Screenwriting Contest FAQ

Much of the information found below can also be found on the pages to the right (Deadlines & Prizes, Contest Rules, Judging Criteria, and Feedback.  If there is something you cannot find anywhere, feel free to email Programmer and Screenwriting Director Eric Harrelson (Screenwriting@OtherWorldsAustin.com).

+ When are the deadlines and entry fees for the 2017 Competition?

  • 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

Submissions must be submitted online by 11:59 PST on FilmFreeway on the deadline date to be eligible for the corresponding entry fees.

+ What are the submission categories I can enter for the 2017 Competition?

  • Shorts: 40 pages or less, must be original material.
  • Features: 70 pages or more, must be original material.
  • Teleplays
    • 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 22-75 pages in length. Recently cancelled series (last ten years) are highly discouraged although not prohibited.

+ Do you waive entry fees?

Other Worlds Austin does not waive entry fees. We are an extremely small festival and entry fees are the primary source of income for the running of the festival. Entry fees pay for the competition prizes and the running of the contest (not even).

+ Do you accept International Entries?

Yes absolutely, but all entries must be in English. Also, entries should be formatted according to industry standards (i.e. Hollywood).

+ Can I submit more than one script in a single category?

Yes! You can submit as many scripts as you want. Please be sure to complete separate entry forms and separate submission fees for each script.

+ Can I submit a single script in more than one category?

No. It wouldn't make sense anyway. Either an idea is meant as a series (one of the TELEPLAY categories) or a one-shot story (FEATURE or SHORT depending on length). Pilot episodes longer than one hour should be submitted as FEATURES.

+ Do you accept 'fan-fic features,' like in the Retro-Spec category?

You mean like your feature version of The Wonder Twins movie? No. Try to develop it as a really tight pilot and submit it as a Retro-Spec.

+ Where do I submit my script? I can't find anywhere on your website.

Click 'Enter a Script' to the top right of this page -- it will take you to our entry site of FilmFreeway. Or just go there directly: www.filmfreeway.com/OtherWorldsAustinSciFiScreenwritingContest

+ I’m having issues submitting online. I keep getting an error message. What should I do?

Please contact FilmFreeway at support@filmfreeway.com for help if you have issues with payment or uploads.

+ Do I need to list all the writers involved on the entry form? Should I list other people as co-writer if they only have a story credit?

That is for you to settle with your collaborators. In the event of shared authorship, all writers will share prize money equally. It will be up to the primary entrant to communicate all notices and divide all prize money with the other writers.

+ My script has been optioned, am I still eligible to submit to the contest?

No. But Congratulations!

+ My script was previously optioned, and the option has now expired, am I still eligible to submit to the contest?

Yes. If during the judging process the script goes under option again, we will simply congratulate you and pull it from the competition.

+ I make a living as a screenwriter. Can I still submit to the competition?

Sure. But don't you think you should give others a chance? Oh, you don't make that much of a living? Like you still have another job? Then I don't think you should feel guilty entering.

+ I am still working on a draft. Can I send it in now and then send in an updated version later?

No. You cannot send a replacement copy of the script or add missing pages. If you like, you can resubmit the new version of the script (with a new entry fee).

+ What should I include with my submission?

Nothing. You can include a cover page, with or without your contact information, but it should be part of the .pdf submission. We will only look at the .pdf.

+ Can I submit a physical copy of the script?

No. Only .pdfs sent through FilmFreeway will be acceptable.

+ Can I submit a .doc, .docx, .fdr, .mmsw, .txt, .rtf (or any other format other than .pdf) copy of the script?

No. Only .pdfs sent through FilmFreeway will be acceptable.

+ My .pdf includes my logline on the cover. Is that okay?

No worries. This is not a logline contest. We will only read the script.

+ Can I send a synopsis or... my .pdf includes my synopsis. Is that okay?

We prefer you do not send a synopsis. If the reader cannot follow your script, we'd rather they not pretend by reading your synopsis.

+ I don’t think my script is formatted correctly. Is that a problem?

