Screenplay Contest

Update: Make This Film – 2014

And the Winner is…

EMPATHY by Elvis Wilson

 Thriller: a neuro-researcher developing a therapy for psychotic behavior discovers one of her research subjects murdered her sister.

Honorable Mentions go to…

STALE CAKE by Reichert Wynn: A salesman checks into a motel for the night and gets more than he bargained for.

DENTS by Dennis Doud: It’s Balaam’s Donkey meets Maxx Headroom as God reaches the heart of a teenager using an asteroid, a broken computer tablet, and a strange old car.

MARTIN FOGG by Harold Ginn: Martin Fogg was a floppy-fingered liberal trying to “fight the power”  until he got bitch-slapped by the insouciant hand of fate. Now he’s the worlds’ foremost Republican and Martin Fogg is on a mission to save America.

The grand-prize winner will receive :

  • Story notes from professional Hollywood screenwriter Robert Orr
  • Production notes from independent Hollywood Producer Guilia Prenna
  • An estimated budget-breakdown for the script
  • A pass to Script-Com, the TSA’s screenwriting seminar conducted in co-ordination with Film-Com
  • An all-access pass to the 2014 Film-Com in Nashville, a premier film project pitch conference
  • A promotional booth at Film-Com to meet potential investors, production companies, crew, and distribution entities.
  • A 1-Sheet synopsis of the script/project will be included as part of the gift package provided to producers, investors, and distribution entities attending Film-com
  • A one-night event held during Film-Com where a group of professional actors will deliver a table-read on stage in front of a live audience, with a video-taped recording also being provided.

CONGATULATIONS! What are you working on now, Elvis?


Great question! The answer will vary considering who you ask and where you plan on filming. In general, micro-budget consists of $50K or less to bring a project from script through production and editing, resulting in a completed film. Films like Primer (Shane Carruth) and Pi (Darren Aronofsky) and most Dogma films are great examples.

Also a good question! In general, low-budget ranges from $100K to $1 million. (There are a zillion examples. Look ‘em up)

Oh stop–nobody said this would be easy! But just keep in mind: Quentin Tarrantino, the Wachowskis, Robert Rodriguez, Christopher Nolen, M. Night Shyamalan, the Coen brothers, Kevin Smith, Billy Bob Thornton, Tyler Perry and a whole bunch of other enterprising filmmakers broke into the business with low- or micro-budget scripts. They all wrote cheap-o scripts that engaged audiences despite their production limitations.

Depends. For starters, you should watch the first films of those dudes mentioned above to get an idea. Beyond that, try to think in terms of limited locations (three or less) and limited cast (six or less). Car chases and explosions and waves of invading alien spacecraft are probably not gonna be cheap to create. Think in terms of a stage play.

Now you’re being ridiculous. Many classic Hollywood films were based on stage plays and fit the low-budget description (Casablanca, Arsenic and Old Lace, Harvey – some Hitchcock films). Doubt and Closer are two recent examples of films based on plays that received multiple award nominations. So there it is.

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