Ten Reasons Why I Recommend Screenwriting Contests


by Pamela PerryGoulardt

Breaking into the business side of screenwriting can be challenging. However, entering Screenwriting Contests is an option for advancement and credibility. Here’s why:

  1. Screenwriting Contests help you to Focus. They are a highly charged energy 24/7 business force streaming information. Contests are a way to locate and connect with the people that sync with your energy and are interested in your story.
  1. Screenwriting Contests are opportunities for honest feedback. Feedback provides a perspective on how a reader is reacting to your story. It’s a window into how your writing is perceived. Feedback is for finding what is and isn’t working so you can rewrite improvements. They will always tell you what is working and what needs improvement. I have never received critical feedback that didn’t offer a suggestion that would elevate my story.
  1. Screenwriting Contests are Global. One of my first ‘Wins’ was a short story I entered into a contest in Rome. It was about a single woman who comes home to find an Alien in her apartment on New Year’s Eve. They said I captured the loneliness people often feel. Somebody finally got what I was striving to achieve! After that, I felt encouraged to enter contests from Spain, India, Paris, Hong Kong, Vancouver, London, Moscow, even Bali. Fifty percent of my website views are from the Global Market!
  1. Screenwriting Contests are motivational. They’re a ticking clock with a Final Deadline! If you’re working on a Thriller and you see a contest just for Thrillers with a final deadline in two weeks, you will mark it on your calendar and finish that story!
  1. Screenwriting Contests help you define your voice and develop your brand. I had the chance to interview Angelo Pizzo (RUDY) for an article I was doing. Angelo writes Sports Movies. If a college is famous for a sport and has a ‘true story’ they want to produce, they contact him directly. But how do you choose your brand if you don’t know what genre is the best career platform for your talent? Write what inspires you, enter the story in a contest. You will begin to see a pattern emerge of what stories resonate with people, what gets positive feedback, and what wins laurels!
  1. Screenwriting Contests are socially active and support each other. The best way for a contest to advertise is through you! You become a conduit of energy that sparks imaginations and encourages others. If you announce you have entered or placed in a contest and post it on social media other writers and filmmakers will ‘like’ your post and share it. Your name gets out there. Doors begin to open. You connect with actors, producers, musicians, location scouts, cinematographers. You build your tribe!
  1. Screenwriting Contests are often part of Movie Festivals. Independent Film thrives in the Festival Circuit. They are usually part of a community that looks forward to attending the yearly event. They are social, as well as business events, traditionally hosted by Movie Stars. If your screenplay Wins or Places, people will talk about it. The Judges might select your script for a Table Read. Festival runners have contacted me about my story and invited me to participate in their festival. Sometimes they provide a passcode to bypass the entry fee! Your story gains traction in production circles. You begin to move off the bench and onto the playing field!
  1. Screenwriting Contests offer prizes. Contests can open doors for valuable benefits and sometimes offer prizes beyond the prestige and the Laurel, such as: promoting your logline to producers and filmmakers in their monthly mailer, website, and social media platforms. In addition, your script may be selected for a Podcast of a Table Read or chosen for a ‘Proof of Concept’ trailer.
  1. Screenwriting Contests can open doors. Filmmakers and Producers often sponsor Screenwriting Contests seeking specific ‘expanded’ Genres, meaning they may want an Action/Adventure that has ‘Underwater’ action, or perhaps they are only interested in LGBTQ stories. If social media announces you have such a story, they will contact you with a substantial discount coupon to enter their competition. As a result, your expenses begin to go down. In addition, you connect with the people you need to move forward into production.
  1. Screenwriting Contests build confidence! Confidence is key! Once you start getting positive feedback, confidence soars, the magic awakens! You write with authority without holding back, and your characters become truly unique, sharing your voice with the world.

Pamela PerryGoulardt is a produced screenwriter and head writer for FlyingCloudStudios.com

Calamity Jane: Queen of Spades

Biopic Adventure.

Logline: After Frontierswoman and Sharpshooter Martha Jane Cannary loses both parents on the trail west, she becomes a scout in the US Army, finds a new reputation as the legendary outlaw Calamity Jane, and falls in love with Wild Bill Hickock.