Formatting is one of the main criteria used to judge scripts, so yes, it is. It will not disqualify you but it is part of the decision process.

+ How can I receive notification that my entry has been processed?

Each entry will be acknowledge by email once all materials have been received. If you have not heard from us within a month of submitting online, email us so we can check and see what happened.

+ My script has won other competitions. Will this be an issue for submission?

Nope. It won't influence us one way or another. The only issue would be if as part of your victory, your script was optioned, then it would not be eligible.

+ If my script does not win this year, am I eligible to resubmit the same script next year?

Yes, you can resubmit the script if you wish. However, we only encourage you to do so if the script has been substantially rewritten since your prior submission.

+ How old can my script be?

There is no 'sell by' date on out contest. Scripts are eligible no matter how old. They must however be submitted digitally as a .pdf, so that manuscript you typed on a typewriter would have to be atleast scanned. And they must follow standard industry formatting - which has been pretty standard for the last 30 years.

+ My script is about to go into preproduction? IS it still eligible?

No, that's considered an option, even if you don't receive any money for it. The script is not elgible. But consider sending the finished film to the Film Festival when its ready.

+ But it's a short and I'm filming it myself...

Still an option, so no.

+ When will I hear about results?

The winning scripts will be announced the week after the festival (December 7-10, 2017) with the film award winners. Finalists will be announced sometime in November.

+ What are the awards?

The top feature, teleplay and short will each win cash prizes of $250, with the GRAND PRIZE winner selected between the three category winners taking home an additional $250. There must be atleast 50 entires in any particular category to receive a cash prize. Categories with insuffienct entries will be merged into other categories. 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 the project they’re working on.

Please register your script. Although this is not a requirement, it is highly suggested. The only true protection for a writer in any dispute is a proper registration with the US Copyright Office, this is in addition to any registration with the WGA West or WGA East.

+ Do you accept adaptations?

Yes, in the teleplay category. This would be a Retro-Spec script, something based on an already existing property. All Features and Shorts must be original to be eligible for the competition.

+ What if my .pdf copy is not readable or openable?

We will contact you with that information, and you will be able to send us a readable version. If you are unable to do so in the next day or so, your entry fee will be forfeit.

+ Does Other World Austin retain any rights to my script?

No, not at all, whether it wins or not. We only retain the the right to celebrate your victory in our marketing materials and keep a short excerpt of your script on our website (no longer than ten pages).

+ My script won. Does that mean it will automatically get into the film festival if it gets made?

No, but there's a darn good chance. Also, we'd love to give you an alumni rate when you enter - contact submissions@otherworldsaustin.com for more information.

+ If I make a film version of my script, can I enter it for free to the film festival?

No, but if your script was a finalist, you will be eligible for the alumni rate - contact submissions@otherworldsaustin.com for more information.

+ My script didn’t win. Do you offer feedback?

Of course. We believe providing written feedback is the least a screenwriting competition can do to certify your script was read with precision and professional concern. Feedback will be sent after the festival, if desired, by March of 2018 at the latest.

  • Feedback will be in the form of a scored, seven criteria breakdown with one to two sentences provided in each heading. Please note, this feedback is part of the judging process and is not necessarily written with the writer in mind. Your entry fee pays for the logistics of the competition. The feedback is provided to you as a bonus.
  • Writers will not be able to contact the judges or ‘argue’ against their feedback.
  • Scripts may receive overwhelmingly positive feedback and yet still not place in the competition, this usually means the script was eliminated in later rounds of the competition. Additional feedback may be provided to the writer, by a second judge, and this feedback may be shorter than the primary feedback, although this is not guaranteed. The Competition reserves the right to provide only the initial judge’s feedback.
  • The primary purpose of the competition is to identify and celebrate the top scripts in each category, not to be a source for script notes. We do not offer ‘upper levels’ of judge’s notes for higher fees. If looking for more detailed feedback, we highly suggest seeking out a respected script consultant.

© 2014 OWA SciFi Film Fest, LLC