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Screenwriting contests allow you to get exposure for your work, and you get to see what judges are looking for. But, before you start randomly entering every contest in sight, you need to distinguish between the genuine and the scams. And, there are a ton of scams out there. So, to get you started, here are the top 10 screenwriting contests to enter.
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Golden Brad Awards and AAA Screenplay Contest
The Movie Script Contest: The Golden Brad Awards offers writers the chance to enter either a feature or short script, and prizes are announced in the fall. Winning scripts will then be distributed to Hollywood producers and agents. There is a fee to enter the contest, and the fee increases the nearer to the deadline that you get. Categories range from drama to horror/science fiction to comedy.
The AAA Screenplay Contest is administered by Creative Screenwriting. Winners receive cash prizes, including $10,000 for first place, and they also receive the opportunity to send their scripts to over 300 companies and pitch their screenplays to production companies. The contest occurs in the spring with winners announced in the fall.
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Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards and Nicholl Fellowships
Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards offers five prizes ranging from $1,000 for honorable mention to $15,000 for first prize. The deadline for entering this contest is in the summer. There is no fee to enter the contest, and many of the best-known names in Hollywood act as judges.
The Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is administered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Five fellowships of $30,000 are given out to screenwriters who have never earned more than $5,000 for writing a script for either film or television. There is a fee to enter this competition.
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Zoetrope Screenplay Contest and Austin Film Festival
The Zoetrope Screenplay Contest is administered by Francis Ford Coppola Presents, which is the director’s motion picture company. The deadline for this contest is September with winners and finalist being announced in February. There is a fee to enter this contest, and applicants should not have earned more than $5,000 for a screenplay in the past. Winners receive cash prizes and exposure.
The Austin Film Festival has a screenwriting contest, which is open for feature screenplays in either the comedy and drama categories. Winners will receive a cash prize, and there is a fee to enter. The deadline to enter this contest is in the spring.
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Slamdance Film Festival and Nantucket Film Festival
The Slamdance Film Festival has a screenwriting contest with winners receiving cash prizes. The deadline for this contest is in the spring, and there is a fee to enter the contest. Screenplays can be about any topic and fall within any genre. Categories are as follows: feature, short, horror, script accessible and teleplay.
The Nantucket Film Festival and Screenplay Competition allows writers the opportunity to gain exposure for their work, and they also receive a cash award. A few writers will also be selected to work with industry mentors. There is a fee to enter this competition, and the deadline to enter is in the spring.
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Big Break and Disney/ABC Fellowship
The Big Break competition is hosted by Final Draft, and the deadline for entries is the spring. Winners receive cash awards, with first prize receiving $15,000. Judges for the competition are industry leaders. There is a fee to enter this competition.
Finally, the Disney/ABC Television Group offers winning writers a $50,000 fellowship, where they will work on location at either studio or network sites. The deadline for submissions is July.