Every story has a beginning. Every realized dreamscape, every fantastic voyage, every intelligent android to ever appear on screen starts with blank page or a blinking cursor. Science fiction has always been about incredible possibilities and exploring the unknown, and what offers more opportunity than an empty page?
Other Worlds is dedicated to fostering and promoting creativity in Science Fiction at every stage of development, so we are proud to announce our annual SciFi Screenwriting Contest is now currently open and accepting submissions! The contest runs concurrently with the film program, and will award prizes for the top feature, short or teleplay.
This year, we also have the privilege to announce a new 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 his 20-year career as a screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. His book, Save the Cat!®: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need became an instant sensation in screenwriting, and was quickly followed by standing room only workshops. The book, now in its 24th printing, and its very specific, assessable structural beat sheet, has become the “secret weapon” of many development executives, managers, and producers for its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories that resonate. Although he passed away suddenly in 2009, he lives on in his films and his books and in the countless writers he mentored or who have achieved success by embracing Blake’s ‘Insider’s Guide’ to screenwriting.
Check out more about Blake's principles and examples of great films broken down into the Save the Cat!® beat sheet on www.savethecat.com.
Each of the category finalists will receive all five books from Save the Cat!® and a copy of Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0: Structure your screenplay the Save the Cat!® Way. In addition, the winner in the feature category will receive free a 1-hour phone consultation from a Master Cat® about their script (up to 120 pages) and the winners of both the short and teleplay category will receive an hour free consultation to discuss any aspect of their project.
All three category winners receive $250 in cash, with the Grand Prize Winner selected from the three winners receiving an additional $250 cash.
In addition, every entrant will receive an online discount code for the latest Save the Cat!® books, including the soon be published book analyzing independent films scheduled for release in April.
SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT
We are looking for original submissions that are character and story driven with a decidedly SciFi angle. The Other Worlds Austin SciFi Screenwriting Contest sets itself apart from other competitions in that we are judging purely on writing skill, talent and ability to tell an engaging, exciting and original story. We want you to show us your best scripts. Squid monsters, robots, existential astronauts, genetically engineered sentient cheeseburgers, cyborg tigers and all others welcome.
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 of optioning something financially feasible. Our prizes are meant to keep creative and talented people encouraged 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 experts, including screenwriters, producers, filmmakers and programmers, and each will receive unfiltered written feedback if desired. We believe that every writer that has taken the time to create and submit their work should have it taken seriously, and receive assurance that it was read professionally.
For more information and our FAQ, see: http://www.otherworldsaustin.com/screenplays/
For our Judging Criteria, see: http://www.otherworldsaustin.com/screenplays-judging-criteria
For information on the feedback we offer, see: http://www.otherworldsaustin.com/screenplays-feedback
Please note, using FilmFreeway is the only way to enter this contest, we do not accept submission on our own website or any other submission platform.
Awards & Prizes
$250 awarded to Category winners in all three categories (Features, Teleplays, and Shorts) PLUS an additional $250 for the Grand Prize Winner selected from all three
Free copies of all five Save the Cat!® books for all Category Winners and Finalists.
Free copy of Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0: Structure your screenplay the Save the Cat!® Way for all Category Winners and Finalists.
Winner in Feature category will receive Save the Cat!® coverage for their single script, up to 120 pages in length.
Winners of Short and Teleplay categories will receive a one hour consultation from Save the Cat! ®
Winning Scripts will be announced the week after the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 7-10, 2017 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 7-10 2017, if desired. All feedback will be distributed by March 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 may be combined w/ other categories when awarding prizes. However, a winning script will still be selected in each category (no matter the total entries).
Rules & Terms
Scripts must not have been produced, optioned or sold prior to December 7, 2017.
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.
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.
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!®