ABC holding contest for media writers

By Linda Luk

Have you ever had a great idea for a television show? Or written a script for a television series that no one has ever seen? Well, here’s your chance to make that dream into a reality.

NIU is participating in a nationwide contest called the New Talent and Development Scholarship and Grant Program, which is sponsored by ABC television and the Walt Disney Company.

“It is a contest between ABC and NIU,” said Kristen Allstrom, contest coordinator for NIU. “It is for those who are aspiring to be behind the cameras: writers, producers and directors.”

Students are encouraged to submit a television script or excerpts from an original video.

“It is a wonderful opportunity and it’s a shame to pass it up,” Allstrom said. “It is a good way for students to get their foot in the door of the production business.”

The application deadline is Dec. 3 and applications should include the project, a 500-word essay and a resume, all turned in to the cooperative education office at the Campus Life Building by 4:30 p.m. Students interested still have a chance to work on something over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Two winners will be selected by three faculty judges, who will then go on to Chicago to represent NIU and compete with students from other organizations and institutions.

“Once someone is selected from the Chicago base, a mentor is assigned to you by ABC television and the Walt Disney Company who are in a high management level to work with the students throughout the year,” said Robert Huffstutler, senior coordinator of the cooperative education office.

In addition, all selected artists will receive $20,000 to complete the project and an all-expenses-paid trip to Los Angeles to attend workshops and to showcase the final product. ABC will be given first priority to purchase the work.

The contest began two years ago in three major cities and expanded in its second year, Huffstutler said. The original intent of the process is to increase minority voices behind the scene. This will be the second year NIU will participate in the contest.

“We were contacted in 2001 based on our previous connections to ABC,” Huffstutler said. “In their second year, they expanded to eight more cities, with Chicago being one of the sites. We were asked to participate in the process.”

Students have shown great interest in the contest. Last year, two students competed in Chicago and it’s estimated there will be 30 to 40 entries this year.

“Anytime there is a chance to show off talents like this, it is phenomenal,” Huffstutler said.