Monday, March 16, 2009

Contest scams

In case you haven't already heard, the Fade In screenwriting contest is officially a scam.

I met a guy once who wanted to start a screenwriting contest where he made a lot of money from suckers who sent in their scripts for a promise of $100 and a email blast to agencies. He knew this was a scam and he kept talking about how much money he'd make. It was disgusting.

The Nicholl is legitimate. Disney is legitimate. Austin is legitimate. A few others deliver what they promise - The Silver Screenwriting Contest, Scriptapalooza. I don't think I'd enter anything else. Has anybody had success with any other contests?


  1. BlueCat is pretty solid (they give you feedback too) but it's huge, so your odds are slim.

    However, I met the girl who won it in 2007 (Lily), and she seems it's not impossible.

  2. PAGE is a good one. They do try to get stuff into the right hands and their check cashed just fine.

  3. I also got cool feedback from BlueCat, so I really appreciated that.

    I don't have a script that I'm really proud of, so I don't plan to enter the Nicholls UNTIL I have that "perfect" script ready.

  4. I also have to stand up for Coverage Ink's 'Writers On The Storm' contest. They do the CS Open every year at the Expo, and I've had some issues with, uh, that, having my score changed...
    However, the WOTS contest doesn't just say you win or you lose, they give you coverage, explaining why you didn't win, what you need to do to fix it. Jim Cirile takes his contest very seriously, and their coverage/notes are brutally honest.

    I've entered a lot of contests- and I agree: the Nicholl is the creme.

    Hey, I wrote about this, too.

  5. I read for the Zoetrope contest last year and it is indeed legit. I read 250 scripts during Sept/Oct and then picked my top 10 of the bunch. 2 of my picks were finalists. The top scripts in that contest really are read by Francis Ford Coppola and then circulated among agencies and production companies.

  6. Anonymous4:46 PM

    I've heard a lot of bad stories about contests, from idea theft, right through to outright scams to make money.
    The only ones I can recommend are Scriptapalooza, who work really hard to get their contestants read. My entries have not placed, but I have had inquiry's from producers who went put out word they were looking for sci-fi scripts.
    And I've also heard Blue Cat is good via blogs- although I've never entered it myself.

  7. i entered several screenwriting contests and was called by Urban MediaMakers Film Festival in Norcross, Georgia because my script was in the top 25 out of 80 submitted scripts. So, I flew to Atlanta just to see what this would turn out to be. The night before Awards Night, the titles of 10 of those scripts were called out and my script was among those. I was thrilled to have been in the top ten and for the first time, I understood the actors who said that they were glad just ot have been nominated because that is what I felt. Then 3 scripts were chosen from that 10 and the way in which we would know which 3 scripts these were was that in each of the 3 cases, actors would dramatize a scene from each of the 3 winning screenplays. I was totally shocked because my screenplay ended up in the top 3. Maybe it's low self esteem, but that was all I needed or wanted at that moment. The next night, Awards Night, of the 3 scripts chosen, MY SCRIPT WON!!!!!! This turned out to be legitimate. The only problem is that the WITHOUTABOX listing for this contest said that the screenplay winner would receive an award, a gift basket and several other things which was supposed to total $2,500, none of which I received. But when I called the UMFF offices, I was told that my award would be sent to me shortly. I did not ask about the other things that the WITHOUTABOX organization had listed as I await my award.

  8. Santa Fe Screenwriting Conference was cancelled in 2011, which I signed up for. And no fee was refunded. Most disturbing when one has gone out of his way to travel there and participate. Definitely not recommended.

    Ed T


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