It’s finally here!
The official announcement of The Scriptshadow 250 Screenwriting Contest!
When I decided to put a contest together, I knew I wanted it to focus on one thing – getting the winner into the industry. Cash is great. A big flashy write-up on the site is great. But ultimately what matters most is that the writer begin their career as a professional screenwriter.
That’s why I brought in producer Lawrence Grey at Grey Matter. You may be familiar with Lawrence. He’s the only producer over the last couple of years to shepherd two 7 figure spec sales (Section 6 – about the origin of MI-6, and Winter’s Knight, the Viking-mythology St. Nick tale). First prize in the Scriptshadow 250 is that Grey Matter will option your script for 1 year at $5000, work with you on it (if it needs work), go to the studios and try to sell it, and, if everything works out, do everything in their power to turn it into a movie.
In addition to that first prize, we’re also looking for a handful of writers to join the Grey Matter writers group (which I’ll be involved in as well). We want to build a collective of writers who we can mentor, but who can also help mentor each other as they move up and into the industry. This contest isn’t just about anointing a winner and moving on. We want to build a career-long connection with these writers, and this writing group is the ideal way to do so.
Why does this contest trump every other contest out there? Because IT’S ABSOLUTELY FREE. You don’t have to save up a penny for it. The only payment you’ll need is the quality of your screenplay.
That’s because unlike other contests, I’ll only be accepting 250 scripts. I’m doing this because I didn’t want a bunch of mystery readers reading your screenplays. I want to be THE ONLY PERSON READING SUBMISSIONS. Unfortunately, the downside of that is that I have to limit the number of scripts I read – and 250 is that limit.
That means that instead of a simple submission, your e-mails will also be your pitch to me. You’ll send me the title, the genre, and the logline of your script, and then in up to 300 words, tell me why you believe your script should be accepted into one of the coveted 250 slots. There are no rules here. You can talk about whatever you’d like. But the competition will be fierce, so be persuasive.
Once I read all the scripts, I will submit the top 25 to Lawrence Grey, and Grey Matter COO, Ben Everard, and together we will decide the winner as well as the four runners-up (those who make it into the writers group). We really want to turn this into something bigger than your garden-variety screenwriting contest. We want to help you sell the script, we want to get the movie made, and we want to find great writers who are ready to take that next step.
The wonderful thing about this contest is that it starts this very SECOND. You can start submitting now. Below are the rules. If you have any questions, add them in the comments, and I’ll update the FAQ at the bottom of the post if need be.
GRAND PRIZE – $5000 1-YEAR OPTION WITH GREY MATTER AND ENTRY INTO THE GREY MATTER WRITERS GROUP
RUNNER-UP – ENTRY INTO THE GREY MATTER WRITERS GROUP (4 writers)
1) Submissions begin right now (February 20th).
2) The deadline is 11:59 pm Pacific Time, August 1st, 2015. (NOTE: EXTENDED TO AUGUST 15TH!)
3) Send all submissions to Scriptshadow250@gmail.com.
4) Your submission should include:
a. The title of your script.
b. The genre of your script.
c. The logline of your script.
d. A pitch of why your script should be selected for the contest – up to 300 words.
e. A PDF attachment of your screenplay.
5) The winner (and runners-up) will be announced on December 1st.
1) Every writer may submit up to two screenplays. Please submit each screenplay in a separate e-mail.
2) You will receive confirmation if you’ve made it into the contest (top 250) by August 30th at the latest.
3) Eligibility Rule #1: Represented writers (writers who have a manager or agent) are eligible.
4) Eligibility Rule #2: You are not eligible if you have made more than $10,000 as a screenwriter. This does not apply to contest winners. You may still submit if you’ve won $10,000 or more in screenwriting contests.
5) Eligibility Rule #3: The script cannot have been submitted to a studio or have been under option by any person or entity (producer, production company, etc).
6) While we’re mainly looking for original properties, you may submit any adaptation of material as long as you have the rights.
LET’S FIND A GREAT SCRIPT AND SOME GREAT SCREENWRITERS. For a head start, check out yesterday’s post on how to win the contest!
1) Is the contest free? Yes.
2) Can we submit scripts that we’ve submitted to other contests? Ideally, we’re looking for a new script, something that hasn’t been passed around the contest circuit. With that said, we want your best material, so submit whatever screenplay you’re most proud of.
3) Are Amateur Friday scripts or scripts we’ve sent to you for consultations eligible? All scripts submitted to Amateur Friday or for a Scriptshadow consultation WILL be eligible. Anything that’s made it to an Amateur Friday review has a better-than-average chance of making it into the top 250. However, if you received a “wasn’t for me” in your review, consider a big rewrite or submitting another script.
4) Can we send in our loglines then send the script later on? No. You must send a PDF of your script ALONG WITH YOUR SUBMISSION. You can’t test out a query, see if I bite, and then go write the script if I say you’re in. Your script MUST BE SENT along with your query.
5) I have a TV pilot. Can I submit that? This is a FEATURES ONLY competition. TV pilots are not eligible, though we’re thinking of adding pilots next year.
6) I live in another country. Can I submit a script? You can submit no matter where you live, unless you live in North Korea. Oh, what the hell, you can submit if you live in North Korea also.
7) Couldn’t you have bumped the option up to $10,000? Blame this on me. Grey Matter put up 5k, and I was going to charge a fee in order to raise the second 5k. But in the end, I wanted this contest to be free. So instead of charging an entry fee to solidify a 10k prize, I kept it free for 5k. It’s still a sweet deal, considering most places these days expect you to give them the option for free.
8) So the winner gets a 1 year option for $5000. What does that mean? This means that Grey Matter will pay you 5 thousand dollars to have the option to set up your movie for a year. If nothing comes of the option after a year (a studio does not buy the script), the rights to the script will revert back to you.
9) Wait, so do I get paid for the sale even though Grey Matter has the option on the script? Yes, if the script sells during the option, you will receive the money from the sale.
10) When do I agree to this 1 year option? The second I send my submission in? No. You are not agreeing to any option when you send in your initial submission. Once the official 250 entrants are chosen, each will be asked to sign an agreement stating that if they are the winning script, they will agree to the option.
11) Is it a good idea for me to give the rights to my script to Grey Matter for a year? If you’re an established writer who options material regularly, you may not need this contest. If you’re on the outside looking in with little-to-no contacts, being optioned by a legitimate production company is a huge deal that will benefit you in ways beyond the option itself. You’ll very likely end up with representation. Your representation will then send you on a series of general meetings that introduce you to the industry. In short, you’ll have a lot more opportunities as a writer. All on top of a great producer doing everything in his power to get your script sold and turned into a film.