Want to know how to write a script that doesn’t make you look cool to slacker friends–but can also help you win some contests and (possibly) get you noticed by decision-makers?

Here’s a video I recorded of a couple to tips to help sharpen your script to help improve your adds of winning a script contest.


Video Transcript Below:

Hi there. It’s Michael from ScriptBully. And in this short video I’ll go over 3 tips for how to write a script that can win contests, get noticed and..possibly…change your life.

Tip No.1: Follow the rules

This means if they say just the first five pages, do just the first five pages. this means if they say the script must be set in Tuscaloosa, Alabama it’s gotta to be set in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

Don’t assume you are special. don’t assume they’ll make an exception for you. Don’t assume you are the one writer who can break the rules. you are not a unique snowflake. so get over it.

This also means including the contest fee when you send in your script. this means signing the appropriate release.

This means dont include illustrations or drawings or diagrams or pie charts detailing how Johnny Depp would be just perfect for the lead role of the kind-hearted troll. Just include what they ask for. And follow directions.

I’ve been involved in contests where people’s script got tossed just for not doing these simple things. Dont let it happen to you.

Tip No.2: Be funny and/or original

The emphasis on making sure your script is marketable isn’t as required as it is with an agency or production company submission. And that’s okay. This means…you can take a chance.

If you want to write about a magical gay unicorn who fights the Nazis. go right ahead. Just make sure it’s entertaining.

If you want to write about a group of ex-ninjas living in a retirement home who have to band together for one last mission. Knock yourself out. Just don’t be boring.

And though it’s not a requirement…being funny really really helps.

Having read for script contests over the years I can promise you it’s an unrewarding job. (And by unrewarding i mean it pays like 20 bucks a pop)

And the more you can do to be funny and make it less like indentured servitude for your reader, the more it will really help your chances.

Note: Being clever and hipster with movie references is not the same as being funny.

Tip No.3: Lower Your Expectations

Unless you’re entering the Nicholl fellowship, Sundance Lab, or Walt disney fellowship it’s highly unlikely that winning the contest will let you quit your job at Home depot and start pricing real estate in Malibu.

But that doens’t mean winning isn’t valuable. it can not only boost your confidence, but also give you momentum to your career, put your script in front of people who may know other industry people, and, in my opinion best of all, can give you access to cool events like film festivals and panels.
just don’t stress too much about it. It’s really not worth worrying about too much.

But if you are entering one of the biggies that i mentioned, realize that just being a semi-finalist for one of those can drastically change your life.

But no pressure. okay? Just keep writing. and pretty soon they’ll be naming contests after you.

Doesn’t suck and will actually sell.

Till we talk again. Keep writing. And kick writer’s block in the ass.


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About The Author

Michael Rogan
Editor, ScriptBully Magazine

Michael Rogan is a former screenplay reader and optioned screenwriter. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief of ScriptBully magazine, and has written a few non-sucky books including "How to Write a Book That Doesn't Suck (and Will Actually Sell)". He has made it his mission to help screenwriters kick ass - and rid the world of films based on action-figure lines.

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