Before you decide to enter a screenwriting competition ask yourself, do you want to:
Have your screenplay read by industry professionals?
See your screenplay made into a film?
Just finish something for once?
The accolades in themselves are great (Who doesn’t want to be an award winning writer?) but what a screenwriting competition can give you is a big fat target to aim for.
As a working writer you will have to write to deadlines. If you’re not quite at that level yet you might find that lack of structure in a personal writing project can be a blessing and a curse. No pressure can equal no progress. The looming deadline created by fixing your sights on a screenwriting competition demands that you write, and re-write and edit and prune and poke at your screenplay until it’s fit to show to someone other than your perennially supportive partner/mum/bottom drawer of your desk.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, there are hundreds out there. This list is a trimmed down set of some of the better regarded competitions that have made a good name for themselves. Beware the false friend; some of the competitions on this list may be suitable for you and some may not. There are ongoing debates online as to which comps actually offer value to the writer so look at the rewards and choose carefully where to spend your money.