Aspiring screenwriters may wonder if entering screenwriting contests is a good way to advance their careers and get noticed in the industry. According to Hollywood screenwriter Michael Jamin, the answer is no – at least, not in the way that most people approach them.
In a TikTok video, Jamin advises aspiring screenwriters not to enter screenwriting contests, but rather to focus on winning them. He argues that many screenwriting contests are simply a way for the organizers to make money off of hopeful writers and do not actually help writers advance their careers. While it may be tempting to enter as many contests as possible in the hopes of increasing the chances of winning, Jamin advises writers to be selective and to prioritize quality over quantity.
Instead of entering contests that are likely to be of little value, Jamin suggests that aspiring screenwriters should focus on learning the craft of screenwriting and improving their skills. He compares this approach to learning how to play baseball, saying that it is important to learn the basics and get good at the craft before trying to hit a home run. In other words, writers should work on honing their skills and becoming the best writers they can be, rather than simply trying to get lucky and win a contest.
So, if you’re an aspiring screenwriter wondering if you should enter screenwriting contests, the answer is not a straightforward yes or no. While entering screenwriting competitions can be a good way to get your work in front of industry professionals and potentially make connections, it’s important to be selective about the contests you enter and to prioritize quality over quantity. Instead of focusing on entering as many contests as possible, put your energy into learning the craft of screenwriting and becoming the best writer you can be. With hard work and dedication, you’ll be much more likely to achieve success in the long run.
How to Improve Your Screenwriting
Michael Jamin isn’t just going to give this type of advice without providing you with more direction. With nearly three decades of experience under his belt in the Hollywood industry, he knows a thing or two about writing. In fact, you may have heard of one of the shows he’s worked on – like King of the Hill, Rules of Engagement, and Tacoma FD. Take his online screenwriting course and learn not only what it takes to make it in the industry but valuable instruction that can help teach you how to write for TV in a way that pushes you forward in your career.