My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

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  • My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

    Obvious aside - Nicholl, Creative Expo, and Disney&ABC fellowship. Which one's are worth pursuing next year?
    Last edited by Angeloworx; 10-04-2008, 05:54 AM.

  • #2
    Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

    Austin
    Silver Screenwriting

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    • #3
      Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

      I would also recommend Scriptapalooza.
      'Not all those who wander are lost.' ~ Tolkien

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      • #4
        Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

        I would recommend the Nicholl and then spending the remaining $470 to print out as many sold spec scripts as possible.
        -------

        I didn't have time to write a short script so I wrote a long one instead.

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        • #5
          Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

          PAGE. it's becoming one of the biggest and best if not THE best.
          NICHOLL - for obvious reasons
          EXPO COMPETITION - Huge
          SCRIPTAPALOOZA


          That's the 4. i've only entered 3 of them so far ( Don't think my style of writing applies to NIcholl )

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          • #6
            Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

            Slamdance.

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            • #7
              Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

              Trackingb's contest could be a decent one (that's actually coming up).

              We could give that one a TBD status.

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              • #8
                Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                I'll second PAGE... lotsa categories, so your horror or fantasy script isn't up against some family dramas or comedies with a bit more of a contest edge. They've also got an option where you can get a few pages of feedback on your script. I think it's $120 for both entry and notes, but on the other hand it's kinda neat to have feedback on the why if your entry doesn't make it all the way.

                Personally, I think that at least a page of notes on why a script failed should be a part of every competition... kinda proof that someone read the damned thing. Might also encourage folks to re-enter the script the following year, after adjustments.

                Even better... if the notes are idiotic, you can figure that the contest might be, too. Which is probably why it isn't common practice.

                Just checked: it's $105 altogether if you make the early deadline.
                Last edited by Signal30; 10-04-2008, 12:54 PM.
                "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

                My YouTube channel.

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                • #9
                  Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                  Originally posted by Signal30 View Post
                  I'll second PAGE... lotsa categories, so your horror or fantasy script isn't up against some family dramas or comedies with a bit more of a contest edge. They've also got an option where you can get a few pages of feedback on your script. I think it's $120 for both entry and notes, but on the other hand it's kinda neat to have feedback on the why if your entry doesn't make it all the way.

                  Personally, I think that at least a page of notes on why a script failed should be a part of every competition... kinda proof that someone read the damned thing. Might also encourage folks to re-enter the script the following year, after adjustments.

                  Even better... if the notes are idiotic, you can figure that the contest might be, too. Which is probably why it isn't common practice.

                  Just checked: it's $105 altogether if you make the early deadline.
                  i dont know about PAGE. how have people ever been helped by PAGE? i remember talking to this one lit manager and he was like who the heck cares? never heard of it.

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                  • #10
                    Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                    Originally posted by Signal30 View Post

                    Even better... if the notes are idiotic, you can figure that the contest might be, too. Which is probably why it isn't common practice.
                    Actually, the reason they don't include notes is because to hire qualified readers to write a page of notes on top of the hour or two it takes to read the script would be far too expensive. (Yeah, there are contests who use volunteers [or any warm body who'll work for less than minimum wage], but actual qualified, experienced readers won't work for peanuts, and the better contests know better than to use volunteers.)

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                    • #11
                      Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                      Originally posted by lordmanji View Post
                      i dont know about PAGE. how have people ever been helped by PAGE? i remember talking to this one lit manager and he was like who the heck cares? never heard of it.
                      Well, there's also the school of thought that anything but the Nicholl is essentially worthless. The only reason I mention PAGE is that it offers a little something extra in the game.

                      Originally posted by cyberian exile View Post
                      Actually, the reason they don't include notes is because to hire qualified readers to write a page of notes on top of the hour or two it takes to read the script would be far too expensive. (Yeah, there are contests who use volunteers [or any warm body who'll work for less than minimum wage], but actual qualified, experienced readers won't work for peanuts, and the better contests know better than to use volunteers.)
                      True... but the current paradigm is like tossing a script and $50 into the deep end and not even getting a ripple.

                      Even something like an email response with checklist -- a 1-to-10 scale that ranks premise, structure, characters, dialogue, and the whatnot -- would serve an invaluable function in the process. If a reader can't handle that, they aren't equipped to be a reader.

                      Otherwise, one's better served hitting the convenience store and buying fifty bucks worth of scratchers.
                      "Forget it, Jake. It's Hollywood."

                      My YouTube channel.

