I've been reluctant to publicise this which may seem strange considering that competitions are one of the best ways for screenwriters to get noticed and that the partners in this contest are prestigious. Kaos Films are a proper company not some fly-by-night charlatans.
I suppose I am wary because it is basically a sort of tontine. The £25 (or £35 for the final deadline) "administration fee" is used to help fund the production of the winning film but in reality 95% of the scripts submitted will not be of a quality to reach the shortlisting stage. And so new writers may be better off buying 25 lotto tickets or putting the money towards making the short film themselves.
If I had to cough up a pony every time I submitted a script I thought was brilliant but was in fact... erm.. pony (bloody confusing cockney rhyming slang...) in the early stage of my career, I would have gone bankrupt. When you start out, the writer's essential self-critical faculties have not developed properly yet and it takes time for it to do so.
That's why the BBC writersroom (see link opposite) is so important in that if you send in something completely wrong they send you a polite no thanks and all you've lost is some postage and pride. But eventually, if you keep trying and keep improving, you end up with a commission. Of course Kaos Films has slightly less money than the BBC and can't afford to do that. Reading is expensive and the readers time has to be paid for. However these are short films where the obviously unsuitable 95% can be dismissed quite quickly.
Having said all that, I leave it up to you to decide. But I note there is no mention of the fee in their advert. Why be so coy?
"Kaos Films are proud to announce The British Short Screenplay Competition 2006 is now accepting submissions.
In this the fifth year of the competition we have made it better than ever for you. The winning writer will not only have their screenplay produced but will be invited to The British Independent Film Awards star studded evening and receive an award.
The panel of judges for this year's competition includes: Kenneth Branagh, Michael Kuhn, Sir Alan Parker, Nik Powell, and Stephen Woolley.
All the finalists will be invited to apply to the National Film and
The British Short Screenplay Competition is sponsored by: Ascent Media, Kodak, Panavision, Pinewood-Shepperton Studios, Screenplay Systems and Working Title Films.
Early deadline: April 14th.
Final deadline: May 26th.
For full details and entry forms please visit www.kaosfilms.co.uk "