How do you choose the right feature screenwriting competitions to enter? With hundreds to pick from, you can choose the best ones by looking at reputability, past winners, and prizes. Consider what each offers and pick what appeals to you.

Overview

While big competitions seem more alluring than smaller contests, consider both, budget wisely, and give it a go. The accessibility and intimacy of a small or even local contest could help you build your sense of community, especially if it’s part of a larger film festival. Communities provide encouragement, support, motivation, and socialization. Find your band, your tribe, your crew, your people. They do what you do or have similar interests. Also, the pool is smaller in these competitions so your odds are higher.

Big feature script contests are their own beast. You’re up against thousands of other people. The prizes can be generally larger than smaller competitions. Beyond cash prizes, most offer industry meetings and connections that wouldn’t be available to you otherwise. Another bonus is that recognition can trickle down to semifinalists or even quarterfinalists.

Related Article: TV Writing Programs and Contests

Reminder

Double check entry requirements such as…

  • Whether or not they accept adaptations
  • If they take international entries
  • How many scripts you can submit
  • If you can submit a script with a writing partner
  • If they have a limit on how much you can have earned from a contest
  • If entrants need to be a certain age to enter

Various websites put together their list every year. Good in a Room throws together a great one: The Top Ten Screenwriting Contests. Remember to check into local communities and competitions for what you can do in your area. Take a look at 19 popular screenwriting competitions below, listed in alphabetical order:

Competition Season Calendar

Two calendars with deadlines and fees for reputable screenwriting contests, fellowships, and programs. One for features and one for television.

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FEATURE screenplay CONTESTS

1. Academy Nicholl Fellowships: Website

Awards

Up to five writers receive a $35,000 fellowship.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Beginning of March through the beginning of May

Fee increases per entry deadline from $45-$85

Application Material

Original screenplay, online application, entry fee

2. Austin Film Festival Screenwriting Competition: Website

Awards

Second Rounders, Semifinalists, and Finalists get special discounts to the festival. There are also cash prizes for individual category winners.

Submission Deadline & Fee

Mid April through late May

Fees increase per entry deadline from $40-$50

Application Material

Entry form, synopsis under 50 words, script, fee

3. Beverly Hills Screenplay Contest: Website

Awards

Cash prizes, meetings with Hollywood producers, executives & agents, exclusive benefits, and script analysis

Submission Deadlines & Fee:

End of April through beginning of January

Fee increases per entry deadline from $30-$55

Application Material

Script, online application

4. BlueCat Screenplay Competition: Website

Awards

$15,000 Grand Prize, Four Finalists $2500 Prize

Submission Deadlines & Fee:

Mid-June through mid-November

Fee increases per entry deadline from $55-$70

Application Material

Script, fee

5. Cinequest: Website

Awards

A $5000 cash prize for winner. Finalists will also get their scripts read by industry professionals.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-July through early November

Fee increases per entry deadline from $45-$65

Application Material

Script, fee

Related Article: TV Writing Programs and Contests

6.CineStory: WEBSITE

Awards

Four-Day Retreat, 12-month mentorship, $10,000 cash prize

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-October through Mid-April

$45 for early submissions – $70 for late deadline submissions

Application Material

Original screenplay between 85-130 pages

7. Film independent Screenwriting Lab: Website

Awards

4 week workshop in September in L.A., lab and guest speakers, individual feedback

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Applications open for month of February

$45 for Film Independent Members and $65 for Non-Members

Application Material

  • A cover letter explaining your interest in the Screenwriting Lab.
  • One complete, feature-length screenplay.
  • A logline and synopsis.
  • Bios of attached key cast and crew, if any.
  • Project status and history.

