Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Talkback: Any luck with contests?

Since I'm talking about contests this week, have any of you had any luck with contests?  Please feel free to share your experiences and if you'd submit to any of them again.

11 comments:

  1. I made the QF of the Nicholl, which lead to a few reads. Used it as leverage to approach managers and eventually wound up getting my current one because of this (after he read another spec I had ready to go). Recently made the QF again to help gain attention for the script I entered. Zero success on any other contests. There are very few I would enter, and I never take them seriously.

    ReplyDelete
  2. We entered the same screenplay in three contests that offered genre categories. Reached the semi-finals in one, the quarter-finals in another and the nothing finals in the third. So what does that tell you?

    I'm guessing you're better off using the entry fee money to pay for subscriptions to IMDB Pro and Done Deal Pro.

    Of course, if we actually won something, the experience might be different.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Were the contests of comparable sizes? Could it be that for the ones where you placed higher, it was a bit of a "big fish, small pond" scenario?

      Delete
    2. The contests were Scriptapalooza(nothing), Page(QF) and Creative World Awards(semis). All get roughly same number of entries, I think.

      Of course, it could be the screenplay sucks.

      Delete
  3. I maintain that mostly all of the contests are simply a way to make money for the contest organizers and nothing more.

    The contest organizers can choose whomever they wish as the winners; either randomly, or pre-determined and there is no oversight. The contest organizers can choose their friends, family, former students, etc. as the winners and none of the other entrants would ever know.

    Also, aside from Mitchell, The Black List, and the TrackingB contest, does anyone care if you won any other contest? Probably not.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I maintain that mostly all of the contests are simply a way to make money for the contest organizers and nothing more.

    The contest organizers can choose whomever they wish as the winners; either randomly, or pre-determined and there is no oversight. The contest organizers can choose their friends, family, former students, etc. as the winners and none of the other entrants would ever know.

    Also, aside from Mitchell, The Black List, and the TrackingB contest, does anyone care if you won any other contest? Probably not.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We were semi-finalists in Austin in 2009 with a dark comedy. Got several reads and our first manager after that. We won last year with our TV Pilot, realized taht our manager was out of her element, and got a new one.

    I love the Austin Film Fest. It's geared to writers. You listen to successful writers talk, you meet other aspiring writers, you get drunk with both (the panelists come to the parties). Can't recommend it more. Plus the town and it's food are incredible on their own.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I entered Austin and The Nicholl and had no luck, but I was a finalist in last year's TrackingB contest. There are only 8 people who benefit from this contest, and the entry fee is steep, but if you're one of those 8 winners, you get exactly what you're promised. The industry judges read it, and several of them wanted to meet me. I had at least two managers interested in repping me on the spot, and a few more who wanted to read another script before making the call. I had interest from agents at a couple of the big agencies.

    I went from being a complete nobody querying and querying and querying to being a name. I've had tons of generals and been able to pitch a few ideas. Right now I'm working on a treatment for a producer I met last week. And I was just on that Tracking Board list of 100 Young and Hungry screenwriters.

    I get why some people hesitate about TrackingB: there's not a lot of transparency and it is a lot of money. But to me, all that mattered was the win, and the win negates every other concern. I never cared about prize money; I cared about exposure. I got that exposure in spades.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I entered a bunch this year. Now a semi-finalist in the PAGE Awards. (woo yay) Not sure about the exposure it can bring, but it's really well run, with plenty of updates and transparency.

    Script Pipeline and Scriptapolooza are awful, it feels like you're throwing your money into someone's personal bank account and never hearing from them again. Well, apart from the constant barrage of emails trying to sell you some consulting advice or pitch meeting nonsense. Avoid.

    Bluecat is OK, they give you two sets of feedback as part of the entry fee, which is helpful, but I don't think the competition is on anyone's radar. Even if you won, would anyone care?

    Nicholls is Nicholls, only certain types of screenplays can advance there, so don't bother sending in a family sci-fi comedy feature or something.

    Austin seems well run, haven't heard much from them, though. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Unless coverage is part of the entry fee, I don't see the point. It's otherwise not worth it in a contest that's wreathed in the shadows of mysterious reading processes and covered in the oils of subjectivity before the hellish embers of self-doubt blow your confidence to cinders. If your script does anything but win, it's like being told your screenplay sucks the bottoms of shit-smeared boots just because it wasn't nominated for an Oscar.

    In other words: I stopped entering screenplay competitions after my 2008 Austin letter of condolences didn't even get the title right.

    However, I won the Austin Film Festival Pitch Competition that same year and it was invigorating. Excellent trial-by-fire practice boiling your idea down to 90 seconds (the "elevator pitch") and actually being required to deliver that idea in sellable fashion. Hearing all of the other contestants was fun, too. The final panel of judges included the likes of Terry Rossio of WordPlayer.com and big money Hollywood screenwriting fame.

    The win (along with another spec I had written) got me my managers and my own proverbial foot in the Hollywood door. So I endorse pitch competitions, or at least the one in Austin. You're participant in the judging process, get feedback in real time, and know the results before the weekend is out.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is my first year trying a handful of contests/competitions. I did a lot of research and only submitted to ones that seemed legit (were known names, had industry people as readers, etc). So far, no luck, but I knew my script was a hard sell to begin with, more indie fare than mainstream blockbuster. It's really about matching the right person to the right project, I guess. I'll be attending my first film festival this year, too (AFF) to test the networking waters . . . Any advice?

    ReplyDelete