You've watched movies for years and suddenly an idea hits you. Not just any idea, this is a full on motion picture running through your head. You toil for hours on your computer and, if you're really freaky, an old Smith Corona typewriter. You skip meals, lose touch with your friends and family, seldom see the sunlight, and subsist on Chinese food being delivered to your cramped apartment. You barely recognize yourself in the mirror. You ask with alarm, what have I become? The answer is simple, a screenwriter. No longer an aspiring one, but a real one because your putting it all on paper with the hopes of getting it made. Welcome to the most competitive field on earth. No friends, sucking up to the boss, cubicle dwelling and water cooler talk won't advance you here. You have have the idea, the execution the mojo, GOOD! One catch, you have to get it into the right hands. Easier said than done, but not impossible.
Enter Scriptapalooza. Do a quick search of screenwriting competitions and the options are overwhelming. Everyone charges an entry fee, all promise to have your script read by someone on an "expert" panel and all claim to have made someone's career skyrocket to the next level. But wait a second, you're poor because you lost your cubicle job and the barista gig you landed at the local coffee shop can just barely cover rent let alone the entry fees for all these contests. The prices can range anywhere from 40 to over a 100 US Dollars. You can't enter them all so you have to choose just a few, the right few. The kind that really do back up their claims. I had the opportunity to ask Scriptapalooza founder and president, Mark Andrushko what sets his contest apart from the others. Frustrated with his acting pursuits in Los Angeles years ago, Andrushko turned his attentions to screenwriting. Having many friends in the field, he tapped into what frustrated them with the typical contests out there. Let's face it, a lot of these contest make you feel like you're throwing your money and manuscript down a back hole. Well that all changes when you decide to enter Scriptapalooza.
You see, even if you don't win, you still win. Mark Andrushko wanted to craft not just a screenwriting contest but also a support system for the scripts that hold promise. So even if you're a semifinalist, you still get your script pitched and promoted to producers. And that's not just for a few days but an entire year. Not bad when you consider many contests take on a "there can be only one" philosophy. Mark Andrushko also has a track record with his contest. He says since the its inception in 1998, there have been seven feature films made, eighty to ninety scripts optioned, and two Emmy Awards won. He also pointed out the contest is the only one endorsed the Writers Guild of America. If that's not enough, Robert McKee, the guy who wrote one of the most authoritative books ever on screenwriting, also gives Andrushko's contest a nod.
Scriptapalooza is open to all genres of film and isin't limited to just the silver screen. They also hold a TV writing competition and coverage service to polish up that work of art you slaved over. The contest is also open to writers around the world. While Andrushko told me he doesn't write screenplays himself, he does want to try his hand at producing. In his earlier days in the business he worked for Tarantino's A Band Apart production company. While Scriptapalooza continues to grow and make celluloid dreams come true for writers, Andrushko told me he he'd like to someday see the contest along the lines of the Nicholl Fellowships. Andrushko also has a goal where he'd like to get the top 125 scripts entered into the contest promoted.
But enough of me going on and on. Visit the Scriptapalooza website! Read the contest rules and frequently asked questions and send your script into these guys already, you're not getting any younger here. The time to enter is now and the deadline is March 5th 2010. Let's make them pictures baby. Big thanks to Mark Andrushko for his time and maybe I'll see your story in a theater near me.