How a Writing Contest Launched the Career of EXTANT’s Creator

Why should you enter TVWriter™’s currently running (and only a week or so away from closing) People’s Pilot competition? Well, here’s some food for thought:

Mickey Fisher of EXTANT

by Jacob N. Stuart

I first met Mickey Fisher back in September of 2014. We were both scheduled to speak at the Cincinnati Film Festival‘s screenwriting panel. Mickey, however, was scheduled a few hours before me. Usually when I’m speaking at a film festival, I use the time before my slot to network, exchange information, and form new industry relationships. But with Mickey, that all changed. I found myself fascinated by his amazing story, and how over night, through a screenplay contest, his life changed drastically. Still to this day, I can’t figure out why I would be scheduled after Mickey; who in the world would want to listen to ME after hearing Mickey speak first!

So who is Mickey Fisher? Mickey is a native of Ohio, who is the writer and creator of the popular CBS series, EXTANT, staring Hale Berry, and executive produced by Stephen Spielberg. Need I say more?

But what makes Mickey’s story even more inspiring? He was discovered (and so was EXTANT) through a screenplay contest (trackingb)!

So I caught up with Mickey, who is one the nicest people you will ever meet, and asked him for an interview. For those who don’t know, I’m the Screenplay Contest Director for this year’s Cincinnati Film Festival (Screenwriting Staffing is the official sponsor). That’s why I thought it would be fitting to have Mickey share his thoughts on screenwriting contests on ‘The Backstory’!

Screenwriting Staffing: What is your overall thoughts and opinions on screenplay contests?extant poster

Mickey Fisher: A contest led me to having my own show on CBS so of course I’m a bit biased, but I think for someone who is outside the industry like I was, they’re a great way to get your material into the right hands.  Even the ones I didn’t win paid off in some way.  I was a semi-finalist in the Nicholl Fellowship back in 2006 and even though I didn’t win, a student in a graduate producing program tracked me down and asked to use my script for her thesis project, which led to a friendship and professional relationship that exists to this day.

Screenwriting Staffing: What should EVERY screenwriter look for when choosing and submitting to screenplay contests?

Mickey Fisher: You have to do your research and find out which ones are really kicking off careers or opening doors for people.  When I entered the TrackingB TV Pilot contest I had been reading about it for a year or two and knew that it was a viable option for getting scripts in the hands of people who could do something with them.  Shortly before I was a finalist there I won a contest held by The Writer’s Store and I entered because I knew one of the prizes was a lunch meeting with Susannah Grant.  I had read about The Nicholl Fellowship for years before I entered that back in 2006.  Now there’s The Blacklist website, which isn’t a contest, but it’s got a real track record for launching writers.

Read it all at Screenwriter Staffing