Can I Enter A Script That’S Already Been Produced?

So you’ve written a script that has already been produced, and now you’re wondering if you can still enter it into competitions or submit it to production companies? Well, the answer is not as straightforward as you may think. While some competitions and companies may have strict rules against accepting previously produced scripts, there are others that are more open to considering them. In this article, we will explore the possibilities and limitations of entering a script that has already been brought to life on the big screen or stage.

Can I Enter A Script ThatS Already Been Produced?

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Definition of a Produced Script

A produced script refers to a screenplay that has been transformed into a visual medium, such as a film, television show, or web series. It is the result of countless hours of hard work, collaboration, and creative vision. A produced script is not just words on paper; it has been brought to life through the efforts of a dedicated team of filmmakers, actors, and crew members.

Reasons for Submitting a Produced Script

Submitting a produced script to screenwriting competitions can offer numerous benefits for both the writer and their work. It serves as a validation of the quality of the script and provides opportunities to network with industry professionals. Additionally, submitting a produced script may lead to further recognition and accolades, helping to build a writer’s reputation in the competitive world of screenwriting.

Controversy Surrounding Submitting Produced Scripts

While submitting produced scripts to screenwriting competitions may seem like a no-brainer for many writers, it is not without controversy. Some argue that it goes against the spirit of these competitions, as they are intended to showcase undiscovered talent and encourage the creation of original content. The inclusion of produced scripts can create an uneven playing field and potentially discourage aspiring writers from participating.

Implications for Screenwriting Competitions

The practice of accepting produced scripts in screenwriting competitions varies among different organizations and contests. Some competitions allow the submission of produced scripts, while others have specific rules and categories for such entries. The inclusion or exclusion of produced scripts has significant implications for the fairness and integrity of these competitions, and organizations must carefully consider their policies.

Understanding a Produced Script

Definition of a Produced Script

A produced script, as mentioned earlier, is a screenplay that has been transformed into a visual medium. It can be a full-length feature film, a short film, a television episode, or even a web series. Regardless of the format, a produced script is a testament to the writer’s ability to craft engaging storytelling and compelling characters that resonate with audiences.

Types of Productions

Produced scripts can span a wide range of genres, budgets, and production scales. They can fall under the categories of independent films, studio-backed projects, or even student films. Each type of production offers unique opportunities and challenges for the writer, and the recognition and reception received by a produced script may vary depending on the scale and reach of the production.

Recognition and Accolades Received

Submitting a produced script to screenwriting competitions can garner recognition and accolades for the writer. Winning or being a finalist in a competition can serve as a significant achievement and add credibility to the writer’s portfolio. Furthermore, awards and accolades received for a produced script can open doors to further opportunities in the industry, such as securing representation or being considered for writing assignments.

Availability of the Script

One potential concern when submitting a produced script is the availability of the script itself. In some cases, the writer may retain the rights to their script, allowing them to freely submit it to competitions. However, in other instances, the producer or studio may hold the rights, making it necessary for the writer to obtain permission before submitting the script. It is crucial to check the ownership and rights of the script before embarking on the submission process.

Benefits of Submitting a Produced Script

Validation of Quality

Submitting a produced script to screenwriting competitions serves as a validation of the quality of the work. The fact that the script has been produced and brought to life showcases the effectiveness and marketability of the writing. It demonstrates that industry professionals believed in the script enough to invest time, resources, and money into producing it, increasing the writer’s confidence in their abilities.

Networking Opportunities

Submitting a produced script can provide excellent networking opportunities for the writer. In the industry, connections are crucial, and having a produced script can serve as a conversation starter and a way to establish credibility. Screenwriting competitions often attract industry professionals, including producers, directors, agents, and executives, who may be interested in exploring new talent and potential collaborations.

Potential for Recognition

Submitting a produced script to competitions can lead to further recognition and exposure for the writer. If the script receives positive feedback or achieves success in a competition, it can attract attention from industry insiders and increase the writer’s visibility. Recognition in the form of awards, nominations, or even positive critiques can significantly enhance a writer’s reputation and credibility.

Feedback and Improvement

One valuable benefit of submitting a produced script to screenwriting competitions is the potential for receiving feedback and constructive criticism. Competition judges are often industry professionals with vast experience in evaluating scripts, and their insights can help the writer identify strengths and weaknesses in their work. This feedback can be invaluable in further refining the script or enhancing the writer’s skills for future projects.

Controversy and Ethical Considerations

Violation of Submission Guidelines

A major concern surrounding the submission of produced scripts is the potential violation of competition submission guidelines. Many competitions explicitly state that only original and unpublished scripts are eligible for submission. By submitting a produced script, writers may inadvertently breach these guidelines and risk disqualification or other consequences.

Impact on Competition Integrity

The inclusion of produced scripts in screenwriting competitions can impact the integrity of these competitions. It may create an uneven playing field, as the resources, talent, and production value associated with already-produced scripts can overshadow entries from aspiring writers with limited means. This disparity can discourage aspiring writers from participating, undermining the original purpose of the competition.

