When you apply to a screenwriting competition, you should ask yourself, "What am I getting for my money?"
The reality for many screenwriting competitions is thousands will enter, few will win, and maybe those few who win will see a positive change in their screenwriting career after the competition. Or maybe not.
So, what do you get for your money when you apply to a screenplay competition? At a minimum, I think you should get feedback on your script.
This year, the Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition has announced that all entrants to the competition will receive reader comments on their screenplays for free (or more accurately, for no additional cost). This is how AFF describes the reader comments on their website:
All of AFF’s readers are required to provide detailed, constructive notes for each script they review. Starting this year, each entrant in the Screenplay & Teleplay Competition will receive “Reader Comments” which are a brief overall summary of their notes (about a paragraph in length). The Reader Comments are not comprehensive but will provide insight into the reader’s reaction to the script.
Entrants who advance to the Second Round and beyond (usually the top 10-12% of scripts) will get more comments from two to three readers that will focus on specific areas including story concept, plot, structure, characters and dialogue.
Moreover, all entrants also receive discounts to attend the Austin Film Festival & Conference, and Second Rounders and above receive bigger discounts the higher they place in the competition. Finalists receive complimentary Producers Badges to attend the festival and conference. Second Rounders, Semifinalists and Finalists also get access to exclusive panels at the conference based on the round in which their scripts finished.
The regular deadline to submit your script to the Austin Film Festival Screenplay & Teleplay Competition is April 20, 2015 with an entry fee of $40. To learn more about the competition and to submit your feature screenplay or teleplay, check out AFF's website for complete rules and the online submission form.