nless you are independently wealthy, you're probably trying to juggle screenwriting with myriad other priorities...your day job, cooking, cleaning, child care, yard work, even socializing with friends. There are probably many times you wish you could be working on a screenplay but you end up scrubbing the toilet or shooting a few hoops instead.

For some writers, a looming deadline acts just like and injection of Botox directly into their brains: it paralyzes them. If a particular date hanging over your head like the Sword of Damocles is a problem for you, consider entering one of the many so-called "rolling" contests that have monthly deadlines. Instead of slapping the last few pages of a screenplay together just to make a contest deadline, you can take your time and do it right, knowing that the next deadline is never more than a month away.

Advantages of monthly competitions include considerably smaller contestant pools, and often, more personal feedback-many monthly contests are sponsored by people in the movie business who are actively looking for new talent and material. They have the time and the inclination to help develop promising writers or an intriguing idea.

The downside includes very small or nonexistent cash prizes. And if the contest is sponsored by a production company, they may want to option your screenplay for very little money, say a thousand dollars or so, when it could conceivably bring $10,000 to $25,000 if optioned in the open market.

You also have to look at the track record of the sponsoring companies. Some of them may have several screenplay "winners" they've tied up and kept off the market for years without bringing them any closer to production. That's certainly not going to jumpstart your career. Still, if you're a beginning screenwriter, you need all the help you can get. If you win one of the monthly contests that offers feedback, you may be lucky enough to develop a mentoring relationship with a real Hollywood player, and that could be a major boost to your career. Let's look at a couple of rolling contests.


11 Dorchester Road

Lyme, NH 03768

Entry Fee: Free for clients; otherwise, $215 consultation fee (which includes complete script coverage)

Deadline: Last day of any month

Phone: 603. 795. 9424



Craig Kellem calls himself a "Hollywood escapee." After many successful years as working as an agent, writer, producer, and development executive in film and television, he moved his family to idyllic Lyme, New Hampshire. He taught screenwriting at local colleges and with his daughter Judy started, a script consultation service. Their monthly screenwriting contest is an outgrowth of that service. Because Kellem has maintained his Hollywood contacts, the scripts he chooses as winners get a lot of exposure to decision makers.

"We've had a lot of success with this," Kellem says. "We have people who've gotten great responses; they've been optioned by producers, gotten agents and managers, and development deals. It's very satisfying when you have a writer out in the middle of nowhere, sitting...writing good stuff...and nobody knows it. Then the magical day comes when they're on the phone with a famous movie maker."

Kellem believes the most effective marketing tool any writer can employ is to take out only scripts that are truly ready. "It's amazing how many amateur writers are out there who write terrific material and write better than many of the professionals working in Hollywood. The only difference is persistence. The people working in Hollywood kept putting themselves out there until something happened."

The monthly winner receives extensive coverage of his or her script from the Kellems, plus a package from that includes a listing of their logline, resume, and script, and a mailing from Scriptblaster that sends coverage to 800 Hollywood execs. Kellem believes that with that kind of exposure, anything can happen.

"This entire business we're in is based on miracles," he says. "Anything that happens is a miracle. Writers need to get into a process where they keep doing the right thing over and over again, and they get into a kind of synergistic corridor where they just keep bouncing from one good thing to another."

Kellem can't understand people who win contests but don't use that fact to aggressively market their writing. "If you are honored by winning a contest, that's something. What you need to do is take energy from that, and take it as a prima facie sign from the universe to keep writing."

The downside is that the contest is only open to clients of Still, comparatively speaking, Kellem's services are reasonably priced. He charges just $215 for a comprehensive evaluation of a script. For that amount you get a lot of feedback, might even win their contest.

Find out more about our contest here.