The universe is an infinite expanse of limitless possibility, teeming with unknown worlds and untold stories. The blank page opens, a white inexhaustible void, punctuated only by the monolithic black cursor. What wonders lie in its indefinable depths?

Other Worlds is dedicated to fostering and promoting creativity in Science Fiction in all its forms during every stage of development, and we are proud to announce our 5th annual screenwriting contest is now currently open and accepting submissions! The contest will run concurrently with the film program, and will include a space for shorts and teleplays, in addition to the feature length category.

We would like to welcome new sponsor The Script Butcher for 2018! Jimmy George has been writing and producing films for over a decade. Along with optioning several screenplays, Jimmy has lent his name as co-writer/co-producer to six award winning feature-length films, garnering rave reviews, and boasting international distribution.
Winners in each of our categories will receive a consultation with The Script Butcher to help them hone and refine their scripts.

In addition, we would like to welcome back sponsor Save the Cat! Save the Cat began as an industry renown screenwriting book by Blake Snyder published in 2005, and has since grown into a diverse digital and print screenwriting resource. In addition to online content from industry professionals, Save the Cat has also spawned numerous books, workshops, and even it’s own software and apps to help get your script ready for the Big Time.

This year our winners will receive the newest Save the Cat! script writing software, in addition to the Save the Cat! book of their choosing. All entrants will receive a discount on Save the Cat! books.

MY GOD, IT’S FULL OF STARS

We are looking for original submissions that are character and story driven with a decidedly science fiction angle. The Other Worlds Austin SciFi Screenwriting Contest is all about possibility, story and character We are looking for the most original, interesting and exciting stories with the most compelling and unique characters. Whether you’ve got a solitary cosmonaut contemplating the meaning of linear time as it relates to human perception of the universe, an android realizing that it’s memories have been altered and is struggling with the concept of self, or a wormhole that opened just above the moon and inexplicably showers the surface with VHS copies of EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND season 2 every 5 months, we want you to send them our way!

While we do expect scripts to exhibit an understanding of what is possible in the industry, we aren’t interested in whether or not a script can stick within a certain budget, and our winners aren’t selected by small production companies in hopes optioning something financially feasible. Our prizes are meant to keep creative and talented people working to generate fantastic stories within the genre. We also understand that some scripts are written as an exercise or just purely for fun, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of winning. All script submissions will be read by industry professionals, including screenwriters, producers, filmmakers and programmers, and each will receive unfiltered, constructive written feedback. We believe that every writer that has taken the time to create and submit their work have it taken seriously, and receive assurance that it was read by a professional.

Categories
Shorts: 40 pages or less, must be original material.

Features: 70 pages or more, must be original material.

Television Pilots: may be sitcom or one-hour, network or cable (anything longer than one-hour should be submitted as a feature, i.e. a made-for-tv movie), must be fully original, no spinoffs. Sitcoms tend to be 22-40 pages depending on formatting, one-hours 45-70 pages.

Specs: should be for an existing show, on air in the US (BBC America or Showcase shows on Syfy are fine) either currently or in the last year.

Retro-Specs: may be for a long-cancelled series (Lost in Space), a spin-off (CSI: Mars), or a television series based on an established property (Dragon Riders of Pern) and should 22-75 pages in length. Recently cancelled series (last ten years) are highly discouraged although not prohibited.

Deadlines and Fees
Prior to March 31st, Features/TV/Shorts $40/$35/$30
April 1st to June 30th, Features/TV/Shorts$50/$45/$35
July 1st to August 31st, Features/TV/Shorts $70/$65/$45
Other Worlds Austin does not offer waivers under any circumstances. Our fees simply pay for the awards and the costs of running the contest (not even). We understand the financial hardship of being a screenwriter and costs of submitting to competitions and have kept our fees low in order to allow the most number of entries as possible. We hope you can find it in your budget to submit your screenplay.

$250 Features / $250 Teleplays / $250 Shorts PLUS an additional $250 for the Grand Prize Winner selected from all three categories. Winner in each category will receive a free full script consultation from the Script Butcher, including feedback, notes and suggested edits. Free copies of the latest Save the Cat! Software and a Save the Cat! book of their choosing for all Winners.

All entrants will receive a discount code good for Save the Cat! books via their website.
Winning Scripts will be announced the week after the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 6-9 2018 with the Audience Awards and the Cthulhies in a national press release. Finalists will be announced in November.

All entries will receive feedback on their scripts at the conclusion of the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 6-9 2018, if desired. All feedback will be distributed by February of the following year at the latest.

NOTE: there must be at least 50 entries in a category to be awarded a prize. Categories w/ less than 50 entries will be combined w/ other categories when awarding prizes. However, a winning script will still be selected in each category (no matter the total entries).

