The SoCreate 2015 Oscars Challenge

Justin Couto

So, today was an exciting one here at the SoCreate office.  It was filled with anticipation as every member of the SoTeam waited eagerly to see if they would be the one to take home The Couto, an annual award given to the person that predicts the highest number of Oscar winners.  The Couto also comes with a cold hard cash prize of $250.  More than the money or the trophy, the competition amongst the team makes for an exciting Oscar night with lots of bantering texts thrashing back and forth between the competitors.  Since this was our first annual SoCreate Oscar Challenge, we left the rules wide open with the only requirement being that you turned in your ballot the Friday before the Oscars. 

And The Couto Goes To…

Let me tell you, the high tech team here at SoCreate went to work using the web as their data analysis prediction engine.  It didn’t take long to discover that Bing, the search engine, had put out its own Oscar prediction list.  With a proven track record of foretelling many of the World Cup 2014 wins and that the New England Patriots would take Super Bowl XLIX, Bing’s pick list would prove to be a solid foundation to base your own picks upon.  Some people, like our Lead Designer Anthony Harris (@tony791999) went 100% off of Bing’s pick list which was right 16 times.  Others, like our Chief Engineer Jami Lurock (@maindg) who got 14 right and our Lead Engineer Justin Schwartzenberger (@schwarty) who successfully predicted 16, took a blended approach using Bing and mixing it with their own personal opinions.  These approaches fared much better than the playing it straight with no help approach that Software Engineer Heiko Schwarz and I used to make our picks. Heiko’s 8 correct predictions bested my meager 6 correct guesses by a margin of 2.  In the end, it was our Chief Designer Brian Treese (@brianmtreese) who stole the show beating out the pure Bing strategy of Anthony and the partial Bing strategy of Justin S. by 2.  Brian credits his win to the predictions made by Ben Zauzmer in an article he wrote describing how he uses math to predict the Oscars.  I must say, Ben and by extension Brian, did an incredible job on their Oscar predictions, only missing 3 out of 24.  That is amazing!

The Scorecard

On to Next Year

Now that we have one SoCreate Oscar Challenge under our belt, we’re already planning next year’s competition.  To make it harder, we’ve decided that you will no longer be able to use data analysis from the web to make your picks.  Next year, we’re going to require that all picks are made and turned in exactly 30 minutes after the nominees are announced.  We are also going to ask that the Internet is not used during this period to help in the selection process.  It is going to be awesome to see how the team does when they have to rely solely on their instincts and the movies they have seen.  This modification to next year’s battle should make things much more interesting and fun.  We all hope to see many more movies this year in our prep for next year’s SoCreate Oscar Challenge.  I am already looking forward to it.

To the Oscars!

- Justin Couto Founder & CEO


Introducing SoCreate, the Future of Screenwriting!

Justin Couto

Today is a new day. It’s the day we ratchet forward the dial on our time machine as we begin to build a bridge to a new dimension, to a future where creators that write for the screen are unbounded by the rigid frameworks they currently must adhere to. This is a future I have been thinking about for a very long time. It is a future that will be funded by the past 10 years of hard work, dedication, and my family’s life savings. It is an inflection point that will cause a cataclysmic change in the way creative works are brought to life. It will be the new reality that writers have craved since they began imagining stories in their heads. It will be a future that we love.

Today, on behalf of my amazing team, I am proud to introduce you to SoCreate, a new company that will revolutionize the art of screenwriting. We have made it our duty to do things differently. We are inspired to remove the shackles of frustration inflicted on the beginner and the professional writers we’ve been feverishly interviewing. Their screenwriting software war stories echo in thunderous fury with reoccurring themes of dissatisfaction that we believe apply to the broader writing community. SoCreate will terminate those frustrations. Our SSAASS (Screenwriting Software as a Super Service) will allow your creativity to flow in new ways never possible before. We are going to enable you, stand up for you, and even fight for you. Every decision we make will value you, the writer, as the most important factor of its outcome. Writers, you are our leader and we pledge to follow you.

It is our plan to build an amazing screenwriting software service and company by following these core guiding principles:

  1. Always put the writer first
    Everything we do is inspired by writers. If they don’t love what we are doing we have nothing.
  2. Keep it simple
    Everything from our User Interface to our Policies, Procedures, and Code will be intuitive and will not require instructions.  We deliver on clear, simple, and elegant.
  3. Be deliberate
    We don’t do things or add features just because we can. There's a reason and purpose for everything we do.
  4. Focus on the details
    It's the little things that separate the truly great from everyone else. We WOW and WIN in the details.
  5. Work hard, be smart, and do what is right for the company
    Creating the future is extremely hard. We overcome the odds by being dedicated, educated, and aligned.
  6. Remember, there is always another way
    No matter what challenges we face, we will overcome them. We have options all around us.

Our principles were based on our beliefs in excellence, quality, dedication, and most importantly serving you, the writer. We are going to do everything in our power to stay true to these principles and true in our dedication to you. You are our guides and we are always seeking your feedback and approval. So please, do us a favor and get involved. Writers, we are always interested in talking to you, to learn more about your processes, and how our software can serve you better. If we haven’t interviewed you and you’re interested in having an impact on the future of screenwriting, please reach out to us at to setup a conference call.

Today, my team and I are thrilled to launch our new company, announcing to the world what we are dedicating our lives to. Starting this summer, we hope to have a private beta of SoCreate ready for a select few writers we’ve interviewed. Then, we will follow up with a wider invite only beta sometime around autumn. Lastly, we hope to launch our first public version of SoCreate towards the end of this year.

If you would like to get early access to our private beta, please request to be interviewed as described above. You can also sign up for our mailing list to get early access to our invite only beta, as well as a direct line to our newsletter The Insider’s Scoop. The Insiders Scoop gives you early access to information on everything SoCreate, as we will always publish it there first. You can also learn more by subscribing to this blog or by following us on twitter, facebook, or Google+.

To writers, and to the future of screenwriting!
- Justin Couto Founder & CEO