6 Best Screenwriting Contests.

To supercharge your career in 2023.

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by Script Reader Pro in Best Screenwriting Contests
February 8, 2022 131 comments
best screenwriting contests

Best screenwriting contests to supercharge your career in 2023.

Many screenwriters got their big breaks from winning one of the best screenwriting contests. But there are so many out there it can be hard to know which are duds and which might kick-start your career.

Not all screenplay contests are created equal. From what we’ve seen over the years, there are actually very few that are worth mentioning in a query letter. Or that can open any doors.

Rather than spending a small fortune sending your screenplay off to a dozen competitions, do some thorough research and be super-selective on which ones you enter.

Below you’ll find the top ten, very best screenwriting contests in 2023 we believe can actually advance your career.

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Best screenwriting contests #1: Nicholl Fellowship. 

Generally regarded as one of the top three best screenwriting contests in the world. Up to five writers each win $35,000 fellowships from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Be warned: it does seem to favor drama. Place highly in the Nicholl, though, and be prepared to buy a new cell phone after your old one melts from all the industry heat.

Deadlines and entry fees.

Early: March 2, 2022 ($50 entry fee)

Regular: April 2, 2022 ($65 entry fee)

Late: May 2, 2022 ($90 entry fee)

Contest prizes.

Up to five $35,000 fellowships are awarded each year to promising new screenwriters.

From the program’s inception in 1986, $4.265 million has been awarded to 166 writers.

Check out the Nicholl Fellowship >>

Best screenwriting contests #2: Austin Screenwriting Competition. 

This screenwriting contest continues to open doors by creating a networking system for new writers to further their career within the industry.

Industry professionals recognize the Austin Film Festival as one of the best screenplay contests in 2023, with representatives from agencies and production companies participating in the judging process.

Past judges include Focus Features, Lightstorm Entertainment, CAA and more.

Deadlines and entry fees. 

Features, Teleplay and Shorts

Early: March 25, 2022 ($50 entry fee)

Regular: April 18, 2022 ($65 entry fee)

Late: May 16, 2022 ($80 entry fee)

Contest prizes.

Cash prizes of $2,500 (Narrative Feature, Documentary Feature), $1,000 (Narrative Short, Dark Matters Feature, Comedy Vanguard Feature), $500 (Narrative Student Short, Animated Short, Documentary Short

Reimbursement (up to $500) of round-trip airfare to attend AFF>

Reimbursement of hotel accommodations at an AFF hotel (up to $500)

AFF Typewriter Award

The winning films in the Narrative Short, Documentary Short, and Animated Short categories are eligible to be nominated for an Academy Award.

Check out the Austin Film Festival >>

Best screenwriting contests #3: ScreenCraft Screenplay Contest. 

What makes ScreenCraft one of the best screenwriting talent-discovery organizations around is the fact that entrants have a wide range of genre-specific competitions to choose from when submitting their script.

These include action/adventure, drama, comedy, horror, family-friendly and more. This means the prizes and readers are much more focused and in tune with the writers’ sensibilities, and each Hollywood jury is tailored to the genre.

The annual ScreenCraft Screenwriting Fellowship accepts feature film screenplays and TV pilots. It’s an effective program at launching careers of emerging screenwriters.

Past winners have gone on to sign with agents at CAA, WME and UTA write for Netflix, Blumhouse, CBS and Millennium Entertainment. Winners and finalists of ScreenCraft’s competitions have come from all over the world.

Deadlines and Entry Fees

Rotating throughout the year. Click the link for full information.

Contest Prizes

Each ScreenCraft genre-specific contest is unique, but all of them feature cash prizes and career-launching introductions to entertainment industry professionals.

Check out ScreenCraft’s many screenplay competitions here >>

best screenwriting contests

Best screenwriting contests #4: Slamdance Screenplay Competition.

This is one of the best screenplay contests around as it has a history of highlighting talented, independent screenwriters and introducing them to the industry.

The Slamdance screenplay competition consists of four categories—feature, horror, short and teleplay/webisode.

The top three scripts in the first two categories receive passes to the Slamdance Film Festival, $2,500 in legal services and membership to the WGA’s Independent Writers Caucus.

Deadlines and entry fees.

Early: April 4, 2022 ($57)

Regular: June 6, 2022 ($67)

Late: July 18, 2022 ($82)

Final: July 26, 2022 ($87)

Contest prizes.

A total of cash prizes of $16,000

Grand Prize winner will receive $8,000 in cash

Winners of the Feature, Horror, TV Pilot and Short categories will receive $2,000 in cash, each

Check out the Slamdance screenplay competition >>

Best screenwriting contests #5: BlueCat Screenplay Competition.

