The Other Worlds Austin SciFi Screenwriting Contest, sponsored by Save the Cat!®

Submissions For 2017 Now Closed.

Every story has a beginning.  Every realized dreamscape, every fantastic voyage, every intelligent android to ever appear on screen starts with blank page or a blinking cursor.  Science fiction has always been about incredible possibilities and exploring the unknown, and what offers more opportunity than an empty page?

Other Worlds is dedicated to fostering and promoting creativity in Science Fiction at every stage of development, so we are proud to announce our annual SciFi Screenwriting Contest is now currently open and accepting submissions!  The contest runs concurrently with the film program, and will award prizes for the top feature, short or teleplay.

This year, we also have the privilege to announce a new sponsor: Save the Cat!® 

Save the Cat!® began as an industry renown screenwriting book by Blake Snyder published in 2005, and has since grown into a diverse digital and print screenwriting resource.  In his 20-year career as a screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. His book, Save the Cat!®: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need became an instant sensation in screenwriting, and was quickly followed by standing room only workshops.  The book, now in its 24th printing, and its very specific, assessable structural beat sheet, has become the “secret weapon” of many development executives, managers, and producers for its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories that resonate. Although he passed away suddenly in 2009, he lives on in his films and his books and in the countless writers he mentored or who have achieved success by embracing Blake’s ‘Insider’s Guide’ to screenwriting.

Check out more about Blake's principles and examples of great films broken down into the Save the Cat!® beat sheet on

Each of the category finalists will receive all five books from Save the Cat!® and a copy of Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0: Structure your screenplay the Save the Cat!® Way.  In addition, the winner in the feature category will receive free a 1-hour phone consultation from a Master Cat® about their script (up to 120 pages) and the winners of both the short and teleplay category will receive an hour free consultation to discuss any aspect of their project.  All three category winners receive $250 in cash, with the Grand Prize Winner selected from the three winners receiving an additional $250 cash.

In addition, every entrant will receive an online discount code for the latest Save the Cat!® books, including the soon be published book analyzing independent films scheduled for release in April.

(Looking to submit a film?  Click here.)


We are looking for original submissions that are character and story driven with a decidedly SciFi angle.  The Other Worlds Austin SciFi Screenwriting Contest sets itself apart from other competitions in that we are judging purely on writing skill, talent and ability to tell an engaging, exciting and original story.  We want you to show us your best scripts.  Squid monsters, robots, existential astronauts, genetically engineered sentient cheeseburgers, cyborg tigers and all others welcome.

While we do expect scripts to exhibit an understanding of what is possible in the industry, we aren’t interested in whether or not a script can stick within a certain budget, and our winners aren’t selected by small production companies in hopes of optioning something financially feasible.  Our prizes are meant to keep creative and talented people encouraged to generate fantastic stories within the genre.  We also understand that some scripts are written as an exercise or just purely for fun, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of winning.  

All script submissions will be read by industry experts, including screenwriters, producers, filmmakers and programmers, and each will receive unfiltered written feedback if desired.  We believe that every writer that has taken the time to create and submit their work should have it taken seriously, and receive assurance that it was read professionally.  


  • Shorts: 40 pages or less, must be original material.

  • Features: 70 pages or more, must be original material.

  • Television

    • Pilots: may be sitcom or one-hour, network or cable (anything longer than one-hour should be submitted as a feature, i.e. a made-for-tv movie), must be fully original, no spinoffs.  Sitcoms tend to be 22-40 pages depending on formatting, one-hours 45-70 pages.

    • Specs: should be for an existing show, on air in the US (BBC America or Showcase shows on Syfy are fine) either currently or in the last year.

    • Retro-Specs: may be for a long-cancelled series (Lost In Space), a spin-off (CSI: Mars), or a television series based on an established property (The Dragonriders of Pern) and should be 22-75 pages in length.  Recently cancelled series (last ten years) are highly discouraged although not prohibited.

Deadlines and Fees

  • Prior to April 30th, Features/TV/Shorts $40/$35/$30
  • May 1st to July 31st, Features/TV/Shorts $50/$45/$35
  • August 1st to September 30th, Features/TV/Shorts $70/$65/$45

Other Worlds Austin does not offer waivers under any circumstances.  Our fees simply pay for the awards and the costs of running the contest (not even).  We understand the financial hardship of being a screenwriter and costs of submitting to competitions and have kept our fees low in order to allow the most number of entries possible. We hope you can find it in your budget to submit your screenplay. 


  • $250 awarded to Category winners in all three categories (Features, Teleplays, and Shorts) PLUS an additional $250 for the Grand Prize Winner selected from all three

  • Free copies of all five Save the Cat!® books for all Category Winners and Finalists.  

  • Free copy of Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0: Structure your screenplay the Save the Cat!® Way for all Category Winners and Finalists.  

  • Winner in Feature category will receive Save the Cat!® coverage for their single script, up to 120 pages in length.

  • Winners of Short and Teleplay categories will receive a one hour consultation from Save the Cat! ®

  • Winning Scripts will be announced the week after the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 7-10, 2017 with the Audience Awards and the Cthulhies in a national press release.  Finalists will be announced in November.

  • All entries will receive feedback on their scripts at the conclusion of the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 7-10 2017, if desired.  All feedback will be distributed by March of the following year at the latest.

  • NOTE: there must be at least 50 entries in a category to be awarded a prize.  Categories w/ less than 50 entries may be combined w/ other categories when awarding prizes.  However, a winning script will still be selected in each category (no matter the total entries).

Questions?  Check out our Screenplay FAQ, or email Programmer and Screenwriting Director Eric Harrelson (

Submit NOW Exclusively on

(Click ENTER A SCRIPT above or follow the link below) 

Psst...we've also partnered with InkTip on spreading the word on our Screenwriting Contest!

InkTip: Where producers go for scripts and writers. 

Film and screenplay winners will receive an InkTip Script Listing so they can promote themselves and their scripts to InkTip’s entire network of producers, managers, and agents. Screenplay winners will also have their logline featured in InkTip Magazine . InkTip Magazine is sent to over 15,000 producers and representatives. 

Companies who are InkTip members include: ABC, Anonymous Content, APA, CBS Films, HBO Films, ICM, Paradigm, Paramount Pictures, Hallmark Channel, FX, Universal, WME, Echo Lake, Zero Gravity, Bad Robot, 20th Century Fox, and many more. 

Producers have made more than 315 films from scripts and writers found through InkTip.


    © 2014 OWA SciFi Film Fest, LLC