Screenwriting Competitions

Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest

Entry Fee: $45-75

Deadlines: Closed

Last year, 2019 grand prize winner Steve Anthopoulos told MovieMaker that his experience with this contest “was a dream come true.”

“They flew me to L.A., connected me with a coach, took me to meetings with managers, producers and agents. I ended up signing with one of the managers they connected me with,” he explained. His apocalyptic coming-of age spec, My Summer in the Human Resistance, scored him a manager at 3 Arts Entertainment, in addition to $10,000, a new iPad, admission to a Robert McKee Story Seminar, and a script consultation with Script Pipeline’s director of development for industry circulation. Although entrants do not receive coverage or feedback on their script, at least there are a total of 11 writers chosen, between the film and TV categories, and they net $1,000 each, plus the New York Film Academy Fellowship — a 12-week master class in which writers receive individualized instruction and mentoring. They then go on to meet with a mentor once a month for the remainder of the calendar year for further guidance in script and career development.

Since the contest is sponsored by the industry standard for screenwriting software, it has plenty of name recognition.

Humanitas New Voices

Entry Fee: $65-85

Deadlines: March 1 – May 17

Humanitas New Voices’ mentor Alan Ball’s Uncle Frank was released in 2020. Courtesy of Amazon Studios

Up to six writers are selected each year for this incredible opportunity through writing samples and personal interviews.

They’re awarded a $7,500 grant and, more importantly, are connected with an industry mentor who will help them develop the script for three months. Then, Humanitas will send each script to a partnering studio or network executive at ABC, CBS, HBO, NBC, Amazon Studios, Sony, Lionsgate, Warner Bros. or FX. Past mentors have included Alan Ball (Uncle Frank, True Blood), Bill Lawrence (Scrubs), Felicia D. Henderson (The Punisher, Empire), Vanessa Taylor (The Shape of Water) and many more A-list names in writing and producing. Humanitas readers are looking for scripts that “challenge us to use our freedom to grow and develop, confront us with our individual responsibility, and examine the consequences of our choices.”

Also read: What Screenwriting Competitions Want

2018 winner Charlie Kelly, mentored by Family Guy executive producer David Zuckerman, has since been hired by Warner Bros. to write a feature film, and sold the TV pilot he was developing with Humanitas to Legendary Entertainment.

Launch Pad

Entry Fee: $65-95

Deadlines: April 30 – July 23

Launch Pad has been focused on launching careers since its founding by The Tracking Board in 2009. It says that over 300 writers got their start here, and it’s easy to see why. The organization advocates for its top 100 finalists, sharing those projects with an extensive industry network, and is one of the few screenwriting competitions to offer some guarantees. A minimum of one script will receive an option deal, while at least one writer will be signed by representation, and at least three writers will be selected by industry mentors to enter the 2021 Launch Pad Feature Mentorship Program. Three grand prize winners are invited to an exclusive industry party, and then their projects are showcased individually to industry professionals who are specifically on the hunt for new clients, new projects and new writers.

According to Launch Pad: “We specifically curate a meeting list for each winner based on their individual material, and what you, the writer, want to achieve now and in your career overall.”

Plus, iconic director Ridley Scott gave this testimonial: “Writers are an integral part of my team and without them I would not be able to do my job, so to be able to work with Launch Pad and provide a new and innovative way for them to get their work out in the world is truly exciting.”

John Wikstrom, a three-time Launch Pad Finalist, made The Black List in 2018 with his project AMA (Ask Me Anything). In 2019, it was announced Zelda Williams (the daughter of comedy icon Robin Williams), would be directing it for Assemble Media.

PAGE International Screenwriting Awards

Entry Fee: $45-75

Deadlines: Closed

This competition has been around since 2003, touting 192 optioned scripts, 189 writers signed, 151 writers hired and 145 projects produced.

What’s particularly remarkable about this contest is its huge grand prize — $25,000, plus a trip to Italy to attend the Nostos Screenwriting Retreat. First, second and third-place winners in each genre category receive $1,000, $500 and $250, respectively. Unfortunately, feedback on your script costs an extra $95. However, the feedback consists of six to seven pages of in-depth analysis.

Steven Canals is a PAGE alum who recently hit the big time, co-creating Emmy-nominated drama Pose with Ryan Murphy and Brad Falchuk.

All winners get access to a few helpful screenwriter services and resources, like InkTip, which will send loglines to a network of over 15,000 producers, agents, and managers. Roadmap Writers provides winners a private consultation with an industry executive to review their first 15 pages, plus 15-minute calls on story notes.

Continue for more of MovieMaker‘s 15 Submission-Worthy Screenwriting Competitions of 2021

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