This is one of the best screenwriting competitions to enter if you’re an international screenwriter looking to break into the film industry. The Grand Prize Winner will receive $5,000.

Winners of the BlueCat screenplay competition have gone on to start careers in the industry having been signed by a talent agency, sold their scripts or won major film festival awards.

Deadlines and entry fees.

Early Deadline: September 12, 2022 ($50 entry fee)

Regular Deadline: September 18th, 2022. Feature $85, Pilot $80, Short $70

Final Deadline: October 30th, 2022. Feature Screenplay $90, Pilot $85, Short $75

Late Deadline: December 11th, 2022. Feature $95, Pilot $90, Short $80

Contest prizes. 

 Grand Prize Winner: $7500 (all feature, TV, short scripts submitted are eligible)

 Feature Screenplay Winner: $3,000

 TV Pilot Script Winner: $3,000

 Short Script Winner: $3,000

The Fellini Award: $2000 (awarded to the Best Screenplay from any category of the 2023 Competition written by a screenwriter residing outside the USA)

Check out the BlueCat screenplay competition >>

Best scriptwriting contests #6: Cinestory Foundation Fellowship. 

Cinestory is a script writing competition with an outstanding track record in launching screenwriters’ careers. Top scripts are requested by companies such as Paradigm, The Lisa Callamaro Agency, Energy Entertainment and many more.

Finalists’ prizes include cash but, probably more importantly, a one-year fellowship and screenwriting retreat in which they’re paired with a Hollywood professional to mentor their career.

Deadlines and entry fees.

Feature Retreat:

Regular Deadline: March 6, 2022 ($69 entry fee)

Late Deadline: April 3, 2022 ($81 entry fee)

Extended Late Deadline: May 1, 2022 ($88 entry fee)

Contest prizes.

Cash prize of $10,000

12-month fellowship program with two industry mentors ($9000 value)

At the retreat, three 90-minute one-on-one sessions with working Hollywood agents, managers, producers, development executives and other pros to discuss the writer’s work and career strategy.

Check out the CineStory Foundation script contest >> 

Honorable mentions. 

This post has focused on the top ten very best screenplay competitions you should enter. However, there are a few other screenwriting competitions that are worth checking out:

Finish Line Script Competition

Nantucket Film Festival


New Media Film Festival

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Something to remember before entering screenwriting contests…

Perhaps one of the biggest mistakes aspiring screenwriters make is sending their work to screenwriting contests, agents and managers when it’s not yet ready.

As you’ve probably heard before, you only get one shot at this, so make sure your screenplay is in the best shape it can be before you enter it into one of these best screenwriting contests.

Once it’s been rejected it’s too late, so check out our script coverage services and help us give your script the best possible chance of placing highly in a screenwriting competition.


We hope this review of the best screenwriting competitions out there has helped.

best screenwriting contests

Liked this post? Read more on the best screenwriting contests and how to break into the industry…

How to Become a Screenwriter: A Pro’s Guide to Unlocking Your Career

Screenplay Submissions 101: How to Submit a Screenplay Like a Pro

How to Sell a Screenplay: 6 Most Popular Ways New Writers Make a Sale

[© Photo credits: Unsplash]

  1. Victor Cruz says:

    Thank you for providing valuable insights and resources on screenwriting contests. Aspiring screenwriters are always seeking opportunities to showcase their talents and gain recognition within the industry, and your article offers valuable guidance in navigating the world of screenwriting competitions.

    Screenwriting contests serve as a platform for emerging writers to have their scripts evaluated, receive feedback, and potentially open doors to new opportunities. Your article provides a comprehensive list of reputable contests, highlighting their features, submission requirements, and benefits.

    By sharing this information, you empower aspiring screenwriters to make informed decisions about which contests align with their goals and offer the most suitable opportunities for their work. Your article serves as a valuable resource, saving writers time and effort in researching and identifying appropriate contests to enter.

    I appreciate Script Reader Pro for emphasizing the importance of thorough preparation, thoughtful submission strategies, and leveraging the feedback received from contests. These insights contribute to the growth and development of aspiring screenwriters, helping them refine their craft and improve their chances of success.

    I encourage aspiring screenwriters to explore the screenwriting contests you’ve highlighted and consider entering those that align with their goals and aspirations. These contests not only provide opportunities for recognition but also allow writers to connect with industry professionals and gain valuable exposure.

    If any readers have participated in screenwriting contests or have insights to share about their experiences with these competitions, I would love to hear from them. Let’s continue to support and celebrate the incredible talents of screenwriters and the opportunities provided by these contests.

