AustinfilmfestivalHave you already submitted your polished script to the Nicholl Fellowship?  Did you miss that May 1 deadline and wish you had a few more days and another chance?  Then you should consider submitting to the Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition.  Screenplay awards for Drama and Comedy category each include $5,000 plus reimbursement for round-trip airfare (up to $500) and hotel (up to $500) for the conference and festival.  Teleplay awards for Sitcom Spec, One-Hour Spec, Sitcom Pilot and One-Hour Pilot each include $1,000, plus reimbursement for round-trip airfare (up to $500) and hotel (up to $500) for the conference and festival.

AFF's Screenplay & Teleplay Competition works to expose new writers to the industry. The competition invites several writers, producers, managers and agents to read and judge the semifinal and final rounds of the competition. The deadlines for submission are as follows:

  • Screenplay Regular Deadline: May 15th ($40)
  • Screenplay Late Deadline: June 1st ($50)
  • Teleplay Deadline: June 1st ($30)

Note: you'll have to add $5 to your entry for an online script submission.

Austin Film Festival is unique in being one of the few film festivals to put a strong focus on screenwriting (Nantucket is the other that comes to mind).  AFF runs a concurrent screenwriting conference for the first four days of the festival that includes panels, workshops and roundtable discussions with several well-known professional screenwriters.  This year's schedule has not been announced yet, but here's a small sample of events from 2011's conference:

  • The Art of Storytelling with John Lasseter (Chief Creative Officer for Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios), Caroline Thompson ("Edward Scissorhands", "The Nightmare Before Christmas"), and Hart Hanson ("Bones", "The Finder")
  • In-depth presentations on the script-to-screen process for “Toy Story 3″ with screenwriter Michael Arndt, “Fight Club” with screenwriter Jim Uhls and author Chuck Palahniuk, "Bob’s Burgers" with writer/producer Jim Dauterive, and "Veronica Mars" with show creator Rob Thomas
  • Conversations with Lawrence Kasdan ("Raiders of the Lost Ark"), Whit Stillman ("Damsels in Distress", "Metropolitan"), Jonathan Aibel & Glenn Berger ("Kung Fu Panda 2"), Nancy Pimental ("Shameless"), and others.

Screenplay & Teleplay Competition finalists receive complimentary badges to the conference and festival, and semifinalists can purchase badges for $200 (a steep discount from the $650 sticker price).  The conference usually schedules exclusive events for finalists and semifinalists to expose them to film industry professionals.  In years past, AFF has even extended badge discounts to Second Rounders and offered them special events for networking exposure.

So, if you're looking for a screenwriting contest focused on helping new writers launch their careers, Austin Film Festival's Screenplay and Teleplay Competition might belong on your shortlist.

Link: Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition