For this first time ever, the Nicholl Fellowships is now offering the option of getting written comments on your submitted screenplay from at least two readers, but this will cost you an extra $40. When I hosted a panel on screenplay competitions at the Austin Film Festival this past fall, long-time Nicholl Fellowships director Greg Beal had mentioned to the audience that this was in the works based on the strong demand from writers to see what readers thought of their screenplays. Plus, many other competitions already provide some form of feedback, either included in the submission fee or for an extra cost. This new service is not required for entry into the Nicholl Fellowships. Reader comments will be sent in September 2015.

Here are the deadlines and entry fees for the 2015 Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting:

  • Early deadline, March 2, 2015: $40
  • Regular deadline, April 10, 2015: $55
  • Late deadline, May 1, 2015, 11:59 pm Pacific Time: $75

The Nicholl Fellowships gets inundated with last minute submissions, which is why they introduced the March and April deadlines just a few years ago. As a result, their official rules page even states that they can't guarantee access to their online application during the final six hours of submissions because of the expected surge. That's a good reason not to wait until the last minute.

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting Submissions

Cost is obviously another reason to submit early. The entry fee nearly doubles between March 2nd and May 1st. Plus, if you decide to pay for reader comments this year for another forty bucks, that late deadline really seems expensive.

Finally, as mentioned in the introduction, Nicholl readers will be fresher with less scripts to read in March than when they get crushed with screenplays in May. At the Austin Film Festival, Beal told the audience as much and encouraged writers to submit early if possible. That said, every submission regardless of deadline will be read a minimum of two times with 15% getting a third read in the first round. But only 5% of screenplays move on to the quarterfinals, approximately 2% make it to the semifinals and only about ten screenplays advance to the finals.

If you're interested, apply here.

Will you be submitting your script to the Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting this year? What do you think about the new option to purchase reader comments? Share your thoughts with us in the comments.

Source: Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting