BELOW ARE SOME OF THE MORE WELL-KNOWN AND WELL-RESPECTED SCREENWRITING CONTESTS, FESTIVALS AND PITCHFESTS AND THEIR RESPECTIVE DEADLINES:
— 1. Nicholl Fellowship Competition – Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences
The biggest, most well-respected and highest paying contest out there is the Nicholl Competition, which is put on every year by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences. Per their website, “Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. To enter, submit a feature length screenplay and entry fee via the online application when the competition is open for submissions. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars and expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year.
Though they claim to entertain all genres equally, but in my experience and from what I’ve read, they tend to have a bit of a bias toward drama.
Qualifications: Screenwriters who have not earned more than $25,000 writing fictional work for film or television. Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Adaptations and translated scripts are not eligible.
Deadlines: Early: March 7, 2017; Regular Deadline: April 10, 2107; Late Deadline: May 1, 2017
More info at: http://www.oscars.org/nicholl
— 2. Final Draft – The Big Break Contest – Sponsored by the creators of the Final Draft software for television and film scripts. Per their website, “Eleven winners share cash, prizes and the New York Film Academy Writing Fellowship” with a total value over $80,000”.
The seven main feature genres for entries are:
• Action/Adventure – Films that feature lots of action sequences and/or include elements of adventure (e.g., exotic locales, military operations, etc.).
• Comedy/Rom-Com – Romantic comedies, mainstream, edgy or raunchy comedy, satire, parodies, etc.
• Drama – More serious, realistic scripts that tell emotionally resonant stories and explore powerful themes.
• Family/Animated – Scripts aimed at the children/family market; this material can be enjoyed by the whole family and often includes animated features.
• Period/Historical/War – Biopics, scripts based largely in the past, war epics, and scripts featuring historical characters.
• Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Space travel, disaster and post-apocalyptic stories, scripts set in alternate worlds or universes, stories with magical elements.
• Thriller/Horror – Scripts that employ suspense, fear and/or tension as main story elements, spy and crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, ghost, zombie and monster stories.
Early Deadline – March 13, 2017
Final Deadline – July 14, 2017
— 3. Austin Film Festival – “The Writers Festival”
For films, screenplays and teleplays. In the feature screenplay competition, there are two first prizes, one for drama, one for comedy. $5000 cash award, plus airfare and hotel to the festival. This is a great and very popular festival that focuses especially on writers, and is held every year in the fall in Austin Texas. Highly recommended.
Feature Screenplay Deadlines: Early: March 31, 2017; Regular: April, 20, 2017; Late: May 15, 2017
— 4. PAGE Awards
“The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards competition was established in the fall of 2003 by an alliance of Hollywood producers, agents, and development executives. Our goal: to discover the most exciting new scripts by up-and-coming writers from across the country and around the world.”
Deadlines: Regular: Feb. 17, 2017; Late: March 17, 2017; Last Minute: April, 17, 2017
More Info: http://pageawards.com/the-contest/
— 5. Fresh Voices
Fresh Voices promises $15,000 in cash and prizes, free feedback and “guaranteed consideration from leading Hollywood Production companies.’”(For the winners).
— 6. Scriptapalooza
Scriptapalooza says they will promote, pitch and push all semifinalists for one year, giving them opportunities to sign agents or managers and have their scripts optioned or made into movies. Over $50,000 in prizes are awarded, and screenwriters can order feedback with their submission. Competition entry costs $55, or $155 with feedback.
Deadline: February 1, 2017
More info: http://www.scriptapalooza.com/home.php
— 7. Slamdance Screenplay Competition
Slamdance features four categories: Feature, Short, Horror and Original Teleplay, and awards the top three screenplays in each category. Each category has its own submission fee, (example: $30 for early submission for Short Film, $40 for regular, $50 for late), on top of coverage fees, ($75 for their feedback within 2 months, $115 for within 21 days).
In 2015,100 quarter-finalists were announced on September 3; 32 semi-finalists on September 10; and 12 finalists on September 17. The semifinalists and finalists attended a Writers Guild of America, West party on October 8, where the winners were announced. A total of $11,000 cash prizes was awarded to the winners, with $5,000 for the grand prize winner.
No deadlines yet announced for 2017.
— 8. Zoetrope Screenplay Contest
Created by Francis Ford Coppola. They say the winner and ten finalists will be considered for representation by various agencies, including William Morris and CAA, and their scripts will be considered for film option and development by leading production companies. Professional readers will read the scripts, and Francis Ford Coppola will select the winner.
No deadlines yet announced for 2017.
