Tag Archives: competitions

Say Hello to Screenwriting Competition Season!

Get ready to mark your calendars, folks. Many indies have gotten their big break from the following competitions, labs and fellowships (Benh Zeitlin & Lucy Alibar, Destin Cretton, Dawn Porter, Lucy Malloy and Edward Ricourt). What’s the worst that could happen? You spend $50 and turn that idea you’ve been working on FOREVER into an actual script you can shop around or even produce yourself? Sounds like a win-win to me.

If you have any others to add, leave a comment below and I’ll gladly update the list.

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Screenwriting Competition Season Is Officially Open. Are You Ready?

The worst feeling as an indie just starting out is hearing there’s a great opportunity to jumpstart your career, only to find out the deadline already passed. Well get ready to mark your calendars, folks. Let’s make 2013 the year of starting, finishing AND submitting our dream scripts. 

  • Outfest Screenwriting Lab

2013 Deadline: February 11th

“What began as a screenwriting competition has expanded into a dynamic three-day, mentor-led workshop in Los Angeles for selected screenwriters. The authors of five screenplays will be invited to participate in an intensive laboratory during which they will work closely with Lab Mentors — established writers who will critique and encourage their work.To be held in June 2013, with a follow up event during Outfest Los Angeles 2013, the lab will include sessions with other industry professionals, structured career development opportunities and participation in ongoing festival events.”


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Oscar-Winner Octavia Spencer Wants To See Your Shorts (Enter By Feb. 10th)


Short Film Competition Hosted by Actress Octavia Spencer (THE HELP, SMASHED, FRUITVALE) on her Facebook Fan Page

Deadline: February 10th

From Octavia’s Facebook page:Here’s the deal: If you’ve shot a short and it’s just sitting around your hard drive, post a link to it here on my page before Feb. 10th. Film can be from anywhere in the world as long as it’s subtitled, and can be any genre. It can NOT exceed 20 mins in length. YOU MAY ONLY POST YOUR FILM ONCE!  Though you may enter multiple films.  The Winner will receive: CANON EOS 60D, Platinum 6000 Digital Tripod and $1000. 

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Let’s Call It A Weekend! (Hot Topics Round-up)

Unchained Movie Nights: “Zero Dark Thirty”

I think it’s pretty safe to say ZDT is one of the most anticipated films of the year. Here’s what Sean thought of Oscar winner Kathryn Bigelow’s latest war film.

Our new “Unchained Resources” page

Who says you need a film degree to make it in the biz? Here are a few of our our favorite web links for all things indie film. Any others we should add?

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Let’s Call It A Weekend! (Hot Topics Round-up)

Sundance Film Festival begins announcing 2013 program

The 2013 Sundance films are here! A huge congrats to all the filmmakers who made the cut.

Vote For FOCUS FORWARD Semifinalists In Socially Conscious Film Competition


The US Presidential election may have come, but everyday indies are running their own campaigns for personal projects. Three of my film friends are Audience Favorites semifinalists in the same short documentary contest. Check out their films and many others HERE. Voting ends December 20th.

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Vote for FOCUS FORWARD Semifinalists in Socially Conscious Film Competition

This is definitely a first for me. I received the same message from three film folks I know. Each wanted to spread the word that they’d made it to the semifinalist round of the “Focus Forward” competition, which means they’re currently vying for the Audience Favorite Award. Woot woot!
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Let’s Call It A Weekend!

Vote BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD for Gotham Independent Film Audience Award

Award season is kicking off full swing and I’m shameless campaigning for Hushpuppy for the win! Help make “Beasts of the Southern Wild” the final nominee for Gotham Audience Award. Vote online HERE by November 18th (Sunday).


The newest trailer for “The Central Park Five” by Ken Burns came out this week. One of my favorite films from Telluride will be in limited release on 11/23.

After seeing “Amour” by Michael Haneke (also at Telluride), I suggest have a puppy on standby for this very intense drama. You decide after watching this latest trailer.

