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Program Description

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.

Deadlines and Fees

Mar. 30, 2018
Apr. 20, 2018
May 15, 2018
Category 1
Standard Fee
Category 2
Standard Fee
Category 3
Standard Fee
Category 4
Standard Fee
Category 5
Standard Fee
Category 11
Standard Fee
Category 12
Standard Fee
Category 13
Standard Fee

Program Benefits

  • The Drama Award Winner Receives: $5,000 cash; reimbursement of round-trip airfare (up to $500 per script, excluding frequent flyer miles); hotel reimbursement (up to $500 per script); and AFF Bronze Typewriter Award.
  • The Comedy Winner Receives: $5,000 cash; reimbursement of round-trip airfare (up to $500 per script, excluding frequent flyer miles); hotel reimbursement (up to $500 per script); and AFF Bronze Typewriter Award.
  • The Horror Award Winner Receives: $2,500 cash; reimbursement of round-trip airfare (up to $500 per script, excluding frequent flyer miles); hotel reimbursement (up to $500 per script); and AFF Bronze Typewriter Award. In order to be considered for this award, you must be entered in the Drama or Comedy categories.
  • The Sci-Fi Award Winner Receives: $2,500 cash; reimbursement of round-trip airfare (up to $500 per script, excluding frequent flyer miles); hotel reimbursement (up to $500 per script); and AFF Bronze Typewriter Award. In order to be considered for this award, you must be entered in the Drama or Comedy categories.
Finalists in All Categories Receive: one complimentary Producer's Badge to attend the Austin Film Festival and Conference (value $695). Semifinalists may purchase a Producer's Badge at the discounted price of $225.  


Announcement Dates

2nd Rounders & Semi-Finalists

Sept. 17, 2018


Oct. 15, 2018

Sponsors and Associations

Sony Pictures Animation

Frequently Asked Questions

When are the deadlines?

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. 

Do you accept International Entries?

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 matt@austinfilmfestival.com 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.


Any other specific questions?



All screenplays/teleplays (collectively, “Scripts”) submitted must be in English.
Scripts must not have been optioned or sold prior to October 27, 2018. Applicants must notify Austin Film Festival (“AFF” or the “Festival”) of any changes in status following submission.
Scripts that have reached the Semifinalist level or above in previous years within the Austin Film Festival Screenplay Competition or Digital Series Competition are not eligible for resubmission.
Applicants may submit more than one Script in any chosen category. Each entry requires an application, payment, and script (excluding the Enderby Entertainment Award, Horror Award, and Sci-Fi Award, in which only one script is necessary).
All submissions must be accompanied by the appropriate submission fee PER ENTRY and if submitting by mail a completed entry form including authors’ original signatures. Please do not send a photocopy of your signature. Make checks or money orders payable to “Austin Film Festival.” Only US money orders will be accepted.
AFF reserves the right in its sole discretion to reject or disqualify any ineligible entries, without a refund.
Originality and Permissions; INDEMNITY

Scripts must be the original work of the applicant(s). If based upon another person’s life or upon a book or other underlying work, applicant(s) must secure any necessary rights to make such adaptations. However, it is not necessary to submit the adaptation or rights agreements to the Festival. Neither the Festival nor its jurists investigates or attests to the authenticity of an applicant’s statement of authorship or rights secured. By entering the competition, you are acknowledging that you have secured all necessary rights.
Additional Information

If a submission involves two or more writers as applicants, the monetary prize and any reimbursements will be divided equally among them and only one Typewriter Award will be provided.
Once an entry payment has been received we cannot provide a refund. If a payment is disputed by an entrant for any reason, the entrant may be subject to any transaction fees or similar amounts incurred by AFF in connection with the dispute.
No revisions or missing pages will be accepted once an entry has been received.
Awards are based solely on the overall merit of entries. Judges reserve the right not to grant an award.
We strongly suggest that applicants copyright their materials with the U.S. Copyright Office (www.copyright.gov) and/or register their screenplay/teleplay with the Writers Guild of America, East (www.wgaeast.org/script_registration) or Writers Guild of America, West (www.wga.org/registration/index.html). Please consult an attorney regarding any questions about these.

