With over a hundred to choose from, which screenwriting contests are right for you? Let’s break it down into three parts: the types of contests, your script, and what’s legit. When it comes down to it, you want to be smart and selective about the contests you enter. It would make no sense to apply to all of them. You want the right match.

Let’s also speculate that you and I don’t have bucketloads of money (I do have a change jar) or oodles of free time (though I sometimes lie awake until 4am under the soul-crushing weight of existence).

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Contests offer a way for screenwriters to gain exposure and access to the entertainment industry. No matter your day job, your proximity to Hollywood, or your connections, competitions hold the power to level the playing field. Your work has the chance to speak for itself as it’s evaluated against other entrants. All you have to do is get yourself and your script ready. Follow this step by step look into what you can do to prepare for screenwriting competition season.

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This week’s interview is with writer/director Don Bitters, whose background in motion graphics and VFX has fueled his career success. Don talks about his trajectory from short films into full-length features, the importance of having a strong skill to set you apart, and how content creation gets you ahead.

Let’s dive in:

How did you start out?

I started out knowing I wanted to direct from when I was young. I made my first film when I was fourteen.

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How do you get the job that everyone wants? A writers’ assistant position is one of the most coveted jobs in the industry. It’s also one of the more direct routes to writing for television. The goal for a writers’ assistant is to eventually get one of the show’s freelance episodes and hopefully staff on that show if not another one. Having the experience of working in a writers’ room gives you tremendous insight into the process of TV writing.

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This week’s interview is with feature film writer Zak Olkewicz. He shares the ins and outs of screenwriting in Hollywood from pitching to the process of rewriting. Zak’s career took off after selling horror-thriller INK AND BONE to Dimension Films in 2013. Since then, he’s worked on a slew of projects, but let’s start out at the beginning…

How did you start out in the industry?

I actually went to school for video game design.

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