SUBMIT YOUR SLATES

slates@sandstormfilms.com

ROUND TWO CLOSES 31ST JAN 2024

FEEDBACK FROM ROUND ONE

CALLING ALL STORYTELLERS
SUBMIT YOUR SLATES NOW!

Submit your best original (human created) synopsis for a chance to win up to £140k production budget with Sandstorm Films. 

Round One closed on 31st August 2023. Round Two is now open.

  • Submit a one page synopsis + your script for a short film or pilot
  • Create your project in partnership with the Sandstorm team
  • You get paid
  • You retain the rights to the idea
 
The rules: You can’t use Ai and you can’t steal someone else’s idea.
You must be over 18.  You don’t need to have any experience in the industry.

CALLING ALL STORYTELLERS
SUBMIT YOUR SLATES NOW!

Submit your best original (human created) synopsis for a chance to win up to £140k production budget with Sandstorm Films. 

Round One closed on 31st August 2023. Round Two is now open.

  • Submit a one page synopsis + your script for a short film or pilot
  • Create your project in partnership with the Sandstorm team
  • You get paid
  • You retain the rights to the idea
 
The rules: You can’t use Ai and you can’t steal someone else’s idea.
You must be over 18.  You don’t need to have any experience in the industry.

SUBMIT YOUR SLATES

slates@sandstormfilms.com

HOW YOU ENTER

This is what you need to enter for consideration in the Slates competition.

Please include the following:
  • One pager including your synopsis/treatment/slate
  • Full script (ideally no longer than 30 pages as a PDF)
Nice to have included in your one pager:
(not in addition to a one-pager and full script)
  • Plot Points
  • Detailed character synopsis
  • Style references (visual, story, etc.)

INTERVIEW WITH MARK & TOM

HOW YOU ENTER

This is what you need to enter for consideration in the Slates competition.

Please include the following:
  • One pager including your synopsis/treatment/slate
  • Full script (ideally no longer than 30 pages as a PDF)
Nice to have included in your one pager:
(not in addition to a one-pager and full script)
  • Plot Points
  • Detailed character synopsis
  • Style references (visual, story, etc.)

FAQ’s

Q. Why a one page synopsis/treatment?

Quite simply, we’re judging anonymously in two rounds. The first round is to judge the one pager ONLY. The script may not be read if the synopsis doesn’t grab our attention. 

Within the one-pager you can include anything from our ‘Nice to have’ list as well to help guide the judges on your vision.

We are completely happy for you to summarise the entire film, just to excite us, or you can even give us your entire creative vision for the film, who might play the roles, where you see it being filmed.

The one pager is NOT for you to write about yourself, your awards or why you’re the best writer and director in the world, any information about you will be removed before the judges read the work. 

Q. How does the £140k budget split down?

A. It is important to note that this script writing competition is NOT to win £140k, Sandstorm have allotted a total budget of £140k in GBP for the Slates initiative for the financial year 22-23.

The £140k may be split into sections for up to three separate short-films, depending on concept, response from the judges and available time to produce said films. 

Also note, this total budget will include: cast, crew, kit, set build, post, all promotion.

Realistically, we do not want writers to be too bogged down by the budget, all crew will be paid according to APA or BECTU rates and kit will come from the Sandstorm rental inventory at ratecard or below. We recommend watching the film on our page, an ‘Interview with Mark & Tom’ where they cover this in more detail.

Q. If my film already has a linked actor, director or crew can I still enter?

A. Of course, all entries are judged anonymously based on the complete synopsis and complete short-film script/screenplay only. From there any linked cast or crew would be put through the usual qualifying criteria (casting, crew skills and availability etc)

Q. If my film is already part funded

A.You can still enter, however all scripts submitted to Sandstorm Slates will be produced at Sandstorm, without exception.

Q. If the pilot is for a feature film or tv series can I enter?

A. Absolutely, as long as the script you submit is still in a short-form format. As a guide we recommend no more than 20-25 pages of finished screenplay including dialogue.

