Shore Scripts‘ main goal is to discover new exciting screenwriting talent and boost careers. They put each year’s best scripts into the hands of their industry roster – all of whom have the experience and means to get your script made. We recently had the opportunity to ask Justine Owens, the Director of Contests at Shore Scripts, a few questions. See her answers below.
Coverfly: What’s the mission of Shore Scripts Contests?
Justine Owens: Simple really. Shore Scripts was founded to kick-start screenwriting careers. We are extremely proud that our screenplay contests have helped 60+ writers gain representation, option, sell, and have their screenplays produced.
CF: What’s one unique piece of advice you’d give to writers who enter your contest?
JO: Writers should not be afraid to get feedback on their script, and this especially applies before submitting to a contest. A second-pair-of-eyes is invaluable in helping a writer hone his/her craft.
CF: What’s the best thing writers can do if they place in, but don’t win the contest?
JO: Some might say go back to the script and try a rewrite. But personally, I think they should take a moment to celebrate their success. Shout aloud and proud to everyone that will listen. The old saying goes, success breeds success. Advertising your achievements and referencing them in your approaches to new writing opportunities can make all the difference in whether you make the right first impression. It’s also worth noting that we send many QF & SF scripts out to our industry roster, so just because a writer didn’t win, it doesn’t mean their work won’t be sent out.
CF: When a writer wins, what can they expect from you and your contest? And what can writers do to be best prepared for capitalizing on a win?
JO: At Shore Scripts things start happening for writers before they win. Our award-winning Judges read for the final round, which is an amazing opportunity for writers to share their work. Then, once the finalists are announced, we ask their permission to send their script to our amazing roster of 150+ industry professionals: producers, agents, managers, and directors all looking for new voices and new talent to work with. We advise our writers to ensure they know their story back to front, and to be ready to pitch other scripts they’ve completed in case they are asked ‘what else do you have!’ Be accessible and ready to respond when opportunity knocks. We stay in contact too. As our writers’ projects develop, we’re always happy to share their success and help advise if they have any questions. We’re with our writers for the long-haul.
CF: Are there any special elements of the script your readers are looking for that you can share?
JO: Does the writer have an original voice? That’s a huge thing and so hard to master. We are looking for scripts that we can’t put down! Stories with an emotional hook that comes from the writer’s heart. It’s also essential that a writer knows how to format a screenplay correctly. The more ‘white space’ on the page the better!
CF: What does your reading process look like and who are your readers?
JO: We read for every stage of our competitions – that can be up to four individual assessments. We take our reading process very seriously and welcome resubmissions as we know that writers like to improve their drafts over time. Our readers are extremely experienced. They’ve read for the likes of Universal, Lionsgate, Working Title, Zoetrope, and the BBC, to name but a few. Our Judges read and decide on our overall winners.
CF: Why is your contest valuable to writers?
JO: Our contest is valuable to writers because we are offering a gateway into the film industry. Placing in our contests offers an outstanding opportunity to get your script into the hands of industry insiders who can make a difference. A look at our Alumni is a testament to that. We also finance short films, which is another avenue to help our writers.
CF: Do you think entering contests is a good path for all aspiring writers?
JO: It’s hard to say if it’s right for every writer. Only they know the answer to that. But by entering a contest like ours, a writer is giving themselves an opportunity to be discovered. If their script connects with us, we have the means of getting it into the hands of over 150 Industry Professionals.