More info: http://www.zoetrope.com/contests/
— 9. Blue Cat Screenplay Contest
Put on by Gordy Hoffman and his team, this competition features a $15,000 grand prize and four $2500 prizes for the finalists. They also have special separate entry categories for best short screenplay, best screenplay from the UK, best screenplay from India, and another ‘outside the US, Canada or the UK’ category.
Deadlines: Early: March 1, 2017; Regular: May 1, 2017; Final: May 21, 2017
— 10. The Tracking Board Contest – Launchpad The Tracking B
For tv pilots and feature films. Looking for marketability, high concept, high salability.
No deadlines announced for 2017.
More info: http://launchpad.tracking-board.com/
— 11. ScriptPipeline
They sponsor a variety of contests for screenwriting, tv writing, students and even ‘great ideas’ with varying deadlines. They offer $25,000 to the winning script and say that with this comes introductions to managers, producers, agents, etc.
Feature & TV Deadline: Early: March 1, 2017
More info: www.scriptpipeline.com
— 13. Stage 32
Claims to be the ‘Premier Social Network for Film, Television and Theatre Creatives” and is free to join. They offer both online pitchfests and contests in television and film. Prizes, deadlines and requirements vary.
More info: https://www.stage32.com/welcome/20/
LABS, FELLOWSHIPS & MENTORSHIPS:
— 1. Sundance Screenwriters Lab – : http://www.sundance.org/programs/feature-film
Sundance is probably the most well known, well-respected and oldest program of its kind out there. The emphasis here is on indie, lower budget, non-studio type projects. Some successful recent films to have gone through the Sundance lab include, “BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD’, “THE LUNCHBOX”, and WHIPLASH.
Per their site, “Founded by Robert Redford in 1981, the Sundance Institute Lab Program was created in response to the shared conviction that the budding independent film movement had the potential for far-reaching creative and cultural impact if given adequate resources and a place to foster self-expression and a sense of community. Thirty years later, under Michelle Satter’s continued leadership, the FFP’s network of Labs continues to provide a one-of-a-kind opportunity for filmmakers to incubate their most audacious ideas in an environment where risk-taking is encouraged and failure is regarded as a valuable step in a project’s creative evolution.
The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer’s workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material.”
Applications in January, 2017 (open application) and June, 2017 (by invitation only).
— 2. New York Women in Film & Television Writers Lab – Deadline June 1
Funded with the generous support of Meryl Streep and organized by Iris. The Writers Lab brings eight women screenwriters over the age of forty together with established mentors from the film industry for an intimate gathering and intensive workshop at Wiawaka Center for Women on Lake George, NY.
The only program of its kind, The Writers Lab evolved in recognition of the absence of the female voice in narrative film, along with the dearth of support for script development. The lab offers eight promising films by women over forty a springboard to production.
Deadlines: Regular: March 23, 2017; Late: March 30, 2017
— 3. International Screenwriters Association FastTrack Fellowship
Two winners are flown to LA for five days to be mentored by agents and Producers. Both are featured on the ISA Success Stories Page. The ISA team will spend a year working with both writers through their ISA Development program.
Deadline in June.
— 4. ScreenCraft – Contests & Mentorships – https://screencraft.org/screenwriting-contests/
These are divided into various genres and forms, with various deadlines and rewards.
Deadlines vary by genre– check their website for details.
— 1. Great American Pitchfest – http://scriptfest.com/home/
The pitchfest itself is a one day event, and held as part of the larger three day “Scriptfest.” The founders of this event claim to enable you to pitch your script to more than 120 production companies, agents, managers, financiers, and other industry professionals seeking material to option, and writers to hire, manage, and represent. You may pitch to as many companies as you can. Only 500 tickets are sold, and they say it sells out every year.
June 23-25, 2017
— 2. The Hollywood Pitch Festival – http://fadeinonline.com/hollywood-pitch-festival
This event has a lengthy and impressive list of companies and agencies attending. The focus of this two and a half day event seems to be largely on the pitching, with comparatively fewer speakers/workshops and more time devoted to actual pitch meetings & opportunities.
July 28-30, 2017
— 3. Story Expo – http://storyexpo.com
Held in September near LAX, and bills itself as, “the world’s biggest convention of writers from all mediums – screenwriters, TV writers, novelists, filmmakers, gamers, journalists, graphic novelists, actors, business people, comic book writers and more. Featuring over 110 world-renowned speakers, 100+ classes and 30+ exhibitors, Story Expo covers all aspects of story and writing – from craft to business to pitching to career.”
September 8-10, 2017