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Screenwriting Contest Red Flags

So you just finished your script and wrote countless edits to your project. Now what? There's so many options out there for you to get your script seen, so nothings better than sending it to a screenwriting contest. But before you do, keep an eye out for these "Red Flags".

They claim they're the #1 screenwriting contest

I'm sure you're thinking, "How's that a red flag? They must be a good screenwriting contest if they're number one right?" Not really. I'll be honest, there's no such ranking of who is the best screenwriting contest. I shared in a screenwriters Q&A about a feud I was having with Outstanding Screenplays who claims they're "the number 1 screenwriting contest" which isn't true.

For one thing, Outstanding Screenplays doesn't pay their readers a lot of money, so the quality of your feedback isn't going to be great. You want to submit your script somewhere that is going to provide value and constructive feedback, whether you place or not.

They don't help shop your script around if you win

Okay so let's say you win, but it's only a cash prize like $10,000. Neat right? But what about your script? You've worked so hard on your project and if there's only a cash prize, you would still have to find a way to get your script sold.

Screencraft, for example, has plenty of screenwriting contests that not only guarantee a cash prize, but the winners are provided representation and they help get your script out into the industry, which is a pretty sweet deal in my opinion, I mean if you win of course.

However, if you want to have the opportunity to pitch your script, that's an option too, unless you don't know how to pitch your film. Sometimes there's screenwriting contests where you'll have to pay for your flight to LA and book a hotel to stay at, which could be a little bit expensive. Another thing to keep in mind is you'll have to be responsible for getting to the producers to sell your script.

Low cash prize

Let's say you win a contest but they only offer a low cash prize like $2000 for example. That's great and all, but what good will that do? Unless a screenwriting contest is offering to give you money to fund for production of your script, you'll want to aim for a screenwriting contest that will offer more money, perhaps $10,000 for example.

No testimonials or success stories

Before entering a screenwriting contest, you might want to get an idea of what past winners experienced. If you find yourself on a website that doesn't provide testimonials or have any success stories, you'll be walking into a screenwriting contest blindfolded.

Whenever I enter a screenwriting contest, I like to read about the previous winners experience and what happened after they won. Did they get their script made? Are they being represented? Do they have other projects in the works?

Testimonials are also important because even if writers don't win, they can still share their experience with the contest such as the quality of feedback they've received.

So before you submit your script to any screenwriting contest, it's always best to do some research first so you have a better chance of getting your script made! If you'd like feedback on a script prior to getting your script out there, let me know! I'm happy to help!