Last week I shared a list of the 10 prominent screenwriting contests and their approaching deadlines to give you a heads up of what to expect the next few months. Hopefully, you’re not like me, in the middle of a major rewrite instead of just a polish.
Ah, the sweet agony of a deadline.
This week I thought I would share a few tips on how to be best prepared to submit. I’m not sure where I originally found this checklist – my apologies to whoever created it. It’s a list of 10 things to look over/be aware of before you hit send.
- Opening image
- Opening line
- First scene’s setting
- Character roles
- Character motivations
- Scene focus
*If you’re interested, I can expand on each of these in more detail. Just let me know in the comments below.
One of my favorite pieces of advice came from Good in a Room‘s Stephanie Palmer who suggests –
Choose a contest and a deadline. Then, submit at least one script to one of the top screenwriting contests I recommend.
If the script gets recognized in any way (i.e., it doesn’t win but it makes the second round, or top 10%, etc), revise it and submit to three different contests.
If the script doesn’t get recognized, then keep it in your library of projects, pick something new from your development slate, and write something else.
Instead of submitting multiple projects to several contests (which can get expensive), you only make multiple submissions when you have objective evidence that your work is good enough to have a chance to win, and you spend more of your valuable time writing new material.
That’s plenty of work, I know.
And it doesn’t take into account the other aspects of how to be a professional writer that have nothing to do with writing…
But over time, if you write and submit at least one script every year to one of the best contests, you will get better and your material will get better. If you submit multiple scripts only when they have received positive feedback, your chances of being successful go up.
I hope you find this helpful, and I wish you all the best this submission season!