Tag Archives: scripts

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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4 Fests You Should Enter This Week

Seattle International Film Festival
May 15 – June 8

Final Deadline: January 3

SIFF is the largest and most highly attended film festival in the United States, with more than 250 feature/documentary films and 150 short films presented to an audience of over 155,000 annually. One of the top festivals in North America, SIFF has been cited as one of the best “audience festivals” in the world. SIFF is recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as a Qualifying Festival in all Short Film categories.

Accepts Narrative Features, Documentary Features, Narrative Shorts, Documentary Shorts & Animations

website: http://www.siff.net/festival-2014/film-submission-2014
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APPLY: theOffice’s Fellowship Comes With Your Own Writers Cave (Enter by Mar. 15th)


theOffice Fellowship (2013 Edition)

Deadline: March 15th (by midnight PST)

(1) Winner receives 6 months of free access to theOffice in LA (a quiet communal workspace in Santa Monica, CA). This is equivalent to a Premium Membership, the highest level of membership we offer, worth upwards of $2500. 
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Will Smith Wants to See Your Family-Centered TV Scripts (Enter by Mar. 21st)


Search for America’s Newest Scriptwriter Contest

Deadline: March 21st (1pm PST)

James Lassiter and Will Smith of Overbrook Entertainment have joined forces with the ANA Alliance for Family Entertainment—a group of leading national advertisers intent on finding and supporting exceptional family content—to find the most talented undiscovered TV scriptwriters in the country. Overbrook Entertainment’s vision, together with the Alliance, is to produce and support extraordinary family entertainment. Because family entertainment means different things to different people make sure your script is unique and emotionally relatable to today’s family.
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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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4 Fests You Should Enter This Week

2013 Los Angeles Film Festival (June 13 – 23)

“The LA Film Festival screens over 200 features, music videos, and shorts representing over 40 countries and provides the movie-loving public with access to the most critically acclaimed filmmakers, film industry professionals, and emerging talent from around the world.”

Next Deadline: January 11th

Accepts features, shorts, music videos and high school films completed after January 1, 2012

Entry Fees:

Features: $60

Shorts: $40

Music Videos: $15

High School Shorts: FREE

website: http://www.lafilmfest.com/submisson-guidelines/

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Filmmaker Quote of the Day: Peter Hedges



“The process of finding the story you have to tell is wondrous, frustrating, humiliating, and joyous. It is an all-encompassing experience.”

– Peter Hedges, Screenwriter (ABOUT A BOY, WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE)




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Fests You Should Enter This Week (Stocking Stuffer Edition)

Tribeca Film Festival

Next Deadline: December 28th, 2012

“The Festival’s mission is to help filmmakers reach the broadest possible audience, enable the international film community and general public to experience the power of cinema and promote New York City as a major filmmaking center. Tribeca Film Festival is well known for being a diverse international film festival that supports emerging and established directors.”

Entry Fee: $100

Accepts feature-length fiction and documentary films completed after Nov. 30th, 2012 and have not screened publicly.

website: http://www.tribecafilm.com/festival/submissions/

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Read The Indie Screenplays That Could Win Oscar Gold

It’s finally here! Awards season is my favorite time of the year. Indie film has never felt stronger to me and I think that there are quite a few little guy (and gal) contenders for Best Original Screenplay and Best Adapted Screenplay noms.

With each Oscar season, it seems like studios are growing more comfortable with audience transparency. This is a huge advantage for us aspiring screenwriters. Now the words of today’s most talented scribes are right at our fingertips. A big thanks to Scott Myers of Go Into The Story  for reblogging the script catalog from Brad Brevet’s Rope of SiliconMy favorite thing to do is read scripts of films that I’ve already seen (LOOPER, BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD, MIDDLE OF NOWHERE) and discover the story changes from page to screen.

PDFs of those films and many more are waiting for you HERE. Gotta do something productive until February 24th, right?

