Sunday, February 24, 2008

Film Festival Friday... once again, a few days late

Instead of covering one of the film festivals, I'm going to cover one of the screenwriting competitions. This week, I'll discuss the PAGE International Screenwriting Competition. The early entry deadline has passed, but the regular deadline has not, you have until March 15th for that. Miss that, you're looking at a late entry, which ends April 15th.

A few thoughts on screenwriting competions, as film festivals are a completely different kind of monster than screenwriting competitions. When you enter a film festival, your film is, in most cases, a finished product and you're looking to find a distributor, build up a media package for your film, find a bigger audience, or something like that... and, all the while, you either own your film OR you've been paid for your work in some way. Screenwriting competitions are a bit different. Sure, your script is a finished product, per se, but it's still just one piece of what, you hope, is a bigger puzzle. With a completed script, in most cases, all you've really done is put in lots of hours at absolutely no pay. I'm always weary of screenwriting competitions because you're putting your baby out there and you haven't been paid yet, but, having said that, the PAGE International Screenwriting Competition looks to be a straight up competition that's looking to help you out.

They were established by an alliance of Hollywood producers, agents and development executives, with a goal to discover new scripts by up-and-coming writers. According to them, they're really just looking to give new screenwriters the opportunity to get their scripts into the hands of industry professionals, while also serving as a much-needed resource for Hollywood producers, agents and studio execs who are searching for quality material. Basically, my take is, they're a middle man and they're making a few bucks on the entrance fee's, which is a great business plan as it should create a win/win scenario for everyone.

So there's a couple of really cool and important things that stand out about the PAGE International Screenwriting Competition.
  1. Judge's Feedback - getting coverage on your script is extremely helpful and if you've never had a script covered by a professional, it may open your eyes a bit. For an extra $65 per judge, they'll send you the coverage on your script. You'll get several pages of detailed thoughts and ideas on your script, which is worth a whole lot more than $65.

  2. Win, lose or draw, you retain the rights to your script - A lot of screenwriting competitions retain the rights of the script after it's declared a winner, not so here. Even if you're the grand prize winner, the script is still your property.

  3. Prizes - Grand prize winner gets $10,000 cash, plus a pile of promotion and other prizes. There's also Gold, Silver and Bronze prizes in each of their then categories. In all, there's over $30,000 in cash and prizes.

Deadlines: Early Entry Deadline is Jan 31st ($39), Regular Deadline is Mar 15th ($49) and Late Entry Deadline is Apr 15th ($59)

Here's a link to their website. Even if you don't want to enter, they've got a great list of "recommended resources". Also, be sure to check out the "success stories", which I thought was a pretty cool read.

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