2017 Screenwriting Competition

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Welcome to our third annual screenwriting competition through the Film Consortium San Diego! We are looking for the BEST screenplays that San Diego writers have to offer.

This year we are offering Cash Prizes for first place winners for the first time!

1st Place Web Series Pilot Cash Prize $75
1st Place Short Film Cash Prize:  $100
1st Place TV Pilot Cash Prize:  $150
1st Place Feature Film Cash Prize:  $200

Finalists will be announced in January of 2017 and the winners of the competition will be announced during the 2017 San Diego Film Week weekend.

This competition is limited to screenwriters residing (either partially or completely) within San Diego county.   No screenplays from non-San Diego County residents will be considered.

Please read the rules and script guidelines carefully before entering the competition.

NOW ACCEPTING:
Feature Screenplays (any genre) (80-130 pages)
1 hr & 1/2 hr Original TV Pilots (22 to 60 pages)
Short Films  (under 30 pages)
Web Series Pilots (under 10 pages)

EARLY BIRD DEADLINES
EXTENDED TO October 20, 2016
Fees:  $30 for features or tv series pilots
$15 for short films and web series pilots

GENERAL DEADLINE
November 20, 2016
Fees:  $45 for features or tv series pilots
$25 for short films and web series pilots

LATE DEADLINE
December 31, 2015
Fees:  $60 for features or TV series pilots
$40 for short film and web series pilot

Feedback:
$50 for Short Films or Web Series pilot
$100 for Feature Films or TV Series Pilot

Film Consortium PLUS members get $10 off submissions.  To become a Film Consortium PLUS member SIGN UP HERE.

RULES:  

This competition is open to any writer, 18 or older, living (partially or entirely) within San Diego County.   Entering the competition constitutes permission to use the winners' names and likenesses for publicity and promotion with no additional compensation.  We reserve the right to publicize and promote any and all progress, development and success of the entered scripts.

  • Any script from any genre will be considered
  • We must receive at least 3 submissions in each category or the category will be cancelled and submitters will be refunded their submission fee.
  • Multiple entries are accepted, provided you fill out an application for each script
  • Multiple authorship is acceptable.  If the screenplay wins a cash or prizes award, that award will be divided among the writers, by the writers.
  • Screenplays must be the original work of the author.
  • On the cover page of your script, please DO NOT include your name or address.  We only want the title of the script on the cover page.
  • Film Consortium San Diego recommends registering your scripts with the Library of Congress.
  • No substitutions of new drafts or corrected pages for script entries will be accepted under any circumstances.  If you wish to submit a new draft of your script you must treat it as a new entry.. please fill out an application and re-pay the submission fee.
  • Submit scripts in English.
  • Material will not be returned under any circumstances.
  • Body pages must be numbered.
  • Scripts must be in industry standard format, 12 point courier font.
  • The decisions of our judges are final and may not be disputed.
  • Please do not send CD's, treatments, synopses, letters or resumes.  This material will not be sent to the producer reading your script.

AWARDS

Cash Prizes:
NEW THIS YEAR!

1st Place Web Series Pilot Cash Prize $75
1st Place Short Film Cash Prize:  $100
1st Place TV Pilot Cash Prize:  $150
1st Place Feature Film Cash Prize:  $200
Finalists will be announced in January of 2017 and winners will be announced during 2017 San Diego Film Week (Feb 10-17).

Winning scripts coupled with other Film Consortium award winners are eligible to apply for upcoming funding opportunities.

Winners will be promoted via our social media to hundreds of local cast, crew and filmmakers.

Winners are promoted via our newsletter to over 3000 local filmmakers, cast and crew.

FEEDBACK

Feedback is provided by our professional screenplay judges at an additional cost of $50 for a short film and $100 for a feature film or TV series Pilot.

If you order FEEDBACK (at an additional fee), you will get 4-5 pages of notes back (feature or TV series pilot) and 1-2 pages of notes back (short film)

Please expect the feedback to be emailed to you not later than June 30, 2017, after we announce winners.

PLEASE MAKE SURE:
• you attached your script to this application
• PDF format only acceptedWe only accept scripts through this application form, we do not accept scripts by regular mail. Please do not mail anything to our office.   If you have trouble attaching your pdf to this application, you may email it to info@filmconsortiumsd.com after you have submitted the application.

FEEDBACK

Feedback is provided by our professional screenplay judges at an additional cost of $50 for a short film or web series pilot and $100 for a feature film or TV series Pilot.

If you order FEEDBACK (at an additional fee), you will get 4-5 pages of notes back (feature or TV series pilot) and 1-2 pages of notes back (short film)

Please expect the feedback to be emailed to you not later than June 30, 2017, after we announce winners.

PLEASE MAKE SURE:
• you attached your script to this application
• PDF format only acceptedWe only accept scripts through this application form, we do not accept scripts by regular mail. Please do not mail anything to our office.   If you have trouble attaching your pdf to this application, you may email it to info@filmconsortiumsd.com after you have submitted the application.

CRITERIA

We have done considerable research determining a fair and consistent process.

Screenplays will be judged and scored on the following criteria (1-10 scale).

