Sylvia, sorry to hear about you stint in Hollywood. As far as only 3 Nicholl scripts getting made into movies, I believe that number is higher, but the more relevant question is how many Nicholl winners get representation and develop writing careers. I’ve written over 20 commissioned movie projects and only had 4 movies made, but I got paid very well for the projects which did *not* get produced, too.
I always advise people interested in pursuing screenwriting: Movies don’t owe anybody a living. So either live frugally. Keep a job and write in your free time. Or marry rich.
Also, if a writer is only interested in writing movies, they do not need to relocate to L.A.. Yes, there are advantages, but it’s entirely possible to live elsewhere (more affordable) and pound out scripts because most of what we do does not involve schmoozing with movie moguls. Rather, it is us sitting in a room… writing.
In fact, I know plenty of working professional screenwriters who do not live in Los Angeles, but places like Rhode Island, Texas, Oregon, Minnesota, Illinois, Virginia… and that’s just off the top of my head.
Again, sorry about your experience and I trust you’ve come out of it okay. I’ve had my ups and downs in the business. It’s not something for anyone who doesn’t have an iron gut and steel spine!