Here are the 12 best screenplay competitions on Coverfly right now
Top screenwriting competitions and fellowships are one way to showcase your work, guarantee that industry pros read it—and network with other writers and creatives. Ten renowned screenplay contests and fellowships are now open, some with approaching deadlines. Coverfly, the film industry’s largest database of screenwriting competition entries, offers a convenient way to apply through these links. Read on for details.
WeScreenplay’s flagship contest offers a $1,000 to one grand prize winner (announced in April), but more important, distribution to producers, agents, and managers for the grand prize, second place, and third place winners.
Companies such as Zero Gravity, Industry Entertainment, and Heroes and Villains have signed past winners. Plus, every submission receives one to two pages of notes from a first-round judge.
This year’s jury includes Juliet Berman, head of development at Treehouse Pictures (Set it Up); Scott Carr, literary manager at Management SGC (Miss Sloane); Melissa Azizi, development executive at Pretty Pictures (The Danish Girl, Kinsey), and Brian Greenberg, literary agent at Worldwide Production Agency (It: Chapter Two).
Entry fee: $69 to $79 (depending on deadline)
Deadlines: Nov. 15, 2019 (regular); Dec. 15, 2019 (late)
Willamette Writers, the largest writers’ organization in the Pacific Northwest, offers this script-to-screen competition for a web series pilot. The script should be seven pages maximum (standard screenplay format) with one to four speaking characters.
The plot should be aimed at a general audience. Eight finalists must be able to travel to Portland, Oregon, for a one-day writers’ room in February with showrunner F.J. Pratt (Ellen, Frasier), where the winning script will be announced. All finalists also receive IMDB.com credit.
Entry fee: $30 to $105 (depending on deadline; notes extra)
Deadlines: Nov. 15, 2019 (regular); Dec. 1, 2019 (late)
With the publishing and entertainment industries moving to acquire books for adaptation, Launch Pad appeals to writers who have at least the opening of a book ready to go. Submit up to 50 pages of your manuscript, including a minimum one-age synopsis.
Three grand-prize winners will be introduced to agents, managers, producers, executives, and other creatives in L.A. (and receive up to $500 for airfare). But Launch Pad also spotlights the Top 100 winners and their projects in publications to promote their discovery. At least one project is guaranteed an option. In addition, Energy Entertainment will sign at least one author to represent.
Entry fee: $75 to $95 (depending on deadline, plus notes and add-on fees)
Deadlines: Nov. 21, 2019 (regular); Dec. 19, 2019 (late); Jan. 9, 2020 (final)
Sponsored by the long-running San Francisco Independent Film Festival, this contest is in its third year and promotes screenwriters alongside the festival’s films, which regularly receive reviews in Variety.
Participants enjoy live reads of their scripts, publicity, and invites to the festival’s parties, panels, and screening. Entrants may submit shorts and features (no longer than 125 pages).
Entry fee: $65 to $130 (depending on script length, deadline and notes)
Deadlines: Dec. 1, 2019 (final)
Presented by WeFixYourScript.com, this competition offers a $1,000 to one grand prize winner, plus an InkTip Script Listing and a logline featured in InkTip Magazine for the top six winners. Enter a short script or web series (any genre under 35 pages); synopsis, treatment, or pitch deck; or feature script, TV pilot or reality TV pilot (any genre over 35 pages and under 120 pages).
In addition, the competition has an additional category targeting writers over age 55, “Golden Age Scripts for Feature, TV Pilot, Reality Television.” (Writers over age 55 can submit to any category but can also select the “Golden Age” option.)
Entry fee: $20 to $50 (depending on deadline and category)
Deadlines: Dec. 14, 2019 (extra early); Feb. 15, 2020 (early); March 14, 2020 (regular); May 16, 2020 (late); July 18, 2020 (extended)
Stowe Story Labs offers four-day narrative labs and five-day writers’ retreats. The 2020 Stowe Narrative Lab includes skill development, networking opportunities, and mentors such as screenwriter and producer David Magee (Finding Neverland, Life of Pi), creative producer Amy Hobby (Secretary), and creative producer Alex Boden (Cloud Atlas, Sense8).
Stowe Story Labs also offers fellowships that cover the cost of these programs and a travel stipend. The application allows you to prioritize which programs interest you.
