The Disadvantages of Submitting to Screenplay Contests: Explained by Cody Smart

Are you considering submitting your screenplay to contests? Before making a decision, you might want to explore the potential disadvantages that come with it. In this blog post, Cody Smart will explain some of these drawbacks, providing you with valuable insights into the world of screenplay competitions. Discover why entering such contests may not always be advantageous for you and your writing career.

The Disadvantages of Submitting to Screenplay Contests: Explained by Cody Smart


If you are an aspiring screenwriter looking to break into the industry, chances are that you have considered submitting your work to screenplay contests. While these contests can provide valuable exposure and potentially open doors for your career, it is important to be aware of the potential disadvantages that come with participating in them. In this article, we will explore the drawbacks of submitting to screenplay contests, as explained by the renowned screenwriter and script doctor, Cody Smart.

Lack of Preparation Can Lead to Unfavorable Outcomes in Contests

One of the most significant disadvantages of participating in screenplay contests is the lack of preparation that some writers exhibit. This can greatly affect the outcome of the contest and lead to unfavorable results. According to Cody Smart, before submitting to any contest, it is crucial to plan meticulously. This involves not just writing the script itself, but also researching the specific contest’s requirements and understanding what the judges are looking for.

  • Before submitting, ensure you have thoroughly proofread and edited your script, eliminating any grammatical errors or inconsistencies.
  • Seek feedback from trusted peers or professionals to polish your script further.
  • Take the time to review and understand the rules and guidelines of each contest. This will prevent disqualification due to technicalities.

Polished Scripts Are Necessary Before Submission

Cody Smart stresses the importance of submitting polished scripts to screenplay contests. He believes that competition in the industry is fierce, and this makes it even more critical to present your best work. A poorly written or executed script will likely not make it past the initial rounds, regardless of how innovative or groundbreaking the idea may be.

  • Take the time to refine your screenplay. Rewrite, revise, and polish until it shines.
  • Ensure your story is engaging, well-paced, and has fully developed characters.
  • Consider hiring a professional script editor or consultant to provide objective feedback and help elevate your script to its fullest potential.

Specific Competition Targeting is Crucial

Not all screenplay contests are created equal. Each contest may have a different focus, genre, or target audience. Cody Smart advises that screenwriters carefully research and select the contests that align with their specific goals and writing style. Blindly submitting to a multitude of contests without proper consideration can be a waste of time, energy, and money.

  • Identify contests that specifically cater to your genre, for a better chance at standing out.
  • Research the judges and previous winners of the contest to gauge if your voice and style fit their preferences.
  • Prioritize contests that provide industry exposure or opportunities to connect with influential professionals.

Comprehensive Marketing Materials are Needed Beyond Just the Script

Screenplay contests usually require additional materials such as loglines, synopses, and query letters. Cody Smart highlights the significance of these marketing materials in capturing the attention of judges and ensuring a favorable evaluation of your script.

  • Craft a compelling logline that succinctly conveys the essence of your story.
  • Write a concise and engaging synopsis that outlines the main plot points and generates intrigue.
  • Create a compelling query letter that showcases your unique voice, writing style, and the marketability of your script.

Cody Smart: Elevating Screenwriters’ Work

Cody Smart is an independent screenwriter and script doctor, known for his keen eye for script analysis and development. With degrees in English Literature & Linguistics, Screenwriting, Development, and Producing, Smart brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his work. Through his bi-monthly vlog, he shares valuable tips and insights for screenwriters, helping them to improve their craft and navigate the complexities of the industry.

  • Follow Cody Smart’s vlog for regular advice and guidance on screenwriting.
  • Consider utilizing his script consulting services to get professional feedback on your work.
  • Learn from Smart’s experience as he covers various aspects of screenwriting, including story structure, character development, and genre-specific writing techniques.


While screenplay contests can offer opportunities for aspiring screenwriters, it is essential to be aware of the potential disadvantages involved. Cody Smart emphasizes the importance of careful preparation, polished scripts, targeted submissions, and comprehensive marketing materials. By considering and addressing these aspects, you can increase your chances of success in screenplay contests and ultimately showcase your talent to the world.

Unique FAQs after the Conclusion:

  1. Q: Can a poorly written screenplay win a screenplay contest?

    • A: The chances of a poorly written screenplay winning a contest are extremely low. Judges look for professionally executed scripts with engaging stories and relatable characters.
  2. Q: Are screenplay contests a reliable way to break into the industry?

    • A: While screenplay contests can provide exposure and connections, they are not a guarantee to break into the industry. Additional networking and persistence are necessary to establish a successful screenwriting career.
  3. Q: How can I find screenplay contests that suit my genre?

    • A: Conduct thorough research online, join screenwriting forums or communities, and subscribe to industry newsletters to stay updated on screenplay contests that match your genre and goals.
  4. Q: Should I submit my screenplay simultaneously to multiple contests?

    • A: It is generally acceptable to submit your screenplay to multiple contests simultaneously. However, ensure that you carefully read and adhere to each contest’s rules regarding exclusivity and multiple submissions.
  5. Q: What are the benefits of hiring a script consultant for my screenplay?

    • A: A script consultant can provide valuable feedback, help identify areas of improvement, and enhance the marketability of your screenplay. Their professional perspective can significantly elevate the quality of your work.

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