Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest

Final Draft/Big Break

Contact

2300 W. Empire Avenue
5th floor
Burbank, CA 91504
818-995-8995 (voice)

Web:
Click here
Email:
bigbreak@finaldraft.com

Contact: Kala Guess

Report Card

Overall: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 3 stars3 stars3 stars (2.8/5.0)
Feedback: 2.5 stars2.5 stars2.5 stars (2.3/5.0)
Signficance: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.4/5.0)
Report Cards: 37    
Have you entered?
Submit a Report card

Objective

Big Break is an annual, international feature and television screenwriting contest designed to launch the careers of aspiring writers. Big Break rewards screenwriters with over $80,000 in cash and prizes, including a trip to Los Angeles for a series of A-list executive meetings. Winners and finalists alike have had their screenplays optioned and produced and have secured high-profile representation as well as lucrative writing deals.

Since its inception in 1999, Big Break has awarded screenwriters with over $600,000 in cash and prizes and invaluable industry exposure. A panel of notable industry professionals conducts the final judging.

Our objective is to discover talented screenwriters and help them find success in today’s filmmaking market. Show More

Deadline/Entry Fees

Deadline Date Entry Fee Days till Deadline
Early Bird April 30, 2020 $45
Regular June 25, 2020 $55 26
Extended July 9, 2020 $65 40
Last Chance July 30, 2020 $75 61

Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by their respective deadlines.

Rules

Visit website for contest rules and conditions.

Awards

2 Grand Prize Award Winners
  • One Feature Grand Prize and one TV Grand Prize winner will be chosen from the 11 Feature Genre and TV Format award winners
  • These two Grand Prize Award Winners are flown to Hollywood for meetings and networking with executives, producers, agents and managers
Each Grand Prize Award winner receives
  • An Apple iPad
  • A trip to Hollywood – roundtrip airfare to Los Angeles plus hotel accommodations
  • $10,000 cash
  • Breakfast with screenwriter/producer Pen Densham (Riding the Alligator, Moll Flanders, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, producer of Backdraft)
  • Cocktails with Big Break Grand Prize Alumni
  • 60-90 Minute Career/Meeting Prep Session from screenwriting career coach Lee Jessup
  • Copy of Save The Cat! Story Structure Software
  • Admission to one Robert McKee Story Seminar in 2020 in London, New York or Los Angeles
  • Extended Screenplay Coverage
  • Query Letter or One-Sheet analysis and a personalized, signed copy of The Screenwriter’s Bible by Dave Trottier Script consultation with a Script Pipeline’s Director of Development for potential industry circulation
  • The Final Draft Mobile™ App for iPad
  • Additional Prizes for TV Grand Prize Winner
  • Script Consultation from Jen Grisanti Consultancy including written/verbal notes and meeting to review the notes and your logline
  • One-hour career consultation with Carole Kirschner of Park on the Lot to create a step by step, personalized game plan for leveraging the contest win
11 Feature & TV Awards
  • 11 Feature and TV Winners, including the Grand Prize Winners, share over $100,000 in cash and prizes!
  • 8 Feature Winners in each of the following genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy/Rom-Com, Diversity, Drama, Family/Animated, Period/Historical/War, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Thriller/Horror
  • Three TV Winners in the following formats: Half-Hour Pilot, Hour-Long Pilot, and Diversity Pilot
Each Feature and TV Award winner receives
  • $1,000 Cash
  • Final Draft 11
  • The New York Film Academy Fellowship
  • Luncheon with Big Break judges and other industry professionals
  • Writer brand assessment from Lee Jessup
  • 60-minute webinar with screenwriting career coach Lee Jessup on how to capitalize on your Big Break win
  • Three months free hosting of your script on The Black List with two free evaluations from The Black List readers InkTip Script Listing: A listing of your script on InkTip so that producers and reps can find you
  • InkTip Magazine: Publish your logline in InkTip’s magazine sent to 4000+ producers and reps Truby’s Blockbuster Genres: How The Top 11 Genres Really
  • Work Audio Course
  • Free entry to any Script Pipeline Season – Feature or TV StoryO from Jungle Software
  • One-year International Screenwriters Association CONNECT membership
  • Free Big Break Contest entry for 2020
  • Script coverage from Big Break readers
  • Copy of Save The Cat! Strikes Back by screenwriter Blake Snyder
  • TV Format Winners also receive
  • Level 1 10-Week TV Spec & Pilot Teleseminar from Jen Grisanti Consultancy

