votes, the finalists were chosen: Mary Krell-Oishi of the Yellow Room, Brea McCoy of the Blue Room, and Cecilia Lee of the Magenta Room. Honorary Writer in Residence Carl Gottlieb, chose Skrawl user Brea McCoy as the sixth writer for the Screenwriters Room Challenge.

Solution

Honorary Writer in Residence Carl Gottlieb provided the six writers—Rob Edwards, Amiira Ruotola, Greg Behrendt, Jenna Laurenzo, Jess Kedward, and Skrawl’s Brea McCoy—with Bit 1 and the log line for the screenplay "Unexpectedly": A couple, Mel and Cherie, are standing in the neatly trimmed yard. There's a hole freshly dug in the dirt, and a shabby bundle next to it. Mel is leaning on a long-handled shovel, Cherie is looking into the hole. In addition to Gottlieb and the fellow Hollywood writers, Skrawl enlisted producer and Emmy Award-winning Will & Grace actor Eric McCormack as Celebrity Ambassador for the Screenwriters Room Challenge. As Skrawl’s Celebrity Ambassador, McCormack promoted the unique screenwriting challenge across various social media platforms, engaging new readers and future writers with the story.

"Have you ever watched a film, or your favorite TV show, and wanted to have a say in how the story ended? Well now you can with Skrawl. Skrawl is a brilliant platform that engages writers and readers in the storytelling process"
- Eric McCormack, Emmy Award winning actor, Skrawl Celebrity Ambassador

The Screenwriters were given five days to write roughly 2000 words on what they each believed should happen next in the story, and readers had a period of four days to cast their votes to help determine which of the submitted bits would advance the screenplay. Over the course of 12 weeks, the six writers competed to complete a total of seven bits, creating the collaborative screenplay, "Unexpectedly".

"Skrawl is brilliant. It’s what the screenwriting world needs badly"
- Jess Kedwards, TV and film writer, Screenwriters Room Challenge contributor

Anonymous Competition Creates Writing Opportunity for All Skill Levels

Skrawl’s community consists of writers of all skill levels, and with its unique, anonymous voting process, all participants had the opportunity to be a part of "Unexpectedly". Users also had the rare chance to collaborate with professional, Hollywood screenwriters and interact with celebrities from favorite movies and TV shows such as, Carl Gottlieb and Eric McCormack. For the readers of Skrawl, "Unexpectedly" provided the experience of a writers room in real time, as they witnessed the evolution of the story bit by bit. Readers were able to become a part of the process as well, by casting their vote on the bit they felt best forwarded the plot. With writers and readers alike having no prior knowledge of what the others would conceptualize, the Screenwriters Room Challenge was unpredictable, challenging, and fun for all involved.

"The prevailing thought is the demand for new ideas and storylines is exceeding the industry’s ability to supply it effectively. But Skrawl provides an immediate solution; connecting writers and fans to the story-creation process has endless possibilities"
- Carl Gottlieb, Jaws screenwriter, Skrawl’s Honorary Writer in Residence

Future Plans

Skrawl’s engaging and interactive platform for both writers and readers demonstrates that collaborative content can produce high-quality and commercially viable stories in the screenwriting world. Skrawl plans to continue producing writing challenges, engaging new communities of readers and writers, while also preparing to enter the publishing and film industry with the Screenwriters Room Challenge’s "Unexpectedly". The short film is projected to go into production in mid-2017 through a crowdfunding campaign, and Carl Gottlieb is expected to join the production as head screenwriter, with Eric McCormack as director.

Eric McCormack