Thoughts on screenplay contests (and a pitch for ours)

by gabe
August 8, 2007 3:01 AM
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Just for fun, I typed the term "Screenplay Contests" into Google, and my search yielded 2,060,000 hits with 12 sponsored links.

Some listings are legit. Others, who knows?

What I find shocking is how many magazines, software programs, studios, and screenplay consultants are also running contests.

The contests promise things like money, access, representation, celebrity, production deals, and the like.

A few offer workshop opportunities.

This is the direction we wanted to head in Atlanta as we decided to launch the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay competition.

With such a crowded field, and SO many potential charlatans on the scene, our intention was not to muddy the waters with yet more promises of glory.

Our mission is simple: Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay competition. looks to discover high quality screenplays and then help the writer further develop and refine their script through an intensive workshop retreat with professional writers and filmmakers.

It is our belief that all films start with a screenplay.m The Atlanta Film Festival has a 31 year history of discovering and nurturing new filmmaking talent, including showing early works by Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, and Victor Nunez. Beyond showing completed films, the festival has been involved in helping filmmakers at various stages of the film making process through programs such as Perfect Pitch, the Southeastern Media Award, and Fiscal Sponsorship.

One way the Atlanta Film Festival wants to inspire production is by helping screenwriters develop their screenplays. Winners of the Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition will have the opportunity to workshop their script with industry professionals at a retreat.

Additionally, we'd love to watch the winning screenplays make their way into the production process. In the past, IMAGE and the Atlanta Film Festival have sponsored a Southeast Mediamakers Award--a production package worth over $100,000 in goods and services for films produced, shot and/or posted in Georgia.

It stands to reason that theAtlanta Film Festival Screenplay competition will serve as the development program, the first step of the process.

Our deadline is coming up soon--AUGUST 31. While many submissions have been coming in, I was honestly hoping for more! I know there are thousands (not just hundreds...) of great, undiscovered screenplays out there.

The proliferation of contests confirms it.

It may also be part of the problem. With so many out there, how is an aspiring filmmaker to know which ones are worthy?

For our part at the Atlanta Film Festival, I can only say that we are really looking forward to reading the submissions, and to discover new, original voices.

I encourage emerging, aspiring and accomplished screenwriters are eager to engage in the process to submit to Atlanta before it's too late.

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