When is the best time to enter a competition?

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  • When is the best time to enter a competition?

    Does anyone have any opinions on when would be the best time to enter a screenplay competition?

    Logically, it would seem like the later you enter, the fresher it would be in the judges' minds, but I would imagine that there's a huge rush right before the deadline where your work might get washed away in the flood of incoming screenplays and not get the proper attention that you would like.

    The earlier you enter, the more reads you may get but the more opinions you would get as well.

    What do you think?

  • #2
    Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

    it doesn't matter

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

      For most (all?) contests, I wouldn't think you'd get any more reads entering at one time than another. They have rules and guidelines set up about how many times a script gets read. Generally: A) you enter. B) Someone reads it and scores it (or does a Yes/No.) C) Then depending on the contest, maybe it goes to another reader-- sometimes this is at the same round, other times this is once you have moved to a new level. The Nicholl has their whole system explained on the website. Other contests might as well.

      Like the previous poster said, it doesn't matter. HOWEVER, if you're a worry-wart and try to psych it out, here's my 2 cents:

      I'd say that generally in the early days of contest reading, readers are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. That's good because they aren't jaded. On the other hand, it could be that the last script they read was some Oscar-winning classic and your script could be one of the ones that jades them.

      Enter in the middle and they've already read a bunch of okay scripts, some meh scripts, some good ones and some terrible ones. Yours will get a fair read.

      Enter in the end and there is a chance you'll get a reader who has read a heck of a lot of scripts and might sigh at the sight of yet another zombie script or whatever. But yours could be the diamond in the rough that gives them that re-charge they need.

      Readers strive to be as professional as possible and give the most fair read they can, no matter how many scripts they've read.

      Just enter it when it's ready. I'd avoid the opening day in January and the last possible hour before the ultra-late deadline.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

        On another board, Greg Beal of Nicholl Fellowship offered this answer to the question:

        We do various things -

        Scripts are assigned randomly in terms of arrival. All scripts are read at least twice but not in any particular order. For example, most but not all early submissions (by the March 7 Early Deadline) have been read once. After we build up enough once-read scripts, we begin mixing in second reads. But readers are never told whether they're reading a first or second read. That process will repeat itself at the upcoming Regular Deadline and then again at the May 2 Late Deadline.

        Throughout the reading period, we ask our readers to consider current scores in terms of those already awarded. Is this script better than that one read last month or two months ago? Where does this script fall in terms of all the scripts you've read?

        Then, after all the scripts have been read twice, we look at the best of the two scores for each entry and those scripts are read a third time. Thus, all third reads occur in a very short window at the end of the first round. Since it's best two of three scores to advance to the quarterfinals, having all the third reads occur essentially at once tends to reduce any early/late/middle bias that could have occurred.

        Finally, readers are not advancing single scripts into the third read process and then into the quarterfinals. On average, they're each sending 12-15 scripts into the third reads.

        Over the years, we have looked at submission dates and found that advancing and winning scripts have been entered early, middle and late in the process - as early as January and as late as the May 1 final deadline (this year May 2).

        Oddly, though, usually people suggest the opposite - that scripts entered late will fall through the cracks due to a furious rush to judgment. That doesn't happen either as we never face a reading crunch, having taken care to spread the reads out as evenly as possible over the months.

        As you note, waiting to begin reading until after the final deadline would push the results back a number of months. But it actually wouldn't work any better as script reading would still spill over many months and some scripts would still be read early and some late in the process.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

          Originally posted by MJG123 View Post
          Does anyone have any opinions on when would be the best time to enter a screenplay competition?

          Logically, it would seem like the later you enter, the fresher it would be in the judges' minds, but I would imagine that there's a huge rush right before the deadline where your work might get washed away in the flood of incoming screenplays and not get the proper attention that you would like.

          The earlier you enter, the more reads you may get but the more opinions you would get as well.

