Awards-224x97As long as you're not surrendering exclusive rights in the process, contests can be a great way of gaining exposure and/or funds. In my own case, I won my camera (since exchanged for a newer model several times) in a music video contest, and I bought my laptop with grant money. Here are several upcoming opportunities for screenwriters, video makers, and other artists:

Note: I'm going to find a better way to format these things in the future (perhaps adding a "Calendar of Opportunity" to the site). The blurb is a quote from each contest, and they're organized in order of (final) deadline:

Fp_slideshow_17.28.103rd Ward Open Call What would you create for $5,000, three months in NYC, and your very own art show? You have the vision and now 3rd Ward is offering you a place in the international art world. You are invited to submit a portfolio of your best completed artwork, work-in-progress or conceptual proposal for our Summer Solo Show.

Winning-is-just-the-beginning7.30.10Champion Screenwriting Competition We champion our winners. We introduce them to the film industry and prepare them for a writing career. We guarantee that several companies will read their entire scripts... We help our winners elevate their work from the top of our competition to the top of Hollywood producers’ reading piles. And the $40,000 in cash and prizes isn’t so bad either.

Sshot-2010-07-09-at-119.1.10AOL 25 for 25 AOL is looking for 25 creative thinkers. The AOL Grant Program (25 for 25) is part of AOL's Project on Creativity, launched during AOL's 25th Anniversary year. We want to connect, empower, and support the next generation of creative thinkers. Inspired by Chuck Close's philanthropic work in art and arts education, we will be awarding grants to tomorrow's brilliant creators. We are awarding twenty-five, $25,000 grants to tomorrow's ground breakers and visionaries—individuals with a creative spark to ignite. 25 for 25 is a call to journalists, artists and innovators who believe in the power of ideas.

Sshot-2010-07-09-at-119.10.10Urban Mediamakers Film Festival UMFF is a competitive film festival with awards and prizes. A jury comprised of filmmakers, writers and industry representatives will deliberate and announce the results at UMFF Awards Reception on Saturday night... Films and scripts accepted for UMFF are eligible for competition. Over $20,000 in filmmaking and writing services, products and consulting.

Sshot-2010-07-09-at-1110.31.10"Commercial" Art Video Call Commercials may or may not be the most creative thing on TV or the Internet, but we think you can make them better. Take any broadcast commercial, cut it, dub it, repeat it, or flip it and make it art... The top five works will be presented on a public screen in Manhattan and the creator of the top scoring work will receive a $2,000 cash prize.

Sshot-2010-07-09-at-1111.1.10Fresh Voices Screenwriting Competition While no one can guarantee your success, Fresh Voices can greatly improve your odds. We are committed to supporting our winners in every way we can. Through our partners, expertise and relationships, we offer unrivaled opportunities... Over $15,000 in cash & prizes! Exposure to over 300 high level entertainment executives! Every entrant receives free feedback worth the cost of entry alone. 10% of the competition goes directly to charity and you vote for the cause.