Making of Ashes of The Order: A Star Wars Fan Film

Mad Wife Productions founder Andrew Arguello had one passion project in mind for several years – a Star Wars fan film. After numerous times almost attempting to do it but never finding it to be the right moment, he almost gave up hope of ever producing it.

That all changed in January 2021 when Andrew’s good friend Joe Rinaldi engineered a realistic-looking and functional lightsabers. This was the motivation for Andrew to finally say – we’re doing this!

Ultimately, Andrew wanted to create a film that was not too heavy graphically, something exciting and intriguing and yet entertaining and high quality. Something that people want to watch. Well, it turns out the age old adage of “making a film is hard” really pronounced itself in the making of this film.

Andrew “I’ve often heard that it’s a miracle any film gets finished. Normally I don’t agree with this as we’ve always been very good at hitting our deadline with not much issue. But with a zero-budget fan film, this was almost the case. While our idea on paper was easy, the execution of that idea would prove to be a whole lot more than any of us expected.”


First step was coming up with the screenplay. Andrew and one of the actors, Jeremy Uithoven, got the initial story on the page with the help of screenwriter MJ Palo.

Next, Andrew reached out to several actors and crew members to ask who was interested in volunteering to make this film happen. Not only did we need story and lightsabers but also actors, crew, costumes and makeup.

Andrew “I reached out as many friends as I could and asked if they were a Star Wars fan and if they would you be willing to put numerous hours of unpaid work to help me make my passion project?

Surprisingly, everyone answered “yes” and was as excited as us to be a part of the process. The cast and crew had their first production meeting in February 2021.

Next, we looked for the shooting location. After a few searches, we found the perfect spot at the David Creek Regional Park. After meeting with Park Ranger Nick and getting the permits, we were finally ready to start blocking and choreographing the fight scenes.

With three amazing and athletic actors – Cameron, Greg and Jeremy – we rehearsed at the location during three weekends preceding the shoot. With popular hiking trail just next to the spot, we definitely received a lot of attention during the rehearsals.

We had a bit of a hiccup the week before we wanted to shoot when our leading lady, Cameron, injured herself. Luckily, she was able to mostly recover from the injury during the week.

This was of course not the only setback. Joe, who was building lightsabers from the ground up, was having a hard time getting the things he needed to finish the sabers. The machine he needed arrived the day before the shoot and Joe spent the entire night assembling the 3 sabers we needed. The paint was literally drying as he drove to set. But hey – we had everything done and we were ready to shoot our fan film!

And then the snow storm hit…


It was a beautiful sunny March morning in Reno when the cast and crew met at the park at 8 am. And best yet, the snow had already almost completely melted and by the time we shot, it was gone!

We started with hair and make-up for the actors, while the crew hiked up a trail with all the gear – a brisk morning exercise!

We called action on our first shots with the drone around 10 am. After the drone shots, we started with the fight scene. A full 3 hours of shooting and we broke for lunch. Everything was on schedule.

And of course, this is when the entire project almost fell apart.

One of the actors confirmed he could not return the next day. So our 2-day/12-hour shoot just turned into a 6-hour shoot!

Now, we were in “go-time” mode. We took our B cam that lives on the gimbal and started getting as much handheld coverage as we could. It was glorious. We had saber blades breaking, actors flying through the air but we call kept pushing before the Sun would set.

At the end of the day, we were beyond exhausted but it was worth it. And this was only the beginning – what followed the 1-day shoot was 1000-hours of post production…


Andrew handled the editing and color grading himself – it took him less than a month to go from raw footage to final cut. Wow, we were rocking this! Well, not so fast…

…what followed was 6-months of VFX and sound design. We found an amazing composer to do the score and sound designer team to handle the rest.

VFX was handled by Jennifer McWhirter – a first timer! Andrew recruited Jennifer to the project knowing she had the patience it takes to do the VFX frame by frame for the lightsabers. And without her spending hundreds of unpaid hours on this project, it would not exist today!

But in the end, we finally got our film!

Premiere and release

The premiere happened on September 11, 2021 with 50 VIPs in the audience. The film ended with thunderous applause and unanimous request to watch it again – which we did!

The film was released on YouTube on September 12 and got almost 2k views in the first day.

After months and hundreds of hours of hard work, the end result was worth it and the team cannot wait to do it again!

You can watch Ashes of The Order: A Star Wars Fan Film here: https://youtu.be/F-84omd6Qtg