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4 Fests You Should Enter This Week

3rd Annual Capital City Film Festival (CCFF)

Next Deadline: 12/21

” The Capital City Film Festival is a film industry showcase for independent artists, created by Lansing filmmakers and cinephiles. The festival celebrates and promotes filmmakers with an emphasis on Michigan-made, homegrown talent.”

website: http://capitalcityfilmfest.com/

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4 Fests You Should Enter This Week

Vail Film Festival

Next Deadline: December 7th

“The Colorado Film Institute is proud to stage the Vail Film Festival, a four-day event that enlightens and entertains thousands of film festival attendees and offers a creative outlet to the film world’s newest storytellers and innovators. The 10th Annual Vail Film Festival will take place March 28th – March 31, 2013 in Vail, Colorado.”

Accepts narrative features, documentaries, shorts, adventure films, short scripts and feature scripts.

website: http://www.vailfilmfestival.com/extra/film-and-screenplay-submissions-open-thursday-october-18/
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Filmmaker Quote of the Day: Anna Hamilton Phelan

“When I get bogged down I say, ‘ No attachment to outcome. Don’t worry about what’s going to happen to this. Just write the next word.”

– Anna Hamilton Phelan, Screenwriter (GIRL, INTERRUPTED, GORILLAS IN THE MIST)

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Filmmaker Quote of the Day: Paddy Chayefsky

“If you’re reading through and stop, something is wrong. Cut it. If something bothers you, then it’s bad. Cut it.”

– Paddy Chayefsky, Screenwriter (one of only two people to ever win 3 solo Best Screenplay Oscars)


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Have You Read a Script Today?

Since there are still 10 long days until Season 5 of Breaking Bad premieres and my local movie theater chain is never going to screen Moonrise Kingdom, I thought I’d start out this month easing back into a scriptwriting schedule. While I’m not quite ready to outline, I did glance back at a bookmark from my favorite site, Go Into The StoryOne of my unofficial gurus for all things screenwriting, Scott Myers, offers a gem called “1, 2, 7, 14.” for writers (season and emerging) that I think is worth trying out.

It goes a little something like this…

It is a simple formula to do three things — Read Scripts. Watch Movies. Write Pages. — you need to do to expand and deepen your understanding of the screenwriting craft. 4 numbers for you to remember: 1, 2, 7, 14.

  • Read 1 screenplay per week.
  • Watch 2 movies per week.
  • Write 7 pages per week.
  • Work 14 hours per week prepping a story.
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The Golden Rule Of Running a TV Show

“Quality scripts on time.”

Imprint this on your brain right now. Thanks to the Writer’s Guild of America West’s most recent conversation on their Showrunner Training Program, you, my friend, are now in the know. Which means you’re already a step ahead of the hundreds of others just starting out and that is never a bad thing in this industry. Everyday it seems like there’s another article proclaiming there are increasingly more job opportunities in cable television (check out “The Big Picture: Hollywood’s creative talent wants to be on cable” from The LA Times) than Hollywood filmmaking in terms of dynamic storytelling. If you’re thinking about making the big switch over to the small screen (really this can even apply to all writers of visual mediums), I repeat Emmy Award-winning executive producer Jeff Melvoin’s wise words: “Quality scripts on time.” 

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Unchained Reading: “The Odd Job Chronicles”

It’s official. As of Tuesday I have now been out of college for a year. What a crazy and wild trip it has been. On a good day, I’m radiating optimism and saying “This non-film day job is absolutely paving the way for my dream film job.” Then there are the dim and dull times where I’m thinking “Why is this (my potential greatness) taking forever?” It was during one of THOSE days that a wonderful tweet from The Script Lab found its way on my Twitter timeline. I began following The Script Lab when I set out to write my first post-college script. It’s an amazing resource for any level of writer and I absolutely recommend to you all. Although I’ve taken a hiatus from writing, I could still relate to the latest edition of “The Odd Job Chronicles” featured on the site. Screenwriter Tony LaScala offers up “reality-show confessional style” entries on his double-life as a writer and day-jobber.

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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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