Comments (0)

Q&A with Scriptapalooza President Mark Andrushko

Scriptapalooza, the screenwriting competition and script coverage service founded in 1998, is going into its 16th year and has proven to the industry and to writers that it is committed to working for writers and opening doors for them. Over 90 producers, managers and agents read all the entries, unlike other competitions that do not use industry professionals whose mission it is to identify scripts worthy of production and get them optioned, presented to a studio or purchased outright.  In the Q&A that follows, Scriptapalooza president, Mark Andrushko, brings us up to date with what’s happening with the competition, the prizes and the company’s other services.


How has Scriptapalooza changed from its early days?  What changes or plans do you have in store for the upcoming year?

I don’t think much has changed... Scriptapalooza has always been about the writers, about getting them through that Hollywood door.  We have always worked with Write Brothers; they have the best screenwriting software for writers on the market.


Changes?  We added a new category this year: “Best in Genre” (seven in all), we’re giving away bigger cash prizes.  We recently unveiled a new website, and it includes a video explaining how Scriptapalooza works.  Please visit our website to see it, we’re really proud of it.


Tell us more about the cash and other prizes, and other ways you gain by entering. 

We are offering over $50,000 in cash and prizes. (Visit the website for a complete list of prizes).


But I do believe the biggest prize of all is that Scriptapalooza promotes and pushes the TOP 100 scripts for a full year.  No other competition in the world does that.


After we announce the Semifinalists, we promote and pitch them for an entire year. I don't think it's that crazy.  That's our job; that's what a competition should be doing.  The 100 scripts are all great.  Any of them could be made into a movie or at least get the writer a meeting with a producer, and the writer can show what else s/he has to offer.


Here's how the process works:  After we announce the winners, we literally will call and pitch the TOP 100 to all of our contacts, that's about 125 producers.  They tell us what they are looking for, and we go through the list/loglines of the TOP 100 and get the right script to the right producer.  It's a win/win situation.


If a competition that you are thinking about entering doesn't do that, don't enter it.  Plain and simple.


Entering a screenplay competition isn't about the Grand Prize, that's a long shot, go for the connections and what they can do with your script.


How long does the judging process take? 

We start giving scripts to judges in early January.  They have until July to turn in the scripts that they think are best and should move forward.


What advice do you have for writers who are thinking about entering the competition?

It sounds redundant but it’s true: write and rewrite, and then rewrite some more.  Don’t rush to make the deadline.  We will be here next year.  Have people read your script, give you feedback or get professional coverage before you even consider submitting your script.  Proofread, and make sure you have proper format.  Make sure you didn’t mix up your character names, and make sure each character has a distinct voice.  Also, check for a beginning, middle and end.  Those are just a few things to think about.


What’s the best piece of advice you’d offer aspiring scribes who’d love to win this year’s Scriptapalooza?

Don’t go after the grand prize... that’s not what you should be shooting for.  Make sure your script is really good and ready, and submit it.  Hopefully, it floats to the top and makes the TOP 100, because then we promote it for a full year.  Only one writer wins the cash, but 99 others win the same amount of exposure.


Who reads all the entries?

All the reading at Scriptapalooza is done by producers, managers and agents. I think it’s important to let everyone know we don't believe in readers because readers can't do anything with your script.  We go right to the source — that being a producer, manager or agent.  These are the people who can set up a meeting, option your script, take it to the studio or outright buy it.  A lot of writers want feedback when they enter the competition, but be careful.  Getting feedback from just anyone is pointless; getting feedback from Scriptapalooza is priceless.  We have had judges request contact information on scripts that are still in the judging process.


Also, the writers who make it to the TOP 100, including the winner, must be active participants in their career.  The writer has to be prepared to self-promote, to use their placement in the competition as a springboard.  We have gotten people meetings, and they didn’t know how to handle themselves, nor did they have other material to show the interested parties.  Winning a competition is definitely a huge accomplishment, but that’s when the real work begins for a writer.  Scriptapalooza opens the door, but ultimately it is the writer who needs to show up and walk through it.


Is anyone endorsing Scriptapalooza?

Yes, our partner Write Brothers have been endorsing Scriptapalooza and giving away their software as prizes for 14 years.


Also, Robert McKee, author of Story, has endorsed Scriptapalooza, saying: “Despite its frivolous name, Scriptapalooza is the best screenwriting competition I know.”


You're offering feedback for $100?  How does that work?

If you enter the competition you can, at the same time, order coverage on your script for $100.  This gives you the advantage of receiving detailed notes on your script in these categories:

• Premise

• First Twenty Pages

• Structure

• Character

• Dialogue

• Setting

• Pacing

• Tone

• Transitions

• General Notes

Your feedback includes a logline, a synopsis and your feedback totaling four to five pages.


Our deadlines are: March 3, April 14 and the final deadline is April 21, 2014.

For more on how the competition and coverage processes work, visit


More recent articles in Interviews


Only logged-in members can comment. You can log in or join today for free!