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February 8, 2008

5th Annual Screenwriter's Challenge 2008

    So, you think you can write a movie. C'mon, I know you've said it to yourself before, or boldly out loud to your friends. Perhaps after seeing a disaster of a film you've chirped about having more talent in the lint of your back pocket. Fine. Prove it.

    On April 4, 2008, NYC Midnight Movie Making Madness, an organization hell-bent on giving talented screenwriters and producers an extra boost into the professional world, is hosting their 5th Annual Screenwriter's Challenge. Anyone in the world can enter, and the competition is mega-steep.

    It begins with Round 1, which occurs between April 4 - 12. All entrants are randomly given a genre and subject, or circumstance. For example, Comedy: roller skating championship or Drama: boyfriend goes to war. Writers are then given 1 week to write a short screenplay no longer than 15 pages on that subject, in that genre. These shorts are then judged, and winners are chosen from this bunch to advance to Round 2.

    Round 2 occurs June 6 - 7. This time, every screenwriter is given the same genre and subject and given only 24 hours! to write a short screenplay under those parameters. (Considering most major motion pictures take months or years to write, that's quite a big job.) Ten prizes are then given out to the winners.

    And when they say prizes, they aren't kidding. Cash prizes are awarded through 3rd place, starting at $1,500. Scholarships are awarded to all winners for the online professional writer's workshop, Writers Boot Camp, where you can take screenwriting classes and get professional writing help for free. Also given to all winners is a 1 year subscription to WritersGuard, an online "vault" to protect your scripts or ideas from being stolen (a huge problem in Hollywood). All winners also receive a free listing on Inktip.com, a website where Hollywood producers, directors, agents, and managers come to find screenplays to produce. Inktip.com reports that in the past year, 50 feature-length screenplays listed on their website have been produced, and even more shorts. Not bad!

    In short, if you make it to the Top 10, not only did you prove to everyone you were right, but you'll get access to some coveted "ins" to the film industry, and at the very least, a great jump-start on your future in writing or filmmaking. (This is great to have on your resume, not to mention the exposure you get among agents and managers who could go on to represent you in writing your first novel or movie.) Hey, even if you don't come in the Top 10, you'll have a great writing sample to have in your portfolio.

    The catch is, it's not free. But if you sign up before their Early Entry Deadline of February 28, 2008, the registration fee is only $35. After that, it gets a little steeper. The final deadline is April 2, 2008.

    So, you talk a pretty big game. But can you play?

    P.S. Each January they also have a Short Story Contest!

    P.S. In April Teen Ink is doing a special College issue, so send us your college essays, personal statements, or college reviews. Tell us about what it was like visiting a certain campus, or about how stressful or inspiring it is to apply to college. You can submit your work by clicking here.

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