Yes, Dorothy – Teleplay competitions are a great way to bang at the door

Pound for pound, these days the better storytelling is happening in television. –Newsweek

For those trying to break into screenwriting as a career, there’s a lot to be said for trying your hand at writing a few spec teleplays — especially for 1 Hour Dramedies (That wonderful hybrid of drama AND comedy). Face it, in a good year a 100+ films make it on to the screen, but in television you’ll want to times that number by several dozen. That means the need for good writers is far higher in television than film.

Of course, it’s not that easy to break in. There’s countless writers on line ahead of you. But getting your work read by studios and potential agents IS possible if you can win or place high enough in some of these yearly competitions:

Austin Film Festival Film/TV Writing Competition
The Teleplay Competition includes both Drama and Sitcom categories and is open to any spec script for the currently airing network or cable television program.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: June 1st
Entry fee: $40
Info: http://www.austinfilmfestival.com/new/screenplay

Slamdance Teleplay Competition – Pilots Only
The Slamdance Teleplay Competition is dedicated to new writers. They accept screenplays in every genre, on any topic from every country around the world. Their mission is to bring attention to the most talented emerging screenwriters and introduce them to the industry. The WGA, west holds a reception each year for the winners.  Various categories
Entry fee: $60
Deadline: June 11th
Info: http://www.slamdance.com

Larry Brody’s Scriptacular Teleplay Competition
Includes prizes and/or submission to show runners, agents and studios who are in search of new talent.  Larry Brody is a veteran TV writer whose competitions are now in their 15th year.  His website is filled with valuable advice on the art and business of writing for television. MSU students have placed as finalists in this competition.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: June 1, 2010
Info: http://tvwriter.com/contests/spec/index.htm

Larry Brody’s People’s Pilot Teleplay Competition
Includes prizes and/or submission to show runners, agents and studios who are in search of new talent.  Larry Brody is a veteran TV writer whose competitions are now in their 15th year.  His website is filled with valuable advice on the art and business of writing for television. MSU students have placed as finalists in this competition as well.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: June 1, 2010
Info: http://tvwriter.com/contests/spec/index.htm

Warner Brothers Comedy and Drama Television Writing Workshops
The Warner Brothers Workshop is a writing program for new writers (not currently working professionally) looking to start and further their writing career. The Workshop teaches every aspect of spec script writing and features exposure to Warner Bros. TV’s top television writers and executives, all with the goal of staffing graduates on a Warner Bros. TV show. The program meets for three consecutive months, one evening a week, on the Warner Bros. lot and is free to those accepted.
Entry fee: $30
Deadline: June 1, 2010
Info:
http://www2.warnerbros.com/writersworkshop

Writers on the Verge
NBC Universal’s version. The list of graduates who have gone on to do great things is long: Marc Cherry (Desperate Housewives), Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) and Felicia Henderson (Soul Food) to name a few. Every year, the Workshop selects up to 10 participants out of almost 1,000 submissions and exposes them to Warner Bros. Television’s top writers and executives, all with the ultimate goal of earning them a staff position on a Warner Bros. produced television show
Entry fee: $30
Deadline: June 1st
Info:
http://www.nbcunicareers.com/earlycareerprograms/writersontheverge.shtml

National BEA Festival Student Screenplay Competition
Info: A national competition for the best shorts and full-length scripts written while attending college.  I’m not too shy to admit that my own students at Missouri State have done extremely well in this competition for the past 4 years.
Entry fee: $30
Deadline: December 1, 2010
http://www.beaweb.org/

Scriptapalooza TV Competition
Top selectees will have their scripts read by producers and agents in the television industry.  The program is run with WGA oversight and approval.  This is a twice a year competition that has been around for almost a decade.  We’ve had several students place.
Entry fee: $40
Deadline: Twice yearly – check website
Info: http://www.scriptapaloozatv.com/

Acclaim Film & Television Fall/Winter TV Script Contest
Three separate contests for feature script, Pilots/MOWs and TV spec scripts; $1,000 for winning feature script, $500 each for Pilot/MOW and Spec winners. Affiliated production companies will have the opportunity to read scripts of winners, runners up and finalists. We’ve had several students place.
Entry fee: $55
Deadline: April 30th
Info: http://acclaimtv.netfirms.com

Creative Screenwriting AAA Teleplay Competition
Hosted by Creative Screenwriting Magazine, finalists’ scripts sent to agents and producers.  Opportunities awarded to pitch directly to writer-producers and agents.
Entry fee: $50
Deadline: Early April
Info: http://creativescreenwriting.com/aaa/

diana

SF Writer. Screenwriting Professor. Insanity ensues day and night. Science Fiction is my wheelhouse.

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