  2. Steve D says:

    Really enjoy your website and regular emails! I just received coverage from the BlueCat Screenplay contest. Very disappointing. The “What did you like about this script” feedback was complete boilerplate. The only reference to my screenplay was the year it took place, and the reader got it wrong. I was hoping for some solid constructive feedback, but it felt like the reader skimmed the first act and found the necessary ‘the hook’ for me resubmit and spend more money. BlueCat just feels like a scam. Not sure you should recommend.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hey Steve, we recommend Blue Cat as a contest but not their script coverage services. Most coverage you get from contests are like this as what you’re really paying for is to enter the contest. If you’re still looking for some proper feedback on your script we have a range of script coverage services that can help.

  3. Maryparanai says:

    Am sarasaratoi I have same script more than more but In Kenya I don’t have enough people to play how can sell my script on amazon

  4. Lacey H says:

    Thank you for the information you have posted I’m just starting out in my path to becoming a screenwriter. I need to build up a portfolio when applying for UCLA or the Los Angeles film school I hope I get accepted into the screenwriters program. And entering a few contests will give me some much needed feedback that will help me perfect my skills further.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sounds like a plan – best of luck with your writing, Lacey!

  5. Drone Catacher says:


    logline:We are living in the country side that there are power holders,money holders and cash followers who they are taking natural resources ,controlling freedom,no fair ,putting justice in their mouths and then they are thinking that they own its but they are own of that or not?WHO KNOW!

    synopsis:There is a man who called Drone living in remote area.He is fighting and keeping for justice, freedoom, fair ,none corupption and covering natural resources in his region because there are power control , money holders and cash followers who are destroying not only his region but also all around the world. and then they are thinking that they are own of everything. Drone want to escape from their hand but it is not easy for him because he is not only poor but also fight alone for his region. There are other peoples who also know the true and right but they are afraid of power controller,money holders and cash followers because their can giving to them dangerous and not easy live if they were again to them but Drone want to get back their resources from them. Realitly, drone and his peoples are living in that region for long time but they are still losing their resources from their region.They are thinking that they are own of our resources but we are knowing that they are not own of our resources. There is a question that WHO OWN of these resources!

    (Note:Sadly ,after leaving from KENG KHAM REGION, YAT SAUK CITY ,SOUTHERN SHAN STATE, MYANMAR.I am poor by money and i can not effort for money in this moment.So that i can not try for paying when you offer for something but i am thank you for your reply.I am in trouble situation and then losing every things i own but I am trying my best for everything and they are blinding of this big bad cases. “One day, it will be coming for………………………!)

    Best regared!

    Master Mike or Drone Catacher(Myanmar).

  6. Wes Norton says:

    I’ve heard a lot about format. Now, exactly what is the Hollywood acceptable format. I’ve got several produced screenplays/scripts that I’ve worked on as an actor and each one is different. Mine are written as a shooting script with all cuts and camera angles in place as a director might. No doubts. I believe this saves time which saves money. Probably the only I’ll get them made is to raise the money myself. Oh well. I’ve got letters out to Screenplay Mangers. We’ll see.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hi Wes – we have a blog category on formatting that you can check out here. If you’re writing a script for the spec market then you’ll want to format is as a spec not a shooting script, but it’s explained in the posts.

  7. Vincent says:

    Because of Nicholl’s pro-drama bias, I have no interest in that competition despite its obvious and substantial prestige. Comedy is the only genre I write.

  8. Ash says:

    Is the Raindance Script competition any good

  9. Bárbara says:

    And what about TSL Free Screenplay Contest?
    Is this a good one?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      We’re not familiar with it but let us know what you think of it if you decide to enter 🙂

  10. ISA entrant says:

    Hey, Just a word of warning about ISA-run screenplay competitions. They publshed my early draft screenplay on the Internet via a public link. It is an early draft, and also includes ersonal information (address, phone number etc.)
    I tried emailing them but they didn’t seem to get the concern – saying a unique URL makes it secure. It doesn’t.

  11. Jay says:

    I find alot of these comments to be discouraging. I have been writing scripts/screenplays as a hobby for decades but have never submitted any of them to contests such as these. I assumed they were all just out to collect the entry fees, leaving us writers with no hope of actually getting noticed. I have to admit that after reading some of these comments, I feel even more skeptical. I tried on several occasions to submit one of my scripts to NBC Universal directly, but they don’t accept unsolicited material. Most, if not all, production companies will not accept unsolicited scripts. Unsolicited basically means that if you don’t have a literary agent or know someone in the business, they aren’t going to accept anything from you.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Don’t be discouraged by reading other people’s comments, Jay. If these contests were just out for aspiring writers’ money we wouldn’t have promoted them on the site 🙂

  12. William Whiteford says:

    The great advice – Thanks!

    I have never contacted American judges.
    Are they pompous like British publishers?

