Judging & Feedback

JUDGING PROCESS

  • All material is read by our small group of in-house readers to ensure a consistent judging process.
  • All entrants will have the option to receive their 1st round Judge's Scorecard & Evaluation.
  • All submissions are grouped by genre and judged according to the specific merits of the genre.
  • There are four phases to the judging process and one judge never reads the same material twice. 
  • Quarter Finalists represent the top 15-20% from the highest scoring screenplays in each category.
  • The top 15-20% will be determined by the number of contestants in each category and the average score of each reader.
  • After Quarter Finalists are announced, advancing contestants will have an opportunity to resubmit a more recent draft of their screenplay.
  • A second round of reading will determine the Semi-finalists from the highest combined scores in each category.
  • The third round of reading will determine Finalists in each category.
  • A fourth and final round of reading will decide the Winner and two Honorable Mentions in each category.
  • A Grand Prize Winner will be selected from the 1st place Winners in each category.

 

SCORECARD & EVALUATION

  • You may choose to receive a basic script evaluation from your first round judge.
  • Feedback is optional, but FREE before the Regular Deadline if you choose to receive it.
  • After the Regular Deadline, the Feedback costs $25 with entry. 
  • We do not guarantee you will receive your feedback before the end of the final deadline unless you choose to receive "expedited feedback". Expedited feedback costs an additional $25 and will be returned in 7-10 business days. If you plan to resubmit, we recommend "expedited feedback".
  • All feedback will be returned before we announce the Quarter Finalists.
  • The feedback includes log line, 15 Point Scorecard and basic notes.
  • A more detailed 5 pg Screenplay Analysis is available upon request. Analysis includes 10 day turnaround, plus free entry to the screenplay contest.

Below is a list of the 15 points and some things we consider when judging material.

VOICE - Your voice is the style and personality with which you write. A writer's voice should paint a clear and vivd picture for the reader, and resonate long after the material has been read.  The writer's voice is based on the hundreds of choices you as a writer make on every page. Action descriptions, sentence structure, dialogue, mis-en-scene - all contribute towards the writer's voice. It is the one aspect of screenwriting that can not be taught, rewritten or developed through traditional teaching methods. It can however be honed by the writer the more they write. 

FORMAT/ PRESENTATION - There are specific guidelines for writing screenplays. Are the guidelines being met? The format of your script is the first impression. A script that does not have proper formatting lacks professionalism. Formatting allows an experienced reader to scan material in a way that he or she understands what is happening and what is being said, without being bogged down in dense text.

STORY- The story includes the hook, the set up and the pay-off. Do the first ten pages hook the audience and is the story engaging enough to sustain their attention for a full 90 minutes?

STRUCTURE - Does the screenplay have a clear 3 act structure with beginning, middle and end? If not does it benefit the story? Does the end of act one challenge your protagonist, pose a question or force him/her to make a decision?

THEME - The theme of the film is what you want people talking about when they leave the cinema. Why do we care? Beyond the story and characters, what is your film about?

TONE - Tone is most likely determined by genre, so the question here is how well the tone of the screenplay compliments the genre.

PREMISE/ CONCEPT - How clear is the premise to identify? Is it a high concept premise, or low concept? Is it a genre driven concept, or character driven.

PLOT POINTS - Do the plot points twist and turn the story in unpredictable ways? Do the plot points add to the dramatic tension, provide obstacles for the protagonist in accomplishing his goal?

PACING - How well does your screenplay flow? Are the dramatic stakes constantly rising or is there a lull in the action? Pacing is closely related to structure so if the structure is flawed, pacing will often suffer.

CONFLICT - Conflict provides dramatic tension. Conflict is the driving force of any story and usually involves physical (man v man) and emotional (man v himself) conflict. What’s at stake for our protagonist?

CHARACTERS - Are your characters likable, relatable, memorable? Are the character motivations believable? Does their personality fit their character? Do they have a strong, clear character archs? What do they learn and how do they change from beginning to end?

DIALOGUE - Dialogue should be natural, not "on the nose." People rarely talk like you write. People talk over each other, have accents, emphasize certain words and speak with different inclinations. Do all your characters sound alike? If the reader just read the dialogue, would they know which of your characters is speaking?

MARKETABILITY/ COMMERCIALITY - How easy is this concept to market? Can the concept be conveyed easily on a movie poster? What is the merchandising potential? (Action Figures, Happy Meals, video games?) Does it have sequel or franchise potential? Does the concept lend itself to any of the new forms of marketing and distribution models? (Trans-media, social networking.) Is it a viral concept? If it is a TV pilot, how easy is the idea to sustain itself over the course of a season? Are audiences likely to tune in week after week? Does the show have legs?

CAST-ABILITY - Are your characters rich and memorable? Do they scream out for a particular actor or actress? Will the characters prove challenging to a leading actor or actress or are they run of the mill characters that we've seen a thousand time before?

MARKET POTENTIAL (SALABILITY) - The trends and needs of the market place change often. One day something is hot, the next its not. How easy is this film to sell according to the current landscape of the industry? How broad is your film? Is it a 4 quadrant summer tent-pole or is it a personal, niche oriented film destined to a limited release in art house theaters.