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We have selected the best script competitions and contests that you can submit online. Also read some script tips and tricks to help you do this.

Cover picture from VGstockstudio.

Writing a solid script requires a keen mind, a cinematic mind, and lots and lots of free time to put pen on paper. (Or more precisely, pressing a button on the preferred script writing software.) But what can a budding filmmaker or script writer do when the script is done?

Of course, you can always take a camera and bring a few friends together to make a short film or start a feature. However, for many fresh-faced screenwriters and filmmakers, it may be more beneficial to take part in some screenwriting competitions.

Why screenwriting competitions are worth it

Deadlines are a solid motivational tool that allows you to stay focused. Image via Casper1774 Studio.

If you've ever participated in a film or screenplay program that has given you orders, you've probably seen how the combination of structure, deadlines, and goals can motivate you to stay at work.

If you have a target contest with a due date and guidelines, stay up to date and be responsible for ensuring that your scripts are created and submitted on time.

Another advantage of a script competition? You will improve your skills as a screenwriter outside of a vacuum by comparing them with the skills of your colleagues. In addition, many of these contests provide at least some critical feedback on why your script was chosen or rejected.

These early returns – good or bad – are extremely important information that you need to document if you push yourself to grow. I would also highly recommend participating in as many of these competitions and festivals as possible, whether online or in person. They are great resources for networking with other authors and learning from panels and workshops. And yes – it's also a real boost in confidence to enjoy the sweet, sweet appreciation you get when you're lucky enough to finish a script!

Additional screenwriting resources

Before we look at our recommendations for the best filing locations, here are some helpful resources to review before you publish your script as a finished product. These articles include tips on formatting, structuring, collapsing, overcoming obstacles, rewriting, and more:

For practical and motivational reasons, here is our selection of the seven best online screenwriting competitions and contests that you can review, closely follow, and finally submit your work to. Don't dawdle – some of these registration deadlines are just around the corner.

1st Austin Film Festival script competition

Austin Film Festival

The Austin Film Festival is known as the “Author Festival” because it focuses heavily on well-designed narratives and a plethora of screenwriting competitions, workshops, and speakers. This is the one you have to shoot for if you want to be among the best of the best.

AFF has a rich history with notable previous participants such as Robert Altman, Greta Gerwig, Walter Hill and Keenan Ivory Wayans, to name a few.

In addition to their script competition (with more than 10 subcategories), all submissions are guaranteed to receive free “reader comments” with a brief, general summary of the feedback and notes for your script.

  • Deadline: June 1st (late appointment)
  • Categories: Feature Screenplay, Short Screenplay & TV Game
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

2. Screenplay pipeline screenwriting and TV writing contest

Screenplay pipeline screenwriting and TV writing contest

One of the best known names in the world of screenwriting is Script Pipeline and the competition "Screenwriting and TV Writing". Script pipeline authors have the option of actually completing selected projects through development.

As one of the first screenwriting competitions, many of those who made it through the "screenplay pipeline" had a tremendous career, including Tripper Clancy (Stuber) and Laura Bensick (Everyday Insanity). The Script Pipeline was also the largest script acquisition ever when Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman for $ 3.25 million. So yes – this is worth your time.

  • Deadline: May 31 (extended deadline)
  • Categories: Script competition, TV writing competition
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

3rd Plot Point Awards

Plot Point Awards

The Plot Point Awards are a solid script competition worth your research and consideration. This competition promotes submissions from all sorts of genres and is a great option to get one of your first scripts out.

This is a relatively new, online-friendly competition that doesn't have a large list of previous winners. It is therefore well suited for aspiring screenwriters who want to try out some of their early screenplays before signing up for some of the larger competitions and festivals.

With cash prizes of up to $ 1,000 for the screenplay winner, it's worth a try just for project finance opportunities.

  • Deadline: June 1st (late appointment)
  • Categories: Feature Screenplay, Short Screenplay & TV Game
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

4. Write LA

Write LA

Write LA is new, a little different, and definitely exciting because it offers one of the best prices: an opportunity to fly to Los Angeles and actually meet with producers in the film industry. Oh, and the winners will get a live stage reading of their script. Pretty cool, isn't it?

Write LA not only offers the grand prize tour and reading tables, but is also one of the few screenwriting competitions that keep readers and reviewers indoors. A unique head judge is used every year.

The top 15 scripts for each category include some solid price packages that include some great resources for script writing, feedback, and promotions with industry leaders, as well as a free copy of Final Draft 11.

  • Deadline: June 15th (final closing)
  • Categories: Feature, TV pilot
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

5th Nashville Film Festival script competition

Screenplay competition of the Nashville Film Festival

Remember there are a lot of festivals outside of Hollywood. I strongly recommend that you visit a few local and regional festivals as soon as possible. They are a great place to make solid contacts, meet key employees, and often host your own script competitions.

Take the Nashville Film Festival for example. Known as one of the best film festivals in the world, the Nashville Film Festival offers a unique program for screenwriters who want feedback, criticism, and support for their screenplays before they are submitted to the competition.

The coverage program provides feedback on everything from loglines to full script markups to your pilot's show bible. In the words of NFF: "The reporting gives screenwriters the opportunity to see how their design is perceived by industry experts."

  • Deadline: June 10th (extended deadline)
  • Categories: Feature, TV pilot
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

6th Festive Los Angeles – Monthly Film Competition

Festive Los Angeles

Festigious Los Angeles is a film festival and screenwriting competition that aims to break down walls for aspiring film professionals, promote emerging filmmakers worldwide, and achieve gender equality in the film and screenwriting industry.

The festival also has an interesting approach to competition that is perfect for screenwriters who are forced to tinker with their scripts. It takes place online every month and is submitted all year round.

  • Deadline: Per month
  • Categories: Best Screenplay – Short, Best Screenplay – Feature
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

7. Emerging Screenwriters Genre Screenplay Contest

Aspiring screenwriter genre screenplay competition

If you imagine a budding genre screenwriter – action, science fiction, horror, etc. – you will actually find some script competitions tailored to you. One of the best is the genre screenwriting competition for aspiring screenwriters, which has been supporting genre filmmakers and screenwriters for over a decade. This is a particularly solid option for screenwriters looking for more feedback than many other festivals.

The Emerging Screenwriters Competition offers script feedback options such as a full ISA development review to connect young people with agents or managers, and five pages of comprehensive industry-specific tips to help you prepare for your script development.

  • Deadline: August 27th (final date)
  • Categories: Feature, TV pilot
  • FilmFreeway: Submit here

For more information on screenwriting and tips and tricks on filmmaking, see the following articles:


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