Longevity is Key

Scriptapalooza reflects on 20 years in the business

Sitting on the floor, staring at each other and trying to figure out how to make screenplay competitions matter. Here we are, in 1998, disappointed with how the so-called screenplay competitions are operating, where you mail in your script and never hear back from anyone.

“We can change this”, we told ourselves. “Let’s change it. Now.”

So, here we are, 20 years later, reflecting on how everything happened and where things are going. Let’s get this out in the open, right now: there are way too many screenplay competitions out there. It seems another one is popping up every month. The websites are beautiful — flashy pictures, great quotes, and according to the website, they are number one.

But now, let’s get back to reality.

When we started Scriptapalooza, we cold-called producers, managers and agents, begging them to read our winners. After 200 phone calls, I think we got 20 commitments from producers to read scripts. We posted the producer’s name, company name, and their title on our website, and things got interesting very fast.

What’s happening here, what are they doing? Nobody does that!

That was the response from other competitions. And that’s when we knew that we were going to change the industry. Our first year, we got 600 scripts, and our second year, we got 2300. And so, it began, year after year we see a countless number of new services and competitions popping up and confusing screenwriters.

Where does it go from here?

I think you have to start out with the basics. That means looking at the history of each competition, the relationships they have, the success stories, etc…I mean let’s be honest — we know The Nicholl Fellowship is a go-to, Austin Film Festival is well established. But after that, it gets murky.

Here’s a great starting point: ask yourself why these competitions don’t have an office phone number? 

Scriptapalooza has had an office number since 1998, and we always have someone answering the office line. If you cannot get someone on the phone and talk to a real person, stay away from that competition or service. Right now, few competitions/services have real connections and industry behind them. It doesn’t matter what their website states.

Many new competitions simply mimic existing, successful screenwriting competitions.

We all know that “imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.” However, in this instance, it seems dishonest. We at Scriptapalooza have worked tirelessly since 1998 and have nurtured lasting relationships with producers, managers and agents.

These relationships have gotten our writers’ scripts sold and optioned. Writers will need to swim through the sea of competitions and figure out which ones have their best interest at heart. There are a few reputable competitions to choose from in the sea of hundreds. Or should I say thousands? If you need us to recommend some competitions other than ours, we’d be happy to help you. (Hint: There are only 2.)

How do we know that?

Experience. What recently confirmed my above thoughts was a Moviebytes poll that voted Scriptapalooza the #1 Competition this past week. We truly want nothing but success for all the writers who take the time to send us their scripts. Let our experience, our knowledge, our team at Scriptapalooza, who have been doing this since 1998, start your writing career. Better yet, give us a call. We would love to chat with you!

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