Scripts must not have been produced, optioned or sold prior to December 7, 2018.

All entrants certify to the originality of the entered script, or in the case of Specs and Retro-Specs, the originality of their handling of the material. Entrants warrant there are no disputes regarding the ownership of the submission and that the submitted material does not defame or invade the rights of any person living or dead. Entrants fully indemnify Other Worlds Austin and its agents against any claim made for such violations of law.

Scripts must be works of Science Fiction, no horror or fantasy themed scripts will be considered. Hybrid genres (SciFi Horror ala Aliens/Event Horizon/etc.) are perfectly acceptable.

In the event of shared authorship, all writers will share prize money equally. It will be up to primary entrant to communicate all notices and divide all prize money with the other writers.

Entrants may submit more than one screenplay/teleplay in any chosen category, as well as enter different scripts in different categories. Each script entry requires a separate application and fee. All entries and payment must be made through the Festival Freeway website, no cash or check payment will be accepted.

Once an entry has been made, we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed, the account holder may be subject to any fees.

All scripts will be judged as entered, no revisions will be accepted.

All scripts must be entered as .pdfs. No physical copies.

All scripts must be in English.

No supplementary material should be sent. No show bibles, treatments, or reality show formats will be accepted for the Teleplay competition.

Consulting can only be done on winning scripts. No substitutions.

By entering the script in the competition, the entrant is agreeing to all rules and regulations of the competition. Entrant agrees to hold Other Worlds Austin and its agents harmless from and defend them against all claims, demands, losses, damages, judgments, liabilities, and expenses (including attorney’s fees) arising out of or in connection with any and all claims of third parties, whether or not groundless, based on any script.

Entrant gives Other Worlds Austin the non-revokable right to use your name and the script title, synopsis, and short excerpt (no longer than 10 pages) in our marketing materials in perpetuity.

Please register your script. Although this is not a requirement, it is highly suggested. The only true protection for a writer in any dispute is a proper registration with the US Copyright Office, this is in addition to any registration with the WGA West or WGA East.

All decisions of the festival and its agents are final.

Category Rules (again, for reference)

Shorts: 40 pages or less, must be original material.

Features: 70 pages or more, must be original material.

Teleplays:

Pilots: may be sitcom or one-hour, network or cable (anything longer than one-hour should be submitted as a feature, i.e. a made-for-tv movie), must be fully original, no spinoffs. Sitcoms tend to be 22-40 pages depending on formatting, one-hours 45-70 pages.

Specs: should be for an existing show, on air in the US (BBC America or Showcase shows on Syfy are fine) either currently or in the last year.

Retro-Specs: may be for a long-cancelled series (Lost In Space), a spin-off (CSI: Mars), or a television series based on an established property (The Dragonriders of Pern) and should 22-75 pages in length. Recently cancelled series (last ten years) are highly discouraged although not prohibited.

ABOUT FEEDBACK:

Written feedback will be provided to every entrant of the competition, if desired, which we believe is the least a screenwriting competition can do to certify your script was read with precision and professional concern.

Feedback will be in the form of a scored, seven criteria breakdown with one to two sentences provided in each heading. Please note, this feedback is part of the judging process and is not necessarily written with the writer in mind. Your entry fee pays for the logistics of the competition. The feedback is provided to you as a bonus.

Writers will not be able to contact the judges or ‘argue’ against their feedback.

Scripts may receive overwhelmingly positive feedback and yet still not place in the competition, this usually means the script was eliminated in later rounds of the competition. Additional feedback may be provided to the writer, by a second judge, and this feedback may be shorter than the primary feedback, although this is not guaranteed. The Competition reserves the right to provide only the initial judge’s feedback.

The primary purpose of the competition is to identify and celebrate the top scripts in each category, not to be a source for script notes. We do not offer ‘upper levels’ of judge’s notes for higher fees. If looking for more detailed feedback, we highly suggest seeking out a respected script consultant, and we recommend contest sponsor Save the Cat!®

Overall Rating
Quality
Value
Communication
Hospitality
Networking
  • A must in Sci-Fi Festivals. Other Worlds is recognized as the apex in new Sci-Fi story telling while honoring the past. Truly amazing to have been involved in the 2017 Season and can't wait to submit for 2018!

    December 2017
  • Jeffrey Howe

    Talking about the OWA festival as a whole here, since the contest was part of it. Friendly folks, lots of passion for filmmaking, and a great venue (the Baskin-Robbins of draft beer--and they bring it to your seat). Programming was solid, with a good mix of shorts and features.

    January 2017
  • Tracey Maye

    High Quality Contest

    Good communication

    December 2016