Entry fee: $38 to $52 (depending on deadline)
Deadlines: Dec. 16, 2019 (early); Jan. 20, 2020 (regular); Jan. 31, 2020 (late)
Celebrating its 18th year, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest focuses on long-term writer development and guidance, as well as circulating material through the film industry. All genres and styles are welcome; past winners have ranged from microbudget indies to animated comedies.
One winner receives $25,000. A runner-up receives $2,500. Writers must submit a feature-length screenplay. There is no limit on the number of entries, but every entry is a separate fee.
Entry fee: $40 to $70 (depending on deadline)
Deadline: Dec. 31, 2019 (pre-registration); March 1, 2010 (early); May 1, 2020 (regular); May 15, 2020 (late); May 31, 2020 (Coverfly extended)
Now in its seventh year, the ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship offers ongoing professional support, as well as a week’s worth of meetings in L.A. with studio executives, literary managers, producers and agents such as Sony Pictures, Universal, 3 Arts Entertainment (Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Parks and Recreation), Zero Gravity, MXN Entertainment, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, and Warner Bros.
Past ScreenCraft winners have been hired by producers, optioned their projects to studios, and signed with top representatives at CAA, WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Anonymous Content, Paradigm Talent Agency, Untitled, ICM, Bellevue Productions, Plattform and many others.
Entry fee: $69 to $79 (depending on deadline; feedback extra)
Deadlines: Jan. 31, 2020 (regular); Feb. 29, 2020 (final)
In its sixth season, this contest targets the next generation of storytellers, who must be enrolled in a college or university to apply. Finalists will be flown to Denver, Colorado, the week of June 18, 2020, for the festival and participate in a two-day lab, including workshops with creative professionals.
Applicants should submit a pilot script with episodes running from 15 to 30 minutes (15 pages to 30 pages) and a Series Format Deck (no longer than 15 pages), which includes a logline, pilot synopsis, outline of the first season, series tone, and up to five main character descriptions.
Entry fee: $25
Deadline: Feb. 1, 2020
The nonprofit organization HUMANITAS honors film and TV writers who explore the human condition “in a nuanced, meaningful way,” according to its website. Established in 2010, its “New Voices” screenwriting contest aims to launch a new generation of writers under the mentorship of Hollywood showrunners and studio partners.
Six winning writers each receive a $7,500 grant and recognition at the annual awards ceremony, as well as HUMANITAS sending it to a partnering studio or executive.
To be eligible, you must not have experience greater than “executive story editor” as a TV writer and cannot have earned more than $25,000 writing fictional work for film. Otherwise, any genre is accepted. Please submit only one 30-minute pilot, 60-minute pilot, or feature film screenplay.
Entry fee: $65 to $85 (depending on deadline)
Deadlines: Feb. 15, 2020 (early); March 15, 2020 (regular); April 30, 2020 (extended)
Table Read My Screenplay will help to propel your screenwriting career forward with a transformative Table Read Showcase experience during the 2020 Sundance and Slamdance Film Festivals in Park City, Utah. As the Grand Prize Winner, you’ll receive $1500 cash, flight and accommodations in Park City, access to film festival events and parties, a table read of your winning script, and industry connections. An established director will workshop your script prior to your Table Read Showcase with professional actors.
Your Table Read is just the beginning! After the festival, you’ll become an elite member of the ISA Development Slate where the ISA Development team will work with you for a minimum of 1 year to get you and your script in front of producers, literary representatives and other industry executives from companies like MGM, ICM, Eclectic Pictures, Bohemia Group Originals and many others. 60 screenplays from Slate writers have been optioned or purchased in the past few years.
Entry fee: $59.00 feature, $39.00 shorts
Deadlines: November 28th
12. Save the Cat!
We’re passionate about bringing experiences and opportunities to new movie magic makers, and would-be screenwriters can’t do much better than the Save the Cat! Screenplay Challenge. Save the Cat! promises that every entrant “Gets the feedback they deserve”. Every script entered gets a full read with a whopping fifty points of analysis feedback. Screenwriters, sharpen your pencils.
Save the Cat! is always worth considering. If you’ve got what it takes, you could be entered for the chance of a lifetime. If you hit the extended deadline on March 27th, you’re getting almost $500 worth of expert feedback for just a $149 entry fee. Before you start the entry process, don’t forget to tweak your script to perfection with Save the Cat!’s invaluable tricks of the trade.
Entry fee: $149
Deadlines: March 27th