Thursday, May 15, 2008

To Pimp or not to Pimp?

I did it. I applied to the Script Pimp competition.

As an aspiring screenwriter that has yet to aquire an agent (though admittedly I haven't tried to find one, and won't until I've finished my Dexter spec), the possibility of acquiring representation by submitting to screenwriting competitions is tempting. A few weeks ago I submitted my Heroes spec to Scriptapalooza, and yesterday I applied to Script Pimp. But though the websites of each competition suggest that your script will be judged by industry people, I'm not entirely convinced that the competitions aren't cash grabs.

However, I don't agree with some other (mostly pro) opinions that the competitions are useless. Even if I don't get representation directly through the competition, it serves me in three ways: 1) a ticking clock to finish my friggin script already; 2) a way to build my resume and therefore a crude form of credibility; 3) encouragement. The last two are obviously dependent on whether or not I place as a finalist, but I'm willing to shell out $30-$50 if it makes me finish a script quicker.

Saying that, I'm not going to apply to every TV script competition out there. I've read decent reviews of Scriptapalooza and Script P.I.M.P., and I know that every competition run by a network or studio is golden. And I may not actually be able to apply to the US studio fellowships, as I'm a Canadian citizen. I know that the Disney fellowship requires winners to be able to work in the states. Does that mean I can apply and win the fellowship, but not accept it? Maybe that would look good on the resume anyway. I'm not sure about the Warner Bros. fellowship, as I didn't see anything on the website regarding international applicants.

Canada really needs to get some equivalent fellowships. I haven't found any yet. I saw one Banff competition that initially looked promising, but on closer inspection, the competition is for people who have already had at least one produced credit. I'm trying to win representation, so I'm not at that point yet. It may be less competitive in breaking into TV writing in Canada, but it seems there isn't as much support for the writer trying to break through. So which is harder? I'll have to get back to you on that one.

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