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The Screenwriter's Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Marketing Guide for Screen and Television Writers

The Screenwriter's Sourcebook: A Comprehensive Marketing Guide for Screen and Television Writers

by Michael Haddad

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Written for both new and experienced writers, this comprehensive marketing guide offers advice and tips needed by writers to succeed in the film and television industries. Focusing on the business of writing, it gives writers the unabashed truth about the film industry, and advice on how to get scripts to the gatekeepers of the studios and read by agents.


Written for both new and experienced writers, this comprehensive marketing guide offers advice and tips needed by writers to succeed in the film and television industries. Focusing on the business of writing, it gives writers the unabashed truth about the film industry, and advice on how to get scripts to the gatekeepers of the studios and read by agents. Comprehensive listings of contests, fellowships, grants, and development opportunities from an industry expert provide specific information on securing a healthy writing career. This extensive resource also includes guidelines regarding copyrights, sources for emergency funds, a listing of online resources, information on writers' colonies and retreats, and more.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An excellent resource for both amateur and professional screenwriters."  — Liz Glotzer, president of feature production, Castle Rock Entertainment

"Helped me win my first screenplay contest and get my script to agents."  —Dean Simone, winner of Scr(I)pt Magazine's Open Door Contest

"An excellent resource book that will help any writer get his work read by Hollywood."  —John Banner, director, California Film Forum

Product Details

Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
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6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.93(d)

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The Screenwriter's Sourcebook

A Comprehensive Marketing Guide for Screen and Television Writers

By Michael Haddad

Chicago Review Press Incorporated

Copyright © 2005 Michael Haddad
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-56976-516-6



Screenplay Contests offer everything from a first-look deal at a studio to more than $5 million in cash prizes. In recent years, more scripts have been found through contests than ever before. Stolen Summer, Finding Forrester, The Laramie Project, Blue Car, Boys Don't Cry, Love & Basketball, Requiem for a Dream, and Bottle Rocket were all made from scripts that won film contests. What is the reason for this trend?

The answer is simple. It takes one and a half to two hours to read a script and from $60 to $100 to critique it. Producers don't have time to read scripts themselves; they hire someone to do it. As a result, many Hollywood producers and entertainment companies simply don't bother with outside scripts. They already have relationships with writers, agents, and managers, so they get scripts through authorized channels. "But my script is better than those!" you cry. It may well be, but they can't afford the time and energy to read the hundred others to get to yours. Hollywood knows it can't afford to ignore new talent, so contests provide a buffer between them and the unknown writer. Contests may be the new writer's best route to getting noticed.

Pay close attention to the major contests marked with These are the most influential. A win or even high placement in any of them will likely get you an agent. Of course these are also the most competitive.

Acclaim Film

Mission Statement: Our affiliated production companies will have the chance to consider the scripts of the winners, runners-up, finalists, and semifinalists for our film and TV contests. The companies already affiliated with us include Good Machine (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Recorded Picture Company (Naked Lunch, The Last Emperor), and the Donners' Company (Lethal Weapon series, X-Men).

Deadlines: Early: February 8; Standard: March 19;

Final: April 23

Entry fees: Early: $45; Standard: $55; Final: $60

Categories: All genres

Prizes: First Place: $1,000 cash; Second Place: Up-to-date books on writing and selling scripts. All winners and finalists may receive consideration by established production companies and agencies.

Previous Winners: First Place: Ghost of the Crossroads by Michael Spohr Set in the Mississippi Delta circa 1940, it follows the friendship between a former Negro League ballplayer and a mysterious white wanderer. Second Place: Maybe in My Next Life by Doreen Orion To find the source of her disastrous love life, a young woman uses a forbidden artifact to travel to past lives — only to discover she's been making the same stupid mistake since time began. THIRD PLACE: T & A by Scott F. Butler In the summer of 1979, Billy O'Keefe, a romantic but ineffectual young man of privilege, is compelled to embark upon a bizarre odyssey to prove his manhood to his future father-in-law, an eccentric self-made billionaire.

