The Ultimate Runway
For over two decades, Austin Film Festival has been catapulting writers into life-changing careers. With one of the most noteworthy competitions among Hollywood tastemakers, AFF consistently yanks newcomers from the isolation of their desks and ushers them into the bustling world of film and television. Whether your dream is to sign a contract, land an agent, learn from an industry icon, or take home the coveted Bronze Typewriter Award, it’s simple: you can’t win if you don’t enter.
Return of the Fiction Podcast Competition!
We’re thrilled for the return of the Fiction Podcast Script Competition, which leverages our legacy of championing storytelling to launch writers into the emerging world of podcasts. We look forward to connecting audiences with incredible new stories, as well as connecting writers with a medium that offers incredible access to audiences and limitless opportunities to launch new stories. Creating a Fiction Podcast Script isn’t about starting from scratch. If you have a play, teleplay or screenplay, you’re already almost there! Take the time to tweak it for this new medium. Whether you submit with us or not, getting your script ready for this space is only going to help your career.
A Handcrafted Competition
Though AFF is one of the largest and most respected screenplay competitions, every entrant receives personalized attention and multiple reads throughout the process. All entrants receive FREE “Reader Comments” which are a brief, overall summary of their notes. As an added bonus, for Second Rounders (the top 15% in each category) and above, entrants receive further comments from 2-3 readers. AFF goes the extra mile to send both postal mail and e-mail notifications to ensure everyone knows their placement in the competition. Finally, Second Rounders may also find a personalized, handwritten note in their notification letter from the Screenplay Competition Director!
You’ll Get Back Way More Than You Bargained For
Not only do all entrants receive registration discounts, but you get larger discounts when you place in the competition. Unlike other screenplay competitions, your experience with AFF doesn’t end after making the first cut. Second Rounders, Semifinalists, and Finalists attend exclusive panels, intimate roundtable discussions, script reading workshops, and are afforded special access to industry professionals. 2017 Second Rounders and above attended exclusive workshops and panel sessions including: The First Ten Pages with Lindsay Doran, where Lindsay read a selection of Second Round scripts and workshopped them in front of a live audience, National Academy of Sciences Workshop & Brunch in which writers were paired with scientists at the top of their fields, and many more!
2017 Semifinalists and Finalists had the opportunity to meet with several agents, managers, and executives, and participate in our Script Reading Workshops where their scripts were read aloud and workshopped in a personalized setting during the Conference. Furthermore, Semifinalists and Finalists’ loglines and contact information are also included in the annual Producer’s Book, distributed to all AFF panelists as well as over 400 agents, managers, producers, and other industry professionals.
At the Semifinalist level and above, judges—including professional writers and representatives from major studios and production companies—actively seek scripts and talent. In past years, these judges have included representatives from Oasis Media Group, Mosaic Media, AMC, ABC Studios, Paradigm Agency, Di Bonaventura Pictures, Kopelson Entertainment, Nickelodeon, Escape Artists at Sony, Sony Pictures Animation, Washington Square Arts, Fourth Floor Productions, Haven Entertainment, Artisan, CAA, Brant Rose Agency, WME, DreamWorks, and Pixar among others.
Signing Deals and Launching Projects
AFF’s Screenplay & Teleplay Competition is one of the most acclaimed contests within the industry for establishing the careers of up-and-coming writers. It’s no surprise that past competition entrants have signed with major agencies and have had their scripts optioned, acquired, and produced by signatory production companies. Most recently, Wes Brown, 2014 winner of the AMC One-Hour Pilot Award, has staffed on the upcoming AMC television series Goliath; Troy Miller, the 2013 winner of the Horror Screenplay Award, had his winning script optioned by Frank Darabont’s Darkwoods Productions; at the 2014 Festival, AFF presented the world premiere of Dawn Patrol, a film produced from a 2008 Finalist script written by Rachel Long and Brian Pittman that was acquired by Enderby Entertainment; and Amy Aniobi, 2011 Semifinalist, has been hired to write for HBO’s Silicon Valley.
Early - March 30
Regular - April 20
Late - May 15
Mailed in entries must be postmarked by the deadline date. All deadlines close at 11:59PM PST
When will we hear about results?
