Of course, we need to set some guidelines. After all, we don’t have the budget that Steven Spielberg does. (At least not yet!) To maximize the chance of your idea or contribution getting included, be sure to follow these guidelines.
The idea must be able to be executed in 10 pages (10 minutes) or fewer.
We all know that brevity is the soul of wit, right? Keep the idea to something that can be achieved within 10 pages (minutes). Avoid complicated ideas with too many plot points.
The screenplay must have one (1) Protagonist, one (1) Influencing Character, and one (1) Opponent, and they must be separate characters.
For this contest, we would like the three primary characters to be present and to be different characters. If you are not yet clear what each of the character classifications mean, please refer to our tutorial on Characters.
Abide by a “PG-13” (or younger) rating.
If you are unclear what this means, consult the MPAA guidelines: https://filmratings.com/Content/Downloads/rating_rules.pdf
Your narrative must have a Common Story Structure (3 Act Structure).
A choice on Open Screenplay when starting a new screenplay is whether to follow the common 3 Act Story Structure (Common Story Structure) or to use a freeform structure (Custom Story Structure). For the contest, all eligible screenplays must be Common Story Design. No documentaries or experimental films will be eligible.
Be written in English.
We will have other languages available in the future, but for now all contributions to the contest must be in English in order to be eligible.
The Winning Short Film Screenplay SHOULD:
We would prefer the genre be COMEDY.
Everyone loves to laugh, and we do too! This is not a requirement – you are free to write in whatever genre you wish.
Keep the character count down.
There is no limit on the number of characters that can be included in the screenplay, but if the idea requires a huge cast it will increase the production budget and could limit the chances of the idea being chosen.
Steer clear of “hot button” topics.
We won’t censor ideas, but if you can’t bring up the topic at work, in public, at family dinner, or at a party, we probably won’t select it.
No previously produced material or adaptations.
The short film must be a new, original, unproduced work.
No CGI (computer effects).
Practical effects are okay, but be sure to keep in mind a smaller budget when including them.
No difficult to get locations.
Do not include federal or private attractions like The Statue Of Liberty, Mt. Rushmore, The Empire St. Building, CN Tower, Eiffel Tower, famous museums, etc. This applies to all attractions around the world.
Remember, this is meant to be a PG-13 (or younger) rated movie.
No using trademarks that belong to other people or companies.
Existing characters, songs, logos, brands, etc. will not be allowed. Essentially, don’t use other people’s stuff.
No intricate sequences.
We understand this is a fairly broad statement, but sequences like car chases, extensive physical fights, or heavily choreographed dance routines will not be selected.