9 Good Screenwriting Contests

9 Good Screenplay Contests

“9 Good Screenwriting Contests” by Joan Y. Edwards

Reasons to Enter a Contest:

  1. Recognition as a brilliant screenwriter.
  2. Gain Screenwriting Industry connections – Who you know, who you meet can lead to the person who wants to buy your script. The contest could offer you a mentor to help educate you about the ropes and how to improve your writing.
  3. Have your script read by many managers, agents, and producers.
  4. Get a rating sheet or written critique of your screenplay from the judges.
  5. Money – Money’s always a good thing.
  6. Contract to produce your film.

Make sure you read the rules and guidelines for the screenplay contest you plan to enter.  These contests are held annually. Many post 2021 about the end of January. Some contests let you sign up to receive reminder notices about the contest.

Most contests recommend that original material be registered with the WGA or copyright with The Library of Congress before submitting to their  competition, however they do not require it.

In the resources area, you’ll find the blog posts or internet sites that I read to make up my mind about which contests I thought would be the best to enter.

Here are 9 Good Screenwriting Contests, I put the months they usually operate. Check the links to see the current contest dates.:

  1. Nicholls – Open late January Closed in May of each year.
  • awards up to five $35,000 fellowships every year from approximately 7,000 feature script entries.
  • To win it’s a good idea to have strong message as well as progressive and traditionally underrepresented characters and storylines.
  • You may enter only three scripts per competition year.  Each entry requires a separate online application form and entry fee. They want each script in pdf format.
  • At the time you enter the contest, you can purchase  the option to view all reader comments for your
    script. They are not comprehensive notes; rather, they are reactions readers had to the entry.

2. AUSTIN FILM FESTIVAL – Screenwriting Contest  March to June.

  • Austin is the largest screenwriter’s conference in the world. It attracts producers, agents, managers, screenwriters, and film distributors, filmmakers and industry insiders at movie theaters, conference halls, and party venues.
  • The professional lineup in the workshops at the conference gives you meaningful and worthwhile strategies for success and inspiration in screenwriting.
  • You may enter up to four scripts per entry, but all scripts MUST be in their own individual PDF document.
  • All entrants receive complimentary reader comments and a brief overall summary of the readers’ notes.
  • Austin is noted for its good hospitality, food, culture that supports the innovative film community.
  • They choose esteemed and celebrated judges from executives at Sony Pictures Animation, The Orchard, Roadside Attractions, Showtime, CBS Films, POV, Seed&Spark, Oscilloscope Laboratories, and Gravitas Ventures.

3. BlueCat Screenplay Competition – June to October

  • You can submit as many screenplays as you wish.
  • Every script submitted receives complimentary written analysis.
  • After receiving feedback, all scripts are eligible for resubmission.
  • The industry professionals request and read the  winners and finalists.
  • Over $10,000 in cash prizes awarded to writers.

4. ScreenCraft – October -February 

  • No limit to number of screenplays you submit.
  • Winners receive three (3) months of personalized career consultation for emerging writers. A special trip to Los Angeles for seven (7) days of professional meetings with literary agents, managers and studio executives. Mentorship support from previous Fellowship winners.

5. Page International Screenwriting Awards

Each year Page International Judges read and evaluate all the contest submissions, searching for the best new screenplays and teleplays; and in the fall of each year they present Gold, Silver, and Bronze Prizes in each of their ten genre categories – plus our huge $25,000 Grand Prize.

Most importantly, in association with their co-sponsors InkTip and Roadmap Writers, they actively publicize and promote your winning script, giving you a shot at the ultimate prize: the chance to get your screenplay produced!

Scripts should be standard length:
Full-Length Features: 80-120 pages
Short Film Scripts: under 30 pages
TV Drama Pilots: 50-70 pages
TV Comedy Pilots: 25-45 pages

6. Scriptapalooza December  – April

They will promote, pitch, and push the Semifinalists and higher for a full year.  As a matter of fact, landing anywhere in the top 100 will get your script promoted for a full year.

Don’t put your name on your script. Follow their directions. Judges won’t know who you are. They will judge script only. Their judges are managers, agents, or producers.

You can enter as many scripts as you like in separate entries.

7. Script Pipeline December – March

Angela Bourassa said that the people behind Script Pipeline form a great network. They work hard for their winners and finalists. Script Pipeline even said that if you win another contest, they might review your script for free to see if it’s a good fit for professionals in their network.

