For a burgeoning screenwriter, screenwriting competitions are the best way—and sometimes the only way—to open doors. Not only do you get to compete with your peers and become part of a larger community, but you get the chance to stand out, be seen, and start building your career. Not to mention, the cash prizes are often lovely, too. For your convenience, we have curated the top 17 screenwriting competitions worth entering in 2022.
So which competitions should you give your attention to? Here's a list of what we think are some of the best upcoming screenwriting competitions of 2022.
With a long-standing history and numerous scripts produced, this annual competition is one to hit every year, and 2022 is no exception.
According to the company, "The Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition connects talented writers with production companies, agencies, and managers. As one of the longest-running and most successful screenplay contests, they focus specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, ambitious storytelling, and pushing original projects into production."
You can find out more about what they're looking for and how to submit here.
Founded in 2008, the ATLFF already has a strong reputation as a leader in the field.
From the company's website: "The Atlanta Film Festival has a four-decade-long history of discovering and nurturing new filmmaking talent, having shown early works by Robert Rodriguez, Spike Lee, and Victor Nunez. The 2022 Atlanta Film Festival Screenplay Competition is devoted to finding the best screenplays from around the world and offering their authors the opportunity to take part in a once-in-a-lifetime writing workshop and mentorship program with professionals in the industry."
The winners will be three feature film screenplays, one pilot screenplay, and one short film screenplay. You can find out more about how to submit your work here.
You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone who hasn't heard of the Academy, and that means everyone is keeping their eyes on this yearly competition.
From their mission statement: "The Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting is an international screenwriting competition established to identify and encourage talented new screenwriters."
They offer screenwriting resources that could help your chances when submitting your work, and their rigorous process is the stuff of legend.
You can find out more about submitting to them here.
The origin of a beloved writing method for screenwriters and novelists alike, Save the Cat! offers a new kind of challenge for your creative muscles.
Their website gives the details.
All entrants will receive:
• 50 points of analysis report adapted from the Save the Cat! Greenlight Checklist (Save the Cat!® Strikes Back – pages 104-108)
• A review by readers and judges trained in the Save the Cat! Methodology
• Feedback grounded in structure and marketability and consistently applied to all scripts
Find out more about what they're looking for here.
A great place to go, especially if you like receiving guaranteed feedback and a chance to make corrections and resubmit, The BlueCat is one to keep an eye on.
From the website: "The BlueCat Screenplay Competition, now in its 24th year, is accepting submissions for its 2022 competition. BlueCat remains committed to the undiscovered writer and continues its tradition of providing written analysis on every script submitted."
You can find out more about their submission process here.
This famous festival hosts yearly screenplay competitions. Keeping an eye on their website for when the next submission window opens—usually in April and May—could land you an open door into one of the most coveted film communities.
From the website: "For over twenty-seven years, Austin Film Festival has been catapulting writers into life-changing careers. With one of the most noteworthy competitions among Hollywood tastemakers, AFF consistently yanks newcomers from the isolation of their desks and ushers them into the bustling world of film and television. Whether your dream is to sign a contract, land an agent, learn from an industry icon, or take home the coveted Bronze Typewriter Award, it's simple: you can't win if you don't enter."
Find out more about how to submit here.
This unique contest is one to keep an eye on, taking winners on a retreat further to hone their craft and network with their community.
From their mission statement: "Founded in 1995, the CineStory Foundation is a nonprofit mentoring organization dedicated to mentoring talented emerging screenwriters and television writers regarding the craft and business of writing for the screen through its TV writing and screenwriting contests, retreats, fellowships, and events. These mentoring programs are designed for emerging writers with a high level of the craft who are ready to enter or are in the early stages of navigating the entertainment industry."
You can find out more about the rules and costs associated with this retreat here.
Any writer with a completed fiction feature screenplay can participate in this two-week workshop designed to provide the individualized story and career development in the first quarter of every year.
From their website: "Each Screenwriting Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor, with whom they'll work one-on-one and in group sessions to develop their project throughout the program further. The Screenwriting Lab also helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film industry veterans who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of screenwriting. A variety of guest speakers may screen and discuss their films and offer career insights. A final pitch event offers further opportunity for individualized feedback and discussion with industry executives."
Find out more about their extensive application process here.
Free venues to submit your work aren't to be taken lightly, especially not ones as dedicated as Fresh Blood. Horror and thriller writers are welcome, and submissions take place every year until the final quarter.
From their webpage: "Fresh Blood is a free submission system for unrepresented screenwriters and creators. We are excited to bring your scary and thrilling projects to the BloodList audience! With the world and industry having shifted so much, we have decided to only focus on Fresh Blood Select projects and creators for BloodList the 13th. We look forward to shining a light on the next generation of voices of horror and dark genres!"
