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Which Screenplay Contests Should You Enter in 2020?

By Jerry Traynor, Associate Editor,

Screenwriting contests are not a one-size-fits-all affair. While there are obvious benefits to winning a huge and prestigious competition like the Nicholl Fellowships, smaller contests can be just as valuable if they hook you up with a judge who wants to option your screenplay, or a manager who wants to represent your work. The following list is a very subjective round-up of some of the very best contests and fellowships now available for film and TV writers. Note that not all of these programs have announced their 2020 deadlines, so be sure to check their websites regularly, as well as the MovieBytes Upcoming Contests Calendar.


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Industry Workshops & Fellowships

Winning a major film or television writing competition can be a great way to win attention from the industry, but the opportunities listed below take that one step further because they basically are the industry. Why settle for a cash prize and yet-another-copy of Final Draft when you can win what amounts to a writing job at Warner Bros. or Nickelodeon?

Top Screenplay Contests for 2020

These contests and fellowships may not be sponsored by industry heavyweights like HBO or Disney, but they nevertheless represent a significant opportunity for new and emerging writers. Some of them - like Page, Austin, and Scriptapalooza - are enormously competitive, while others - like CineStory - offer more realistic odds.

(Contests listed alphabetically)



Jerry Traynor is a screenwriter, and the Associate Editor of The opinions expressed here are his own. He can be reached at

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