  13. Glenn says:

    Don’t waste your time on contests. I’ve placed in the Top Ten of various contests many times, but it doesn’t really help your career. It’s good for your ego and it’s reassuring, that’s about all that comes if it. It’s actually smarter to make short films to give producers something to see. Just my opinion.

  14. Marco Ruggio says:

    Screenwriting Competition Rules For Writers:

    1. Only accept and incorporate suggestions YOU agree with and
    personally inspire your inner- most positive creativity.

    2. Never attempt to get an “A” from any judge. They may not be qualified to judge material simply because they are assigned to judge material. They could send you into an inescapable convolution by having you chase rules they hallucinate as absolute. They may not verifiably qualify as insightful nor true writing career “gatekeepers.”

    3. Only incorporate suggestions or believe judges who not only have produced and actualized INSPIRED material ON A SCREEN, but whose work YOU personally admire. Otherwise, what’s the point? I’ve seen many screenplay judges and “professors” who haven’t ever made a film or who couldn’t make film worth sitting through. Also research if the judges ever awarded screenplays that have actually been materialized into decent movies. Who? How many? What quality?

    4. Only implement suggestions by those who sincerely love and truly “get” your idea. Many don’t. They miss it. Many believe they’re “experts.” They’re not. You need to be INSPIRED and propelled forward. Creativity should be fun. It’s not the principal’s office.

    5. Only consider major changes that are specific and have been suggested by more that two different and objective sources who LIKE your your work and are objectively qualified.
    Professional readers will always take the safer path of rejection.

    Trust me… I have been a professional film editor for years. I have made and directed movies and won several festival Awards.

    One of my screenplays has been awarded 5 Wins, 3 Finalist, 2 semifinalist, and 3 official selection status. Many, many rejections.

    Which judges are “correct?”
    It’s all opinion and most of the time personal preference. Remember: If you took Tarantino’s name off most of his screenplays and submitted them to festival judges, 98% of them would throw his projects in the trash.

    6. You need to find that special person… Otherwise… you’re just might be on a real shitty date.

    1. Namugenyi Sharifah says:

      What are the logistics and criteria of judging a script before I blunder?

    2. Steve says:

      I am a retired performer with several hundred TV credits and a few dozen feature films. I obtained a “difficult” label as I was always rewriting my lousy dialogue in some of the more mediocre projects… And believe me, there are MANY crappy projects that are green-lit. I began screenwriting almost 30 years ago. My first one was cast, bonded, storyboarded, scouted and ready to go in 1994. Then the production company suddenly folded. I had spent two years of my life on the project. I became disgusted and just let all of my screenplays sit, until the pandemic came along, then dug them up and rewrote them. Submitting today only takes a few mouse clicks, whereas years ago it was a HUGE pain to print, bind, mail, etc. Since May of 2021, three of my works have won more than 25 awards, including wins, finalists, etc. However, I learned as a performer that screenwriting is like doing a painting until someone takes away your brushes… it never ends until the scene is shot. I can’t count the times rewrites were slid under my dressing room door moments before the scene was to be shot! That being said, I have resisted entering competitions that take six months to get results, because by then, I have rewritten/improved the work several times over. I think the only real benefit of many competitions is the little laurels that I now have displayed prominently on my title page, as at present, there are no studios or agents knocking down my door. But now, at least the “reader” knows they better pay attention. Many of them are truly incompetent and some give lower scores just to get you to pay for more scrutiny. ANY screenplay can be improved, regardless of the author. My current direction is to win a few more competitions and then submit to the ‘biggies’ with lots of accolades so maybe, just maybe, they will take a closer look at the material. Remember, readers read and writers create. Good luck writers!

      1. Michael says:

        Love all these comments. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve done AFF at least four times. It now gets over 14,000 scripts per year. I heard that the readers DO NOT get paid! I think this is wrong. I attended AFF in 2016. A few workshops were good, but overall it wasn’t worth the money. I did my best to network, but there never was any guide on where to meet people. I have used AFF for coverage, and I found it was very good until recently. The last script I sent them, the coverage I got read like a film thesis. It was obvious the reader didn’t like or respond to the script. It was a rewrite of an earlier script I’d sent in which got a recommend. This was the second script I ever wrote too. Readers and judges see your work in different ways. How many of them ever wrote a script, won an award, have an agent etc? I would not waste money entering contests anymore. Spend your money on coverage, it can give you more long term value if you’re lucky. Read these books: Your Screenplay Sucks by William Akers, The Starter Screenplay by Adam Levenberg. He does coverage,not cheap, cost me 275.00 five years ago. He will talk with you on the phone, but he is all business, curt, and brief. He will not engage in chit chat. His remarks can be brutal. Don’t see him unless you’re really ready to be mauled. He is also a top reader in the business, so he knows what the industry wants. Most readers don’t. Good luck.

