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Screenplay Contests....

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
All are easy to enter.

Are you asking about success in getting awards from a contest?
Are you asking about getting a screenplay sold after entering a contest?
Any specific contest you are interested in?
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
I would stay away from the Bluecat one.
 
For a variety of reasons, contest winning scripts rarely sell, but contest winners and participants sometimes get work.
Personally, back when I did contest, maybe six times, I always made it to the quarter-finals, but never placed. However, I entered a TV Contest in 2011, and, to make a long story short, thanks to some judge who anonymously read my script and nominated me to the class, I became a member of TVWriters.org, which helped me find freelance work.
 
All are easy to enter.

Are you asking about success in getting awards from a contest?
Are you asking about getting a screenplay sold after entering a contest?
Any specific contest you are interested in?
Generally, does it make sense to enter, if the goal is to get your career launched, or more likely, to the next level.
 
Generally, does it make sense to enter, if the goal is to get your career launched, or more likely, to the next level.
Since you're in the LA area, go for a fellowship. It's that time of year. The two big ones are Disney and Nickelodeon.
https://www.abctalentdevelopment.com/writing_program.html
https://www.nickanimation.com/writing-program
There is no application fee, and qualifying for either of these two programs is a surefire door to a Studio Career. As a side benefit, if Nickelodeon passes but sees potential in you, they'll send you a letter encouraging you to try again next year.
There are also various minority fellowships available from different companies.

Best case scenario with a contest-- you pay to enter, win the Nicholls, get $25,000 and earn a WGA level writing assignment. Disney gives a one year contract @ $50,000 and 40 hours a week of on the job training, and literally has a 100% success rate at job placement when the program ends.
 
I know more than a handful of screenwriters who became finalists in the more respected competitions. When I say respected competitions, I'm not talking about competitions with great prizes per se... I'm talking about the chance and or opportunity to get your spec read by prospective representatives... i.e., managers and agents.

Unfortunately... There are a lot of horror stories that go along with this particular SYSTEM in order to obtain representation. The most consistent horror story is that most MARKETABLE specs submitted to these competitions rarely win or even become finalists. Most of these competitions seem to favor stories with more of an Indie flavor but hey... This is IndieTalk, right?

The second part of the horror story is that these prospective managers and agents will almost immediately want to know, "WHAT ELSE YA GOT?" Why? Because they know they probably won't be able to actually sell your competition script. They are going to want to know if you've actually written anything MARKETABLE. This usually translates into HIGH CONCEPT.

So? If you know all this up front? A possible strategy for submitting to the best and most respectable screenplay competitions would be to write and submit that screenplay with the story you are truly passionate about... But don't expect it to sell... If it does well in the competition? Expect it to get you representation meetings in which you will very likely be asked the above question... If you do NOT have anything else? I would recommend having at least 3 to 5 high concept pitches ready to pitch to these reps at a moment's notice. In other words, be able to pitch to them on the fly. If they LIKE any of those pitches? Be prepared to hunker down and get them written so they can read them.

Of course, it would be BETTER if you actually have other material that is both well executed and marketable... i.e., high concept. This gives these prospective reps SOMETHING TO WORK WITH. Having actual additional PROOF that you can write marketable, high concept screenplays that actually have a chance to sell or get you a writing gig is what you need to be prepared to have.

Of course, having said all that? Anyone can get lucky with their script... I've seen it over and over again but it's NOT the usual thing that happens here. If it does? GREAT! Enjoy it and be grateful. If it doesn't? Be prepared with 3 to 5 marketable, high concept spec scripts that are well executed to get the rest of the way into the door.

In my humble opinion... These are the best and most respected competitions that can get you meetings with representation should you become some kind of a finalist:

Academy Nicholl Fellowships
Sundance Institute Announces Screenwriters Lab Fellows
Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition
The Tracking Board Launch Pad
Script Pipeline
Page International Screenwriting Awards
Slamdance Screenplay Competition
Final Draft Big Break Contest
Trackingb.com Feature Script Contest
Cinestory Feature Retreat & Fellowship Contest
Scriptapalooza

Just perform a Google search for any of these to find out more.

The bad news about all this is that Hollywood is literally LITTERED with one-hit screenplay competition wonders who got those meetings I was talking about. Some have even obtained representation because they were GOOD in the room but many end up losing that representation because the bottom line is that they have no idea how to come up with a marketable story.
 
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Yes, I won first place in my country in 2017 Screenwriting contest, there were 76 applications and my team was one of 4 overall winners, and we won 1st place in Category "TV series". The winner received the right to have their series to be funded (50% of budget) and we had our script to become successful TV series in 2019. Another our TV series aired in 2018 was nominated for "Best TV series" the next year, 2018, though didn't win. Anyway, after that we did a feature movie and a documentary, all completed and aired. Now thinking of returning to TV series as probably what fits us best and less risky.
 
Yes, I won first place in my country in 2017 Screenwriting contest, there were 76 applications and my team was one of 4 overall winners, and we won 1st place in Category "TV series". The winner received the right to have their series to be funded (50% of budget) and we had our script to become successful TV series in 2019. Another our TV series aired in 2018 was nominated for "Best TV series" the next year, 2018, though didn't win. Anyway, after that we did a feature movie and a documentary, all completed and aired. Now thinking of returning to TV series as probably what fits us best and less risky.
Other countries do a lot to help out artists... Lots of programs out there that do what happened to you. Unfortunately, about the closest we have to that in the states are fellowships and no offense but many of these are politically CORRECTED.
 

indietalk

IndieTalk Founder
Staff Member
Admin
Any specific reason for that?
We have our reasons here at indietalk, you should do your own research. Ours are not related to the contest itself but the marketing tactics and etiquette of those they hire to promote their contests.
 
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