Looking for just the right screenwriting competition to display your skills? If so, then Scriptapalooza might be what you’re looking for. Now in its 11th year, Scriptapalooza is currently accepting submissions for its annual screenwriting competition. A $10,000 prize will be awarded to the winning screenplay, and both finalists and semi-finalists will receive a full year of promotion for their work. To date, more than 80 screenplays have been optioned or bought from Scriptapalooza.
Sound too good to be true? MM went straight to the source—Scriptapalooza’s president/co-founder Mark Andrushko—to find out more about this highly-regarded competition’s secrets to success.
Kyle Rupprecht (MM): What inspired you to start Scriptapalooza?
Mark Andrushko (MA): Being in Hollywood and seeing so many screenplay competitions in 1998 and really none of them helped or guided writers and actually mentioned on their Website who reads all the material. I wanted to change that, so first thing Scriptapalooza did was we started naming the people who read every script that came in… Since all the reading is done by producers, managers and agents, we started listing the company, the person’s name and their title. I think that kind of changed everything in the screenwriting competition world.
MM: What else makes Scriptapalooza stand out from other screenwriting competitions?
MA: Well, first all the reading is done by more than 90 producers, managers and agents. We are the only screenplay competition in the world that is supported by The Writers Guild of America west, The Writers Guild of Canada and Robert McKee, author of Story. All three recognize our value of cultivating new talent.
Also, what’s unique about Scriptapalooza is that if your script makes semifinalist or higher, we will represent/pitch your script for an entire year. So, if you win first or you’re a semi, you get the same treatment.
MM: Who judges the screenplays?
MA: All the entries are split up between 90 producers, managers and agents. Everything that comes in, goes first to them, I know other screenplay competitions use readers (regular people), but that’s pointless; a reader cannot do anything with your script. We go right to the source—a producer, a manager, an agent. These are the people who can option your script, get you a meeting, take it to the studio or outright buy it.
All the evaluating is done by the producers, managers and agents. After they are done reading all the entries, they give Scriptapalooza the “best of the best” and then Scriptapalooza starts reading and decides who wins and so forth.
MM: What have some of the previous Scriptapalooza winners gone on to do?
MA: We have so many success stories, they are all listed on our Website. But here are a few…
Craig Clyde got his movie, The Family Holiday, made through Lifetime; Rodney Johnson got his movie, Queen Sized, made through Lifetime also; Patrick Andrew O’Connor just finished his movie in Vancouver called The Break-Up Artist; and John Muscarnero just wrapped his horror film, Dark Woods.
MM: What’s the best piece of advice you can offer aspiring screenwriters?
MA: Scriptapalooza is so competitive, that you really need to send us your best material.
MM: The current call for entries is your 11th; what’s the secret to Scriptapalooza’s success?
MA: The bottom line is that we care. We answer all phone calls and e-mails; we pitch scripts to producers, we get people agents, we get writers interviews in newspapers… the list goes on and on. I think after 11 years in this business we have proven that we can open doors for screenwriters.
For more information, visit www.scriptapalooza.com.