“How to win screenwriting competitions” is one of the top Google searches bringing writers to this blog, so when Sasha got in touch with this great, informative blog post I couldn’t resist!
As a competition script reader and organiser myself, I realise there’s no *guaranteed* way of getting ahead in screewriting contests … But I HAVE noted writers doing the same submission shockers over and over that definitely count against them!
So check out this great info here that will help you better your chances, plus there’s a comprehensive list of screenwriting competitions at the end of the post. Enjoy!
If you are a struggling screenwriter who does not have many connections in Hollywood, participating and winning screenwriting competitions can be the shortest way for you to get noticed by managers and agents.
Though winning a contest does not guarantee your successful entry into the industry, there is still a higher chance your work will be seen by potential and passionate producers, managers and agents. What’s not to like??
It’s tough to win screenwriting competitions, but there ARE things you can do to better your chances. Check these tips out for size:
1) Include An Opening Image
Most screenwriters don’t include opening images in their scripts and prefer to introcude characters instead. However, when your script opens with an interesting image, it tells the reader about the story and tone of your story, so your script finds a way to stand out of the crowd. MORE: How To Write The Most Cliched Script Opener EVER
2) Invest In Your Scene Description
Scene description is often treated as the least important element by many writers. Very often scripts are packed with irrelevant and unnecessary details which makes readers wonder what’s important and what’s not. Create imperative scene description and move the story faster, rather than making it dull! MORE: 10 Ways To Revitalise Your Scene Description
3) Follow Industry Standard Spec Script Format
The format of your screenplay should be industry standard, which is Courier 12 pt. Keep the margins normal from all sides and don’t use fancy fonts. MORE: Screenplay Format: One Stop Shop
4) Title Page & One-Page Pitches
No, the title page is NOT counted as overall page count. Also, make sure that you have put your contact details along with your name and email address on front side. As far as one-page pitch is concerned, there is not any standard form in the industry. MORE: 6 Tips On Writing A One Page Pitch For Your Script
However, you must make it interesting enough to grab the attention of your readers. It is also important that before you send the file; rename it with your name. Simply writing title of your play is not enough and to be on the safe side, you must give it your name. MORE: The Script Submission Tip That Nearly ALL Screenwriters Don’t Do
5) Finish Work Before Submitting It!
Unfortunately, a large number of writers fail to place in competitions, which means they need to try their luck on some other place or improve their screenwriting skills. Instead, many of them think they should do even more work on the SAME script. This approach keeps writers confused, as they never feel finished and satisfied with their work. If you are one of them, don’t submit your work until it is finished and choose a platform where it can get feedback. MORE: The Number 1 Submission Mistake Screenwriters Make
6) Make Multiple Submissions
A great trick recommended by experts is to make multiple submissions simultaneously. There are various advantages of applying this trick. The chances of your success can be higher, or at least your script can be placed higher. Moreover, it can be a valuable learning curve: if you participate in two different competitions winning one and losing other, you will still be confident about your work. MORE: 11 Things to Do Before Submitting Screenplays
7) Participate in Less Competitive Contests
Competitions arranged by big names usually get more entries (approx three thousand, sometimes!), while on the other hand less known events don’t usually get more than 500 entries. Less known competitions can be worth it because the winner finds it easier to win and perhaps advance his/her career. If you participate in an event and get the top spot, you will still benefit from the prize. What’s more, you will still be known as the winner, even if there were just few losers. MORE: How to Win Screenwriting Competitions
8) Get Feedback
Getting feedback is crucial, so try to enter in contests that give feedback wherever possible. There are a number of paid-for-contests that offer their feedback as add-ons or part of their fee. Sometimes the feedback won’t be of use, but you never know until you try! MORE: 5 Ways To Use Feedback Effectively
Good Contests To Try:
Hundreds of contests are held every year. However, just the few of them are considered truly big events, so the best option is to choose the ones which have huge following, some of which are:
- Academy Nicholl Fellowship
- Austin Screenwriting Competition
- BlueCat Screenplay Competition
- Create50 – crowdsourced screenwriting and filmmaking initiative (UK)
- PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
- Screenwriting Goldmine Competition (UK)
- Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest
- Slamdance Screenplay Competition
- Sundance Screenwriters Lab
- TrackingB Feature Script Contest
- Tracking Board’s Launch Pad Competition
BIO: Sasha Allay is a blogger and an academic writer helping people with her writing stuff. She has been writing on variety of topics for the last seven years including technology, fashion, interests and education. She has also been working At Quick Dissertation Help for many years to provide her assistance to students.