The end of the year is in sight, and you might already be wondering where you should submit your screenplay in 2023.
Below is a list of trustworthy coverage services, contests, and fellowships that you should consider submitting to that will considerably further your career if you win.
Before submitting your script to contests, festivals, fellowships, or anywhere else, consider having your script reviewed by a coverage service that will give you thorough notes and an idea of where your script currently lands on the market.
1. We Screenplay Coverage Service
We Screenplay is an established coverage service with a fast 72 hours turnaround.
One of the perks of We Screenplay is that it’s fully integrated with Coverfly. That means that getting a “consider” or “recommend” will positively impact your score and give you more chances to land on the Red List – a list of the highest-ranking scripts currently in Hollywood.
The script notes specifically give feedback on your characters, plot, structure, dialogue, and concept.
On We Screenplay Coverage, you can purchase different packages:
- The classic for $79.99 that gives you 4 pages of detailed notes
- The Bespoke for $99.99 with the same amount of detailed notes and a customized marketing blueprint
- The Comprehensive for $199.99 with the same perks as the Classic and the Bespoke but with inline PDF notes throughout your script.
2. Script Reader Pro
This coverage’s readers have worked on high budget movies such as Burnt with Bradley Cooper or The Bourne Identity with Matt Damon.
Just as We Screenplay does, Script Reader Pro also offers packages:
- The Classic Feature Coverage with 4 pages of notes and the creation of a logline for $169
- The Deluxe Feature Coverage with 12 pages of notes, the creation of a logline and a synopsis, and the possibility to ask follow-up questions for a total of $449
When you think of contests to enter, you should always take a look at the prizes (either in cash or perks), the past winners and where they’re currently at, and what the industry says/thinks about that contest (which you can find with a google search).
1. Academy Nicholl Fellowship
A yearly fellowship that awards five winners a $35,000 prize and invites them to the awards week ceremony, where their screenplay will get read by talented, established actors in front of a crowd.
2. Austin Screenwriting Competition
With your script entry, you will receive a discount to register for the Austin Film Festival, which is an incredible event for writers filled with roundtables, pitch sessions, and various panels. Highly recommend getting tickets for the festival when submitting your script.
3. ScreenCraft Feature
10 finalists will receive written feedback from either an agent at Verve, an agent at APA, or a manager at Bellevue Productions. They will also get a meeting on zoom with whoever gave them the feedback.
There are 2 grand prize winners in the ScreenCraft Feature contest. When they win, they will both get additional feedback on their script, career advise, scheduled meetings and they’ll automatically join the Screencraft development program and get help finding a manager. $1,000 in cash is also awarded.
4. Page International Screenplay Awards
Page is a competition that’s been running for the past 20 years and awards $25,000 to the grand winner. As a Page winner, you will have easier time landing meetings for possible representation.
5. BlueCat Screenplay Competition
Bluecat has existed for 25 years and offers $18,500 in cash to their winner with help securing meetings with managers and producers.
Fellowships and Labs
Fellowships and labs are fantastic because they give writers a structure to develop and grow as writers. They usually last a few days where the selected writers benefit from one-on-one mentorship and learn how to become better writers and be more prepared for the industry.
1. Sundance Screenwriting Lab
Twelve projects are selected at the Sundance Screenwriting Lab every time the lab runs.
The lab supports writers and writers/directors in developing their first or second feature films and runs over a five-day period.
During that time, the selected writers get the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with established writers.
2. Film Independent Screenwriting Lab
This lab runs over a course of two weeks. It’s held in the first quarter of the year and provides story and career development support for emerging screenwriters. During the lab, each writer gets paired with a creative advisor who will support them one-on-one to develop their new screenplay.
Additionally, to help emerging writers develop a script, the lab offers support to the writers by introducing them to industry people who can give advice to emerging writers.
3. Hamptons Film Screenwriters Lab
This lab takes place over the weekend, where the selected writers get to sit with established writers and creative producers to discuss their projects and get advice on their scripts and careers.