Contact Information: 300 Central Ave., Ste. 501, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 (727) 502-9049 Phone

Web: www.acclaimtv.netfirms.com

E-mail: acclaimtv@go.com

Actors' Choice Awards

Mission Statement: Five talented attendees of the Screenwriting Symposium or Producers Seminar will receive an SCSFe (Screenwriters Conference in Santa Fe) Actors' Choice Award based on the first ten pages of their screenplays. These winning scenes will be presented in live readings by our actor-judges during the Annual Screenwriters Conference in Santa Fe. A brief critique session moderated by Karen Jones Meadows will follow each reading.

Writing scripts is very much like choreographing to music. There are measured scenes that go on for a certain amount of time, with a beginning, middle, and end.

–JOAN TEWKESBURY, screenwriter,Nashville

Deadline: April 28

Entry fee: $25 plus conference attendance

Categories: All genres; first ten pages of each script only

Prizes: Winners will receive Final Draft software and certificates of achievement from SCSFe. In addition, their winning scenes will be forwarded to the producers attending the Producers Seminar, and presented in live readings at the Actors' Choice Awards ceremony.

Previous Winners:

Drumsticks by Lyn Davis, Albuquerque, NM La Llorona by Kristin Goodman, Chicago, IL The Faith Equations by David Hames, Colorado Springs, CO Fast One by Paul Taegel, Los Angeles, CA Dead Alice by Charlie Tramontana, West Pittston, PA

Contact Information: The Screenwriting Conference in Santa Fe, P.O. Box 29762, Santa Fe, NM 87592

(866) 424-1501 Phone

(505) 424-8207 Fax

Web: www.scsfe.com

E-mail: writeon@scsfe.com

AFC Storytelling International Screenwriting Competition

Mission Statement: The mission of the African Film Commission (AFC) is to assist in the development of the African film industry. The AFC works with African governments and leaders to establish film commissions in their respective regions or countries, and promotes education, awareness, and collaboration throughout the continent of Africa.

Deadline: March 31

Entry fee: $30

Categories: Scripts with African content

Prizes: First Prize: $5,000 plus an all-expenses-paid one-week trip to Los Angeles to collect the AFC Screenwriting Award and to be officially introduced to the Hollywood international film community; Second Prize: $3,500 along with an AFC Award; Third Prize: $2,000 along with an AFC Award

Contact Information: 8306 Wilshire Boulevard #330, Beverly Hills, CA 90211

(310) 770-6246 Phone

Web: www.africanfilmcommission.org

E-mail: info@africanfilmcommission.org

A.K.A Shriekfest Horror/Science Fiction Screewriting Contest

Mission Statement: A.K.A Shriekfest is a festival dedicated to discovering new and overlooked artists. The point of the festival is to help filmmakers by letting as many people see their films as possible, not by limiting when and where the films are shown. We want to celebrate the art of filmmaking without all the politics!

Deadlines: Early: March 12; Standard: May 28; Final: July 23

Entry fees: Early: $25 (short), $35 (feature); Standard: $35 (short), $45 (feature); Final: $45 (short), $55 (feature)

Categories: Shorts and features in the horror/thriller/sci-fi genres

Prizes: Cash, product awards, and trophies

Previous Winners: Best Feature: Bathory by James D. Clayton Second Place: Gomorrah by Phil Penningroth Third Place: Ark by Alan Chan Best Feature in the Under-18 CATEGORY: My Boyfriend's Back by Stephanie Wood Best SHORT: Dead Sober by Stephan A. Foley Second Place: Eyewitness by Gary Davidson

Contact Information: P.O. Box 920444, Sylmar, CA 91392

Web: www.shriekfest.com

E-mail: email@shriekfest.com

All Access Screenwriting Competition

Mission Statement: Welcome to the first annual All Access Screenwriting Competition, an extraordinary opportunity for talented screenwriters to open the door to Hollywood and its dealmakers. We asked writers what they really wanted from a screenwriting competition and the response was overwhelming: access to Hollywood. We've taken this a step further to give three winners an unprecedented four levels of industry exposure and access, plus some cool prizes and cash.

Deadlines: Early: July 31; Final: November 15

Entry fees: Early: $40; Final: $50

Categories: All genres

Prizes: First Place: $250; Second Place: $150; Third Place: $100. Winning script synopses are also submitted to more than ninety participating companies including 20th Century Fox Studios, New Line Cinema, Paramount Classics, Walt Disney Pictures, Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment, Samuel Goldwyn Films, ICM, and CAA. Winners' names and screenplay titles will be published in a print ad in the Hollywood Reporter in February or March. Publication time depends on the availability of ad space. Winners also receive a copy of that issue of the Hollywood Reporter. In addition, winners receive Final Draft 6 software and a Syd Field's Screenwriting Workshop DVD.