$25,000 to winner and runner-up.

Script Pipeline selects 10 finalists, with one winner and one runner-up, who receive the following:

  • $25,000 to winner, $2,500 to runner-up
  • Introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays
  • Long-term script circulation to industry and continual guidance connecting with companies
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline’s senior execs
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Invitations to private events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

Up to 75 Quarterfinalists and 35 Semifinalists will receive general feedback on their work from Script Pipeline’s development execs, plus consideration for industry circulation.

8. Finish Line Script Competition February-April

  • Advance your career, improve your craft, receive notes and guidance from top-level mentors, coaches, and industry professionals.
  • For a plain entry fee, you get your script entered into the contest and you can resubmit it after you’ve revised it.
  • For a higher amount, you can enter your script and f receive the guidance of a seasoned script consultant who provides 6+ pages of detailed, constructive development notes. Armed with that guidance, you can do your rewrite, and RESUBMIT your script to us for NO EXTRA CHARGE as many times as you like. This allows you to improve your draft and your chances to WIN! Lets you resubmit your script free after you make changes they suggest.

9. Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition  Festival Contest June-October 

Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is an international contest.

Three feature film screenplays, one pilot screenplay, and one short film screenplay are chosen from submissions to take part in one-on-one mentorship meetings.

No feedback on entries.

Resources

  1. https://www.moviebytes.com/best-screenwriting-contests.cfm
  2. https://www.moviemaker.com/15-submission-worthy-screenwriting-competitions-2020-presented-by-filmfreeway/

***

I hope the above information inspires you to ramp up your latest screenplay and enter it into the contest that sounds most promising for you!

I received my Scriptreading Certification October 8, 2020. I need to get experience and recommendations for my evaluations of screenplays to put on my resume.

Thank you to all of you who left a comment for me. Your comments make me smile. Kim Troike (pen name Caroline Clemens) is the only person who entered her pitch and told me why she would like my screenplay evaluation in the comment area before midnight, Saturday, November 14, 2020. Therefore, she wins my free Script Evaluation.  Kim please send your script to me along with your questions you’d like for me to answer to joanyedwards1@gmail.com.

May your day fill you with joy!
Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards, Author
Copyright © 2009-2022 Joan Y. Edwards

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11 thoughts on “9 Good Screenwriting Contests”

  1. Joan,

    I don’t write screenplays, but I enjoyed reading about the contests and conferences available to those who do. I hope you’ll enter one or more contests and consider attending a conference. I am rooting for you and your writing!

    1. Dear Billy,
      Thank you very much for writing. I’m glad you like the list. Thank you for sharing three of them, Nicholl, Austin, and Blue Cat with me. I hope the information I shared helps you make your final decision and send your script(s) off! I wish you much success with your screenwriting career! You’re off to a great start!

      Never Give Up
      Joan

  2. Hi Joan
    I hadn’t planned on doing any more contests, but I do have half my novel written in a screenplay. I need to do the other half, condense it more on the page to make 100 pages.
    Maybe you could give me tips to make it much better!
    I’d like to enter the Atlanta Contest because I’m from Atlanta and my script occurs there. So here goes!

    Surveillance Thriller
    Megan seeks a new career post divorce; out on her first date with James, a former special forces guy, she has no time to wonder how she’ll handle the dangers of criminal activity.

    Think Pulp Fiction marries those Fried Green Tomatoes while dreaming of a 007 life!

    Kim Troike

    1. Dear Kim (Pen Name Caroline Clemens,
      Thank you for writing and entering my giveaway! I was beginning to wonder if anyone would sign up! Your pitch sounds intriguing. I’ll announce the winner
      on Sunday.

      Do something fun!
      Never Give Up
      Joan

    1. Dear Cat,
      Thank you for writing. I appreciate you sharing this post with your writing peeps! How sweet of you! I’m working on the Writing Contests! So many and different categories. I’ll figure out which is the best way to organize them and then I’ll post it. Stay safe and well.

      Never Give Up
      Joan

  3. Thank you to all of you who left a comment for me. Your comments make me smile. Kim Troike (pen name Caroline Clemens) is the only person who entered her pitch and told me why she would like my screenplay evaluation in the comment area before midnight, Saturday, November 14, 2020. Therefore, she wins my free Script Evaluation.  Kim please send your script to me along with your questions you’d like for me to answer to joanyedwards1@gmail.com.

    Never Give Up
    Joan

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