8.Finish Line Script Competition: WEBSITE

Awards

$2500 grand prize plus some exposure, first and second runner up receive consultations and secondary prizes

Submission Deadlines and Fees

Mid-December through mid-June

Fee increases per entry deadline from $40-$45 (extra for notes and feedback)

Application Material

Screenplay, in addition if you buy draft notes ($90), you may resubmit a revised script by June 30th for free

9. Nantucket Screenplay Competition: Website

Awards

Cash prizes, festival entry, press coverage

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-December through March 1st

Fee increases per entry deadline from $50-$80

Application Material

Script, fee

10. Nashville Film Festival: Website

Awards

Networking opportunities, festival passes, cash prize

Submission Deadlines & Fee

End of July through the beginning of January

Fee increases per entry deadline from $30-$50

Application Material

Script, fee

11. Outfest Screenwriting Lab: Website

Awards

Three-day, mentor-led workshop in Los Angeles for selected screenwriters.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-October through February

Fee increases per entry deadline from $25-$50

Application Material

  • Only submit the first ten pages of an original script (if selected, will ask for full script).
  • A synopsis of the script (max. of 750 words).
  • An artist statement (max. 750 words) “outlining your career history and objectives as well as what you hope to gain by participating in the Lab.”

12. PAGE Awards: Website

Awards

Cash prize, first place winner receives $25,000, co-sponsors will publicize and promote script, prize packages listed here.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-January through Mid-April

Fee increases per entry deadline from $39-$69

Application Material

Script, logline, fee

13. ScreenCraft: Website

Awards

As they say, “Our contests uniquely tailor the prize package and jury for each contest (eliminating potential genre bias) by specializing in screenplay competitions by genre.”

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Multiple contests throughout the year. Fees typically range from $30 to $50

Adventure & Travel TV Pitch Contest

Comedy Script Contest

Screenwriters Residency Program

Horror Script Contest

SciFi Script Contest

Action & Thriller Script Contest

Screenwriting Fellowship

Family-friendly Script Contest

Application Material

Script, fees, may vary per contest type

14. Scriptapalooza: Website

Awards

First place winner receives $10,000 and genre winners receive $500, semifinalists and higher are promoted by the contest for the following year.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Beginning of January through the first of May

Fee increases per entry deadline from $45-$65

Application Material

Script, fee

15. Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest: Website

Awards

Winner gets $25,000, exposure and circulation. Runner up gets $1,500.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

End of December through the first of May

Fee increases per entry deadline from $50-$55

Application Material

Script, fee

16. Slamdance Screenplay Competition: Website

Awards

Grand prize winner receives $5,000. Other prizes include Slamdance Film Festival passes, WGA eligibility, and industry distribution.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

End of February through the end of July

Fee increases per entry deadline from $55-$70

**If screenplay is over 121 pages (up to 150 pages) submission fees are higher.

Application Material

Script, fee

17. Stage 32: Website

Awards

Varying prizes per contest

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Multiple contests throughout the year. Check the site for the most current info on what contests they are running. Fees ranging from around $50-$70

New Blood

Annual Feature Contest

Blood List

Comedy Contest

Application Material

Script, fees

18. Sundance Screenwriters Lab: Website

Awards

5 day workshop with 1-on-1 sessions.

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-March through the beginning of May

Fee $40

Application Material

Cover letter (750 words), artist statement (1000 words), synopsis (1000 word limit), first 5 pages of your screenplay

19. TrackingB Feature Script Contest: Website

Awards

Exposure on Trackingb.com, industry reads and access

Submission Deadlines & Fee

End of July through the beginning of October

Fee increases per entry deadline from $45-$85

Application Material

Script, fee

20. Tracking Board – Launch Pad Competition: Website

Awards

Industry exposure, meetings with representation

Submission Deadlines & Fee

Mid-July through the beginning of September

Fee increases per entry deadline from $65-$95

Application Material

Script, fee

Competition Season Calendar

Two calendars with deadlines and fees for reputable screenwriting contests, fellowships, and programs. One for features and one for television.

Your info is safe from spam 🙂 Powered by ConvertKit

Related Article: TV Writing Programs and Contests

What contests are you entering this year?