“The ability of writers to imagine what is not the self, to familiarize the strange and mystify the familiar, is the test of their power.” ― Toni Morrison
TOP5 Screenwriting Competitions for BIPOC
Written by: Darrell Mitchell
November 20, 2020
Breaking into the screenwriting business can be daunting if you’re starting from nothing. Fortunately, we’ve found a way to give you a headstart. Competitions are a good way to cut your teeth in the industry. Here are five writing competitions with special attention paid to BIPOC screenwriters.
Following their “One Love” initiative, an effort to encourage creatives of all races, genders, and lifestyles, Stage 32 has launched its First Annual Diversity Springboard Screenwriting Contest. There are no cash prizes, however, the grand prize is a trip to Los Angeles, CA to meet with a Mentor Board of some major industry players. In addition, Stage 32’s executive team will send the title of your screenplay, author bio, logline, and script synopsis along to more than 500 industry heavies who may decide to call for a meeting or the script itself. The only reason this is so low on the list is that entries have already closed. However, take this as an incentive to get a head start on next year’s competition.
For the entire month of November, Willamette Writers is waiving its entry fee for BIPOC for its FiLMLaB Screenplay contest. Aside from that, writers almost have Carte Blanche when choosing topics and settings. There is still time for BIPOC to take advantage of the waived entry fee and we suggest they act today.
Entry Fee: $20-25 – September 15, 2020 $30-40 – Octoboer 15, 2020 Deadline – November 15, 2020
The very name of the competition plainly says they’re looking for Unique Voices. This competition is particularly interested in screenplays about Diversity, LGBTQ, Female Thrillers, and more of the underrepresented in media. Writers have few limits on the genre they chose to write about. The categories range from action/adventure, comedy, drama, family/holiday/young adult, mystery/crime, historical/biopic, horror/thriller, sci-fi/ fantasy, sports, and westerns.
Entry Fees: $39 – October 15, 2020 $59 – December 10, 2020 Deadline – March 18, 2021
Less a competition and more of a workshop, Adapting Books for the Screen is a program specifically for BIPOC writers and screenwriters. To enter this fellowship entrants MUST be Black, Indigenous, or a person of color. Entry into this lab will see BIPOC writers enrolling in a 12-week lab to adapt a book into a screenplay, mentorship, having their script read by professional actors, and more. Entries are still open until January 8th.
Entry Fees: $40-70 – October 15, 2020 $50-80 – December 18, 2020 $60-90 – January 8, 2021 Deadline – January 8, 2021
If you are a BIPOC writer of any kind and don’t know TIGHT5, let us enlighten you. TIGHT5 is an online non-profit organization that strives to provide underrepresented groups resources and opportunities in creative and technical writing. This is their very first screenwriting competition and it would be a mistake to miss it if your dream lies on the big or small screen. Entrants can choose to write a script for a comedy, horror/thriller, drama, or sci-fi short film. Grand Prize is $1000 and a call to discuss possible future productions. Entries are open as of the time of this posting. There is still time to submit your work or get started if you don’t have anything written.
Entry Fees: $25 – October 15, 2020 $35 – November 16, 2020 $45 – January 1, 2021 Deadline – January 15, 2021