Duke City Shootout Now Accepting Submissions

Got an idea for a short film but despair of it ever being produced? Buck up, Sparky! The Duke City Shootout is here to make your film dream come true.

What you do: Write one of the best 12-page screenplays ever. Send it in.

What they do: Choose the best of the screenplays submitted, bring you out to Albuquerque, and provide you with a mostly-skilled crew and (usually) a film industry mentor to help you get the job done. Cameras, grip, and whatnot are provided.

What happens next: After casting local talent and getting everything ready, teams have three days to shoot and four to edit, before the films are judged by an industry panel and then shown in a big theater packed with enthusiastic people. It’s a good time. You can read of my experience in the Shootout Under the Pirates! category. I advise starting with the oldest episodes and working forward in time.

If you have a flair for writing cool short movies, you really can’t go wrong with this festival. It’s a lot of work getting a film to the screen, but here’s a chance to make it happen. Check out The official Duke City Shootout Web page for the lowdown.

What are you waiting for? Get to work on that script!


11 thoughts on “Duke City Shootout Now Accepting Submissions

      • Not being from the area, I see a need for much preparation. Scouting locations is the biggest.
        Many questions for you, THE WINNER, but I will go back and read the rules first.

        • Fortunately you have connections in the area to help with scouting. I spent many, many days driving the small roads of New Mexico in search of the right location. Once you find it, there’s still the question of working with the management to allow you to shoot there. We needed a bar, and that meant the place had to close for business while we were there.

  1. Some questions: The website doesn’t give a deadline for submissions. Also, who owns the movie afterwards? What does a screenplay look like? Are they okay with just 12 pages of writing – or is it supposed to be “camera pulls back. Enter from stage left three hombres. blah blah blah”?

    • Don’t know when the deadline is. It might say on the withoutabox page. (That’s the online submission system they use – back in the day we had to mail ours in from Prague.)

      Back when we did it, the rules said they own the movie afterwards. The grand poobah of the event was pretty mellow about that; I asked what if we sold copies and he said “Don’t tell us.” Participants at that time were encouraged to take their work elsewhere, as long as Duke City Shootout got their credit.

      The thing should be in script format. That means no introspection, and action laid out separately from dialog. Compare an Allison scene in script format to an episode in print format. The story format is actually for more than one scene, but you can see the difference. You can Google “screenplay format” and get plenty of slightly-conflicting and unnecessarily-anal (for this market) info.

      • One of the reasons the format is important is that 12 pages roughly equates to 12 minutes – the festival’s length limit. People put a lot of faith in the page=minute estimate, and it’s based on everyone using consistent formatting.

          • Yep, the version we submitted clocked in at almost exactly twelve pages. OUr script had a couple of places where a single paragraph described a minute of action, so the page=minute estimate was a little off. I think as we slowly dial in the ideal time for the final version it goes a couple minutes longer.

            I’d attach the Pirates script from before the shoot (not the submitted one; not sure that exists anymore) if I could think of a way to do it.

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