Final Draft/Big Break

Contact

2300 W. Empire Avenue
5th floor
Burbank, CA 91504
818-995-8995 (voice)

Web:
Click here
Email:
bigbreak@finaldraft.com

Contact: Kala Guess

Report Card

Overall: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 3 stars3 stars3 stars (2.8/5.0)
Feedback: 2.5 stars2.5 stars2.5 stars (2.3/5.0)
Signficance: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.4/5.0)
Report Cards: 37    
Have you entered?
Submit a Report card

Contest Comments

You must login to post a comment.

First-time user? Register now to receive FREE email contest updates, news, results, deadline reminders and more. Rest assured, information submitted here is held in strict confidence. MovieBytes never sells or in any way distributes email names or addresses. We promise!

Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest

Contact

2300 W. Empire Avenue
5th floor
Burbank, CA 91504
818-995-8995 (voice)

Web:
Click here
Email:
bigbreak@finaldraft.com

Contact: Kala Guess

Report Card

Overall: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 3 stars3 stars3 stars (2.8/5.0)
Feedback: 2.5 stars2.5 stars2.5 stars (2.3/5.0)
Signficance: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.4/5.0)
Report Cards: 37    
Have you entered?
Submit a Report card

Contest News

MovieBytes Interview:
Screenwriter Wyatt Wakeman

An interview with screenwriter Wyatt Wakeman regarding the Big Break Writing Competition.

Q: What's the title of the script you entered in this contest, and what's it about?

A: I entered two scripts in Final Draft's Big Break International Screenplay Competition this year.

The first is called MINUS MEN, a sci-fi action-adventure about terrorists traveling back in time after Barack Obama is elected president in order to assassinate president Abraham Lincoln — all in an attempt to ensure slavery endures to this day.

The second is called BORDERLAND. It's about a crack FBI agent sent to investigate a drug trafficking murder along the U.S./Mexico border, and what happens when the town he suspects of foul play discovers a very compromising secret about him that jeopardizes the investigation, his career, and ultimately, his life.

I am the only writer in the contest's ten-year history to place two scripts in the Final Top Ten.

BORDERLAND ultimately went on to win the Grand Prize.

Q: What made you enter this particular contest? Have you entered any other contests with this script? If so, how did you do?

A: I entered Final Draft's Big Break International Screenwriting Competition because it takes rewarding and promoting the writer very, very seriously. It is also a name that the industry respects, so I figured there had to be a certain amount of weight behind their promotions.

But it was not the only contest I entered this year. I entered both of these scripts into twenty-two screenwriting contests in 2009.

Q: Were you satisfied with the administration of the contest? Did they meet their deadlines? Did you receive all the awards that were promised?

A: The whole team at Final Draft, Inc. is to be commended for putting on, in my opinion, the best screenwriting competition in Hollywood. Having won in about four other contests with MINUS MEN and BORDERLAND, I have a decent knowledge of what the average competition does for its winners. Final Draft met all their deadlines, and thus far I have been receiving my awards in a timely manner. I received my check at the awards ceremony (a gorgeous red carpet affair at the Paley Center For Media, in Beverly Hills), had industry pros lining up to meet me and read my scripts, and have since signed with a new manager.

Q: How long did it take you to write the script? Did you write an outline beforehand? How many drafts did you write?

A: It took me about six weeks to write each script. I did not write an outline for MINUS MEN, while for BORDERLAND I used the sequence method -- breaking the movie down into eight, fifteen-minute sequences -- while retaining an overall three-act structure. In order to accomplish this, I had to outline the sequences so that they had a clear beginning, middle, and end. It was the easiest, and most economical, outlining I've ever done; and I highly recommend this approach to anyone who's written scripts using the traditional three-act structure, but want to try something different.

