The submissions to our Horror Award threw all sorts of terrifying ideas at us, and we were seriously impressed (not to mention scared) by what we saw – but there can only be one winner: THE DEVIL’S TIDE by John McCoy!
2020 hasn’t gone the way anyone expected, but we’re determined to make the most of 2021 – and we want you to do the same. That’s why we’re launching the Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest today, which will be open until January 31st!
With many production shoots currently limited by lockdowns and other restrictions, the best thing screenwriters can do right now is keep writing. Focus has shifted onto finding future projects for after the pandemic, with many commissioners searching for scripts for several years down the line.
So if you’ve been hard at work over the last few months – or if you’re just looking to get off to the best possible start in 2021 – this is the contest for you! The Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest is your chance to make the new year the best it can possibly be.
The Grand Prize is $3500, and the top three scripts all receive:
- A year of free script development worth up to $3200
- Guaranteed pitching to industry
- An invitation to a lunch with an industry executive in L.A.
- Exclusive listing from InkTip
The final deadline is on January 31st, but there are plenty of reasons to enter early. You get free entry when you buy one of our script reports, and once you’ve received your report, you can resubmit a new draft of your script for free! Give yourself plenty of time to redraft based on our feedback by buying as soon as possible.
So click HERE to enter the Winter 2021 Screenwriting Contest, and take your shot at making next year a great one for you and your script!
Just a week ago we announced the winner of our Horror Award, but the wheels never stop turning here at WriteMovies – it’s now time to announce the Quarter-Finalists for our Fall 2020 Screenwriting Contest!
From serial killers to monsters, from psychological torture to primordial gods, you’ve thrown everything at us for our latest genre award – and we’ve definitely been terrified! But ultimately, there’s only one survivor. With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to announce the Horror Award 2020 winner!
‘Tis the season to be spooky! But while we prepare to announce the winner of our Horror Award on Friday, we mustn’t forget that Halloween is for the whole family, not just horror fans. So, here are our tips for writing a family Halloween movie…
- Have a genuinely scary premise. A lot of writers try to soften things for younger audiences, but a lot of better family Halloween movies have pretty terrifying concepts – they just present them in a light-hearted way! Tim Burton productions tend to be very good at this. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS: Santa Klaus is kidnapped by the King of Halloween Town, who then terrorizes the world’s children with horrifying presents. CORPSE BRIDE: a man ends up married to (surprise, surprise) a literal corpse. These are scary ideas, but the presentation makes them okay for kids.
- Have a strong sense of humor or sense of wonder. You still don’t want to terrify children with your premise no matter how scary it is (well, we assume you don’t…), so you need to counterbalance it. So make things fun! Comedy helps to take the edge off and make things fun instead. Alternatively, if your protagonists aren’t scared themselves – if they’re instead fascinated by the macabre (as THE ADDAMS FAMILY are) – that’s another way of signalling there’s nothing to really be afraid of.
- Give your script a strong visual style. Again, this is another hallmark of Tim Burton’s films that helps to develop a sense of wonder, rather than the hard-edged or gruesome style of horror films. Of course, the specifics of how a film looks will ultimately be controlled the director, the production designer, and other crew members on a film – but a screenwriter can (and definitely should) give an idea of what their world looks like. With a family Halloween film, there’s even more potential to do interesting things than in most other genres!
- Don’t dumb things down too much. A common mistake is to oversimplify things. But kids tend to understand more than many people give them credit for, and besides, your film isn’t just for them – it’s for the whole family. Make sure there’s enough in there to keep mom and dad interested too; the more demographics your script appeals to, the better.
- Unlike most horror movies, give it a happy ending! In a lot of horror movies, things don’t end too well for the main characters. If you’re writing a family Halloween movie though, it’s better to have a happy ending – particularly one that focuses on the value of, well, family. After you’ve taken your audience on a thrill ride through the macabre, make them feel safe again at the end of it all.
So there you have it, our advice for writing a successful Halloween movie. If you want to check out more hints and tips from WriteMovies, take a look at our other Writing Insights articles. Have a happy Halloween!
So lockdown changed a lot of things, and in the long run one of the most important will be our relationship to the places we work.
We’re assembling a team of award-winning ghostwriters from among our winners – something that the winners of our recent Horror Award and Fall Contest will all be considered for! We’ll be introducing you to some of our ghostwriters over the coming weeks – but what does it take to join their ranks?