Best Screenwriting Competitions for Aspiring Writers
The moment you start writing screenplays is the moment you learn screenwriting competitions exist. You will be flooded with endless opportunities to submit scripts, but choosing one can be overwhelming. It’s natural to feel lost at first, so we did the dirty work for you and compiled this detailed list of the best places to submit your screenplay online or in person.
1) Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
The Nicholl Fellowship is one of the most prestigious screenwriting competitions in the world. It’s open to anyone, regardless of experience, and each year the Academy Awards screens the top 5-10 scripts from the Nicholl competition. The awards come with a $35,000 prize and the prestige of being recognized by one of the most respected organizations in Hollywood.
2) Scriptation Showcase Screenplay Contest
The Scriptation Showcase Screenplay Contest is a newcomer on the scene, but it’s packed with serious promise. The finalists are awarded cash prizes and winners receive all-expenses paid trips to Los Angeles, where they will be introduced to agents, producers, managers and development executives. Plus, you can submit scripts at any time throughout the year, so there’s no need to wait for a specific deadline.
3) PAGE International Screenwriting Awards
The PAGE International Screenwriting Awards are one of the most highly respected screenwriting competitions in the industry. They’ve been around for over 20 years and have helped launch the careers of countless screenwriters, including Diablo Cody (Juno) and John August (Big Fish). The top prize is a $25,000 cash award.
4) Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition
The Scriptapalooza Screenplay Competition has been helping writers reach their goals since 2002. There are no restrictions on what you can write about or where you come from, so the competition is truly open to anyone. The winner of the Grand Prize receives $5000 in cold hard cash, plus representation by professional literary agents.
5) Save the Cat! Screenplay Challenge
The Save the Cat! Screenplay Challenge is dedicated to helping writers write entertaining screenplays. The challenge itself is focused on Blake Snyder’s “15 Beat” theory of screenwriting, making it a great opportunity for action and comedy driven scripts (and perfect for our readers). Plus, if you submit three treatments or outlines before the final draft, every one of them will be critiqued by a professional story consultant.
6) Austin Screenwriting Competition
The Austin Screenwriting Competition accepts both feature and short scripts about any genre or topic. All finalists receive cash prizes, and the Grand Prize winner takes home $5000. The screenplay with the highest score will win a consultation with award-winning director Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused).
7) Sundance Screenwriters Lab
The Sundance Screenwriters Lab is one of the most prestigious screenwriting programs in the world. It’s invitation only, and past participants include Quentin Tarantino, Darren Aronofsky and Barry Jenkins. If you’re lucky enough to be selected, you’ll have the opportunity to work with some of the most respected minds in the industry.
8) Film Independent Screenwriting Lab
The Film Independent Screenwriting Lab is another prestigious program for writers looking to make connections in Hollywood. The session takes place over two months, giving you the time and space needed to really develop your script. You’ll work closely with mentors on industry-standard scripts, attend seminars designed to improve your work, and pitch professional actors live at the end of the program.
9) BlueCat Screenplay Competition
The BlueCat Screenplay Competition is one of the most affordable and open screenplay competitions in the world. There are no genre restrictions, and you can submit your work at any time during the year. The top prize is $10,000 and all finalists receive feedback from industry professionals.
10) Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest
The Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest is an international competition dedicated to finding talented writers and encouraging their work. The Grand Prize includes a trip to Hollywood, where you’ll attend the Final Draft Awards, as well as a meeting with industry professionals who will provide guidance throughout your career.
And that’s a wrap! We hope you enjoyed this article. If you’re looking for more posts like this, check out our other blog posts.
Thanks for reading!