  15. Wheezy says:

    Heads up Launch Pad doesn’t introduce the top ten to anyone as stated. It’s only the top three who get intros. Was top ten last year. They do send you an email with the names of people who read your script a few months after the contest if you ask a few times but that is the only follow up I personally experienced.

  16. Phoebe says:

    Hello, great blog. Thanks for sharing this invaluable info. What do you think about Script pipeline?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for the feedback, Phoebe!

  17. Andrew J. Viera says:

    You guys are amazing! Your site is, by leaps and bounds, the best resource for screenwriters who need insight into the inner workings of the industry. I have been living in Los Angeles for nineteen years, toiling in myriad facets of the business from extras casting to being a production assistant on several Disney TV shows to video editing for a tech company, not to mention years spent with friends writing, directing and acting in our own projects and yet I felt entirely lost in what to do with my writing, as if I didn’t know a thing about the industry I have essentially been working for for the past two decades. Your site has provided an incredible resource for all things a screenwriter could possibly need to know between your listing of 50 great screenplays to the best contests to enter to manager contact info…I am so thoroughly impressed. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I’m just getting back to writing and this site is just what I needed to life my spirits and my confidence. I’ve already ordered three of the books you recommend for screenwriters to read and I can’t wait to incorporate the wonderful information and advice you’ve provided for FREE!!! Craziness!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks so much for the feedback, Andrew – really appreciate it. Keep your spirits up 🙂

  18. King OK says:

    Can some one throw some light on the Lose Angeles international screenplay awards. Any push?

  19. Frederick Brian Philander says:

    I will definitely contact these screenwriting contests asap.i think i have quality African feature script in genres such as adventure, drama, political thrillers, love stories etc. Frederick B Philander. Namibia

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sounds good, best of luck, Frederick!

  20. A NICHOLAS says:

    Thanks for maintaining this link/list. However, as someone seeking to self-produce an original screenplay outside of LA, what I really want to do is rank competitions by their CASH prizes. Though the mentorships and contacts are great, some on the “best screenplay comps list” have small money awards for large entry fees, so I’m wondering if you have created a ranked list to screenplay competitions w/money prizes. Google yields nothing. Thanks in advance.

  21. Rachael Beauchamp says:

    I’ve entered my current script into a few contest, I did not place in two of them but made it to the quarterfinal in one of them. I keep reading this “you only get one shot thing” and it leaves me confused. If I have entered my script into a contest too soon, before it’s ready, and it did not place, does this mean I shouldn’t re-write it and submit it again to another contest or maybe even the same one the next year, or have I already blown the opportunity for this script?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      The “only get one shot” line is mainly referring to sending your script to industry people – managers, execs, producers, etc. – not contests. Good luck with it, Rachael!

  22. Delta Storm says:

    Great list of contests. I was just wondering if you perhaps know of what has happened to Greenlight Screenplay? They were legit as far as I could tell, having won an award from them last year. But this time, I went to put in another entry and their website is up for sale. On Twitter, they are not responding to tweets. They last tweeted last year. It would be nice to know what happened to them. If someone reading this knows please leave a message. Thanks 🙂

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks! Sorry, no idea what happened to Greenlight.

  23. Frederika says:

    Hi there! Do you know of any screenwriting contests that take magical realism?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sorry, no, but pretty it usually comes under Drama.

  24. Vahagn Karapetyan says:

    Can you give me a suggestion where is better to apply for Horror scripts?

  25. Peyman says:

    Hi I’m Peyman and I’m 23 and I’m contacting you from Iran. I’m a script writer and I’ve written one script already which has 140 pages , it’s very interesting and it was written with perfect details and methods. Unfortunately I don’t have a recommender. I request you to support me so we can have progress in this project, If you’re interested in cooperation I gladly can send you a short version of my script I promise you that you will be very satisfied for this cooperation.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      We’re a script consultancy not a production company so we can help you get the script into shape before you try to find a buyer or funding.

      1. kena tozaj says:

        how do one enter a screen writing competition.

        1. Script Reader Pro says:

          The instructions are on each contest’s website.

  26. Jay says:

    Do contests take in premiere status (like festivals?) Or can we just apply to all of them at the same time?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, there’s nothing wrong with applying to a bunch at the same time.

  27. Andrew B. says:

    I’ve got a plan to enter six screenwriting contests this year.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Good luck, Andrew!

  28. Michael Ho says:

    Good list, thanks SRP!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Michael!

  29. Zoe says:

    Great info. A friend recommended Script Reader Pro to me and I’m so glad they did.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Glad you found us, Zoe!

