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Unlocking Opportunities: Leveraging Placing in a Screenwriting Competition

By: EHF Staff / Updated April 3, 2024

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So, you've poured your heart and soul into your screenplay, and it's finally paid off – you've placed in a prestigious screenwriting competition! Congratulations are certainly in order, but what's next? How can you leverage this achievement to propel your career forward? Let's delve into some strategic steps you can take to maximize the impact of your success.

Establish Your Credibility:

Placing in a screenwriting competition instantly elevates your status as a credible writer. It's a validation of your talent and hard work. It is incredibly difficult for an emerging writer to break into the industry. For a studio or production company to even consider reading a new writer's work, they usually require a first vetting from a talent agent or literary manager. Lucky for you, EHF readers are all working professionals at these top representation companies. You've already passed the first hurdle!


Build Up Your Brand:


Screenwriting is a business and the most notable screenwriters have a brand. A special writing style or talent that makes them unique and easy to recognize. Filmmakers needing a story that centers on a big idea or great characterization or engaging dialogue or a compelling theme are able to seamlessly identify the best writer for the project when the writer is branded as a specialist in one of those needed areas. 


But how do buyers know your brand is right for them?


Because your portfolio tells it all! You've just placed in a top 15 screenwriting competition! Update your accolades and celebrate it. You should be proud! You worked hard for it. 


Displaying prominently any content, development updates or marketing materials on those winning scripts showcases your talent to potential collaborators and industry professionals. From laurels, badges, scorecard, and coverage reviews to EHF first scenes, movie posters, story boards and pitch desks, all are important leverage for your achievements. Highlight them visually on your website, email signature, social pages and promotional materials and audiences will take notice.


Network, Network, Network!


To capitalize on your newfound recognition, engage with fellow writers, filmmakers, and industry professionals by sharing insights into your creative process and celebrating your success. Provide social media updates, join writers' groups, hang out at coffee shops, attend industry events, leverage online pitch platforms and script databases. 

Attend film festivals, like the Dallas International Film Festival, and industry events to network with like-minded individuals. Your placement in a screenwriting competition can serve as an excellent conversation starter and may open doors to valuable connections.


Oh, and did we mention you are officially a credible writer? You qualify for consideration to join the WGA as an Independent Writers Caucus members for additional networking opportunities and access to industry resources.

Placing in a screenplay competition increases your chances of being signed, but there are never any guarantees in this industry. But you can and most definitely should leverage your DIFF victory to pitch as many reps as appropriate. They are the gatekeepers, who will work the hardest to help secure future pitch meetings for your script.


Here's how it works:


- Research Relevant Reps: Research agencies and management companies that specialize in your script's genre or have a track record of representing similar projects. IMDb and other industry resources can provide valuable insights into agents and managers who might be a good fit for your work.

- Outreach and Query: Start reaching out to those agents and managers. Craft a query letter highlighting your recent accomplishment and the logline of your script. Note that some companies require more, others require less. Again, it's important to do thorough research into who you are pitching and how they want to be pitched before you ever hit the send button. 


- Reps are Human: When contacting reps personalize your outreach. Show that you've done your homework by referencing their clients or recent successes. A tailored and well-researched approach can significantly increase your chances of grabbing their attention.


Placing in a screenwriting competition is a significant milestone in your journey as a writer. But just like the editing process, your work is never truly finished until the script is on the screen. You wrote a great story. Now it's up to you to find the best home - - with EHF championing you on every step along the way. By strategically leveraging this achievement, you can open doors to new opportunities, expand your network, and take meaningful steps towards advancing your career in the competitive world of film and television. So, seize the moment, and let your talent shine!

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