Best Screenplay Contests

Top 10 Screenplay Contests

What script contests are worth entering?

The film industry is an incredibly competitive environment, especially for screenwriters. In order to get noticed when you have a lot of passion but no connections, it is necessary to know about the best screenplay competitions for your needs and aspirations. Whether your main goal is practicing with industry experts or seeing your own script being produced into a movie, there is probably a competition catered for writers like you. These are the 10 best screenplay contests that are worth taking a look at:

1 Nicholl Fellowship

Nicholl Fellowship is the screenwriting competition: run by the Oscars, it guarantees immediate success to its winners, finalists and semi-finalists. It is entered by thousands of aspiring writers every year and the prizes are the most fought after in the industry. Fellowships are awarded to amateur screenwriters too, who are expected to use them to write a screenplay and take part in various workshops, seminars and events.

The deadlines for this competition have not been revealed, although they are usually in April or May.

2 Page Awards

Considered as one of the most prestigious screenwriting competitions in the world, Page Awards is a global contest for writers who aspire to Hollywood fame. The admin team has a focus on multicultural elements and a clear mission: giving the chance to find connections to screenwriters outside of Los Angeles.

3 Slamdance Screenplay Competition

This competition focuses on independent screenwriters with a spotlight on innovative and creative works. The risk-taking judges evaluate four different categories of work: shorts, original teleplay, feature and horror. Talented writers that have been discovered in the competition include Joshua Marston and Nicole Kassel.

4 Screencraft

Offering multiple competitions through a wide range of genres, Screencraft is one of the best resources for emerging screenwriters. The genre-based contests give writers the possibility to find connections with film executives and producers and they are created with genre in mind, avoiding any kind of bias. Winners of the competitions have gained representation at companies like The Sundance Institute, Paradigm and 3 Arts Entertainment.

5 Jameson First Shot

Sponsored by Jameson Irish Whiskey, Jameson First shot is unlike any other screenwriting competition. A self-defined “platform for emerging talent”, the contest gives the winners the opportunity of producing their own script in a film produced by Dana Brunetti (The Social Network, Fifty Shades of Grey, House of Cards).

6 Script Pipeline

This screenwriting contest is known for the outstanding success of its winners, which include the writers of The Huntsman, Divergent and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is not only one of the most recognised competitions in the industry, but one with the highest rates of big-budget productions by its finalists.

7 Capital Fund Screenplay Competition

The screenplay contest that brings writers together with studio and independent film financiers and private equity investors that work with Warner Bros., Universal, Fox, Disney, Sony and Paramount. They get your material to the biggest markets making deals at AFM, Cannes, Berlin, Toronto, Shanghai and more.  A contest started as a collaboration between writers and the film finance companies and fund managers in Los Angeles and abroad that are usually unreachable without a powerful agent or studio first look deal. Now you have the chance to be read by investors actively looking to greenlight your script.

8 Cinestory Foundation

Another competition granting fellowships, workshops and exclusive events with Hollywood screenwriting elites is organised by Cinestory Foundation. Its connections with top companies like Paradigm and the impressive outcomes of its participants are some of the reasons why this contest is one of the most prestigious of the West Coast film industry.

9 The Writers’ Lab

Although it might be considered as a niche contest, The Writers’ Lab is a beautiful initiative for women writers over 40 years old. Founded by the legendary Meryl Streep, only 12 writers are selected for an intensive retreat with professional filmmakers, taking part in exclusive workshops and events. The strength of female networking for those that win the highly competitive writing retreats is a draw for this target demographic. Women that may have moved from other industries into writing at a midpoint career change level, have a chance to work with other talented women in sharing their ideas and even working together as they take their time to develop feature length story lines. They have reader and review workshops that aim to further the writers growth and eventually prepare them to attempt to venture out on their own and seek producers or others that may help further their projects.

10 Blue Cat

Founded by the Writers’ Guild of America member and Sundance Film Festival winner Gordy Hoffman, Blue Cat is an internationally-claimed competition that offers prizes for both film and television screenwriters. It is not only one of the most prestigious contests for screenwriting, but it also provides written analysis for every script that is submitted.