CSN’s script contest the write stuff

Getting Midwestern voices heard by the Hollywood studio system is the goal of the Chicago Screenwriters Network’s first script contest, with a call for entries Oct. 31-Dec. 31.

“We realize there are many other contests out there,” says CSN president Sonny Wareham. What sets our contest apart from others it that it’s only open to writers from Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.”

The CSN Contest will offer cash prizes to the grand prize winner and runners-up. “But that’s not the real gem,” explained Wareham.

“Through the various connections we have made, we are able to get the winning scripts in the hands of real Hollywood production companies and agents,” he said.

Participating companies include: ABC Family, Vertigo Entertainment (“The Departed”), Clifford Werber Productions (“A Cinderella Story”), Alex Rose Entertainment (“Norma Rae”) and literary agencies Intellectual Property Group, Smart Entertainment, L.A. and Will Entertainment.

The CSN was quick to seize the opportunity for a wider Midwestern script contest when the Chicago/Illinois Film Offices ended its 15-year long bi-annual screenwriting contest last January, citing lack of personnel to continue holding the contest.

The Chicago/Illinois contest attracted as many as 350 entries during the last several years. Cumulative entry fees comprised the prize money to winners.

Founded in 1995 by Ed Bernero through messages posted online, then subsequently organized into meetings by Christiana Miller, CSN now has some 50-plus members actively involved, and a West Coast branch gaining momentum.

Meetings are held the first Sunday of every month at the Lincoln Diner, 4008 N. Lincoln Ave., at 6 p.m.; fee is $3 plus a minimum $6.50 restaurant order.

Writers can submit their screenplays online for $50 per entry. As of Oct. 1, a full list of participating readers, prizes and rules, as well as entry forms, may be found at