Clarifications on Top 10 myths about entering screenplay competitions

For screenplay competitions – when we enter one – we often want to know what happens amongst the judges when our scripts are being scrutinized. Sometimes, we just think that if only we understood the process and criteria used in the selection, we might do better with our scripts.

You wonder is there anything that can be done to boost the chances of your script in screenplay competitions. At least is there something that can make your script make the second round?

Here are ten myths about screenplay competitions that you should look at. They should serve as guides for your next competition:

First: My myth is so great it does not need to be restricted to one genre. Only other people’s scripts need to be categorized in genre classification.

Okay, but pride goes before a fall, remember? Why would you write a script on zombies for a romantic comedy story? You might as well roll up your entry fee and smoked it, because that’s the equivalent of what would happen to your script if you keep up that mentality.

Second: the organizers like the concept of alternative endings.

Wrong! All the organizers are interested in is a script that is a winner. So, stick to the story. One story. So, if you want to make it far in screenplay competitions, do NOT make alternative endings!

Third: Binding and special covers make my script gain preference.

Maybe. But it could make it harder for your reader, and reduce your overall score. In some extremes, it could even lead to your disqualification.

Fourth: My contact info isn’t needed on the script. After all, they already have that on the registration form.

This is so not true! There are thousands of entries into the screenplay competitions, and if they cannot match your script to a name, let alone a face, you might have a bit of difficulty making it to the second round. Never forget to read the rules.

Fifth: I do not have anyone in the movie industry, so my script might not get picked.

Although it is common in the movie industry for you to know someone to be somebody, the good thing about the screenplay competitions is that they are perfectly neutral! You do not need to know anybody at all!

Sixth: I have gone two pages over the required length. Does this matter?

YES it does! Remember, a rule is a rule, and you are expected to have read it from beginning to end.  If you have gone over the top, try to compress it within the limits of the page length rule.

Seventh: I do not understand/like the standard movie script formatting, so I have decided to forgo it altogether. Someone over there can do it for me.

So, you are now delegating duties, right? Congratulations. You had better get down to repairing the formatting if you want to even see the second round with your script.

Eight: I am producing my own short film, and am running low on funds. The contest is going to help me with that, right?

Very unlikely, buddy.

Nine: I have questions but they aren’t in the FAQ’s.

E-mail or call the competition then.

Ten: typing of the script is for kids. My handwriting will do the trick. It’s legible!

No, it won’t. Trust me on this one.