Q. How long can my script be?

A. The submitted script must be complete, as a screenplay and ideally no more than 20-25 pages.

Q. What are your judging criteria for Sandstorm Slates?

A. Clear, exciting ideas portrayed in both the synopsis and the script. In addition we’ll be looking at specific details like viability of the production within our budget, number of cast, number of locations – fundamentally though, we’re doing this because we love film and want to make more of them.

Q. Are there ways I won’t qualify?

You won’t qualify if:

  1. You submit an unfinished script, or do not send a synopsis with your script. 
  2. Your script is too long. 
  3. You email or call the Sandstorm team regarding your script to try and win over the team in some form. We are only accepting the script and synopsis in your submission, we will email to accept receipt, but you must not contact us further. All correspondence will be ignored and you will be disqualified.
  4. Inappropriate behaviour online or to the team in any shape or form.
  5. Commenting publicly on other writers work in a derogatory way.

Q. My idea is the best in the whole world, but I haven’t actually turned it into a script or screenplay yet. Can I still enter it?

A. No, we are only accepting work that is ready to go into production now.

Q. Can I include my writing biography or awards?

A. Sure, but we won’t read it until after we’ve made our decision based on the synopsis and script only.

Q. Is there anything particular judges are looking for?

A. Absolutely, Tom loves intelligent dialogue and scripts that are smart, unpredictable but not over-complicated. But he’s only one of the judges. Watch our Sandstorm Slates – a look behind the scene film for more information.

Q. If I already work with Sandstorm can I still enter?

Absolutely, all judging is being done anonymously, so we wouldn’t know if you were affiliated with Sandstorm in any way. If you’re part of the UK film industry you’ve probably worked with us already.

Q. When is the deadline?

A. The competition runs indefinitely, however the first deadline is 31st Aug 23, we will announce further deadlines after this.

Q. Do I get all the £140k?

A. Absolutely not, what budget would be left for the production. We’re spending up to £140k per year on up to three separate films. The writer of each script will be paid between £1000 and £5000 depending on how involved they would like to be and how much development the script needs.

Q. Will you accept a feature length if it’s really good?

A. Not in 2023, but late 2024 we hope to start accepting feature length entries.

Q. Why are you only accepting short films?

A. Quite simply because we’re too busy to make any feature films and don’t have enough resources presently to correctly service a feature length. In late 2024 we hope that will change!

Q. Do you prefer a specific genre?

A. Not necessarily, but we’re looking to avoid horror and, although we love Sci-Fi, we’ve just produced one, so it might not resonate as much as a drama or thriller for instance. It’s all about the idea though.

Q. Can the writer also direct?

A. 100%! If the writer is a seasoned director with the relevant CV, then they’re perfect for the role. If however they’ve not directed before then this isn’t the right project for them to direct.

Q. How many scripts can I submit?

A. Ideally one really good one! But we will accept three as a maximum per writer.

Q. How can I discuss the ideas with you?

A. You can’t, the judging is being done anonymously. If you don’t send us the correct material (a one page synopsis and a complete short-film script/screenplay)  it won’t be entered and we’re not available to discuss individual ideas and we will not reply to any private messages sent to us via social media or email we simply don’t have the time.

Q. If I post a question online will you answer it?

A. Of course, but check the FAQ’s first, if it’s not in there we’ll answer it and then add it to the FAQ’s too. Do not private message us, any correspondence can be left in the public comments section on our social channels.

Q. Why are Sandstorm doing Sandstorm Slates?

A. We want to work on new and exciting ideas. We’ve been producing films for 24 years, up until lockdown in 2020 we had a traditional marketing budget. When lockdown hit, we moved into our studios so we could keep working and we spent our marketing budget making our own films to promote us and also to have fun as a team. There was no agenda, just to enjoy ourselves and have complete creative control of our productions. It was also a great way to pass the time. The series gained a following and we realised we’d much rather spend our money making films then doing traditional marketing like buying rubbish contact databases or pencils and notepads… that simple, although our Sandstorm pencils are quite nice.