- Viknesh Silvalingam
6 festivals to submit your screenplay to in 2022
Updated: Jan 14, 2022
What is a screenplay festival?
Everyone agrees that writing a screenplay is a very much cheaper option than actually going about producing the film from that screenplay. (1*)
That is why there are screenplay festivals, whose purpose is to assist undiscovered writers with the opportunity to get their work noticed by would-be producers. However, since there are many such festivals you need to set the right expectations on what you want to get out of these festivals. If you are looking to add some laurels to your screenplay, then send your screenplay to any local, small festivals that would accept your screenplay. But if you want screenwriting contests, competitions, or fellowships as career advancers, as ways to break through those Hollywood walls and get industry insider eyes on your work, then you need to submit your screenplay to the ones that matter.
6 screenplay festivals that truly matter
Nicholl Fellowship - Submission date (TBD)
Launch Pad - Submission date (TBD)
Big Break - Submission date (TBD)
Screencraft Fellowship or Genre Contests - Submission deadline January 31st, 2022
Austin Film Festival - Submission deadline March 31st, 2022
Sundance Screenwriters Lab - Submission date (TBD)
You don't have to win the festival to be noticed, even when you are placed as a semi-finalist or honorable mentions, it will surely bubble your screenplay up the pile and be within eyeshot of a decent producer or director who might want to read your screenplay.
Screenplay competitions can certainly provide this differentiator and they sometimes offer free or inexpensive coverage of your work as well.
3 tips on submitting your screenplay
1. Obey the contest rules
Like all competitions, there are rules, regulations, and eligibility requirements. (2*) And they are there for a reason, to ensure a smooth and fair review process.
2. Have a proper ending
Cliffhangers are great for franchises, especially these days in Hollywood. But if you are an aspiring screenwriter, please don't end your story with a cliffhanger with an unresolved story and character arcs. The reader after spending time reading your screenplay will be left feeling unsatisfied with an incomplete ending.
3. Heavily relying on the festival's outcome
Reputable festivals like the ones listed above, usually have around 7000 submissions, which means the odds of you winning it all could be 0.01%. (3*) So don't sit by your phone or computer waiting for favorable results. Instead, network with other filmmakers, you may meet someone who has the means to get your screenplay produced. Filmmakers are doers and have a rebellious nature, so what better way to show those characteristics than not giving a thought to others' opinions on your work.