Letters will be sent by mid September for those in the First Round and also to those that advance to the Second Round (top 20%). Semifinalists will receive a phone call by mid September as well. Finalists are notified by early October. The winners will be announced at the Awards Luncheon at the Conference.
How many submissions does AFF receive?
In 2016, AFF received 9,100 individual script submissions across all categories (excluding sponsored award categories.
Will I receive notes on my script?
Yes, all entrants will receive brief overall comments from one reader.
Yes, we accept entries from all countries.
I’m having issues submitting online. I keep getting an error message. What should I do?
Due to possible high traffic on the website, you may need to wait a few minutes and try again. If you continue to have problems, try another web browser (Firefox or Chrome) or try submitting from a different computer. Double-check that the file is in a .pdf format and under 5MB. If pop-ups are disabled in your browser, you may have trouble accessing the PayPal screen. If this occurs, try enabling pop-ups and restarting your browser. If you still cannot submit, contact the Screenplay Competition Director at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 512-478-4795.
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. You can resubmit the new version of the script (with a new entry form and another entry fee).
I want to submit online but my title page includes my contact information. I know the rules state to not include this but if I do, will I be disqualified?
No. If you include contact info on the title page, we will just black it out. We want to maintain the anonymity of the writer in the judging process.
I didn’t receive an e-mail confirmation for my online submission. Did you receive my entry?
As long as you paid through PayPal and have an e-mail receipt, then we have received your online entry form, script PDF, and payment. A separate e-mail confirmation from AFF is sent out within at least 5 business days.
Do I need to list all the writers involved on the entry form? OR someone else has a story credit on my script, should I list them as a co-writer on the application?
That is for you to settle with your collaborators. Just know that all writers listed on the application need to sign it and any prize money will be equally split between all writers listed on the application.
Do I need to copyright my script or register it with the WGA?
It is not required, but we do encourage it. Non-guild members can register their script with the WGA for a nominal fee, and it is a good way to protect your intellectual property. In order to register your script, visit: http://www.wgawregistry.org/webrss/
I don’t think my script is formatted correctly and it’s longer than 120 pages. Will I be disqualified?
We don’t disqualify based on format. This includes length so long as it is feature length for screenplays. We recommend that scripts be between 90-120 pages in length but we won’t penalize a script for not falling in that range.
How long should my synopsis be?
It should be a brief summary or logline for your script. Your synopsis is not used for judging purposes.I used to make a living as a screenwriter. Am I still eligible to submit to the competition?
Writers who do not currently and primarily earn a living writing for TV or film are eligible to enter the Competition.My script was previously optioned and is now expired, can I submit it in the competition?
As long as your screenplay is not optioned currently, it is eligible. If during the judging process the script goes under option, we will simply pull it from the competition.
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 for each script.
My script is a drama, but it has comedic elements. Should I submit to Drama or Comedy?
If your script is not a conventional comedy, it’s probably best to submit to drama. The comedy readers are looking for comedies so if it is primarily a drama, with funny elements, it may not do as well. For a drama reader, the comedy is just a bonus. Bottom line is it’s up to the writer. We don’t disqualify scripts for being entered in the wrong category.
Do you accept adaptations?
Yes, we do accept adaptations. By entering the Competition, you acknowledge that you have the rights to adapt the material. Our official policy is that we do not research this ourselves, but if you advance in the competition, we do publicize your name and script so any copyright issues could become problems for you then. Just make sure all the legal issues are settled before submitting.
My script made it to the Second Round (or top 20% or Quarterfinals) last year, am I eligible to resubmit?
Yes. Second Round scripts are eligible for resubmission. Semifinalists and higher are not eligible to resubmit the same script, but they are welcome to resubmit different material.
Can I submit a spec script for a show that has gone off the air?
The show for which you submit a spec script has to be on air, in production, or on hiatus within the previous year. Scripts for shows that have been officially cancelled aren’t accepted.
Can I submit a pilot?
Yes! You may submit a drama or comedy pilot. We do not accept reality show formats or mini-series. Please do not include bibles or treatments with your pilot scripts.
PLEASE FEEL FREE TO CONTACT SCREENPLAY COMPETITION DIRECTOR, MATT DY AT MATT@AUSTINFILMFESTIVAL.COM
(If you are a writer and want to be considered for the TOP 25, you must be an ISAConnect Member)