If you apply to one and only one screenwriting competition a year (and I don't recommend that you apply to very many screenwriting competitions), the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting should be that one competition. Beyond awarding five $35,000 fellowships each year, the Nicholl Fellowships publishes the names, contact information and loglines of the quarterfinalist, semifinalist and finalist screenplays for industry executives. This is the one screenwriting competition many industry executives watch. As a result, the Nicholl Fellowships actually launch screenwriting careers. But you have to write a really good screenplay, because the competition is tough, and the early deadline of Feb. 28 is fast approaching.
Starting last year, the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting created an early submission deadline along with both regular and late deadlines in an effort to spread out its submissions. Here are the dates (and times) for this year's submission deadlines.
Many of us have become accustomed to midnight deadlines for online submissions, so please note the 5 pm PT cut-offs for submissions at each deadline. You don't want to work tirelessly on your script rewrite for weeks on end only to discover you can't submit to Nicholl after 5 pm PT on May 1. Don't be that screenwriter.
Screenwriters who have earned less than $25,000 over their lifetime writing fictional work for film and/or television are eligible to apply. Last year, the Nicholl Fellowships received a record 7,251 screenplay submissions. Entrants still skew heavily male (71.1% male vs. 28.9% female), so we hope to see that trend decline this year and in subsequent years.
The Nicholl Fellowships has an extensive FAQ that all applicants should read to understand exactly how the competition works and to dispel some myths surrounding the Fellowships.
Will you be applying to this year's Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting? Share your thoughts on the competition with us in the comments.