Throughout the weekend, there are also nightly salons, masterclasses, and happy hours with industry guests and alumni of the lab.
4. Sun Valley Film Festival Screenwriters Lab
The Sun Valley Lab offers selected writers opportunities to meet with literary agents and opportunities to have their screenplays read aloud by working actors in the form of a table read during the Sun Valley Lab.
5. Middlebury Script Lab
This lab offers six emerging writers the opportunity to work on their feature script during a week in the idyllic New England town of Middlebury.
During the week, there are also opportunities to go outside and visit the mountains, making nature a full part of the creative process.
During the lab, writers, producers, and agents will offer mentorship in workshops, masterclasses, and one-on-one support to the selected candidates. While anyone can apply, the Middlebury Script Lab is particularly interested in profiles that have encountered extraordinary obstacles in the pursuit of their screenwriting career.
To apply you need a feature script that fits the scale of independent production (75-120 pages). The application process is handled through FilmFreeway.
6. Stowe Story Labs
This lab includes mentorship from working industry professionals, meetings set up for the writers, and an intensive class on pitching your script which has immense value.
It’s a four-day event that doesn’t only focus on screenplay writing but also distribution, financing, and overall producing.
Additionally, this lab takes place in a small town in Vermont which just like Middlebury Script Lab, makes nature part of the creative process.
7. The Writers Lab (for women over 40)
This lab is supported by Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman. It’s only open to women over the age of 40.
It’s a four-day workshop that gives the opportunity to the selected candidates to focus on one screenplay through one-on-one meetings, workshops, discussions, and so on. This workshop is mostly there to inspire the writer to explore their creativity, develop new ideas and grow as a storyteller.
To submit to the Writers Lab you need a basic resume, script logline and genre, a full-length screenplay of 130 pages or less, and show proof that your script is registered with copyright. You can apply with up to three scripts.
8. Outfest Screenwriting Lab (LGBTQ)
All screenplays should have an LGBTQ protagonist. You can only submit one entry per writer.
Do not submit a complete script, instead submit the first 10 pages of your script, a synopsis of the script, a statement about your career and objectives, and how this lab would help you achieve these.
9. Athena IRIS Screenwriting Lab (for women and non-binary writers)
The Athena IRIS Screenwriting Lab takes place during the Athena Film Festival.
It’s made for women and non-binary screenwriters who don’t have credits yet.
During the lab, women get mentorship in developing a script. The scripts developed need to have a strong female lead.
10. The Hillman Grad Mentorship Lab (for underrepresented voices)
The Hillman Lab is meant for marginalized people. It was specifically created to help underrepresented storytellers grow their careers and tell their stories.
It provides workshops, educational resources, career development, and networking opportunities. It runs over eight months and aims to bring more people from diverse backgrounds into the entertainment industry.
I also recommend Roadmap Writers to every screenwriter out there. It is through Roadmap Writers that I met some of the most established producers I know, and through Roadmap Writers that I met my managers.
Since its creation, Roadmap Writers has helped over 300 writers find representation.
Roadmap Writers is an online community, but they also offer classes and one-on-one consultations. Additionally, they have a bunch of contests worth checking out, such as their Jump Start writing competition, Diversity Initiative, and Top Tier Contest.
Keep an eye out on their online consultations as well, since you can schedule meetings with great producers or managers in Hollywood through Roadmap Writers.
Another place to submit your script to would be Virtual Pitch Fest (VPF) which lets you send a short written pitch to a producer that will respond within three days with either a pass or a request to read. That website was put together by Screencraft and is a great way to submit your script to established producers efficiently.
Having a clear strategy when it comes to your script submissions is crucial. Too often, writers submit to every contest out there, hoping to get something back, but many of them are not worth the financial investment. Keep in mind that fellowships usually benefit from being free, although extremely competitive.
Whichever one you will choose, you can not go wrong with any of the suggestions above when submitting your script in 2023.
Best of luck!