The SOMEDAY… Screenwriting Competition views screenwriting as an art. And like other forms of art, we know it may be subjective. Nevertheless, there are certain required elements for stellar storytelling and the judges use these as benchmarks for analyzing each entry.
The following criteria are used in judging:
Concept / Theme — Do you have a novel, creative, and well-developed idea which serves as a thread woven throughout the entirety of your script? What is the story you are trying to tell?
Characters — Have you created individuals who are distinctive, complex, and memorable? Do they possess idiosyncrasies like those of us in the real world? Will we really, really like them or absolutely hate them? Do they have an arc — do they transform throughout your story?
Plot / Structure — Are the main events of your story told with originality? Does your story unfold within a solid framework (i.e. exposition/inciting incident, rising action, turning point/climax, falling action, denouement/conclusion)?
Pacing — Does the timing of the events in your story have an even rhythm? Have you successfully unfolded your plot points with no lags or holes? Have you maintained focus throughout, without going off on a dense, irrelevant tangent that doesn’t move your story along?
Conflict / Stakes — Is your protagonist facing a problem that is unique, compelling, and relatable? Would people in your audience feel as your protagonist does if they found themselves in the same situation?
Tone — Tone is that thing that exists between the “lines”; the somewhat indescribable, intangible element known as feeling. What is your script saying without actually saying it? Is that the psychological message you’re trying to convey?
Dialogue — Are your characters using language that is authentic, relatable, and powerful? Do your characters have unique and specific voices with something important to say?
Marketability — Does your script have widespread appeal to audiences within the genre? If your intention is for your story to continue, have you left elements behind which scream “sequel,” begging your audience for more?
Other Concerns (overall script presentation, technical errors, grammar, spelling, etc.) — Be mindful of the quality of your writing. A messy script is just that — a mess.