All General Rules listed above apply.
The Feature Screenplay Competition is only open to writers who do not currently earn a living writing for film or television.
If you are entering a feature script into both Comedy AND Drama categories, please include two copies of your script along with two entry fees and two completed entry forms.

All General Rules listed above apply.
The Short Screenplay Competition is only open to writers who do not currently earn a living writing for film or television.
Short scripts that have already been produced are ineligible.
Short scripts are open to any narrative short script in all genres but are not eligible to be entered in any of the sponsored award categories.

All General Rules listed above apply.
The Teleplay Competition is only open to writers who do not currently earn a living writing for film or television.
The Teleplay Competition welcomes spec scripts for any currently airing network or cable program AND original pilot scripts. In order for spec scripts to be eligible for consideration, the program must not be canceled prior to the start of the current television season (September 2017). Specs for new programs must have a series premiere date no later than May 2018. Any ineligible spec script will be disqualified and no refund will be provided.
No show bibles, treatments, or reality show formats will be accepted for the teleplay competition.

Screenplays/teleplays should be formatted according to current industry standards.
To follow standard guidelines for format, consult any popular screenwriting or teleplay writing text for assistance.
Font size must be 12 point and in Courier type.
Feature Screenplays must be approximately 90-120 pages in length.
Short Screenplays must be 5 – 40 pages in length.
Teleplays should be the appropriate length depending on the format. The recommended length for single camera sitcoms is approximately 22-40 pages and 45-70 pages for single camera one-hour programs. The recommended length for multi-camera sitcom pilots is approximately 52-58 pages.
Pages must be numbered in the top right-hand corner.

Pages should be two or three hole punched, bound between cardstock covers and fastened by two or three metal brads.
Pages may be double-sided.
Only the TITLE of the screenplay should appear on the front stock cover (legibly written or typed).
A second title page with all contact information (TITLE, AUTHOR, AUTHOR’S ADDRESS, PHONE NUMBER, E-MAIL ADDRESS, and a BRIEF SYNOPSIS) should be included but kept separate from the script. The author’s name must not appear elsewhere in the script in order to preserve anonymity in the judging process.
Payments made with a check are subject to our Bounced Check Policy: If we receive a returned check from our bank for a payment you made, you will be invoiced for the original amount of the check plus a $25 bank fee. The payment of the invoiced amount will be due within 30 days of invoice date. We will not re-submit the original check, nor will we accept another check for repayment. Repayment must be made by money order or cashier’s check.

Scripts must be in PDF format and under 5MB.
Only the TITLE of the screenplay should appear on the front cover page.
The author’s name, contact information, or any other information that may reveal the identity of the writer(s) must not appear anywhere in the script in order to preserve anonymity in the judging process.
Selected Scripts and Winners

AFF has no obligation (other than as stated in these rules or on our website) to disclose any of the following information: i) identities of readers or judges; ii) notes, feedback, or information relating to the submitted material; and/or iii) details regarding the submission review or selection process.

Except as explicitly stated, no representations or guarantees are made regarding the feedback or comments provided, or the quality thereof. The opinions of the readers are their own and do not reflect the opinions of AFF. AFF explicitly disclaims any liability or responsibility for any comments, notes, or opinions expressed about a submission, whether by AFF or by its readers, judges, and sponsors.

Winners will be announced on October 27, 2018. The judges’ decision is final.

Winners receiving cash prizes are solely responsible for payment of all applicable local, state, and federal taxes.


Scripts will not be returned under any circumstances.
Please include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for each submission if you wish acknowledgement of the receipt of your screenplay/teleplay (mailed-in entries only).
Online submissions will receive a confirmation email.
Notification letters will be sent by postal mail by mid-September. Semifinalists will be contacted by phone around this time.

For the most up-to-date information about the Screenplay Competition, please visit www.austinfilmfestival.com or please feel free to contact screenplay@austinfilmfestival.com.


Contact Information


1801 Salina Street

TX, Austin


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