Find out more about submitting your horror work here.
A contest with a vision, Humanitas selects five out of hundreds of submissions every year. Winning could land you a mentorship, production, and a massive prize.
From their mission statement:
A SIGNATURE, HUMANITAS NEW VOICES STORY, MUST:
Find out more about how to submit to this contest with a moral compass here.
With a prestigious jury made of managers, agents, producers, and executives, the LPF competition should be on everyone's radar next year.
From the website: "The Launch Pad Competitions have led to more signings, success stories, and careers than any other screenwriting competition. With nearly a decade of experience in promoting up-and-coming writers, The Launch Pad Competition has firmly established itself as the premier hub for Hollywood to discover fresh voices and new ideas. We advocate for all of our Top 100 finalists, working with them to share their work with the right industry members to advance their career."
Find out more about what you can win, what mentorships are available, and how to enter here.
The very name Sundance inspires awe, and well, it should. The past 40 years of excellent service attest to the standards this institution and competition uphold.
From their mission statement: "The Sundance Institute Feature Film Program has supported and championed many of the leading independent filmmakers of the past 40 years whose distinctive, singular films have engaged audiences worldwide. Over the years, the Feature Film Program has evolved to provide in-depth and year-round support to the next generation of filmmakers from development through distribution and has become a global model for supporting artists around the world."
Find out more about their offers and how you can submit your work here.
Another entry that provides feedback for every participant and offers a more intensive in-depth option for an additional fee, Slamdance, has the potential to be your introduction to the entertainment industry.
From their mission statement: "Like the Film Festival, the Screenplay Competition is a place for new, bold, and raw voices. We are looking for scripts that take risks, refuse compromises, and go places where Hollywood hacks fear to tread. (…) In addition to awarding the best screenplays submitted to Slamdance, our readers will nominate unique scripts that, with a little more development and support from a team of alumni, could turn into production-ready ventures."
Submit your work to these unique opportunities here.
This yearly competition founded in Glasgow is looking for a short, feature, and TV pilot screenplays worldwide. With a 10.000$ option at stake, you don't want to miss this one.
From their website: "The best scripts of the 2022 edition will be read by some of the most renowned production companies & literary agencies (including some that have won several OSCARS and BAFTAS), giving you the chance to have your script produced or represented. Our mentors include two-time Oscar-winner Paul Haggis and three-time Emmy-nominee Jessica Sharzer (the latter to be reconfirmed for 2022)."
Find out more about how to submit here.
The list of talent agencies and other representatives that ScreenCraft winners have gone on to is impressive and more than enough incentive to want to work with them.
From their website: "Past ScreenCraft-winning writers have signed with top representatives at CAA, WME, 3 Arts Entertainment, United Talent Agency, Anonymous Content, Paradigm Talent Agency, Untitled, ICM, Writ Large, Bellevue Productions, Romark Entertainment, Lit Entertainment, and many others. The chosen Fellowship recipients will receive ongoing professional support and a special trip to Los Angeles for meetings, mentorship, and personal introductions to key entertainment studio executives, producers, literary managers, and agents."
Find out more about how to submit to them here.
If you're looking for a quick and easy pop, as well as confirmation of whether your first ten pages hook the reader as they should, then this contest is for you.
From their website: "The First 10 Pages Showcase recognizes scripts, books, short stories & stage plays in any genre that set up an exciting and compelling story capable of "hooking" a reader within the first 10 pages."
InkAndCinema also offers a variety of other showcases, and you can find out more about all of them here.
If you're lucky enough to write in the area of one of their eight genre categories, then this contest could be the right one for you. They're looking for Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Family/Holiday/Young Adult, Historical/Bio, Horror/Thriller, Mystery/Crime, and Sci-Fi/Fantasy.
From their statement: "We're searching for emerging screenwriters with exceptional screenplays in eight genre categories. The winner of each genre category will receive $2500 cash. Of the eight scripts selected, one of you will go on to win the Grand Prize, receive an additional $10,000, and be accepted onto the ISA Development Slate, where the Career Development team will work with you for a minimum of one year to get you and your script in front of top producers, literary reps and other industry executives from companies like Lakeshore Entertainment, Gidden Media, ICM, and others."
Find out more about how you can submit to them here.
Which of these top 17 screenwriting competitions do you think are worth entering in 2022? Though screenwriting competitions are indeed an investment, both in terms of time and money, they're also one of your best chances to break into the industry no matter who you are and where you're from. Make sure that your screenplay is in pitch-perfect shape, and you'll soon see the return of your labor—mainly if you apply to competitions that guarantee feedback.
If you are ready to get started writing your next blockbuster, feel free to use Arc Studio Pro for free. We offer industry standard formatting with the ease and simplicity of Google Docs. Happy writing!