Tuesday, 8 July 2008

screenwriting competitions

Some of my fellow runners were asking about screenwriting competitions, so here’s a post on everything I know on screenwriting comps - if anyone has anything to add, then feel free to post in the comments.

Here goes…


There are loads of comps out there - generally they run once a year, so some of these might be closed for this year the year.

In the UK Red Planet launched at the festival, is the best.

The British Short Screenplay Competition (BSSC) is great, as they actually make the winning script (unfortunately, it’s just closed ) The regional film councils run Digital Shorts yearly - usually in the autumn. (you can find South West Screen here.)

Euroscript and Metlab (which runs through bang2write also run competitions that help develop your script as a prize.

Of the big American comps, Scriptapalooza is the most famous; Bluecat also offers feedback for a slightly higher fee; The Page International Screenplay Competition has separate prizes for different genres; Nicholl is possibly the most prestigious - it’s run by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, don’t ya know.

Finally, there is an organisation calls itself the International Screenwriters Festival that runs some kind of live pitching competition. Might want to check this out tho, they sound a bit dodgy!


Apart from clicking on the links above, there are a few ways to keep in touch…

Lianne has a list on her blog Light and Shade that collates upcoming competition deadlines quarterly, so you can see what‘s coming up. Blogs in general are a good way of keeping in touch with what’s going on, picking up handy hints and ‘networking’ (industry jargon for making friends!) WARNING - They can become addictive, and seriously eat into yr writing time!

To name but three, Lucy Vee’s Bang2write is the most popular meeting point; Robin Kelly has lots of up to dates info; and Danny Stack’s Scriptwriting and Script Reading in the UK is the Daddy of UK writer blogs.

Subscribing to shooting people is also a great way of keeping in touch. You get a daily bulletin and discounts on writing stuff. You can also post on the bulletin, so if you have a question like “what are good writing competitions?” it will go in the bulletin and other members will answer in the next edition.

The BBC writersroom website is essential for many reasons. It has news on not for profit competitions (and occasionally runs it‘s own.)

- If you enter any competitions, read the rules.
- Make sure what you send is as polished as can be, not a first draft (writing is rewriting) - - Be realistic (but not too realistic!) about what to enter. I spent £££’s entering the first script I wrote into loads of competitions - that money could maybe have been better spent on professional feedback.
- Read the rules!
- Comps will not change your life. Even if you win, or get placed, you are unlikely to sell your masterpiece to Spielberg and become an instant millionaire. But any success will help build up a track record, and it can be one more step along the long, long road to success.

Phew! Hope that helps. Any further questions?

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