Voice
Premise/Concept
Story
Structure
Theme
Tone
Plot Points
Pacing
Conflict
Characters
Dialogue
Script Format
Marketability/Sustainability (TV)
Cast-ability
Commerciality
Market Potential

SCORING PROCESS

All material is read by a small group of volunteer readers who have professional experience teaching screenwriting, reading screenplays for studios and/or judging other film competitions to insure transparency and a consistent judging process.
Judges score every screenplay utilizing a 16 Point Evaluation system and will grade each element of the screenplay on a scale of 1-10.

Total tabulated scores can be used to imply:

Recommend (> 140)

Recommend with reservations (137-140)

Consider (130-137)

Pass (< 130)
The number of entrants and the average score of each category and reader will determine the curve.
The curve will determine if the script advances in each round of the judging process.

JUDGING PROCESS

There are two phases to the judging process and one judge never reads the same material twice.

Through each phase, the finals results of each category are based on a curve, and each reader that reads for a particular category is also based on a curve to ensure every judge sees their favorite scripts advance.

The first phase selects finalists,  the top 15-20% from the highest scoring screenplays. The top 15-20% is determined by the number of contestants in each category and the average score of each reader, not by the individual scores.

The  final stage will again judge each finalist according to the same scoring process.   Winners will be chosen by the top score based on the two rounds of judging.

 

JUDGES

Judges have at least one of the following qualifications:

  • Screenwriting teacher with at least one year of experience at a college/university level
  • Screenwriting judge for established screenwriting competitions for at least 1 year.
  • Screenwriter with at least 1 award in established screenwriting competition.
  • Producer with at least 3 years experience producing feature films.
  • Screenplay reader for production studios with at least 1 year of experience.

16 POINT EVALUATION

Film Consortium San Diego is using  a 16 point evaluation system which has been adapted from other top screenwriting competitions and scores all the elements of a great screenplay on a scale of 1-10.  Our screenplay competition will employ this method on EVERY screenplay.

Below are the 16 points and some of the things we consider.

VOICE - Your voice is the style and personality with which you write. A writer's voice should paint a clear and vivid picture for the reader, and resonate long after the material has been read.

FORMAT - There are specific structure and format for writing a screenplay.  Does your script meet the guidelines?  The first impression you give the reader is your structure and formatting.   If your script does not have proper formatting, it is viewed as unprofessional.   With proper formatting, a reader can scan the script in a way where they understand what is happening, what is said, and what characters are involved.   Improperly formatted scripts are often hard to follow.

STORY- The story includes the "why" behind the script.  What does your main character "want' to achieve and is that "want" something your audience can relate to and understand?  The story includes the hook, the set up and the pay-off.  The first few pages should hook your audience and the the story should be engaging enough to sustain attention for the full length of your screenplay.

STRUCTURE - Does the screenplay have a clear beginning, middle and end? If not does it benefit the story? Does the end of act one challenge your protagonist, pose a question or force him/her to make a decision?

THEME - The theme of the film is what people will remember.  What is your film about- Beyond the story and characters?  Does your theme address greater issues, challenges or universal stories?

TONE - Tone is often determined by the genre of the film.   Does the tone of your screenplay compliment the genre.

PREMISE/ CONCEPT - How clear is the premise to identify? Is it a high concept premise, or low concept? Is it a genre driven concept, or character driven.

PLOT POINTS - Is the plot engaging?  Does it twist and turn story in unique, interesting and unpredictable ways?  Do your plot points add to the tension and give your protagonist obstacles to reaching his goals?

PACING - Pacing is important to keep your audience engaged.  Does your screenplay flow well?  Do the stakes continue to rise or is there lulls or distractions from the story?

CONFLICT - Conflict is key in driving any story forward and provides dramatic tension. Often these conflicts reflect greater conflicts we experience as people (man v man, man v nature..etc.) Are there high stakes for your protagonist?

CHARACTERIZATION - Are your characters  interesting, unique, likable and memorable? Can we relate to them? Are their  motivations believable? Does their personality fit their character? Do they have a strong, clear character arcs? What do they learn?  Do they change from beginning to end?

DIALOGUE - People don't usually talk like we write it in a screenplay.  They speak in dialects, use slang, talk over each other and have their own unique style.  Dialogue should not be "on the nose."  Your characters should sound different in relationship to each other.

MARKETABILITY/ SUSTAINABILITY - Is this concept easy to market?   Can the concept be simplified and conveyed easily? Is there merchandise opportunities?   (Action Figures, t-shirts,?) Would this film lend itself to a sequel?  Franchise?    Is it a viral concept? If it is a TV pilot, how easy is the idea to sustain itself over the course of a season? Are audiences likely to tune in week after week?

CAST-ABILITY - Are your characters rich and interesting?  Will the characters prove challenging to a leading actor or actress or are they typical characters we've seen many times?

COMMERCIALITY - How broad is your film audience?   Is it a film with broad appeal to wide demographic or is it a personal, art niche film meant for a limited release?

MARKET POTENTIAL - The trends and needs of the market place change often.  There are new and unique means of distribution that could be accessed. How easy is this film to sell according to the current landscape of the industry?  If it won't sell in the traditional markets, how well could this sell in new distribution platforms?

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