INNOVATIONS

The Empire Screenplay Contest introduced numerous innovations over it's five year history, including:

  • Categorization by Production Budget: scripts that were expected to be relatively expensive to produce were judged separately from those expected to be relatively inexpensive to produce--giving producer-judges a choice, and a sense of what type of project they would be reviewing, in addition to encouraging screenwriters to consider the importance of production expense.

  • Staged Reading of High Value Winner: offered to help the writer enhance his script, but also as a way of promoting his project, this service ended after two years--agreed by the Third Annual winner in this category--due to lack of interest on the part of industry.

  • Early and Late Deadlines: simply penalizing late submissions with a higher entry fee seemed unfair--and to undermine the whole deadline concept. Offering a discount for early submissions seemed a fairer and more balanced approach.

A program of wholesale redirection of the Contest--designed to make it more effective in helping screenwriters advance their careers, and producers identify exceptional projects and writers-- seemed to move the process in the right direction, but these innovations also contributed to a severe declines in submissions.

  • Internet Emphasis: offering free, round-the-clock access to necessary information for entrants, and Contest administrators the ability to respond to communicate and administer the process effectively and efficiently.

  • Proposal System: a revised approach that greatly benefitted writers, and helped identify the more determined and qualified among them--as well as the best projects.

  • Companion Workshops: offered potential entrants improved chances of advancing in the competition.

  • Guidance at the Website: the contents of a comprehensive screenwriting course, supported by years experience reviewing Contest scripts, offered free assistance to screenwriters seeking to advance in the Contest, and in their careers.

  • Resubmission: allowing entrants to resubmit revised versions of projects at each phase of the judging process, sometimes with input from contest administrators.

  • Direct Submission to Judges: giving writers an opportunity to ensure they put their best foot forward, and to enhance their comfort with marketing to Hollywood.

  • Professional Critique and Line-by-Line Review: provided at certain phases in the judging/marketing process in an effort to enhance the marketability of projects.

  • Guided Marketing to Hollywood: beyond publicity to trades, individualized queries sent to select Hollywood producers--for which no fee or compensation of any sort is requested.