Before I get to contests, I realize that I had a "brain fart". I actually do know someone who gives great feedback. Different feedback. Doug Davidson is a friend of mine, a member of my writing group and a former Nicholl Fellowship winner. He works on assignment but he does have a script service on the side. He has helped me many times with my scripts and was a huge help on my current television project. I don't know what he charges but I guarantee that you will get someone who cares about writers.
You can reach Doug at: http://www.fourstarfeedback.com/
I have made the finals or semi-finals of more of them than I can recall. That's not bragging. I'm telling you that despite winning a shitload of software, free seminars and a trip across the country, none of those things got me my career. When you pitch to agents or producers, they don't want to hear about your contests.
A lot of great scripts slip through the cracks. It's just the flaw in contest judging. Your dialogue, plot, characters, structure will be scored and if the average doesn't make the cut, you don't move on to the next round. It's the same silly method that Hollywood has used with coverage for decades. I have never in my life walked out of a movie and scored the dialogue or the characters. Have you?
So I'm not saying NEVER enter a contest. I'm saying don't look at them as your only way to break into the business. Contests are like throwing a dart at the wall behind your back. Pick a few and maybe you'll hit the target instead of that poor guy sitting at the bar.
Do a search for the top rated ones. With entry fees climbing every year, please don't max out your credit card. Also, there's a new trend in the past five years. Some contests are charging you extra for feedback. For them, it's another revenue stream. For me, it feels like a conflict of interest.
Next time, I'll talk about the number one reason that writers enter contests. And it's not the reason that you think...