The feature spec market has changed significantly in the past twenty years.
What was once a seller’s market, with record-setting prices, has dropped considerably as writers found a great deal of control and support on the television side.
However, in the last few years, as streamers venture into features and mid and low-budget films with unique concepts (like Knives Out, Get Out, Parasite, etc.) pick up steam with critics and at the box office, features have been a great place for fresh ideas to emerge. An eye-catching feature script can lead to television staff writing positions, major sales or options, writing assignments, and other opportunities to establish yourself within the industry.
Though the difficulty of breaking into feature writing remains particularly difficult, Launch Pad can help. Since its creation in 2013, Launch Pad has helped countless writers break in. And you don’t have to win the entire competition to make a splash, either. Many writers have caught the attention of industry professionals by placing in one of the early rounds of the Launch Pad Feature Competition.
Let’s take a look at some ways entering the Feature Competition can help you launch your career.
Winning Isn’t Required for Success
In 2020 alone, eight people who entered the Feature Competition landed representation, but only two of those were in the Top 10. Meaning, placing in the Top 100 could still lead to representation, which is essential for those new to the industry. That guiding hand walks you through choosing the right projects, setting up your script with the best team or attachment, and can even help you to better understand the industry’s sometimes seemingly impenetrable processes.
Maybe you’ve already met with representatives but simply haven’t found the “right fit” yet. Launch Pad’s Feature Competition, and the development team behind the competition, were created to change that.
The Right Reps for the Right Writer
Every writer’s goal is to get their work “out there” in hopes that someone will see it and pick it up. But keep in mind — it’s wise to take into consideration who is most likely going to see your work once you get it “out there.”
“Because [the Launch Pad Feature Competition] is judged by managers and agents, I was able to get noticed and repped by people who are excited about my writing,” says Wilandrea Blair, who placed in the Top 50 and Top 10 in 2020 and subsequently signed with a Literary Manager at Romark Entertainment.
It might make sense to some to cast a wide net by entering as many competitions as possible, the logic being if you expose your work to lots of people, one of them is bound to like it. And that might be true in some cases, but it might actually be better for you to look for reps who are also looking for you…or writers like you!
Putting Talent Front and Center
Representation isn’t the only benefit of entering the competition. In addition to potentially working with the development team at Launch Pad and Coverfly, your script will be read by numerous producers. This could lead to being highlighted on one of the well-known industry lists (Young and Hungry List, Hit List, Blood List, etc.), a spec sale, or maybe even an option.
2020 Feature Competition entrant, Alex Tranquada, landed in the Top 50 with his script, Underdog. After actor and producer Will Ropp discovered the script on the Launch Pad listings via Coverfly, he quickly signed a shopping agreement with Tranquada and is attached to star, produce, and direct the project.
Become a Success Story
If you’ve been working to break into the industry as a writer for years, don’t lose hope! What feels like a decade to you will look like an overnight success to everyone else, just ask Cate Honzl, who placed in the Top 10 for the 2020 Feature Competition.
“I started by writing adaptations of published books on spec hoping that as writing samples they would get me noticed and earn me representation. I thought it would happen like a snap. Turns out, things are not that simple.”
But her tenacity paid off. Cate landed her manager thanks to her award-winning feature Dust to Dust and is currently writing an original feature for Paperclip, Ltd.
What Would You Like Launch Pad to Do for You?
Maybe the best question to ask here then isn’t “what can Launch Pad’s Feature Competition do for you?” but what would you LIKE Launch Pad’s Feature Competition to do for you? Be ready to take advantage of all the great opportunities if your script advances to the finals!