Well, I was a ScriptapaLOSER last year in that my script didn't place at all, but as I always say, "you gotta be in it to win it" and my experience of entering was a good one, which is why BANG2WRITE was more than happy to talk to Scriptapalooza president, the lovely Mark Andrushko, this week...
1. There are so many scriptwriting competitions now. Why should screenwriters enter your competition? Being in our 9th year and endorsed by the Writers Guild of America west and the Writers Guild of Canada, I think Scriptapalooza has proven itself as one of the most powerful screenplay competitions out there. We have deals with over 70 producers, managers and agents who do all the reading, that's right, every script that comes in is read by one of these people. We actively push your script for a full year, meaning if your script comes in as a Semifinalist or higher, you get Scriptapalooza behind you for a full year. So, if you win 1st place or you're just a Semi, you get the same exposure for a full year. We get calls all year round from producers saying, "I'm looking for this type of script," then we look thru our finalists, runners-up and semifinalists to find this particular script. Our ultimate goal is to get you representation or get your script sold or optioned.
2. Some competitions offer feedback. Is there any plan for Scriptapalooza to do the same? Since all the reading is done by producers, managers and agents (they are listed on our website) they are just too busy to give feedback on every entry. I know other competitions give feedback, but getting feedback from an intern or hired reader is pointless...they can't do anything with the script...we go right to the source, we go to the people who can option your script, get you an agent, get you a meeting, sell your script or take it to the studios to try to get it made.
3. What "success stories" have you had of Scriptapalooza winners, runners up and finalists? What have they gone to do? We have had so many success stories, they are all listed on our website. I will mention a few: Craig Clyde, a past finalist, is shooting and directing his feature right now in Washington with LifeTime Network and PorchLight Entertainment. Robert Gelber, third place winner, sold his script to Level 1 Entertainment for six figures, a direct result of Scriptapalooza. 1st Place winner, Patrick Andrew O'Connor, won the competition and was hired by DisneyToons to write a feature. Again, please check our website, we have about 5 pages of success stories.
4. Why doesn't Scriptapalooza accept online entries like Bluecat and Final Draft Big Break? The reason we don't accept emailed entries is because then we would have to print each script, all the producers, managers and agents we deal with always want the physical script. If they like something, they pass it around their office and have other development people read it...I think the other competitions can take emailed scripts because they are not dealing with so many producers, agents and managers.
5. Do your Judges ever complain about any particular format errors, inconsistencies of character, grammar or spelling? If so, what types of thing annoy them? We do get calls about that and we're very honest with the judges that a lot of these people entering the competition are new writers but we always mention please judge the script on the writing, period. We don't judge on genre, we judge on the storytelling.
6. There's now a Scriptapalooza TV Writing Competition. Can we have some more background on that? We'll had the TV competition for 8 years now and this competition is very small compared to the screenplay competition. We only get like 500 entries per competition (held 2 times a year) but we have had some major success. 2 of our writers, that won the TV competition actually won Daytime Emmys for RugRats, the children's show. One of our other winners was hired by Comedy Central to write for their show. And now we started accepting Reality Shows and the only reason we're doing that is because 33% of what we see on TV is reality now.
7. Scriptapalooza says on the website there is no bias to judging in terms of genre. Out of interest, what types of screenplay have won? All types have won, actually looking back a few years, we have had comedies, animation, thrillers...and also the top 10 runners up are all very different and are all very good.
8. Who are Scriptapalooza's affiliates? Scriptapalooza is endorsed by The Writers Guild of America west and The Writers Guild of Canada. We are also sponsored by Write Brothers, the leading software giant, who make Moviemaker Screenwriter.
Thanks Mark! Really comprehensive info there.
I'll be entering the feature comp - the early deadline is March 5th which is TOMORROW, but don't panic: postmarked on that date is fine apparently. The Late deadline is April 13th for those of you who need to give your drafts a quick polish and those TV writers out there have until April 30th to get your specs in. Best of luck and keep BANG2WRITE posted on your progress!