From nearly 5,000 entries, we are proud to introduce you to 28-year-old Zachary Rowell, SoCreate’s “So, Write Your Bills Away” Sweepstakes winner! Over the next three months (October 2019-December 2019), we’ll pay Zachary’s bills so he can focus on writing a feature-length screenplay, instead of focusing on finances. The best part is that you get to follow along as he does it!
Zachary made the risky choice to move to California two years ago from his small hometown in Texas to pursue his screenwriting dreams. He makes ends meet through freelance writing projects and Postmates and DoorDash deliveries. He shares a small studio apartment in Los Angeles.
His most recent accomplishment includes scoring an 8 out of 10 on his Blacklist submission “Video Rental,” a pilot script that he shared with us as part of his semi-finalist package. In an earlier interview, Zachary told SoCreate what the prize money would mean to him.
“For the past eight years, I have been fighting for writing jobs on freelancing sites like UpWork just to keep the lights on. This means I’ve accepted some pretty bizarre jobs, including writing a break-up letter for someone and writing voice messages for a virtual Santa,” he explained. “Winning this money will change my life.”
Zachary has a couple of screenplay ideas waiting in the wings, and we are confident he will create an awesome script now that he’ll have the luxury of time to write. His writing style is hilarious, unique, and relatable, and we think you’ll love it as much as we do.
“This opportunity would give me a clear mind. A mind that doesn’t have to worry about bills, which is something I’ve never experienced in life, even as a child,” he told us.
“We came up with this idea because we wanted to help kickstart one screenwriter’s journey and make things just a little bit easier for them,” SoCreate Founder Justin Couto said. “Zachary has shown us that he is a talented screenwriter who needs a break. We’re thrilled to be able to give it to him and watch him flourish.”
Beginning October 1, 2019, Zachary will document his progress to write a feature-length, 90-120-page screenplay from beginning to end. He’ll check in with the writing community every week via blog or vlog to tell us what’s going right, challenges, new ideas, and more.
“Screenwriters often suffer from self-doubt,” said Couto. “We love that other writers will be able to join in Zachary’s process to see that we’re all working through the same challenges, and we’ll all celebrate the successes together.”
Zachary retains all rights to his finished screenplay.
To be considered for the sweepstakes, entrants were asked to submit one sentence detailing why they deserve to win the prize. Nearly 5,000 eager writers applied, and we drew the top 25 randomly. From there, the semi-finalists submitted a letter of recommendation, a cover letter, and a 20-page screenplay sample.
I was thrilled at the level of skill our top 25 showed, and it made it tough to decide on a winner. All 25 (and probably all 5,000 for that matter) are incredibly deserving. From full-time caretakers to veterans employing veterans, the stories of need were varied and compelling.
We had so much fun conducting this initiative, and we hope you’ll follow along as Zachary gets closer to making his screenwriting dreams come true. We'll post his updates on our social channels, including Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, and Facebook, and you can follow Zachary at @averagezachary on Twitter and Instagram.
Watch him write his bills away,
Courtney Meznarich, Director of Community Outreach