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Star Trek: Excelsior 2015 Writing Contest

THE FINAL THREE

WINNER: Lyndsey Werner "Attractions and Distractions" Coming 26 December 2015!

RUNNER-UP: Larry Phelan "Progeny of Fate" PDF

MJ Lauck "Cat and Mouse" PDF


Thanks to all our finalists and to everyone who is helping make this contest a success!


What's this all about?

Star Trek: Excelsior Star Trek has a long tradition of accepting pitches from anyone with a gleam in his eye and a good idea in his head. Trek has discovered some great writers thanks to its open submission policy: Trent Ganino ("Yesterday's Enterprise"), Ronald D. Moore ("All Good Things..." and the new Battlestar Galactica), and others. The fact is Star Trek fans are good at writing Star Trek. With the 50th Anniversary fast approaching, we want to continue that tradition.

Therefore, Episode #4D, slated for December 26th, 2015, will be an episode written by a fan. And that fan can be you! If you've ever wanted to write for a Star Trek fan show—or for Star Trek in general—this is your chance.

Sweet! Can I enter?

Yes. The contest is open to all fans of all ages. Exception: if you're under 13, you must have a parent's permission, or your entry will not be considered. Other exception: If you are a judge, or if you are already scheduled to write an episode of Excelsior for Season 4, you can't enter.

What exactly are you looking for?

Ultimately, we're looking for a standalone episode of Star Trek: Excelsior, roughly 60 minutes in length. The episode may feature no graphic violence or explicit sexual activity, and should not include appearances from established Star Trek characters (we can't secure those actors).

What we are looking for is freshness — stories unlike those we've told before, and perhaps even unlike stories Star Trek has told before. A Mirror Universe epic; a mad dash through time; a puzzler like "Darmok"; a deeply personal journey like "The Inner Light." Blow our minds.

Executive Producer James has decided to make available excerpts from the Official Season 4 Excelsior Writer's Bible, to help writers understand what kinds of stories we're most interested in. The rules that document lays out for our writers are not rules for you, and you don't have to follow them, but you might find them interesting nevertheless. You can find those excerpts here:

EXCELSIOR SEASON 4 Writer's Bible Excerpts

If you've never listened to Excelsior before, we suggest that you listen to one of our recent episodes (I suggest 402 "Guards! GET THEM!" or 403 "At Death's Door"), which will give you a sense of the main characters and their mission.

So how do I send you my great idea for a story?

To start out, we're looking for what the television industry calls "pitches."

These are quick-and-dirty explanations of what happens in your story, from teaser to end credits, including all necessary information to understand the story and its subplots. Your pitch should be no longer than 600 words. We also want you to send the first four pages of your script. We're not particular about format, but keep it to around 1000 words.

Your pitch is your foot in the door with Excelsior. It's not like we have a particularly tough door to get into—we hardly have the fan base of a filmed Trek show—but you should make sure your pitch is well-polished, because it's the first (and, sadly, perhaps last) thing that we'll judge you on.

I'm okay with that. How do I submit?

Send your pitches to starshipexcelsiorcontests@gmail.com. We can read pitches straight from the emails, or in an attached file. (.doc is preferred.) Your script excerpt really should be in a document — scripts are not easy to read via email.

Also, make sure you include your name and an email where we can reliably and speedily contact you.

You may submit up to five different pitches.

Once I've submitted all my pitches, what happens then?

Then you sit tight. Our Crack Pitch-Reading Team will split them up. Depending on the number of submissions, your pitch will be read by some or all of us. Pitches that each reader flags as "good" will be sent to the other two. From that pool of "good" entries, we'll select the three finalists.

Final Three?

We'll take the three most promising pitches and name their authors as our finalists. Those finalists will then be invited to submit complete scripts to Excelsior based on their pitches. They'll have a couple months to write those scripts. From those final scripts, we'll choose our overall winner and runner-up.

What are the prizes?

The winner's script will be produced as the Boxing Day Episode (subject to some additional editing as deemed necessary by the producers). The scripts by the other finalists will be posted (with full crediting and attribution) on the Excelsior website for free viewing by the fans. No other compensation is involved.

What's the timeline here? When are my deadlines?

If you're reading this, then it means pitch submissions have opened. Start sending them to starshipexcelsiorcontests@gmail.com!

All pitches are on March 1st, 2015.

Finalists will be announced on March 30th, 2015.

Finalist scripts will be due by the night of June 1st, 2015.

The winner and runner-up will be announced on July 1st, 2015, and the scripts of all finalists except the winner will be posted at the same time. They may or may not be informed ahead of time.

Then the winner's script will fall into the deep dark pit that is production on Excelsior, we'll fiddle around with it a bit more (as always happens during translation from word to sound), consult the writer some more to make sure we're staying true to his vision, and, eventually, as if by magic, an episode will appear.

That episode will be released on December 26th, 2015.

What if one of your finalists declines to submit a full script?

If one of the selected finalists drops out of the contest or fails to reply to us in a reasonable amount of time, then we'll invite another deserving pitch-writer to replace the original finalist.

What if you get fewer than three submissions?

Then, congratulations, you're all finalists! I hope that doesn't happen, though.

In the extreme case that we receive no submissions that we believe approach the standard of quality we require to write a good episode, we reserve the right to cancel the contest. We really hope that doesn't happen.

Will you steal my idea?

By submitting your pitch to this contest, you give us ownership of the story and the right use your idea without crediting you. We're not going to, but we have to say that to shield ourselves from plagiarism charges.

Of course, suing us for plagiarism would be just about the dumbest lawsuit somebody could file, because there's absolutely no money involved here—the prizes have no monetary value, the show has no budget, we have barely enough money for the servers, and, what's more, Excelsior already exists solely because CBS Paramount has (generously) refrained from sending us a Cease-and-Desist order to date. We exist in legal limbo as it is, so filing a lawsuit wouldn't accomplish much except give everyone an enormous headache.

(Thank you, Paramount, for suffering us to exist! We really do appreciate it!)

Why December 26?

December 26th is St. Stephen's Day (Boxing Day to some), a day when normal relationships are traditionally turned upside-down. It's also a holiday that doesn't get celebrated nearly often enough in these United States, so we're going to turn things "upside-down" and turn the audience into our writer's room and our writer's room into the audience for the day. Take that, Congress.

No purchase necessary to enter. Nor, indeed, is purchase possible; we don't make any money off of Excelsior. Just send your pitches to starshipexcelsiorcontests@gmail.com before March 1st!

Let's see what's out there.

Sincerely,

James Heaney

Executive Producer