  30. Hoffamn says:

    I stopped entering screenwriting contests a while ago even though I was a semi and quarter finalist at two well respected contests and instead have invested in shooting short films that are now award winning and gaining traction as time goes by. Entering screenwriting contests is like playing the lotto in most cases. Years will go by and no one will have never heard of you or your work. In that respect, it’s about “them” meaning Hollywood and not about those of us who actually do the work. At least today there’s ways you can have your work seen regardless of what Hollywood or anyone thinks is prize worthy.

  31. Jeremy Whitlock says:

    How many contests should I enter?

  32. jonathan martin lee says:

    Hi, I’m a BRIT, and the Blue Cat international competition seems a good bet, thanks for the advice.
    But in truth can you tell me if my protagonist needs to be an American, in a foreign land, to increase the chances of a recommend?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      No, not at all. What they’ll be judging the script on is the story and characters overall.

  33. Bob Foxely says:

    Nice list, thanks for posting.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks, Bob.

  34. Elana says:

    Is there a problem submitting the same project to a few contests at the same time?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      No, there’s no problem with that. Good luck!

  35. max calkins says:

    Which screenwriting contests can guarantee me a career if I win?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      No contest can guarantee that, unfortunately, Max.

  36. HL says:

    I have been entering several of my scripts to the top 3-4 contests listed here for years. What I found out was: A. It’s a waste of money B. The majority of the time the readers used by these contests are a bunch of nobodies. A little background on this: I’ve been in the business in different capacities for years. I have had three of my scripts optioned for 10k each by notable producers and production companies. I have entered those three scripts into Nicholl, Austin and Slamdance and not one of them even made it to the quarter finals or second round. Then, last year I was contacted by several of these screenwriting contests to be a judge. And what happens is this: they send you 30-40 scripts to read. You don’t have to read any of them and I suspect most judges don’t. You let the contest know which script(s) you feel should advance. You don’t have to write any coverage or make any notes. I’m certain most scripts don’t get read, hence, the reason while most people never hear any positive news from these contests. Don’t waste your money.

  37. Seth Badesy says:

    Competitions may be a long shot but it’s one worth taking imho.

  38. Gopu says:

    Is there any translated to english script contests?

  39. Dale Swaby says:

    In essence, I think, plan a strategy and a working bit part that nobody has been equipped to think of yet. Basically take the “beat” premise that is very unclear and overused to find another example of notifying and understanding to enhance the reader. I have got one of these taken really from a shooting draft script and worked it into competition “Not telling you because it’s my idea.” …Sorry. Also for quality situations just evaluate the final piece for a week or so and do not rush. Prepare for that when you win one. Good luck — break a leg and stuff.

  40. Syed kaleem says:

    Hai I m syed from bangalore I have script horror stories 200 yers old my village true story nice script

  41. Philipp says:

    I just submitted my screenplay to the Page Screenplay Contest. Fingers crossed!!!

  42. Jason VM says:

    Exactly what I wanted to know, thank you! I have a script that the Nicholl Fellowship judges said would likely attract The Hangover type of audiences. I can imagine this script would also do well in the Austin screenwriting competition – I’ll give it a go this year.

  43. Ronnie Deeks says:

    Thanks for sharing this amazing list. It’s great to hear which screenwriting contests can actually do something for my career and which ones are just a waste of my time. Keep up the good work.

  44. pop says:

    Screenplays contests are waste of time and money if you actually want to get your script made into a movie, on the other hand… if you want to win a contest- go for it Skippy!

  45. Eric Dier says:

    Nicholl, Austin & Sundance are the best screenwriting contests. Avoid Bluecat, Screencraft and Zoetrope. Not familiar with the rest.

  46. H. Henderson says:

    There are some good screenplay competitions – if your work is good enough, although many push the paid-for rewrite notes aspect a bit hard. However, I’d recommend avoiding The Shore Scripts Competition. Really insulting. They failed to send me the updates/notifications they promised. When I queried this and asked them to send the emails which had never arrived, they started contradicting me. I then asked them to resend the emails, they ignored this, and got ruder. I asked them to either resend the promised notifications or refund the fee, and to identify which employee was sending these emails. They then went silent – which says it all. Zero out of 10 – that’s not the way to treat customers and representing £55 very poorly spent on an amateurish setup with its strange mix of well known and poor judges.

  47. Tonya says:

    Thank you for this amazing lists! It’s great to hear with screenplay contests are worth entering and when the deadlines are. No more last minute / too late finds lol

  48. Alex says:

    Wow, I was looking for a writing project for the next few months. Awesome! I will get my latest screenplay finished and enter it to the best screenwriting competitions.

  49. Isabella says:

    What are the best screenwriting contests for short films?

  50. Jillian says:

    Nicholls and Austin Film Fest are the two top dogs in my opinion. I’m not sure about the other screenwriting contests.

