So since I covered Fellowships yesterday, what about contests? There are a lot of contests that, frankly, I have a pretty dim view of. They’re virtually worthless to the writers, and often are little more than money-making scams for those running it. However, I don’t like getting sued. So how about instead I highlight a few contests that have the qualities you should be looking for?
Scriptapalooza seems to be pretty on the up-and-up. It only costs $40 to enter and for $75 you can get detailed feedback. The first place winner gets $10,000, but the most significant element is that every script is read by a producer, manager or an agent. They promise they don’t use readers. Their philosophy is to get the script in front of people who can do something with it. You can see a full list of judges and their credentials at the contest’s site. Their success stories include getting writers representation, a few options, and even some produced films among some of the winners.
The Austin Film Festival Screenplay Contest costs $40 to enter in the main category, but there are extra feels for specialized categories. Winners in Comedy and Drama Screenplay categories each get $5,000, while the Teleplay winners get $1,000. The vast majority of success stories are about their winners getting representation. You also get notes if your script made it past the second round.
The Final Draft Big Break contest costs $50 to enter. Judges are industry pros, but they only judge the top five and pick a top three from that pool. Most of their success stories involve getting the writers repped. First place gets $15,000, second - $4,000, and third $2,000. Look them up here.
I’m sure there are other fine contests I’ve overlooked, but hopefully these are a good representation of what a worthwhile contest looks like. It’s your money and your intellectual property. Spend them wisely.