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So, you want to write for the pictures. You’ve got it all – talent, good taste, and a drawer chock-full of Oscar-caliber screenplays. All that’s left is to get those scripts out of that door and into the hand of Hollywood’s top movers and shakers. Only there’s just one problem. You don’t know their numbers, and they don’t know yours… at least, not yet.
Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), you’re not alone! The vast majority of writers lack an uncle in the biz, making it incredibly difficult to get good work in front of the right people. Enter screenwriting competitions, which are collectively responsible for launching hundreds, if not thousands, of screenwriting careers. Their purpose? To cut the wheat from the chaff and empower writers on the basis of talent and hard work rather than family ties and friends in high places.
Sounds great, of course (and it is!) – but here’s the catch: there are many competitions to choose from – so many, in fact, that it can be hard to know where to begin, especially if you’re working with limited funds. What’s more, some competitions are less beneficial than others – and the least reputable will gladly take your cash without offering much in return. The question becomes how to reap the benefits of the process (even if you don’t take the top prize), without coming away feeling like your time and money was wasted.
That’s where we come in. For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of some of the best and most well-known screenwriting competitions, along with some pro tips for sorting through the haze.