Writing Plays/Screenwriting/SCREENPLAY CONTESTS


Hi Barry.  Do you personally feel that screenplay contests can serve to advance one's screenplay?  Also, How do you feel about using a split-screen phone conversation in a full length movie?  I have seen a couple recently on T.V. Thanks once again,  Dave

Hi Dave,

It's possible that entering your work in contest could yield benefits, provided you rank in the top ten percent, or place in the top four or five.  Such placement would give you bragging rights when submitting your work to a potential buyer.

Two good contests are The Page Awards and Scriptapalooza.

I also recommend you check out Marvin Acuna's website http://www.thebusinessofshowinstitute.com/ if you are serious about getting your script out there in the marketplace.

As to split screen, I would avoid it. It's really become old school. In addition, it's the director, not the writer, who will decide how telephone conversations should be handled.

Here's an excerpt from my book that will help (it's an answer to a writer that asked about this very thing):

Q:  In my screenplay, I want to indicate a phone conversation, i.e. Greg calls Cara, Cara picks up at her house, and as the conversation goes back and forth, the "scene" switches back and forth between Greg's and Cara's apartments.

How do you indicate a phone conversation cleanly and with the least amount of mishmash?

A:  Use a normal scene slug for Greg's call.

Greg dials the cordless phone.

Use a second scene slug for Cara's apartment as she answers.

Cara runs for the phone. Answers.

Then use a left flush, all caps, double space before and after instruction, as follows:


Or you can say:


Then write your scene as you would when characters are together in the same place, bearing in mind that your characters are in different locations and can't see each other.


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Barry Pearson


I`m a credited writer on nine feature films. My latest movie, IRON ROAD, which stars Peter O'Toole and Sam Neill, opened as feature, then aired as a four-hour miniseries on network television. Sun Li, the Chinese star, won the best actress award at the Roma Fiction Fest recently. www.ironroadthemovie.com) I’ve produced more than 300 episodes of television drama, including 13 episodes of Deepwater Black, and 106 episodes of Katts & Dog (Rin-Tin-Tin, K-9 Cop in the U.S.). I've answered over 1200 All Experts questions!


I've been in the business of writing and producing feature films, television series, and MOW's for over 20 years. You can check me out at this URL http://www.createyourscreenplay.com/aboutbp.htm

You can find my books on Amazon. See DON'T LET ANYONE STEAL YOUR STORY (http://tinyurl.com/StoryStealers)which is a stripped-down readable summary of copyright, full of entertaining anecdotes and real-life examples. Read about the true horror stories that clearly show you what you need to do to avoid the misfortune of having your literary material stolen. Find out: * How to take simple inexpensive steps to protect yourself, before, during, and after you write your literary work. * How copyright law applies to writers of literary works. * How literary works enter public domain, and how you can use it to your advantage. * What aspects of literary works are protected by copyright, and what aspects are not protected. * How to create documentation that will prove your copyright entitlement in the event of an infringement on your rights. * How you can protect yourself if you are contracted to write for television. You’ll also get a FREE sample of an Option and Purchase Agreement, a contract used in the acquisition of rights in a literary property—a contract that you and your lawyer can customize for your property. Written by a writer, for writers, Don’t Let Anyone Steal Your Story will help you protect yourself against plagiarists and anyone else who might infringe your right of sole ownership. ------------- Also on Amazon, my book of four short stories, THE TWENTY-BUSHEL RACER. A man’s redemption from bitterness enables him to become a loving father. A teenager discovers the importance of his attachment to the people in his life and the place where he is growing up. A man, who has for years considered himself a coward and a betrayer of his comrades, musters the courage to stand up against a pair of would-be assassins. Two young men, who grew up in the same town, meet unexpectedly, reminisce about a girl they both loved when they were boys, and unveil a truth that changes both their lives.

Master of Arts degree (Drama)

Awards and Honors
Among my awards are Best Screenplay, Best Picture, at the International Film & Television Festival of New York for THE LIFE AND TIMES OF EDWIN ALONZO BOYD, Best Screenplay, Feature Film, at the 12th International Film Festival in Sitges, Spain for PLAGUE, and a Special Jury Award, Feature Film at the San Francisco International Film Festival for PLAGUE.

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