As part of its ongoing mission to encourage work in Science Fiction, Other Worlds Austin has announced its first SciFi Screenwriting Contest to reward creativity in its earliest stages and encourage writers to keep working in the genre. The contest will run alongside the film component of the festival and will be sponsored by No BullScript Consulting. In addition to feature scripts, OWA will also include a category for shorts and three teleplay categories: pilots, specs, and retro-specs.
The top feature and teleplay will win cash prizes of $500 and the best short will win $250. The best feature, teleplay, and short will also receive a Development Notes Phone Consultation with Danny Manus of No BullScript Consulting, a top 15 script consultant according to Creative Screenwriting.
Submissions for the contest are now open and are eligible for the Early Bird Discount until June 15, 2015. Until then, Features and Teleplays cost $40 to submit and Shorts are $30.
This year’s Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival takes place December 3-5, 2015 at the Galaxy Highland 10 Theater.
From the birth of cinema, screenwriters have stretched our imaginations with stories from Other Worlds, taking us on a TRIP TO THE MOON, following the adventures of FLASH GORDON, or frightening us with THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL. On the page, anything is possible.
Unlike many such competitions the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Screenwriting Contest is not interested in the feasibility of production, but is instead simply a celebration of writing skill. Although a basic understanding of what is possible in the industry is encouraged, entrants will not be penalized for writing big-budget scripts. “Our winners are not selected by production companies looking for low-budget scripts to option, subject to their own prejudices and preconceptions,” says Fonté.
In addition to prizes for the winners, written feedback will be provided to every entrant of the contest, which Fonté says is the least a screenwriting contest can do to certify that each script is read with precision and professional concern. “Our prizes are meant to encourage writers to continue to write in this genre,” explains Fonté. “We fully acknowledge that sometimes scripts are written as writing exercises and for fun. These scripts are just as worthy of being awarded prize money.”
So few writers even attempt to write SciFi, yet with the success of INTERSTELLAR, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, and EDGE OF TOMORROW, it’s clear there will always be an audience for these trips to ‘other worlds.’ Also, SciFi can often get lost in the shuffle at larger contests or lumped in with other genre films. Other Worlds Austin wants to be a source of encouragement and a destination for these writers.
To submit a screenplay to Other Worlds Austin, writers can go to OtherWorldsAustin.com/screenplays. They’ll find submission guidelines, rules, and a helpful FAQ.
“One of the things I’m most excited about in the contest is our Retro-Spec category,” says Fonté. “This is like screenwriter fan fiction. I don’t know of any other contest with a category like this, essentially rewarding writers for bringing a fresh perspective to something everyone knows, something sacrosanct. Anyone can write yet another episode of Modern Family, but I want to read a new episode of Buck Rodgers in the 25th Century, or a pilot for CSI: Mars, or a television series adaptation of Lovecraft’s Cthulhu stories.”
Danny Manus is one of the most in-demand script consultants as CEO of No BullScript Consulting (www.nobullscript.net) and author of “No B.S. for Screenwriters: Advice from the Executive Perspective.” He was ranked one of the Top 15 “Cream of the Crop” script consultants in CS Magazine and named one of ScreenCraft’s “25 People Writers Should Follow on Twitter”.
Manus was previously the Director of Development for Clifford Werber Productions (Cinderella Story, Sydney White), where he sold “To Oz” to United Artists. He was also Development Consultant for Eclectic Pictures (Lovelace) and the DOD at Sandstorm Films (The Covenant, 8MM2), which had a first look deal at Screen Gems. He is a columnist for ScriptMag, a judge four years running for the PAGE Awards, and has been a speaker at Austin Film Festival, Kansas City Film Fest, and well over a dozen other major writing conferences.
Manus promises that he will do his best to use No BullScript’s connections to get the winning scripts read by the agents, managers, and producers in Hollywood that can make something happen for the writers.
“I’m so excited to team up with Bears and Other Worlds to give aspiring sci-fi and genre writers a platform and access that they are sorely lacking right now despite the huge success of sci-fi projects in film and TV the last few years,” says Danny Manus.
“Sci-fi writers are more than just Trekkies and Star Wars fanatics,” says Manus.” I’d love to find the next Neill Blomkamp or Ben Ripley or Kurtzman/Orci or David Webb Peoples. And I know the execs who contact me looking for writers are searching for the same.”