  51. John S. says:

    A few years back, I won the Austin Screenwriting Competition. The screenplay I had this huge success with never placed in any other screenplay competition, which goes to show that the whole process is quite subjective and what works well in one script contest, might not get you anywhere in another one.

  52. Marianna says:

    When pro screenwriters pooh pooh screenwriting contests, I always wonder what they suggest are the alternatives for newbies to standing out in a crazy crowded industry.

  53. Mavis Welsh says:

    Where are the best places to source film, tv, pilot scripts etc for reading? Matt

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hi Mavis, you can read and download 50 of the best screenplays here and the best TV scripts here.

  54. Sarah says:

    Nicholl, PAGE and Sundance are the three most prestigious contests and definitely worth entering if your script fits the bill. (Dramas and Historical Films do best in Nicholl. PAGE has multiple genre categories.) Everyone always likes Austin because the Festival is such fun and such a good networking opportunity, but that contest now gets something like 10,000 entries each year, so your odds of winning are next to zero. Plus, not sure their contest winners really get much traction. Anyhow, good luck to all in your quest! It’s tough to break in as a screenwriter, but it’s so rewarding once you do!

  55. Dhruv patel says:

    I want to share my story ,But I don’t know English very well..
    And I don’t have enough money to pay..
    If you help me to pay money , I will return it to you after won this competition..✍️

  56. Martin Furrow says:

    Thanks for sharing these contests!

  57. Pete Whiting says:

    There are good screenplay competitions and bad ones. Some give you cash, some give you opportunities or makes doors open and ultimately get your script to screen.
    Want a genuine career? Enter the big renowned screenplay competitions and hopefully place high or win. Get that on your writing resume and query letters.
    Have one good script and wanna win some cash and throw the hat in the ring? Then go for something that is less reputable where the focus is just money and maybe judges less harsh on their standards.
    If you enter every screenwriting competition, you’ll be broke pretty quick. So choose wisely.
    I was semi-finalist in Stage 32 2017 screenplay competition. Never had a phone call or email from anyone and still have no agent. Smaller and medium studios have all responded positively to query letters and most have said they want the script but the budget is too high. They love it but simply can’t do it. Lesson – make sure your first script is a simple, affordable one that appeals to a wide range of studios and producers. Sadly, my script would only appeal to major studios and I have no chance of getting it in front of them as I am a first time writer with no agent.

  58. DEBDAS DEBNATH says:

    I have written a fiction fiction novel of 410 pages and ready for publishing as book. I m from India. Writing more than 10 novels as per script of Hollywood style movie. Please tell how I can sale or submit it.

  59. Rameez says:

    What’s your opinion about script pipeline?

  60. Robin Denison says:

    Write them polite query letters, describing your script instead of entering screenwriting contests.

  61. Jospeh Racano says:

    I wanna admit that this is very helpful, it’s quite hard to know which screenwriting contests are worth my time.

  62. Sophia says:

    I like screenplay contests because the deadlines pushed me to finish and polish my scripts and the confidence I have gained has helped me network and get scripts read.

  63. Petro says:

    I was a semi-finalist in the BlueCat screenwriting contest last year.

  64. Steve says:

    I did receive bad feedback the first year I submitted to screenwriting contests. I submitted to 4 and didn’t advance in any of them. But it didn’t send me down. I worked harder, wrote 2 new scripts and submitted again and got into the 2nd round in AFF.

  65. Heike R. says:

    Lovely just what I was searching for. Can’t wait to apply for my first screenwriting contest.

  66. Giuessepe says:

    I did the Sundance Labs (which is listed here) and it changed my life. I also have a friend who got an agent because a script of his landed in the top 50 of the Nicholl.

    Some of these like Nicholl and Sundance are definitely worth a shot, but like everything the gatekeepers’ taste is subjective and you shouldn’t take rejection as a knock against your talent.

  67. Vanessa says:

    I think contests like Nicholl and Austin can do wonders for someone’s career but the others… not so sure. Maybe for validation?

  68. Anthony says:

    What about the PAGE awards contest? thats one of the best screenwriting contests and you left it out.

  69. DS says:

    I’ve won or placed in a few of these, but honestly I think you’d be remiss to not include TrackingBoard/Launch Pad Pilot Launch on here.That was the one I received the most industry introductions from.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sounds good, keep the good work. TrackingB is in the honorable mentions.

  70. Rajesh D says:

    Thank you. Great list!

  71. Tom H. says:

    I was going to go full time into screenwriting after I retired. I was in the music and comedy industry for 40 years. However, my issue is that I was exposed to Agent Orange when I was in Vietnam in 1969. ( and don’t know how much longer I have to live. Would I be wasting my time and money to even make the attempt?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      It’s never too late, Tom, but we’d be happy to check out your work to give you a better idea.