          What do you think?
          When it's the cheapest.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

            Originally posted by MJG123 View Post
            Logically, it would seem like the later you enter, the fresher it would be in the judges' minds.
            With great material, you don't forget how good it is.
            I'm never wrong. Reality is just stubborn.

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

              Well, I don't know how the timing couldn't influence how you feel. If I read 100 bad scripts, then a good one, maybe that later one stands out...or maybe, the reverse, I've read a ton of scripts and get more and more jaded, whereas earlier on I graded easier.

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                By the way, do you think these readers read these scripts all the way through? I read this long thread somewhere on this site where they were talking about a contest reader who bragged that she would give a script 5 pages, sometimes 3 before jumping to another script and docked points for things like title page presentation.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                  Originally posted by EdFury View Post
                  When it's the cheapest.
                  THIS, which is usually ***earlier,*** not later. And because...

                  Reader Fatigue (Duhn-duhn-duhn!!). The later you wait, the more *favorites* they have, and the more they skim

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                    Nicholl Fellowship (on their Facebook page) was asked what percentage of their winners came from early, regular and late entries.

                    Nicholl's response was:

                    In the four years the competition has had an early, regular, and late deadline, 8 out of 19 of the fellowship-winning submissions were submitted for the late deadline. 6/19 were submitted for the regular deadline, and 5/19 were submitted for the early deadline.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                      Originally posted by Friday View Post
                      By the way, do you think these readers read these scripts all the way through? I read this long thread somewhere on this site where they were talking about a contest reader who bragged that she would give a script 5 pages, sometimes 3 before jumping to another script and docked points for things like title page presentation.
                      I think that was from the contest Julie Gray used to run and the contest folded soon after the reader admitted that.

                      I've read for contests three times and most of the time, it's clear by page five or ten whether the script has a shot but in the interest of giving the thing a fair read, I'd push through quickly. Last time I read for a contest I asked to do half-hour original pilots because then when they're bad, it's only thirty pages of pain instead of 100+.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                        Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
                        I think that was from the contest Julie Gray used to run and the contest folded soon after the reader admitted that.

                        I've read for contests three times and most of the time, it's clear by page five or ten whether the script has a shot but in the interest of giving the thing a fair read, I'd push through quickly. Last time I read for a contest I asked to do half-hour original pilots because then when they're bad, it's only thirty pages of pain instead of 100+.
                        Yeah, I think it was the Silver competition. Which contests do you think are the ones that would actually move the needle for a writer?

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                          Originally posted by Friday View Post
                          Yeah, I think it was the Silver competition. Which contests do you think are the ones that would actually move the needle for a writer?
                          Of course, the Nicholl is the best. Austin is great. Those two contests can move the needle for sure if you win or are even a finalist.

                          I read TV pilots for Austin and features for Zoetrope. Zoetrope doesn't really get you anything except some cash if you win.

                          I don't really know about other contests right now. I haven't been entering.

                          Somebody posted a good list recently. I think it was GirlinGrey?
                          Last edited by lostfootage; 04-28-2017, 08:23 PM. Reason: Spelling

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                            Originally posted by lostfootage View Post
                            Of course, the Nicholl is the best. Austin is great. Those two contests can move the needle for sure if you win or are even a finalist.

                            I read TV pilots for Austin and features for Zoetrope. Zoetrope doesn't really get you anything except some cash if you win.

                            I don't really know about other contests right now. I haven't been entering.

                            Somebody posted a good list recently. I think it was GirlinGrey?
                            Thanks. What do you usually look for when you're reading for Austin? How do you grade the scripts you get? Does Austin have specific criteria they ask readers to look for?

                            I didn't see the GirlinGrey list...is that on this thread? I've never entered a contest, so I am only starting to read up on them. They seem intriguing, considering how some A list writers have launched their careers from them.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: When is the best time to enter a competition?

                              Friday, here's the link for the GirlinGray post:

                              http://messageboard.donedealpro.com/...ad.php?t=82156

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