No Screenplay Contest This Year

As some of you know, I held a screenplay contest back in 2010.

I wanted it to stand out from others, so I limited it to 100 entries.  And instead of not knowing who read your script in the first round, I read every single entry.  Guest judges picked the winners from a group of ten finalists and all in all it worked out well.  (See Script Doctor Eric’s 2010 Screenplay Competition Winners!)

The contest was a lot of fun, but a lot of work.  (Did I mention I read EVERY SINGLE ENTRY? :))

In case you haven’t guessed, there will be no Script Doctor Eric Screenplay Competition in 2011; I simply do not have time for it.

So…which screenplay contests should you enter?

The answer I always give is, “the small ones.”  Your chances are much better in smaller screenplay contests, and you can usually contact the folks running the contest if you have questions.

As for the Nicholl Fellowship or BlueCat… Sure, they have amazing, amazing prizes, but they’ve gotten so popular, your odds are also amazingly, amazingly, low.

Plus, in the first couple of rounds you don’t know who is reading your script.  Could be someone who knows a good script when they see one…or an intern who has never read a script in all 18 years of their life.

So, go after a smaller contest.  Or wait for 2012 when I’ll be done with the project that currently has me on semi-hiatus and may muster up the energy to launch another contest.

Perhaps it’ll be a “short script” contest.  :)

Or, you might skip contests altogether and just start querying agents and managers.  That’s a bit like a contest in itself, isn’t it?

Whatever path you choose, don’t let screenwriting contests substitute for putting the time in on your script.  Keep writing.  Keep writing.

Keep writing.




2 Responses to No Screenplay Contest This Year

  1. Todd says:

    Problem with small contests is the big studios, agencies etc don’t really care if a writer wins one of them. To use it on a query doesn’t help the writer get any more reads. Smaller contests are way too easily manipulated (run by friends of the writer etc) so winning the Missoula, Missouri Screenwriting Contest is a great personal achievement for the writer, it won’t get you much getting your foot in the door of Hollywood.

  2. Eric says:

    Excellent point, Todd.

    Yet, I’ve read query letters where writers state they were semi-finalists in Bluecat or Nicholl or Slamdance or Austin…it all starts to run together. And to tell you the truth, I’m more impressed when I read someone WON a contest, even if it’s small one…

    But maybe that’s just me. :)

    You’re right though: there are so many contests out there, you don’t just want to throw your money into something you can’t trust.

    However, some of the small contests can also help you land jobs. I was actually thinking of some of the smaller contests that DO have industry connections, for example, Big Bear Lake led to Letters from Iwo Jima getting sold and made.

    I guess the best we can do is just to do the research before entering any contest…



    P.S. Why all the animosity towards Missoula? :)