  72. sisay says:

    Hi their my name is Sisay Asefa, I’m a screenwriter. I finished my screenplay, so can you accept my screenplay?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Hi, Sisay, you can find all of our script coverage services here.

  73. Tony says:

    I made the top 10 in Zoetrope screenplay contest and it did zero in terms of getting me any exposure. And I mean zero. I’ll say the same about Scriptapalooza, even though that’s not listed here.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Sorry to hear that. Unfortunately, you generally need to win or place in the top 2 or 3 to get some kind of exposure in most contests.

  74. Elizabeth says:

    Can anyone tell me if it makes a difference whether you do early, regular or late deadline for a screenplay contest?

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      It doesn’t make any difference – what matters is the quality of the script. Best of luck!

  75. Prema Rose says:

    I have won 8 awards to date for my animated/live action musical The MicroCosmic Cartoon Show. Some are festivals and some are screenwriting competitions. You only mention a few of the good ones to submit to, yet there are more quite reputable ones such as:
    Worldfest, Oaxaca, Filmmatic, and Write Movies, to mention others. I think it is a mistake to only go for the top tier. You want to have eyeballs on your work so that you get a sense of how it is being received in the marketplace. I prefer ones that have a variety of sub-categories, since my genre is pretty unusual.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Congrats, Prema!

  76. Rob says:

    Tremendous article. I’ll lay down my screenwriting contest experience swiftly. I entered a few screenplay competitions over a four year period after finishing my first three scripts with absolutely no luck, not even a placement. I got a job in the industry, but no one took me seriously as a writer, because no wanted to read an accountant or production assistant’s script. Why would they? I finally did my research and entered the Nicholl screenplay competition. I made the semi-finals out the gate, then I put it up on the Black List site and received a 9 rating. The script was then selected for their Lab, which was amazing. I was mentored by Brian Koppelman and Billy Ray, who both said it was one of the finest scripts they’d ever read.

  77. Steph G. says:

    The Filmmatic contest I entered last year was professionally run, and I see some solid press going out regarding their finalists/winners (I was a finalist 😉 ).

    I also had a good experience with BlueCat…

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Congrats, Steph!

  78. Petra Craigen says:

    Eye opener! It’s really hard to know which screenplay contest is a good investment. Thanks for sharing this list

  79. Manoj Kumar says:

    Can I participate in all of these screenplay competitions this year

  80. Sherilyn Harrington says:

    I think the best screenwriting contests are Nicholl, Scriptapalooza and Sundance. Everything else is a waste of your time and money in my opinion.

  81. pouyan says:

    Can I do this even if I live in iran

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes, you can enter from anywhere in the world.

  82. Will Domi says:

    I think the top few contests those you mentioned above are worth taking a shot at and can bring readings and connections and open doors, but they should only be entered once you have developed your craft and written a few screenplays that you would dare to be read by someone in the industry.

  83. Lorenzo says:

    You only get one chance to make a first impression, so thanks for sharing the best screenwriting competitions in the industry. I want to make it count.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Good luck, Lorenzo.

  84. Yolanda says:

    If you’re a new writer looking for reinforcement that you have any talent for this, take your best work and enter it in on of the top script competitions. Place reasonably well, and then put the knowledge that you don’t suck at this in your back pocket and start writing to sell. That’s my advice.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for sharing your advice. It’s not a bad strategy!

  85. Alba says:

    I will enter Austin, PAGE and Big Break this year. I feel like my script is finally ready!!

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Good luck, Alba. Fingers crossed! Let us know how you’re getting on.

  86. Ellen says:

    Can I send my script to a screenwriting contest even if I live in Australia

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Yes it doesn’t matter where you live.

  87. Ismael Gomez says:

    My co-writer and I won the BlueCat Screenplay Competition for 2018. We used Script Reader Pro and their notes really made a huge difference in the rewrites. Very thankful for having found this website.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      That’s awesome news, Ismael! – thanks for the review and for using our script coverage services 🙂

  88. Juliane says:

    I recommend The Second City’s Comedy Screenplay Contest for all comedy writers.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Thanks for sharing, Juliane.

  89. James says:

    Here’s my story. 25 years ago I entered my first screenwriting competition and got second runner-up in with no prices. Last year I got into the quarterfinals and second rounders for Scriptapalooza and the Austin Film Festival competition. From that I decided to enter one of those screenplays into a bunch of smaller ones and didn’t get placed at all. I realized that I would rather spend my money on script coverage instead and perhaps with those rewrites go back.

  90. James Isac says:

    I’ve entered 3 screenplay contests. What do you think will be the next step ? Thanks for your answer.

    1. Script Reader Pro says:

      Have these screenplay contests released the winners yet?

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