There are so many screenwriting competitions out there and some of them are only out to get your hard-earned cash. Below we list six respectable organizations with upcoming deadlines for screenwriting competition and labs that are worthy of your time (and money!). Of course, there are no guarantees that you’ll win anything if you apply, but you definitely won’t win if you don’t apply. Check out the details below and be sure to do further research on the web sites listed to make sure you’ve got all the rules, details and entry guidelines you need. Good luck!
Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
What it does: 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. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars. They’re also expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year. Up to five winners will be announced in November for a $35,000 screenwriting fellowship. Note that the competition is only open to screenwriters who have not earned more than $25,000 writing fictional work for film or television.
Deadline: early, March 2 ($40 entry fee), regular is April 10 ($55 entry fee), and late is May 1 ($75 entry fee).
More information: http://www.oscars.org/awards/nicholl/index.html
Slamdance Screenplay Competition
What it does: 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 fees (example: $20 for early submission for Short Film, $30 for regular, $40 for late) on top of coverage fees ($80 for their feedback within 2 months, $120 for within 21 days). The finalists will be announced on September 23 and the top 12 scripts will be announced on September 30. Finalists will then attend a WGAW party on October 7, where the winners will be announced. A total of $13,000 cash prizes will be awarded to the winners, with $5,000 for the grand prize winner. The top three screenwriters in each category will be included in the 2016 Slamdance Film Festival program which is distributed to industry professionals in Park City and year round.
Deadline: Early Deadline: Feb. 19 – April 7
Regular Deadline: April 8 – June 9
Late Deadline: June 10 – July 21
Withoutabox Extended Deadline: July 22
More information: http://showcase.slamdance.com/Screenplay-Competition
What it does: Scriptapalooza 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 vary depending on deadlines, ranging from $45- $65 and $110 or $110 for feedback.
Deadline: Regular Deadline: March 10; Late Deadline: April 15; Final Deadline: April 29
More information: http://www.scriptapalooza.com/home.php
Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition
What it does: Script Pipeline connects aspiring screenwriters to producers, agents and managers across independent and studio markets. For an entry fee of $50 (and an extra $80 for feedback), a screenplay will enter the competition, where a prize of over $20,000 awaits the winner, along with introductions to agents, producers and managers.
Deadline: Early deadline, March 1; Late deadline, May 1
More information: http://scriptpipeline.com/shop/screenwriting-contest
What it does: The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer’s workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their first or second narrative 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. 12 screenwriters are selected to participate in the January Lab.
Deadline: For 2016: March 15 – May 1 open submission
More information: http://www.sundance.org/programs/screenwriters-lab/
What it does: Film Independent’s lab is an intensive five-week program in Los Angeles that allows screenwriters to improve their craft and develop their voices as writers. In addition, screenwriters will be introduced to screen professionals and have guest sessions with established screenwriters. No more than ten scripts will be chosen. Winners will receive year-round support from Film Independent along with a pass to the Los Angeles Film Festival and eligibility to join the Indie Writers Caucus of the WGA. Writers must submit the feature-length screenplay with a cover letter, a logline and synopsis, bios of key cast and crew members attached (if any), project status and history and an application fee ($45 for a Film Independent member, $65 for a non-member).
Deadline: April 13