Nicholl: Another Apology for the False Congrats

Hi Ashley,

As many of you already are well aware, we sent two e-mails to you this morning. The first was a regret e-mail telling you that you did not advance to the Nicholl finals. Sadly, that was the correct e-mail.

We’re not sure why our e-mail data base system decided to add your group of semifinalists to the group of ten finalists to whom we were sending the congratulations again e-mail. We can only apologize for the error and ask your forgiveness for the confusion.

All of the Nicholl finalists received phone calls yesterday alerting them of their status. If you only received an e-mail from us, that means that you did not advance to the Nicholl finals.

After the Nicholl finalist press release is distributed early next week, we’ll begin distributing the contact lists for Nicholl quarterfinalists and semifinalists. Those will be sent to agents, managers, producers and executives who request them. We hold off on distributing the finalist list for another week or so, which means that those folks only have your information and not that of the finalists during this period. Typically, a number of phone calls or e-mails will be received by the Nicholl semifinalists.

Best of luck with your writing. Again, we apologize heartily for the confusion engendered by the congratulatory e-mail.

Best wishes,

Greg Beal
Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

Nicholl: Another Apology for the False Congrats

14 thoughts on “Nicholl: Another Apology for the False Congrats

  1. 1

    Same experience – except I received the congratulations first. I was at dinner (I live in Europe) in a restaurant with friends and SO PROUDLY proclaimed my finalist status that the WHOLE RESTAURANT was in an uproar! Then, as I sent a reply as requested, the rejection came in.

    You are absolutely right that the offhand way they responded to the call and the form e-mail later were in no way the kind of apology I would expect for a mistake of that importance. And the idea that my original e-mail was right — well, sorry, but the ORIGINAL e-mail told me I was a finalist!

    If I had gotten the rejection first, I would’ve kept quiet, enjoyed the meal with friends, and told those who knew about the situation about the letter later.

    Horrible experience, and it doesn’t make me think kindly of the Nicholl!

    Luckily, the screenplay I entered was optioned this summer, so in the end I’ll be OK.

    1. 1.1

      Congrats on the option, at least.

      I received them at the same time so I was just confused, at least I wasn’t convinced I’d made it to the finals. It was really terrible, I don’t know how they could have done it better, but it was certainly not handled very well on the phone.

  2. 2

    Ashley, I’m sorry to hear that.

    I can actually relate to what you’re going through, albeit on a different scale. I received an acceptance and rejection letter to a college I applied for the same day. I didn’t know which was which, so I called, and was told the rejection was correct and it was an “administrative error.”

    While you’re not a finalist, you did better than most screenwriters ever would (including myself), so I wouldn’t hang my head too low.

    But hearing about this, is like, a bummer, man.

    1. 2.1

      I’m a little bummed, I’ve been having a rough week otherwise, but I know that being a semi-finalist is going to do things for me. It already has. But yeah, hearing about it like this was pretty heartbreaking. I keep hoping that one of the finalists is caught having sold stuff or something and then I get the call — I think that’s some combo of denial and bargaining…

  3. 3


    Same thing happened to me this morning. I was sitting in a crowded doctor’s office waiting for my pre-op appt. for next week’s shoulder surgery and received the conflicting e-mails. I e-mailed them rather than call and also got a curt rather rude response. Awful feeling. πŸ™ Worst part is the tag line that we’ll soon receive the application for 2010. Oh jeez, thanks.


    1. 3.1

      Hearing from the other people is making it a little better — knowing everyone’s going through the same thing. Disappointing, but hopefully we’ll all sell our screenplays and leave it behind us. Good luck with your surgery. I myself have been going through medical drama lately — the kind where they can’t figure out what’s wrong with me. Good times.

  4. 4

    Hey, Guys —

    Think of it this way. We’re not ordinary semifinalists – we’re the first ever Nicholl faux finalists! πŸ™‚ Good luck with medical things.

  5. 5

    This happened to me too. It is the absolute worst. I’ve been entering the Nicholl for a few years. Once made top 30, so the you’re a finalist email nearly gave me a heart attact. The oops we made a mistake broke my heart.

    I do like dobes’ idea of Faux Finalists. We should get a tee-shirt.

  6. 6

    wow that’s horrible! a rejection is hard enough but to give false hope and then a curt dismissal? wow. thank god i didn’t have anything close to that with nickelodeon. at least you didn’t receive the congratulations email first like that poor guy. well, best of luck to everyone with your screenplay and future screenplays!

  7. 7

    Wow. That is absolutely awful. I’m a little blown away by this part of the email:

    “We’re not sure why our e-mail data base system decided to add your group of semifinalists…”

    If you’re going to eff something up this bad, at least take ownership of your mistakes. An email DL doesn’t “decide” to do anything. It’s human error. Grrrrr… I’m really, really sorry Ashley.

    1. 7.1

      Yeah, I’m a little shocked at how “Oops” they are instead of being like “Oh God, we seriously fucked up.” Oh well.

      I’m OK though, I mean, in a way it gives me something to focus on and be like Argh instead of wallowing. And I’m super proud that my silly Mockumentary script could do as well as it did in such a hoity toity competition.

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