Entering scriptwriting contests is an exciting activity, but care must be taken the competition is fair. I always garner reviews from screenwriting forums. The prize fund must correlate with the entry fee, for example, a high entry fee for a small prize fund should be questioned (unless further opportunities are offered). Look out for hidden costs and beware of competitions with spam or have pop-up ads. Competitions that enable the screenwriter to retain the rights are to be preferred.
The Best Screenwriting Contests
The following links provide information on annual screenplay contests, with good cash prizes and/or good prospects on offer. The entry fees are pretty much the same, around $50 or so. Always read the competitions rules carefully.
The Page International Screenwriting Awards
Started by a group of producers, writers and agents from Hollywood, winners of this annual competition resulted in movie productions and options from established film makers such as Fox Films and Zero Gravity Productions. You need to assign your entry into a film genre such as comedy, drama, thriller or science fiction. Shorts as well as TV pilots can also enter. Prizes for each category will be given from a total prize fund of $50,000. You may submit your entry online. Earlier submissions are cheaper than late ones (between $40 and $70). For an additional fee, you will get a script feedback.
A motion picture company belonging to Francis Ford Coppola, the American Zoetrope Screenwriting Contest could result in consideration by big names such Samuel Goldwyn, Fox Searchlight or Sony Pictures. Held annually, the prize fund amounts to $5000 but could yield untold opportunities, not least the top 10 finalists to be considered by William Morris Endeavour, the Gersh Agency and others. Online entries are accepted. Entry fee between $35 and $50 depending on the tardiness of submission.
Final Draft Big Break
Final Draft Big Break is an annual global screenwriting competition that accepts online entries of feature length screenplays only. Fees vary between $40 and $65 depending upon how early you enter. Screenplays that have been optioned are not eligible. Prize money vary from $15,000 for the winner to $2000 for finalists.
Hollywood Screenplay Contest
An annual competition costing from $30 to $55 for late submitters. Winners and finalists have the opportunity to attend a gala event to meet and network with producers and film makers. Prize fund amounts to $5000 plus.
A partnership set up between Amazon and Warner Brothers. Upload your screenplay and the first 30 pages are guaranteed to be read by the powers that be. The screenplay is also automatically entered into a monthly and an annual competition the prize fund of which collectively amounts to around $2 million. Your screenplay could also be produced. Read the development agreement carefully before joining.
Bluecat Screenplay Competition
An annual screenplay competition that offers $10,000 to the winner and $2000 to the finalists. Extra prizes can be found in the Cordelia prize, for the best US screenplay, and the Joplin award for the best non US screenplay. A live reading of the screenplay will be performed at the George Eastman Film Festival. The fee to enter the competition includes 2 script analyses per screenplay.
New York Screenplay Contest
An annual competition offering different genre categories, including thrillers, comedy and drama with prize fund amounting to $10,000. Entry fees depend upon the length of the script and the tardiness of submission but is between $25 to $65. For an extra $50, a judge feedback is given. Winning screenplays and finalists will also receive promotion to targeted press releases within the entertainment media.
Screenwriting Contests Tips
Before submitting your screenplay, read the competition rules carefully to ensure no rule breach, for instance, some competitions prohibit a screenplay that has been optioned elsewhere. Watch out for hidden costs too, as some competitions demand a registration fee as well as the entry fee itself. The best way to decide if a competition is worth entering is to check out feedback on screenwriting forums.
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