Horror scripts in a screenplay contest?



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  • Horror scripts in a screenplay contest?

    Are horror scripts usually looked down upon in a screenplay contest?

    Would it be looked at in a better light if I marketed it as a thriller? Or are they just looking for good writing and a good story?

    Also, does anyone know anything about the Phoenix Film Festival's screenwriting contest? I'm thinking of entering but the deadline is soon so I'll have to hurry (though I won't enter it if it's not finished, it's just not worth it).

  • #2
    Scroll back in this forum to any and all PGL threads. You'll find more than you ever wanted to know about horror scripts and contests.


    • #3
      I think it depends on the contest. There are a few out there now that make a point of soliciting horror scripts--some that award prizes in different genres even have a slot for horror. I'd target those contests first.

      Horror does seem a hard sell in the more prestigious contests. The last time I checked, I think the Nicholl contest only had one winning horror script in its entire history.

      As far as marketing, that's a different consideration. If it's genuine Horror--blood and guts, slashers, monsters, high body count etc--market it as Horror. There are plenty of people looking for Horror. If it's more of a thriller, relying more on suspense and plot to deliver the chills, than market it as a Thriller--plenty of people looking for those, too.


      • #4
        Horror is a fun genre to read - and write. It's too bad about the contest angle. I've also heard that a lot of contests sort of look down on the whole horror "thing."

        I remember in a couple of contests (that had message boards) how some contestants complained that they got a horror script to review because they did not enjoy that genre. So they marked the script down accordingly and I didn't think that was very fair. When you judge a contest, even in peer review, you should be able to bring an objective point of view to the task even if you are not reading your personal favorite genre.


        • #5



          • #6
            Wasn't this discussed at length earlier this year? Which means the archives could be searched.

            In any case, horror scripts have done just fine in the Nicholl competition. Typically, they advance to the quarter/semifinals in a percentage equal to or greater than their percentage of total entries. There have been two Nicholl horror winners since the contest began, one of them last year. Since there are so few horror entries, it would not surprise me if two placed horror above the curve (but I'm not going to figure it out).

            The problem for horror scripts is that not all readers appreciate them, whether at production companies, agencies or contests.

            At Nicholl, we compensate by trying to assign horror scripts only to readers who appreciate horror scripts.