Saturday, December 1, 2007

Sundance, Raindance

We got ourselves a Sundance invitation, ladies and germs. Mike Mohan left a very nice response to my complaining post about the no-finalist policy for the Sundance workshops.

Here's the comment:
"Mike Mohan here-- I wrote that very email. I'm really happy to chat with anyone on this site if they have specific questions about Sundance, or our processes. I'm serious-- by all means just call me at 310-360-1981 or email me at There are some days where we're really busy in the office, but I try to get back to everyone even if it's not the same day they called.

There are several really good reasons why we don't give an official term like "finalist" to applicants who are selected to submit their entire script... the first of which is that we don't want to be seen as some sort of contest. Our applicants are applying to attend a screenwriting workshop, not win an award or some prize. But there are other reasons as well, and I'm more than happy to chat with anyone about it-- and also hear what you have to say. Maybe there are ways we can do this differently, and I'm open to any and all suggestions. Cheers, Mike"

Pretty damn decent of Mike, right? So, here's my question for Mike: What does it mean when you hear nothing at all (as happened to me this year)? Is it just an oversight, or did my script suck extra hard this time around? Or maybe there's a policy where Sundance only gets in touch when you are a finalist...I mean in the second cut.


E said...

I wonder what the other secret reasons are?

zumabitch said...

The suggestion is to air the recondite "other reasons" in public. Like on WR's blog.

Let's hear 'em, Mike! Mystery is overrated and breeds all manner of invidious speculation. Especially on WR's blog.

Mike Mohan said...

Hey everyone,

I am sorry that you didn't hear from us. Truthfully, our email probably just got caught in your email spamblocker.

We've actually tried a few different methods now for avoiding this problem, and it does get better every year. We first encourage people when they apply to add our email address to their list of contacts. That seems to help. Next time, and this goes for anyone who applies, if you apply to the Lab and do not hear back, please email me! I am more than happy to look that up for you.

I agree with all of you-- it's much better to hear bad news directly, than hear nothing and discover the bad news later on your own. We really do strive to make sure everyone hears back from us no matter what.

In terms of your other questions regarding why we do not give a particular distinction to the people who are asked to submit their full script: again, the main reason simply is that it's an application to a workshop and not a contest. If you look at any educational institution, for instance UCLA, there is no distinction given to the people who are ultimately denied admission, and we wish to operate in a similar manner. Additionally, because it's a true workshop environment, unlike the Nichol's Fellowship or contests of that sort, we select the projects that have the most exciting potential. Many of which are in a much more raw state than others that are technically better written.

Hope this helps, and again, if anyone has questions or suggestions, I encourage you to contact me at 310-360-1981 or


PS. I do not check this blog regularly, so with any questions, again, email is the best way to reach me.