The screenwriting contest season has arrived. All of the biggest and most important contests have deadlines coming up, starting with early deadlines this month. So if you missed out on the HBOAccess window, don’t worry. There are plenty of other opportunities to show your writing prowess. Paula Bernstein of Indie Wire writes:
Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
What it does: Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters… Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars. They’re also expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year. Up to five winners will be announced in November for a $35,000 screenwriting fellowship…
Deadline: early, March 2 ($40 entry fee), regular is April 10 ($55 entry fee), and late is May 1 ($75 entry fee).
Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition
What it does: Script Pipeline connects aspiring screenwriters to producers, agents and managers across independent and studio markets. For an entry fee of $50 (and an extra $80 for feedback), a screenplay will enter the competition, where a prize of over $20,000 awaits the winner, along with introductions to agents, producers and managers.
Deadline: Early deadline, March 1; Late deadline, May 1
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Slamdance Screenplay Competition
What it does: Slamdance features four categories – Feature, Short, Horror and Original Teleplay – and awards the top three screenplays in each category… The finalists will be announced on September 23 and the top 12 scripts will be announced on September 30. Finalists will then attend a WGAW party on October 7, where the winners will be announced. A total of $13,000 cash prizes will be awarded to the winners, with $5,000 for the grand prize winner…
Deadline: Early Deadline: Feb. 19 – April 7
Regular Deadline: April 8 – June 9
Late Deadline: June 10 – July 21
Withoutabox Extended Deadline: July 22
Other contests Paula suggests include the Sundance Screenwriters Lab and Scriptapalooza. Check out the full list at Indie Wire.
She leaves off the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition, which I think is well worth the cost of entry, and she also overlooks the several fellowships in TV writing available to diverse writers.
ScreenCraft also has a whole slew of screenwriting and TV writing contests with upcoming deadlines. These contests let you shine in your particular genre and are a little less entered than the biggest contests, giving you a better shot at the big prizes without sacrificing access to producers, agents, and managers. (Hint: if a contest is offering cash and no meetings, reads, or calls with people in the industry, it’s almost definitely not worth the entry fee.)
We’d also like to give a special shout out to one of the contests Paula does recognize, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Script Pipeline knows their business, they have one of the best coverage services in the business, and we’re thrilled to have them as a sponsor of the LA Screenwriter Logline Competition.