Got a bit of wild news last week. I’m one of the winners of the 2019 Nicholl Fellowships–a competition I’ve been entering yearly for at least a decade now. It’s completely unexpected, very wonderful, and somewhat anxiety-producing. It may also inspire an uptick in donut-eating.
Posting about winning a competition (of any kind) is not something I would normally do. My brain, bless its fluttery little heart*, doesn’t like public attention–even for positive reasons. Give me good news, and I’ll instinctively look up, searching for the piano about to drop on my head. But I decided to post about this today just so I could gush about the Nicholl Fellowships.
There are a ton of screenwriting competitions out there, big and small, regional and national (and global). It’s a huge business. I’ve submitted to quite a few over the fifteen years I’ve been writing. But only with Nicholl have I ever felt like I truly got a deep read by people who are real fans of the genres I’m writing in. They do a lot to match you with the right readers and to get you multiple reads. Overall, they give your script every chance of finding the right eyes at the right time. When anyone asks me which screenwriting contests they should enter, I always put Nicholl at the top of the list.
Based on how I did in the 2019 competition, you might say I’m biased. Maybe I am. But had you asked me a year ago, or three, or six, I’d have given the same advice. Those of us who write scripts always hope readers in the competition industry–or actual movie-making industry–will take careful time with the pages we pass on, appreciating every little story nuance and twist of phrase. But anyone who reads scripts as part of their job has to go through so many, so fast, they simply can’t get that kind of attention even if they want to. Even so, I can say from experience that with Nicholl, you’re getting as close to that ideal as possible.
So that’s my pitch. Screenwriting competitions are worth it if you submit to the right ones. Nicholl is the best of the right ones.
Good luck and keep writing. Our robot overlords are going to need human storytelling at least as much as we do (I hope).
*Yes, my brain has its own separate heart.
**It’s a fluttery little heart.