Fairness to Other Participants

Submitting a produced script may also raise fairness concerns among other participants. Aspiring writers who have spent time and effort crafting original scripts may feel disheartened when competing against produced scripts. The recognition and validation that produced scripts inherently possess can overshadow the creative potential and promise of undiscovered talents, potentially discouraging their participation in the competition.

Can I Enter A Script ThatS Already Been Produced?

Implications for Screenwriting Competitions

Specific Competition Rules

Screenwriting competitions implement varying rules and guidelines concerning produced scripts. Some competitions have separate categories specifically designed for produced scripts, allowing them to be evaluated separately from original, unpublished work. Others may exclude produced scripts altogether to maintain a level playing field for all participants. It is essential for writers to thoroughly research competition guidelines before deciding to submit a produced script.

Advantages and Disadvantages

Accepting produced scripts in screenwriting competitions has its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, they can attract high-quality, well-crafted scripts that have already proven their merit through successful production. On the other hand, it may discourage aspiring writers who have yet to achieve the same level of recognition or financial backing. Balancing these factors and considering the potential impact on the competition as a whole is crucial for competition organizers.

Policy on Produced Scripts

Competition organizers must carefully consider their policy regarding produced scripts. They may choose to exclusively focus on original, unpublished work to encourage the discovery of new voices and fresh storytelling. Alternatively, they might offer separate categories or divisions specifically for produced scripts. Striking the right balance between recognizing existing talent and nurturing aspiring writers is vital for the long-term success and credibility of the competition.

Transparency and Disclosure

To maintain fairness and transparency, competition organizers should promote clear communication and disclosure regarding the acceptance of produced scripts. It is essential to outline the criteria and guidelines for submitting such scripts, ensuring that all participants are aware of the rules and can make informed decisions about whether or not to enter their produced scripts. Transparency in competition policies helps establish trust and encourages a level playing field for all participants.

Tips for Submitting a Produced Script

Research Competition Guidelines

Before submitting a produced script to a screenwriting competition, thoroughly research its guidelines. Understand whether produced scripts are accepted or if there are specific categories for such entries. Pay attention to any restrictions, ownership requirements, or criteria that need to be met. Additionally, familiarize yourself with the competition’s history, previous winners, and judging process to ensure alignment with your goals.

Check for Any Restrictions

Certain competitions may have restrictions on the type or scale of productions that qualify as “produced scripts.” Ensure that your script meets the necessary criteria to avoid disqualification. Pay attention to factors such as budget, distribution, or release dates, as these might impact the eligibility of your script.

Highlight Unique Aspects

When submitting a produced script, emphasize unique aspects that make your work stand out. Highlight key achievements, such as film festival selections, awards won, critical acclaim, or distribution agreements. Sharing these accomplishments can help distinguish your script from other submissions and attract the attention of competition judges.

Include Additional Materials

To provide context and additional insights into your produced script, consider including supplementary materials. These may include a brief synopsis, a statement of intent, behind-the-scenes photographs, or even a show reel. Such materials can help the judges better understand your project’s vision, execution, and impact, increasing the chances of your script being considered favorably.

Alternatives for Produced Scripts

Screenplay Contests for Produced Scripts

If you have a produced script and are seeking recognition specifically for your writing, consider entering screenplay contests specifically designed for produced scripts. These contests focus on evaluating the quality and effectiveness of the written word, irrespective of the production’s scale or success. By participating in these specialized contests, you can ensure that your work is evaluated and appreciated for its writing merits.

Adaptation Categories

Some screenwriting competitions include adaptation categories or allow the submission of adapted scripts. If your produced script is based on a pre-existing work, such as a novel or play, explore competitions that celebrate adaptations. These categories acknowledge the creativity and skill required to translate existing material into a visual medium and provide opportunities for recognition within the context of adaptations.

Workshops and Mentorship Programs

Aside from competitions, aspiring screenwriters with produced scripts can benefit from workshops and mentorship programs. These programs often offer guidance, feedback, and networking opportunities with industry professionals, helping writers further develop their craft and connect with like-minded individuals. Workshops and mentorship programs can serve as valuable platforms for honing skills, gaining valuable insights, and building relationships in the industry.


Weighting the pros and cons of submitting a produced script to a screenwriting competition is essential for making an informed decision. While submitting a produced script can offer validation, networking opportunities, potential recognition, and feedback for improvement, it is crucial to consider the controversy and ethical considerations surrounding such submissions. Screenwriting competitions must carefully contemplate their policies on accepting produced scripts to ensure fairness, transparency, and the fostering of new talent. By thoroughly researching competition guidelines, considering alternative avenues for recognition, and understanding the competition’s perspective, writers can navigate the complexities and make choices that align with their career goals.

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