by Amanda Richardson

I thought I knew exactly what to expect as I headed to Bath that particularly stuffy Thursday. With another script reaching the top 5 of the Script to Screen Award two years ago, my screenwriting brain just assumed it would be a simple case of “copy/paste”. I could look forward to another delightful evening of talented artists sharing their work.

This latest draft, however, proved to be full of twists and surprises…

My jaw hit the floor as I entered the Komedia. It was a proper, beautiful, professional awards ceremony. Holly and I each took a couple of seconds to recognise one another, and then shared such a joyful hug I knew the evening was going to be really special. I was introduced to the five other finalists and I can’t honestly say who I liked more. There seemed to be an instant sense of camaraderie, we all knew exactly how we were feeling and just how much work it took us to get there.

As the scripts were performed one by one, the atmosphere was of shared excitement and respect. All the performers, writers and audience members were there because they wanted to be there. Each script had such a unique voice and vision, I genuinely forgot where I was and why I was there. When it came to be my turn I was equally raptured, the two students who brought my words to life demonstrated a maturity and worldliness that far surpassed their years. I needed a moment to collect myself before going up on stage to talk about my short, and frankly needed about two hours to process once I heard Col declare “Dig” the winner.

The next few minutes were a blur of smiles and handshakes. The other finalists and I eagerly chatted to each other and the judges about our work and future plans, but I knew all too well the look of slight disappointment in their eyes.

The only thing I would change about the evening would be my acceptance speech. I am sure I mumbled something coherent because I heard applause at the end, nonetheless I wish I could have articulated the balance of work and luck I know goes into every victory, and every loss.

I have already lost five screenwriting competitions this year alone, last year added up to around thirty. “Dig” has lost around fifteen competitions since I started sending it out, and each and every one of those losses were just as valid as this victory. It is sorely tempting to shrug off the defeats, but the price we pay for blocking fear and doubt means that recognition has nowhere to enter when its time comes. Don’t be afraid of defeats, and you will have nothing to fear when it’s your turn to step on stage. And I am so glad I got to share the stage with so many wonderful artists, each of us at different stages of our chosen career.