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Get Industry Attention with the 2012 Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships and Two Other Competitions

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is kind of a big deal – and if you’ve never heard of the Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships, it’s a life-changing opportunity to write a script and win a grant. We’ve also go two other fantastic opportunities for script writers: Scriptapalooza and the Nantucket Film Festival Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition. That’s a mouthful, but let’s see what’s so special about these competitions.

2012 AMPAS Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships

What’s so special about this competition? How about the opportunity to be one of five screenwriters to win a $35,000 grant to spend however you’d like. Not only is that a significant amount of dough, but you’ll also have a tremendous amount of Hollywood exposure if you’re a winner. Here are their stipulations:


Screenwriters who have not earned more than $5,000 writing fictional work for film or television.

Entry scripts must be the original work of one writer, or of two writers who collaborated equally, and must be written originally in English. Adaptations and translated scripts are not eligible.

We expect fellows to complete one script during their fellowship year, but we don’t really care whether they complete one or four – it’s important only that they write.

If you’ve seen a Hollywood film recently, there’s a good chance a Nicholl winner was involved with it. It’s an elite club, but if you want a chance to enter, here are the dates: Early bird entry fee of US$35 (by 11:59 p.m. Pacific Time on March 15) or regular deadline entry fee of US$52 (by 11:59 p.m. PT on May 1).

Scriptapalooza

While this competition does not have the reputation of Nicholl, Scriptapalooza is a terrific opportunity for newcomers and veterans alike. The first place winner receives $10,000 and there are winners in all genres that will also be awarded $500. If you’re a Scriptapalooza semifinalist or winner, they will promote your screenplay for an entire year, and they’ll get it read by countless producers, managers, and agents – so nothing to scoff at. Here’s a video of some past winners:

Their first deadline is March 5, and their final deadline is April 19, with fees of $50 and $60, respectively.

Nantucket Film Festival Showtime Tony Cox Screenplay Competition

Another fantastic opportunity, the Nantucket Film Festival is in it’s 17th year and their screenplay competition is accepting entries from anyone and everyone. Not only do you have a chance to win $5,000, but if you’re a winner you’ll spend a month in Nantucket at the Screenwriter’s Colony.

It’s a great opportunity to have your script read by industry professionals and the possibility of tremendous support from the festival. The deadlines are: March 12 at $55 and March 26 at $80.

All of these competitions will get industry attention, and if you’ve got a screenplay lying around, you owe it to yourself to brush it off and get it out there.

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  • awesome info, thanks koo

  • You may want to consider adding the Bluecat and TVWriter.com contests to that list.

  • “A record 6,730 entries were received in 2011″ – wow! That’s like the Sundance of screenplays!! Slightly discouraging… but anyway.

    • Yeah… percentage-wise, it’s easier to get into Harvard/Yale/Anywhere than it is to win many of the high-volumen contests these days!

  • I don’t think the Nicholl grant is intended to fund the production of the film. I think it’s intended to provide the writer time to continue writing? From their website:

    “Fellowship recipients will be expected during the fellowship year to complete at least one original feature film screenplay.

    Fellowship payments will be made quarterly subject to satisfactory progress of the recipient’s work, as judged by the Academy’s Nicholl Fellowships Committee.”

    I suppose you could spend it on film production, though! :)

    I’d recommend the Austin Film Fest competition as well! Definitely top tier!

    • Yes, that’s true, thank you – all that’s asked is that the writer complete one script during the year if they are a winner. I’ll correct it to make it more specific.

  • Great info, badly needed though daunting. Thanks to you too, Melisa and Anil. But is this open to African writers wanting to tell African stories?