Contact Information: 13428 Maxella Ave. #501, Los Angeles, CA 90292 (310) 577-3181 Phone

Web: www.soyouwannasellascript.com

E-mail: questions@soyouwannasellascript.com

All Student Screenplay Contest

Mission Statement: Brown University undergraduate David Peck started the Ivy Film Festival in 2001 with classmate Justin Slosky. The idea was to create a venue for undergraduate film work on par with professional film festivals and to host events allowing emerging filmmakers to learn from industry experts. The screenwriting contest is designed to give undiscovered scriptwriters exposure and a chance to have their talent discovered. Toward this goal, representatives from various agencies, management firms, and production companies read the winning scripts from the contest.

Deadlines: Standard: February 1; Final: February 14

Entry fees: Standard: $20 (short); $35 (feature); Final: $25 (short); $45 (feature)

Categories: Feature and short scripts; all genres accepted

Prizes: The top five short and feature-length screenplays are sent to Beverly Hills where they are evaluated by agents at Genesis Literary Agency and various other management companies. The winners are announced at the festival in April at Brown University. They are also posted on the Web site.

Previous Winners: Director's Award: The Greatest Hour by Mani Chandy, Brown University Short: Welcome to Saranac Lake by Daniel Falcone, Columbia University Feature: All-American Boy by Kevin Colligan, UCLA Extension

I don't take the movies seriously, and anyone who does is in for a headache.


Contact Information: 75 Waterman St., Box 1930, Brown University, Providence, RI 02912

(401) 867-4977 Phone

Web: www.ivyfilmfestival.com

E-mail: screenplay@ivyfilmfestival.com

American Accolades Screenplay Competition

Mission Statement: The American Accolades Screenwriting Competition aims to create new opportunities in Hollywood for artists with fresh perspectives and is designed to provide an outlet for emerging talent and undiscovered screenplays. Finalist judges include agents, managers, and industry executives.

Deadlines: Early: November 14; Standard: December 30; Final: February 27

Entry fees: Early: $40; Standard: $50; Final: $60

Categories: Drama, thriller, comedy, sci-fi/action/adventure, other

Prizes: Grand Prize Winner: Total for winning best of best in all genres: $2,500; First Place in Each Subcategory (drama, thriller, comedy, sci-fi/action/adventure, other): $500. All finalists receive a comprehensive screenplay analysis and entry into the American Accolades Hall of Fame.

Previous Winners: Drama: The Paper Route by Danny M. Howell Comedy: Baked Alaska by Julie Kim and Karine Marwood Sci-fi/action/adventure: Hannibal by Jack Davidson Thriller: Inside Job by Ryan Bradley OTHER: Containment by Brad Campbell

Contact Information: 2118 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 160B, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Web: www.americanaccolades.com/accoladesTV.htm

E-mail: info@amercianaccolades.com

I had to be my own best salesman. had to know everything that was going on in Hollywood, who might or might not be interested in my piece, and guide my agent in those directions, even if he disagreed.

–TOM SCHULMAN, screenwriter,Dead Poets Society

American Accolades TV & Shorts Competition

Mission Statement: This competition is geared toward discovering budding artists and breaking them into Hollywood. Like its big brother, the American Accolades Screenwriting Competition, the American Accolades TV & Shorts Competition aims to create new opportunities in Hollywood for artists with fresh perspectives.

Deadline: November 13

Entry fee: $55

Categories: Television spec script, pilot, MOW, miniseries, short script

Prizes: Grand Prize: $1,000 ($500 Grand Prize, plus $500 for winning a competition category); First Place in Each Category (half-hour spec, half-hour pilot, one-hour spec, one-hour pilot, MOW, short script): $500. Finalists receive professional feedback from The Academy Writers Clinic and entry into the American Accolades TV & Shorts Hall of Fame.

