2017 Screenwriting Contest Open For Submissions

Other Worlds Austin—dedicated to fostering and promoting creativity in Science Fiction at every stage of development—is proud to announce that its annual SciFi Screenwriting Contest is now open and accepting submissions. The contest runs concurrently with the film program, and will award prizes for the top feature, short or teleplay.

This year, Other Worlds Austin has the privilege to announce a new sponsor: Save the Cat!® Save the Cat!® began as an industry renown screenwriting book by Blake Snyder, published in 2005, and has since grown into a diverse digital and print screenwriting resource.

“I have been saying for years that the one book every screenwriter needs to read is Save The Cat!®” says Bears Fonté, OWA Founder and Artistic Director. “It’s written more like a hands-on manual than a philosophical discussion of the meaning of story. Every project I ever take on, even five-minutes shorts, I look at in the light of Blake’s principals. I am very proud to have the Other Worlds Austin name attached to Save the Cat!® and I know that our winning and finalist screenwriters will benefit from the amazing prizes STC! has offered."

Each of the category finalists will receive all five books from Save the Cat!® and a copy of Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0: Structure your screenplay the Save the Cat!® Way. In addition, the winner in the feature category will receive free a 1-hour phone consultation from a Master Cat® about their script (up to 120 pages) and the winners of both the short and teleplay category will receive an hour free consultation to discuss any aspect of their project. All three category winners receive $250 in cash, with the Grand Prize Winner selected from the three winners receiving an additional $250 cash.

In addition, every entrant will receive an online discount code for the latest Save the Cat!® books, including the soon be published book analyzing independent films scheduled for release in April.

Other Worlds Austin is looking for original submissions that are character and story driven with a decidedly SciFi angle. The Other Worlds Austin SciFi Screenwriting Contest sets itself apart from other competitions in that it is judged purely on writing skill, talent and ability to tell an engaging, exciting and original story.

Other Worlds wants writers to show their best scripts. Squid monsters, robots, existential astronauts, genetically engineered sentient cheeseburgers, cyborg tigers and all others welcome.

While Other Worlds expects scripts to exhibit an understanding of what is possible in the industry, it isn’t interested in whether or not a script can stick within a certain budget, and its winners aren’t selected by small production companies in hopes of optioning something financially feasible. The prizes are meant to keep creative and talented people encouraged to generate fantastic stories within the genre. Other Worlds also understands that some scripts are written as an exercise or just purely for fun, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t worthy of winning.

All script submissions will be read by industry experts, including screenwriters, producers, filmmakers and programmers, and each will receive unfiltered written feedback if desired. Other Words believes that every writer that has taken the time to create and submit their work should have it taken seriously, and receive assurance that it was read professionally.  


·         Shorts: 40 pages or less, must be original material.

·         Features: 70 pages or more, must be original material.

·         Television

o    Pilots: may be sitcom or one-hour, network or cable (anything longer than one-hour should be submitted as a feature, i.e. a made-for-tv movie), must be fully original, no spinoffs.  Sitcoms tend to be 22-40 pages depending on formatting, one-hours 45-70 pages.

o    Specs: should be for an existing show, on air in the US (BBC America or Showcase shows on Syfy are fine) either currently or in the last year.

o    Retro-Specs: may be for a long-cancelled series (Lost In Space), a spin-off (CSI: Mars), or a television series based on an established property (The Dragonriders of Pern) and should be 22-75 pages in length.  Recently cancelled series (last ten years) are highly discouraged although not prohibited. 


Deadlines and Fees

  • Prior to April 30th, Features/TV/Shorts $40/$35/$30
  • May 1st to July 31st, Features/TV/Shorts $50/$45/$35
  • August 1st to September 30th, Features/TV/Shorts $70/$65/$45



  • $250 awarded to Category winners in all three categories (Features, Teleplays, and Shorts) PLUS an additional $250 for the Grand Prize Winner selected from all three
  • Free copies of all five Save the Cat!® books for all Category Winners and Finalists. 
  • Free copy of Save the Cat!® Story Structure Software 3.0: Structure your screenplay the Save the Cat!® Way for all Category Winners and Finalists. 
  • Winner in Feature category will receive Save the Cat!® coverage for their single script, up to 120 pages in length.
  • Winners of Short and Teleplay categories will receive a one hour consultation from Save the Cat! ®
  • Winning Scripts will be announced the week after the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 7-10, 2017 with the Audience Awards and the Cthulhies in a national press release. Finalists will be announced in November.
  • All entries will receive feedback on their scripts at the conclusion of the Other Worlds Austin SciFi Film Festival, December 7-10 2017, if desired.  All feedback will be distributed by March of the following year at the latest.
  • NOTE: there must be at least 50 entries in a category to be awarded a prize. Categories w/ less than 50 entries may be combined w/ other categories when awarding prizes. However, a winning script will still be selected in each category (no matter the total entries).

Other Worlds Austin does not offer waivers under any circumstances. Its fees simply pay for the awards and the costs of running the contest (not even). Other Worlds understands the financial hardship of being a screenwriter and costs of submitting to competitions and have kept its fees low in order to allow the most number of entries possible.


Enter a Script

Contest Rules

Judging Criteria


Screenplay FAQ

Past Winners


About Other Worlds Austin

Other Worlds Austin is one of the premiere SciFi film festivals in the US, championing filmmakers and writers and bringing the best films to the ‘Geek Capital of the World.’

With a diverse and approachable team of programmers, we are building a network of SciFi fans and filmmakers, leading a loyal community, and launching SciFi films into the wider world.


ABOUT Save the Cat!® 

In his 20-year career as a screenwriter and producer, Blake Snyder sold dozens of scripts, including co-writing Blank Check, which became a hit for Disney, and Nuclear Family for Steven Spielberg — both million-dollar sales. His book, Save the Cat!®: The Last Book on Screenwriting You'll Ever Need became an instant sensation in screenwriting, and was quickly followed by standing room only workshops. 

The book, now in its 24th printing, and its very specific, assessable structural beat sheet, has become the “secret weapon” of many development executives, managers, and producers for its precise, easy, and honest appraisal of what it takes to write and develop stories that resonate. Although he passed away suddenly in 2009, he lives on in his films and his books and in the countless writers he mentored or who have achieved success by embracing Blake’s ‘Insider’s Guide’ to screenwriting.

Check out more about Blake's principles and examples of great films broken down into the Save the Cat!® beat sheet on www.savethecat.com.