Last semester, I wrote an adaptation of my first novel as a screenplay for an interdisciplinary studies project at Lesley. The novel needed revision, and I figured re-imagining it as a screenplay would help in that process. It was an interesting exercise, and it gave me some practical understanding of the difference between narration in literature and in film. There is a fundamental problem in adapting a novel for the screen – the written word can quite effectively convey the mental activity of a character, his or her thoughts, memories, desires, emotions etc., while film can only imply this inner life. To quote the cinema studies pioneer, George Bluestone, “The film by arranging external signs for our visual perception, or by presenting us with dialogue, can lead us to infer thought…but it cannot show us thoughts and feelings.” (Novels into Film).
After the completion of the project, my advisor suggested I enter the script in a contest. It turns out there are a lot of these. Every little film festival usually has an associated screenplay competition. I’ve entered a few now, and I’ll continue until I get disgusted with the process as I usually do with novel and short fiction contests. Here’s a link to a site that lists over 300 film festivals. It also has information on how to structure and format your script.