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Have Your Script Read Live At Sundance 2013 in “Table Read My Screenplay” Contest

Table Read My Screenplay Contest

“The Grand Prize Winner will be flown to Park City, Utah during the 2013 SUNDANCE Film Festival to have their screenplay read by professional actors. PLUS, Alvaro Rodriguez will narrate your screenplay then join you for lunch where you can ask for notes. Hotel and Airfare Expenses paid during the festival! If your ultimate goal is to sell your script, it’s important to have access to producers. Networking at the SUNDANCE Film Festival could help you with that access and lead you to a lifetime spent writing screenplays! And who wouldn’t love to tell people “I work in the movies”? Winning this contest could be your chance!”

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Have Your Work Reviewed by Tarantino in “Django Unchained” Contest (Apply by Nov. 7th)

Django Unchained Aspiring Filmmaker Movie Contest (presented by Sony Pictures UK)

Sony Pictures, Sony Electronics and award-winning writer/director Quentin Tarantino are teaming up to give aspiring filmmakers across the globe the chance to capture their own make.believe moments in the Django Unchained Movie Contest. One talented winner from each participating region (legal residents of Australia, Brazil, Chile, France, Spain, Germany, Mexico, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, & the UK) will be chosen to develop their own Spaghetti Western video inspired by an excerpt from the Django Unchained script. The winner from each participating region will be given one unit of Sony’s Flagship Interchangeable Lens HD Camcorder, Wide-Angle Prime Lens, and other accessories.”

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FADE IN: Upcoming screenwriting contests

With two of the most competitive screenwriting competitions (Nicholl Fellowship and Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab) now past us, we are officially at the halfway mark of screenwriter season. Now’s the time to stretch away from the keyboard, revise the latest draft, and repeat the wonderful application process all over again. Although I am no longer a soldier fighting the good fight against mediocre scripts (see here), I am absolutely cheering you all on from the sidelines. Stay strong in believing the countless hours spent in the writer’s cave will payoff as placing as a finalist in any of the competitions below could be the big break of your career. If you haven’t considered entering the following contests before, why not take the risk?
  • Austin Film Festival Screenplay Contest 

deadlines: May 15th and June 1st

“The rewards are endless. 
AFF awards are career-starters, but just entering your script insures other profound returns. Advancing writers and their scripts enjoy one-of-a-kind industry attention, networking opportunities and dream workshops. At the semifinalist level and beyond, judges include professional writers and representatives from major studios and production companies actively seeking scripts and talent”


  • Slamdance Screenwriting and Teleplay Competition

deadlines: April 6th, June 11th, July 23rd and July 31st 

The Slamdance Screenwriting and Teleplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, any budget, on any topic, from anywhere in the world. A unique feature of the competition is providing constructive feedback for every entrant”


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Deadlines, Deadlines, Deadlines for Screenwriters

Ah, it’s that time of year again. The sun is shining, flowers are beginning to bloom, Spring is finally showing its beautiful face. However, this time of year, particularly this month is when aspiring writers throughout the world will spend the most time indoors. Why? Say it with me: Deadlines, deadlines, and yes, more deadlines. The countless hours spent in the writer’s cave can absolutely payoff as placing as a finalist in any of the competitions below could be the big break of your career. I’ve shared the lineup that I’ve selected for myself and my first feature screenplay. Perhaps you’d like to join in on the fun?
  • Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting

deadline: May 1st

“The Academy’s Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is an international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new” screenwriters. Up to five $35,000 Fellowships are awarded annually”


  • Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab 

deadline: May 1st

“A five-day workshop for developing scripts held twice a year in January and June. Those chosen to participate develop their films under the concentrated guidance of veteran filmmakers and actors”  


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“However Long the Night, the Dawn Will Break” – Competition Deadlines

“However long the night, the dawn will break” -African Proverb

I wish I could say that after 7 months out here in LA, I am finally living the dream. I’m nowhere even close to it. Naturally, it’s hard to see my non-film-degree college friends starting their journeys in their entry-level jobs or getting into the grad school they’ve always wanted. Am I happy for them? Of course. But there’s a sort of hollowness that sits within me when I feel as if my entry-level job is 5 years behind everyone else.

Going into college, I had an aunt once tell me to have a second major as a backup. I was shocked and appalled that my own family didn’t trust that I could “make it” with my major of choice—my passion. Whenever I feel like waving a white flag or whenever I feel particularly disheartened, I go back to that memory with my aunt and wonder if I should have double majored. Maybe I would have stayed in New York, had a job, and spent my weekends partying with all my friends. Maybe I would have been happier. Continue reading

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