Previous Winners: One-Hour Spec: The West Wing: "Farewell to Tuvalu" by Doug Molitor Short Script: The Anniversary by Ham Tran Half-Hour Spec: Sex and the City: "The Need for Speed" by David Rosen and Stacy Van Heusen

Contact Information: 2118 Wilshire Blvd., Ste. 160B, Santa Monica, CA 90403

Web: www.americanaccolades.com/accoladesTV.htm

E-mail: info@amercianaccolades.com

American Cinema Foundation Screenwriting Competition

Mission Statement: Feature films and television influence the way the vast majority of Americans view their lives, providing the most widely seen entertainment and information. The ACF Screenwriting Competition seeks new voices that will contribute positively to the richness and complexity of the stories in the media. The American Cinema Foundation was founded to nurture and reward television and feature film projects that address fundamental social values, support and strengthen the concepts of the common good and common culture, and promote democratic pluralism.

Deadline: March 31

Entry fee: $30

Categories: All genres

Prizes: The winning first place script will receive a cash award. The American Cinema Foundation may increase or decrease the number of prizes awarded at its sole discretion. For scripts written by more than one author, the authors will arrange the division of any award.

Previous Winners: 2001: Father Eight by Douglas J. Augustin 2000: Hi-Hat Hattie by Larry Parry 1999: Out of the Night by William S.E. Coleman

Contact Information: American Cinema Foundation, 9911 W. Pico Blvd., Ste. 510, Los Angeles, CA 90035

(310) 286-9420 Phone

(310) 286-7914 Fax

Web: www.cinemafoundation.com

E-mail: acinema@cinemafoundation.com

American Screenwriters Association/Writers Digest International Screenplay Competition

Mission Statement: The American Screenwriters Association (ASA) is organized for educational purposes, including the promotion and encouragement of the art of screenwriting. We welcome interested individuals from around the world who are pursuing the writing of documentaries, educational films, feature films, television, radio, and large-screen format films. Today, the American Screenwriters Association has an international membership of more than 1,200 members located throughout the United States, Europe, the Pacific, and the Middle East in twenty-seven countries and 901 cities.

Deadlines: Early: August 15; Standard: October 15

Entry fees: Early: $40 ASA members, $50 nonmembers; Standard: $45 ASA members, $55 nonmembers

Categories: All genres

Prizes: Grand Prize: $5,000 and a trip to the ASA International Screenwriters Conference, Mick Caswell Award for Screenplay Excellence awarded during the Screenwriting Hall of Fame Awards, free conference registration, travel, and accommodations; second Place: $2,500; Third Place: $1,000; Fourth Place: $500; Fifth Place: $250; Sixth Place: $100 cash

Previous Winners:Death Watch by Marlo Brawer, Toluca Lake, CA Curtain of Iron by Inis Clubs, Colorado Springs, CO Safe Harbor by Susan Demasi, Greenlawn, NY Middle America by Stuart Ross Fink, New York, NY Jayne Foole by David Sanger and David Lipton, Studio City, CA Birds & Bees by Suzanne Stavinoha, Austin, TX

Contact Information: 269 S. Beverly Dr., Ste. 2600, Beverly Hills, CA 90212-3807

(866) 265-9091 Phone

(866) 265-9091 Fax

Web: www.goasa.com

E-mail: asa@goasa.com

American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest

Mission Statement: Throughout its thirty-year history American Zoetrope has sought new creative possibilities in technology. The purpose of this contest is to give new screenwriters industry exposure. In its first thirty years, American Zoetrope has produced some of the most important films in American cinema — films that have been recognized with fifteen Academy Awards and sixty-eight nominations. At the core of this success is a steadfast dedication to storytelling. In the words of founding director Francis Ford Coppola, who won his first Oscar for the screenplay Patton, "the story is the foundation upon which all else is built."


Excerpted from The Screenwriter's Sourcebook by Michael Haddad. Copyright © 2005 Michael Haddad. Excerpted by permission of Chicago Review Press Incorporated.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Michael Haddad is a story analyst for Paramount Pictures. He has written and cowritten screenplays for more than a dozen feature films and a half dozen shorts and has written spec scripts for several television shows including Alf, Married with Children, Roc, and Seinfeld. He was the America's Funniest People grand prize winner; festival winner for the Cork International Film Festival and Film Crash, NYC; and screenplay winner for the Telluride IndieFest. He lives in South Pasadena, California.

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