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                      • #12
                        Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                        I like the checklist idea. If I ever decide to start my own contest I would do something like that.

                        I've read for some contests, and to be honest I put a lot of emotional investment into it. It's very hard to make the final verdict and choose one script over another when it comes down to a small pile of "almost great" scripts, each of which has its own strengths and weaknesses. It's a decision that's kept me up at night more than once.

                        Even in the early rounds, each script I pick up, I think of that Yeats line, "I have spread my dreams under your feet...tread softly because you tread on my dreams." That's because I've been there, and I know how many sacrifices the writer must have made just to finish his script, how tedious the submission process is, how brave he had to be to send it out, how exciting and nerve-wracking it is to wait for the results. I know what it's like have a contest irrevocably change your life, and that couldn't have happened without every single one of the readers who took their jobs seriously and gave me a fair shot. And it weighs on me heavily when I get a script with true potential but with significant problems. I want to tell the writer with potential not to give up, to keep trying because someday they're probably going to get it right.

                        Unfortunately a simple "pass" doesn't distinguish between the writers with potential and the ones who have no hope of ever writing a decent script. The "promising" entrant doesn't know how much serious thought and emotional investment went into making that final judgment, and they usually don't have any idea how close they might have come to making the cut.

                        Of course I can only speak from personal experience...not all readers necessarily put as much of themselves into the judging process as I do, but the other readers I'm friends with have told me similar things.

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                        • #13
                          Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                          Any views on BlueCat? I did a seminar with Gordy Hoffman last April and I had just missed the deadline.

                          I had sent my first script out for coverage with Coverage, Ink (Jim Cirile of CreativeScreenwriting mag) and they automatically enter you into their contest. My first script placed in the 2007 semi-finals. This year...not so good, but with the full coverage at least I know why. Any thoughts on those competitions?
                          "All of us trying to be the camera behind the camera behind the camera. The last story in line. The Truth" Chuck Palahniuk - Haunted

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                          • #14
                            Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                            Thanks for the insights into judging, cyberian! Really interesting. Sounds like you put a lot of heart into it. I wonder if most other judges are so thoughtful?

                            Originally posted by lordmanji View Post
                            i dont know about PAGE. how have people ever been helped by PAGE? i remember talking to this one lit manager and he was like who the heck cares? never heard of it.
                            PAGE is only four or five years old, so maybe some managers who don't put stock in contests haven't heard of it yet. But actually, they have a surprisingly long list of writers who have gotten reps, been optioned, produced films, etc. on their website. I also like this contest because they offer feedback and award lots of prizes compared to others, and you're only competing with scripts in the same genre.

                            I've entered maybe a dozen contests over the past three years, and for whatever it's worth, my sense is that the most reputable and potentially beneficial ones are:

                            Nicholl
                            Austin
                            PAGE
                            Final Draft
                            Expo

                            Also, maybe:
                            Zoetrope
                            Slamdance
                            Script PIMP
                            ASA

                            And of course the Sundance, Warner and Disney/ABC fellowships are amazing.

                            IMO Scriptapalooza is iffy, at best. They get over 4000 entries and only give 3 prizes (unlike Page which has 31). Also, I met a Scriptapalooza grand prize winner at a party a few years ago who had nothing nice to say about them. Apparently the owner wanted to option this writer's script and was refusing to pay him his prize money unless he signed an option. I think the writer finally got his money after threatening to sue. Don't remember the whole story (too much beer that night), but I remember it was pretty ugly anyhow.

                            Personally, I haven't entered Bluecat because it gets very mixed reviews and a lot of people have had problems with it in the past, but some people really like it, so may be worth doing.

                            I never heard of Coverage, Ink. Some of the smaller contests may not necessarily be bad, and may be worth entering for the prize money, but I don't think they can do much for your career. And of course there are some to avoid at all costs. There are plenty of other threads about those.

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                            • #15
                              Re: My budget - $500. Which contests should I go after?

                              Besides the ones you said were obvious I'll add:

                              SILVER SCREENWRITING
                              TRACKINGB.COM
                              AUSTIN

                              The first two because if you do well they can lead to connections they have and Austin because it's very well respected.

                              But my feelings on contests haven't changed. You should enter them, but the real contest is getting your script sold. Getting a manager.

                              And plenty of people that win great contests don't do anything and the other people who do okay, go on to have great careers.

                              So use it as a method of getting yourself out there, but don't rely on it to break you in. And always make sure you have more than 1 script so if you do make it you are ready to pounce on the opportunity. Don't have that one great script and when they go "what else you got" you've got nothing.

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