Pen Scratches: Pitch Wars & The ATLFF


I’m pinching myself a bit as I read the date of my last blog post — granted I have been keeping up with my Journalism page (go check it out!). But I thought I would do some fun writing here, and what’s more fun than writing about, well, writing?

(Trick question, I know. Answer: not much 😉 )

Today I’ll spill about submitting to Pitch Wars in honor of the #PitMad event happening today and about volunteering for the Atlanta Film Festival.


First up: Pitch Wars.

I heard about Pitch Wars for the first time either last year right before submissions opened or right after the submissions closed two years ago. Either way, Pitch Wars became something definitely on my radar.

But what is Pitch Wars, you may be asking?

Pitch Wars is a writing competition of sorts. You take a completed manuscript, query letter, and a one page summary and submit it to so many potential mentors you would like to work with (this year it was four). These mentors are people who have either participated in a previous year’s Pitch Wars (as either a mentor or mentee or maybe both) or has some experience in the writing industry (maybe they have a book published, maybe they are a freelance editor, or maybe they have worked with some form of writing outside of books that makes them a good writing mentor nonetheless, etc.).

So, these mentors read your query letters, one page summary, and a portion of your manuscript (this year it was the first ten pages) and can request to read more of your work. They narrow it down to one mentee and then (from what I read and am told) you workshop your manuscript with said mentor before it is released into the wild and an agent might be interested in reading it.

I was one of the 3,456 entrants of the competition and one of the 1,525 entrants of the young adult division who had polished up their manuscripts, query letters and one page summary before pressing submit.

And now, we wait.

Personally I had decided to submit to Pitch Wars a couple of weeks before submissions opened. My manuscript had been written and polished over the course of the previous year and my query letter had been looked over a good few times too. I wanted to submit in hopes of becoming a mentee (naturally), but also because I wanted to grow more within the creative writing community.

Since submitting, I have met (via Twitter) many other writers and have seen how optimistic and supportive everyone is of one another. The process is exciting and you may get anxious as you wait (*raises hand*), and if you have applied (or plan on applying next year), you already know the amount of times Twitter is checked for a #PWTeaser from a potential mentor. Altogether, even if my manuscript is not picked by a mentor, I am still thankful I submitted.

Best of luck to everyone!


Next up: volunteer script reading for the Atlanta Film Festival.

Now, for volunteering, we are not allowed to talk about the screenplays or those who write them. But I will tell you how I came across it.

Back in June, the Atlanta Film Festival posted on Instagram they were looking for script readers. I happened to be on vacation and stayed up that night to read an example screenplay and apply.

Good news: you can volunteer remotely. While I live in Georgia, I do not live in Atlanta. The volunteering includes reading a screenplay and essentially voting what level it should continue to (or to not continue) by writing a couple small blurbs (almost like a two paragraph book review you find bloggers write or on Goodreads).

I try to do two screenplays a week. That’s my personal goal. Reading a screenplay takes me roughly an hour to an hour-and-a-half and the little blurbs take me about five minutes to write. It’s very attainable and flexible to your schedule. Also, I started back in July and it will continue until the end of November. If you happen to only read like one every two weeks or like a few one week and a couple of weeks where you can’t read any, that’s totally okay!

I decided to volunteer for the Atlanta Film Festival because in college I studied and wrote screenplays (for film and TV) and wanted to continue with it. I had also submitted some short screenplays the previous year and wanted to be a part of the process this year. While it is now about halfway through my volunteer experience with the ATLFF, I definitely think I will volunteer with them next year.

If you are interested in volunteering for other areas of the Atlanta Film Festival, check out their volunteer page! There’s bound to be something fun for anyone interested.

Best of luck for those submitting! And for those volunteering — I hope you enjoy it!


Let me know what kind of writing competitions or volunteering you have been participating below. And if you happened to submit to Pitch Wars, feel free to follow me on Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by!

MG, Media Gal

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