Screenplay Contest Tips From Scriptapalooza
Many thanks to The Scriptapalooza Screenplay competition for today’s post. There’s some straightforward gold here that can provide a powerful reset and act as a really useful checklist.
If you’re planning on entering contests this season, be sure to check out Scriptapalooza at the bottom of the post. Ready? Then let’s go …
1) Read the Submissions Guidelines
Each competition has its own guidelines/rules. Make sure you read them and submit exactly what each competition suggests.
2) Always spell check your script
Nothing is more frustrating than a producer reading your script and seeing mistake after mistake; it takes them out of the story.
3) Check Your Page Count
Feature film screenplays should be between 90 and 130 pages. For more on reducing your page count, CLICK HERE.
4) Limit your scene description
We know you have to describe the action, but seeing 5 pages of description is tough for the reader.
5) Remember ‘Show, Don’t Tell’
Show us the character/story is doing something other than describing it in words. Give us IMAGERY.
6) Format your script
If you do not know what that means, look online at a screenplay and see what it should look like. Then, go buy a software screenwriting program. More on The B2W Script Format One Stop Shop.
7) Take Your Name Off the Title Page
Usually a competition does not want your name on the title page. Why? Well, the reader shouldn’t know if a male or female wrote the script, or where they live. That shouldn’t sway their decision about the material.
8) Register Your Script
Register your script with The Writers Guild of America or The Library of Congress.
9) Don’t Include ‘Extras’
Don’t include a treatment, synopsis, drawings, storyboards or sheet music.
10) Get Feedback Before You Submit
Before you send out your script to anyone, make sure it’s not your first draft and that it was read by numerous individuals not related to you. Make sure you take their notes/suggestions on how to improve your script. Or even better, get coverage from a professional script analysis service.
11) Be Realistic
Be realistic about entering a screenwriting competition, you are going up against many other writers and it is very competitive.
12) Study Your Craft
Read as many books on screenwriting as you can. And then re-read them. Take a screenwriting course or join a writing group. Surround yourself with people writing like you.
13) Remember The Basics
Make sure your script has a beginning, middle and an end.
14) Evaluate Your Progress
Entering a competition can give you an idea where you stand among other writers. If you are consistently placing in the Quarters or higher than you are doing something right.
15) Keep Writing
Write every day. We understand this is difficult, but at least 2-3 pages each day to get the ideas flowing.
16) Do Your Research
Write what you know and love. Otherwise be sure to research your subject matter.
17) Remember Plot & Character Are Linked
Make sure every scene and character has a goal.
18) Remember Your Audience
Surprise your audience. By that we mean, write things/characters/scenes that are new/fresh/exciting/original.
19) Showcase Your Writer’s Voice
What’s the point of your story? Have one.
20) Keep A Journal
Keep an idea journal for all those other great script ideas. And, stick with completing the one you are currently working on.
21) Just finish your script!!
As brutal as it is writing it, as difficult and time consuming it is, just finish it. MORE: Top 5 Ways To Crush Self Doubt Like A Boss
BIO: The Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition was founded in 1998 with the goal of discovering promising writers and creating opportunities for them in the fiercely competitive entertainment industry. Divisions include Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition, Scriptapalooza TV, Scriptapalooza Coverage Service and the Scriptapalooza Fellowship. ENTER HERE.