At Austin Film Festival, story comes first and foremost above all else. We fully acknowledge the hard work and passion you put into your script, and rest assured, your story is in good hands. By submitting to our script competitions, you’re joining a community of story lovers who want to help you succeed; a community that was found at Austin Film Festival’s inception in 1994, which is incredibly generous and committed to helping fellow storytellers get their foot in the door. We find that same spirit of generosity among our readers, panelists, and partners, and it is what allows us to offer opportunities to those who place in our competition.
AFF is a nonprofit and as such, volunteerism is a significant part of our ability to fulfill our mission. Our team of readers are an integral group who volunteer their time each year to help launch the careers of many aspiring writers. Our readers are recruited through referrals from individuals closely associated with AFF, MFA programs, and writers groups throughout the country. Each reader undergoes a rigorous screening process. Once approved, readers are given strict guidelines and closely monitored throughout the duration of their participation. All readers are required to provide constructive notes for each script, which will later be made available to all entrants at no additional cost. Most importantly, they are also required to read each script in its entirety in order to give the full consideration that each writer deserves.
Though AFF is one of the largest script competitions around, every entrant receives personalized attention and multiple reads throughout the process. Each script is read in its entirety by a First-Round reader. If the script is given a “yes”, it will be read a second time by a Second-Round reader. If the script is given a “no” in the first round, another reader is required to read up to page 10. If by this page they think the script should not advance, they can give it a second “no”, which means the script will not advance to the Second Round. This second reader can read to the end and change the initial “no” to a “yes”, if they think it should advance.
AFF goes the extra mile to send both postal mail and e-mail notifications to ensure that everyone is aware of their placement in the competition. All entrants receive FREE “Reader Comments”, which are a brief, overall summary of their notes.
We have discovered over a 27-year period that those who get involved with us are committed to AFF’s mission of championing writers. This communal resilience has guided our organization every step of the way and is what revitalizes the work ethic of our staff and those who choose to volunteer their time.