There are thousands of contests that will gladly accept a copy of your feature, TV pilot, or short film – along with wad of cash in the form of a “submission fee.” All that submitting can get exhausting, and really (really) expensive.
And for many competitions, a “win” doesn’t mean all that much.
The list below highlights every screenwriting competition and fellowship I feel is worth the effort. It’s short because it’s supposed to be. I based it on extensive research, and a little bit of industry knowledge. I’ll refresh the list as new deadlines are announced.
I’ve left off diversity-specific programs, since it would make the list unmanageably large. If you belong to an underrepresented group, it’s definitely worth looking into programs specific to that group.
If you believe another program belongs on this list, please get in touch with (a) a link to the contest, (b) what specific benefits placing in the contest yields for the writer, and (c) a list of working writers who have emerged from the contest.
Things to know before submitting
- Understand that submitting your script is a last resort.
You probably shouldn’t waste your time or money submitting to screenwriting competitions until you have a script that you’re truly proud of. If the choice is between spending time submitting and spending time improving as a writer, always choose improvement.
- Accept the fact that you can’t submit everywhere. Nor should you try.