Tag Archives: deadlines

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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APPLY: Sundance/A3 Foundation Feature Film Fellowship


Deadline: September 6

Website: http://www.sundance.org/programs/a3-fellowship/

“The A3 (Asian American Artists) Foundation Fellowship is part of the Feature Film Program Screenwriters and Directors Labs. This Fellowship aims to support Asian American writers (or writer-directors) through the development of their feature screenplay, as well as screenplay content that is Asian American themed.
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APPLY: Pitch Your Best Nonfiction Idea for 2013 AbelCine Documentary Grant


Deadline: August 20  extended to August 27

Website: http://about.abelcine.com/2013/07/23/2013-abelcine-documentary-grant/

“Do you have an idea for a compelling documentary project? The 2013 AbelCine Documentary Grant was established to help get your story told. We’re asking you to create a 2-5 minute video pitch and upload it to Vimeo – you’ll have the chance to win one of three equipment usage grants worth a combined total of $100,000.

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APPLY: San Francisco Film Society wants to help you make the next “Fruitvale Station” (by 8/14)


Late Deadline: August 14 (4:59pm PST)
Application Fee: $45
Website: http://www.sffs.org/Filmmaker360/Grants/sffskrf-filmmaking-grant.aspx

“The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grants support feature narrative films that through plot, character, theme or setting explore human and civil rights, antidiscrimination, gender and sexual identity and other social issues of our time. This is NOT a documentary grant.

The SFFS/KRF Filmmaking Grant provides tangible encouragement and support to meaningful projects nationally that benefit and uplift the Bay Area filmmaking community in a professional and economic capacity. In addition to the cash grant, recipients receive various benefits through the Film Society’s comprehensive and dynamic filmmaker services programs.”


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APPLY: Women In Film Wants Your Rough Cuts (4/29 deadline)


Women In Film Foundation’s Film Finishing Fund

Deadlines: April 15 (Early) and April 29 (Final)
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4 Fests You Should Enter This Week

First Glance Film Fest Philadelphia (Fall 2013)

Next deadline: April 16

“Our 16th annual FirstGlance Film Fest Philly is open to professional, first time, graduate and undergraduate filmmakers from down the street and across the globe. FirstGlance showcases the best indie filmmaking from around the world and celebrates Philadelphia filmmakers with a festival described as, “one of the most entertaining festivals out there” and “Philadelphia’s answer to Sundance”

Accepts narrative & doc features, narrative & doc shorts, student shorts, music videos, animations and web series pilots

website: http://www.firstglancefilms.com/philadelphia/callforentries
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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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Writer by Day, Kid At Heart? Nickelodeon Writing Program Submission Period Opens Jan. 2nd


Nickelodeon Writing Program 2013-2014 

Submission Period: January 2, 2013 to February 28, 2013

“Developed to broaden Nickelodeon’s outreach efforts, the Nickelodeon Writing Program is designed to attract, develop and staff writers with diverse backgrounds and experiences on Nickelodeon Network productions.Operating in a three-phased structure, the Program provides a salaried position for up to one year and offers hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas in both live action and animation television.This three-phased structure allows writers an opportunity to nurture relationships with creators, network executives, line producers, head writers, show runners and story editors.”

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Fests You Should Enter This Week (Turkey Day Super-Edition)

NexTv Talent Search for Directors & Actors

Regular Deadline: November 23rd

“We are searching the globe for tomorrow’s industry leaders. How often does it seem that you are up against a system designed to keep you from accessing the people who need to see your work? If Hollywood is always looking for fresh, new talent, why is it so difficult to get past the gatekeepers?Nextv has created this competition to bring industry leaders to you. By promising them a first look at some of the most exciting talent that the system has not yet recognized, we have attracted an incredible panel of decision-makers that can equal exposure at the highest levels.”

Entry Fee –  Submission Video Length:

Under 3 minutes – $40

3 – 10 minutes – $45

Over 10 minutes – $55


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4 Fests You Should Enter This Week

Bluecat Screenplay Competition

Final Deadline: November 15th (*must be received by midnight PST*)

BlueCat provides every screenplay entered with two written analyses by professional readers. Over $20,000 in cash prizes awarded to our winners and finalists.”

Entry Fee – $70


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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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My Screenwriting Hiatus

May 1st was supposed to be a day of accomplishment. Since December of last year, I’d been writing nonstop on a script that I would enter in several screenwriting contests. Today I would have taken a shot at two of the most prestigious opportunities for new writers: The Nicholl Fellowship in Screenwriting and Sundance Screenwriter’s Lab. Alas, May 1st will just have to be another Tuesday. Where does that leave me? As “Aleke” from PARIAH said, “I’m not running, I’m choosing.” It was a difficult choice, but I have decided to take a writing hiatus from screenwriting.

Hindsight is 20/20, of course. When I finally admitted to myself that I didn’t really WANT to tell this specific story, everything suddenly clicked. The countless outlines. Pulling out my hair like “Mavis” from YOUNG ADULT. 80 page first draft. Developing a hermit lifestyle. Feedback that screamed “you’re close, but something’s missing”. Constantly extending unrealistic personal deadlines. All of the chaos of “Operation: PILLS & POWDER” (PILLS & POWDER being the name of my script) concluded with one beautiful moment of clarity.


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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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