Wassel’s comedy screenplay is wending its way towards the the top in ASA competition

ANDREA WASSEL IS MOVING UP in the screenwriting contest world. The former agency producer’s comedy script, “Leftovers,” climbed to another level closer to the top in the American Screenwriters Association’s Scriptwriters Competition.

“Leftovers” has made it to the field of 40 semi-finals, having climbed from among the 130 hopefuls who emerged from among 1,400 entrants.

Top scoring scripts advance to the last nail-biting round, where the Grand Prize Winner will receive $10,000, a script development trip to Hollywood, a script consultation from a leading industry expert and become the envy of all script contest entrants.

The winner will be announced around May 31.

SCREENWRITERS BETH AND GARY HOOVER have been raking in the cash — $22,000 from 2004 to date — from top cash prizes awarded to their screenplay, “The Real Thing.” The latest prize of $1,000 comes from the 2008 Phoenix Film Festival.

“The Real Thing” won the $10,000 grand prize in the 2007 American Screenwriters Association competition, the same one in which Wassel’s script is currently wending its way upwards.

The Hoovers first won an $11,000 top prize in the 2004 American Scriptwriting Competition, followed by a $1,000 top prize from the Liberty Film Festival Screenplay Contest.

The couple is currently in talks with several production companies interested in the project.

SCRIPTSHARK’S WRITING SEMINAR last weekend at Columbia College was so suceesful that director Lee Zahavi says she’ll make it an annual event, or possibly bring it back to Chicago more often.

The daylong event attracted some 40 screenwriters, including two from Madison, one from Minneapolis and one from Windsor, Canada.

2008 HUGO WINNERS: TV spot finalists aired on Ch. 11’s “Image Union,” and the public gave these spots their thumbs up: Audience Choice Award to DDB/The Whitehouse for “Swear Jar,” client unknown. Gold Hugo for Best Commercial to DraftFCB for Dow Chemical’s “The Bond between Us All.” Gold Hugo for Best Commercial Campaign to Alturas Films’ The Montana Meth Project 2007 “I’d Never” campaign.

Gold Hugos for Best TV Production went to HBO’s “Big Love” series, and Best Documentary to Dox Productions’ “In the Shadow of the Moon.”

Kartemquin Films received a Commitment to Excellence Award in TV production; L.A.-based Smuggler earned the Commitment to Excellence Award.

FAMOUS CHARACTER VOICE ACTOR PAT FRALEY, creator of more than of more than an amazing 4,000 character voices, will teach two different voice-acting workshops in Chicago May 17 and 18, hosted by Sherri Berger’s Voice Over U.

This is a Chicago first for Fraley, one of the top 10 performers of all time to be cast in animated programs.

His voices can be heard in features (“I am Legend,” “Wild Hogs,” “The Spiderwick Chronicles”) and he’s currently producing audiobooks for children. Call Berger at 773/774-9886 to sign up.

SEEING STARS. Chicago natives and big time movie stars, Virginia Madsen and her brother, Michael Madsen will host the SAG Foundation’s 75th Anniversary Gala Celebration and Benefit on June 21.

OSCAR WINNER ALAN ARKIN, whose lengthy film career began at Second City, receives the Gene Siskel Film Center’s Renaissance Award June 5 at the Center’s annual fundraising gala at the Four Seasons.

NEWLY ELECTED OFFICERS of Women in Film’s 2008-2009 board are president, Jeannette Beauregard: VP, Selina Hood; secretary, Marianne Greco; treasurer, Vail Romeyn; awards chair, Rise Sanders; career development chair, Annie Porter; membership co-chairs, Mylene Santiago, Marcy ; mentorship chair, Joan Sparks; outreach chair, Andrea Vasilo; PR chair, Krista Kilgore.

The organization pledges to continue to provide avenues of opportunity for its members.