I wrote several drafts of MINUS MEN, although after the first draft, most were tweaks and polishes on the overall theme.

On BORDERLAND, I did a first draft; then a serious, thirty-page slash-and-cut edit; then several polishes.

Q: What kind of software did you use to write the script, if any? What other kinds of writing software do you use?

A: I used Final Draft, of course! I have been using their software for the last ten years, at least. Before that I used Scriptware. I think I wrote my fifth script on Word for Windows, when I was in-between screenwriting software. That is not an experience I recommend, although it helped me to understand intimately the exact details and measurements that go into churning out industry-standard screenplays.

Q: Do you write every day? How many hours per day?

A: Alas, I do not write every day. I never have. I don't think one has to, if — when away from the typewriter or computer — he is still writing in his head. Which is what I tend to do. I suspect I'm not alone in this. Some might call it obsessive; but if you are not constantly thinking about writing the world around you, whether while walking to the store or driving to work, then you have a better shut-off mechanism than I do.

When I do write, there is no set amount of time I allot myself. I simply write when I need to — which is a lot — when creating a new world. Also, time goes by very, very fast when you are writing. So I will look up and three hours will have passed.

But I also have no problem answering the phone or taking a break, if I need to. I find this helps me to collect myself and remain excited to get back to the page. It's an interesting approach, and perhaps there are better ones, but it has worked for me, and that's really what it's all about: Finding your personal groove, believing that it's okay& that it will get you where you want to go.

Q: Do you ever get writer's block? If so, how do you deal with that?

A: I rarely have a problem coming up with new ideas. And if you do some form of outlining before hand, you have even less of an excuse for writer's block. It may sound clichéd, but if you are truly enjoying the world you're creating and you understand how integral conflict is to any storytelling, then the story unfolds almost effortlessly. But I also try to leave a large degree of wiggle room in my execution, because these characters& they will speak to you and go off and do things and see things and say things you absolutely never knew they were going to do, see, or say. It's a little eerie. But when these moments occur, I remember why I'm a writer.

You have to trust that you're in the right place, at the right time — and then create the opposite for your characters!

Q: What's your background? Have you written any other screenplays or television scripts?

A: I wrote my first short stories in the fourth grade. Then I started acting as a freshman in high school. But I didn't start writing seriously until about age seventeen, and then it was still just short stories. I went to the University of Southern California (USC) for Creative Writing — where I won the Edward W. Moses Short Story Competition — and eventually got my degree.

A year after graduation, I was writing my first script. I've since written thirteen of them, ranging from drama to comedy, thrillers, actions, and sci-fi. The only thing I haven't attempted is a romantic comedy, which is interesting, because I actually like watching them more than I should admit.

I have never attempted a television script, although I plan to, especially now that the feature spec market is changing. I also like the idea of remaining involved with my stories, which television affords you.

Q: Do you live in Los Angeles? If not, do you have any plans to move there?

A: I moved to Los Angeles in 1992. I've been settled in West Hollywood since 1995.

Q: What's next? Are you working on a new script?

A: I am about to begin my next spec script, a thriller in the vein of a hopped-up, multi-cast SEVEN. I also have a small, independent script I'm planning to direct.

Posted Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Final Draft Big Break Screenwriting Contest

Contact

2300 W. Empire Avenue
5th floor
Burbank, CA 91504
818-995-8995 (voice)

Web:
Click here
Email:
bigbreak@finaldraft.com

Contact: Kala Guess

Report Card

Overall: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.5/5.0)
Professionalism: 3 stars3 stars3 stars (2.8/5.0)
Feedback: 2.5 stars2.5 stars2.5 stars (2.3/5.0)
Signficance: 3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars3.5 stars (3.4/5.0)
Report Cards: 37    
Have you entered?
Submit a Report card

Submit Report Card

You must login to read or submit report cards.

First-time user? Register now to receive FREE email contest updates, news, results, deadline reminders and more. Rest assured, information submitted here is held in strict confidence. MovieBytes never sells or in any way distributes email names or addresses. We promise!