Final Draft/Big Break contest

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  • Final Draft/Big Break contest

    The deadline for this one is coming up -- June 1st. This contest gets mixed reviews over on moviebytes.com, with some people saying they don't give notifications, among other things. The few reviews I could find in the archives here seem positive, however.

    Is there anyone who has entered in recent years who can comment on whether this contest was a good or bad experience?

  • #2
    Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

    I think a lot of the negative reviews happen because final draft cuts straight to the top 20 for their semi-finals. So, you have about 3000 writers every year that don't get recognition.

    I took second last year and I found them to be a well run contest. They fulfilled every promise they made, I've gotten great exposure and more importantly I became a better writer through the contacts I made.

    Being sponsored by the #1 software company for screenwriters doesn't hurt either.

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    • #3
      Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

      Thanks for that reply, polar -- and congrats. If I may be so crass, did they pay the $4,000 in cash that they promise for 2nd place? (the reason I ask is they say "$4,000 total cash plus finalist prizes" which is strange wording -- makes it sound as if you don't really get $4,000 in cash, but $4,000 in total value of all prizes). And the airfare and 3-day stay in LA, was that part of the Cinestory package?
      winter dreams
      Member
      Last edited by winter dreams; 05-21-2009, 12:55 PM. Reason: clarification

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      • #4
        Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

        IMO, not worth it. There not being a QF round is like flushing your money down the tubes. Congrats to the dude above who placed 2d, but you certainly can't count on that with reader variability, etc. Enter other contests that will at least allow you to get a QF "placement" that you can use in a query.

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        • #5
          Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

          I agree. I'll never enter it again. I entered twice before, and heard absolutely nothing until they listed the top 10 or 20 on their website. Which at time time I think was their "Finalists" list.


          In contests, the ones who provide for some kind of transparancy in how they operate are the one's I give the most respect for. When a contest just posts a list of finalists, you have no idea how many times the screenplays are read. Who the judges are. And a host of other things.


          For all you know, each screenplay was read once. Which is no way to determine how good a screenplay is. And that was my impression of Final Draft.

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          • #6
            Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

            Good point, plotpoint, but it also leads to the question: would a quarterfinal placement in this contest be worth putting in a query? I know a quarterfinal in the Nicholl is worthy of mention, not so sure that other contests matter enough to make a difference in an agent/manager/exec's eye.

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            • #7
              Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

              Agreed that a QF is not exactly something that will excite people to request your script. But if it is part of a good logline, a good overall query, and the right contest (not any ole contest), it could POSSIBLY help. I guess my point is that having the option to include such info or not is better than having no info at all to include, which is the likely result with a FD submission. Basically, if you have entered Nichols, you have a better chance at a QF slot than placing anywhere in FD. And the former is probably as attractive in the query as the latter. Until FD and other contests change their ridiculous cut-offs, I think they are not the best use of your time and fortune.

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              • #8
                Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

                Yes, they paid the 4,000 cash and included the prizes as well.

                I honestly think that a Nicholl QF is the only one that'll get anyone's attention in query. I know a 2nd round from Austin won't and that's like top 12%.

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                • #9
                  Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

                  I'll tell you that CineStory is a wonderful thing. Humbling as hell but really enlightening.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

                    Unless it's a query to a really small-time producer, I wouldn't put a QF placement in a query letter (except for a Nicholl QF). It won't help, and might hurt. A lot of these contests have something like 25% (or more) of their entries making the QF cut. Mentioning it is kind of damning yourself with faint praise.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

                      Originally posted by polarpunk View Post
                      I'll tell you that CineStory is a wonderful thing. Humbling as hell but really enlightening.
                      If you have time, can you post some details? I'm curious what happens there. Is it like a writers' workshop environment, or more of a one-on-one thing...?

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                      • #12
                        Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

                        Originally posted by cyberian exile View Post
                        Unless it's a query to a really small-time producer, I wouldn't put a QF placement in a query letter (except for a Nicholl QF). It won't help, and might hurt. A lot of these contests have something like 25% (or more) of their entries making the QF cut. Mentioning it is kind of damning yourself with faint praise.
                        This is a good point worth repeating. Especially when you're talking about the myriad no-name contests attracting a field of mostly very green writers.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Final Draft/Big Break contest

                          Originally posted by cyberian exile View Post
                          If you have time, can you post some details? I'm curious what happens there. Is it like a writers' workshop environment, or more of a one-on-one thing...?
                          Okay, so basically it's a retreat to this little town in the mountains called Idyllwild. It's about two hours south of L.A. Agents, Managers, Producers and Writers from the industry come up and do a series of workshops and informal Q&A's. Each participant gets four 1.5 hour one on one sessions with four industry mentors that are best suited for the individual. You submit one or two projects that the mentors will read and coach you on. Room and board is covered and provided by several Inn's and restaurants around town. Some of the best drunken conversations of my life.

                          I think the retreat is only open to semi-finalist from the CineStory contest and FD winners but I'm not sure about that.

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