There are many mixed opinions online whether or not you should enter screenplay competitions.
Some of them simply aren't worth entering. However some of them are a no brainer!
Competitions are a writers foot-in-the-door. Above anything else, if you want to be a screenwriter and you're any good at it... Get entering! Into the good ones anyway.
If you're on the fence, over the fence or in the distance from the fence about entering competitions, this article is for you...
1) Links to the Industry
Winning a competition is very beneficial for progressing with your career as a writer. The good competitions (SWN Screenplay Competition) have a network of thousands of industry connections that your script will get sent to.
Even if you don’t win, your script will still get read by industry professionals; producers, executives and likeminded screenwriters.
I can tell you by experience, some of the producers and executives reading your script might even prefer it over the winners script!
Personal taste differs from reader to reader, there’s nothing stopping them from getting in-touch with you and personally pursuing your screenplay
A nod from a big player is highly valuable!
Whether you make it to the Finals, Semi-Finals or Quarter Finals, having a laurel on your script will help get it made.
Filmmakers, producers and production companies look at your laurels, so stick it on your script! It will definitely pique their interest.
If you have Screenwriters Network laurels on the front page of your screenplay, people will pay more attention to it.
It will play a big part in getting agents and producers to read your script.
In many screenwriting contests, you usually have the option of receiving feedback with your screenplay submission.
I would certainly recommend this! 👆
In the case of the SWN Screenplay Competition, we take your notes from the judge who read your script and feed it straight back to one of our experienced consultants; two for the price of one!
4) Submitters Benefits
(SWN Screenplay Competition ONLY)
In screenwriting competitions it’s unfortunate that many submitters get no benefits other than a thank you email.
At SWN we provide enormous value for even participating. Every submission is valued to us and receive a list of benefits such as:
Every script submitted gets registered with SWN for FREE! No need to register with the Writers Guilds.
Your scripts will get read by industry producers and creative executives.
You will get on the SWN map; we're always on the lookout for scripts to invest in.
You will receive a £15 gift card from us to be redeemed on our script consultancy services.
It’s often the case that writers feel a little doubting about their relentless and seemingly fruitless writing pursuits.
Writing is a lonely process after all, it’s good to be a part of the community.
Entering a competition is a great experience as it not only encourages people if they place, but it also makes you feel part of something, as if the goal is closer. It gives you something to aim for!
When am I ready to submit?
This really does depend on what the competition offers…
If you’re a novice I would still recommend entering as it’s a great experience to be a part of! However, I would highly recommend opting for feedback if the competition entry has that option.
If you’re a more experienced writer then feedback isn’t always essential.
What contests should I submit to?
Submit your script to festivals that provide value and opportunity.
Do they have industry connections? Do they have good reviews? What do I get for submitting? How may people are submitting?
TIP: Don’t go for the biggest and most renowned competitions right away; they’ll have so many submissions it will be very hard to even place in the final rounds.
Competitions that provide value and exposure that are still relatively small are the gold mines people are walking over… much like SWN Screenplay Competition (submissions now open!) ;)
Even if you aren't ready or interested in competitions, just keep on writing!