The notable exceptions among the full length script contests are The Nicholl, Scriptapalooza and The Austin Film Festival. Those that charge a hefty fee and promise winners “exposure” to Hollywood and/or producers are, in many cases, attempting to show that whatever else they are offering will help you win that coveted entree to the Hollywood inner circle.
Screenwriting is not easy money and there is no guaranteed access to the Brass Ring.
Additionally please don’t fall for the hype of a winner’s breakfast/lunch with (fill in a personality) as any expression of credibility of a script contest. These personalities are paid an honorarium to turn up and smile. They are certainly NOT going to squander any credibility with their hard won contact circle on the basis of one meeting with an unproven screenwriter whose work, in most cases, they have neither read nor judged.
I would strongly recommend that any writer searching to advance their skills and projects would benefit more by locating and applying to then joining a small writer’s group that has a couple of produced writers. Producing your own table read in such a group will serve you better than entering multiple contests where you get little if any feedback.
If you are compelled to enter every contest, Moviebytes.com is a good site for deadlines and markets. I would add that courses at such schools as UCLA, USC and NYU, although costly, will help you expand your professional circle. It is these connections that are a more promising experience than contests. These are people you have worked with and who know the quality of your output.
Attending “Guru” courses will provide little long term value for contest preparation unless you are an ongoing student of his or her particular philosophy, can nail his or her philosophy and the guru’s teachings have evolved with current requirements. That said, there are many excellent teachers who can help you understand the ins and outs of writing a script. These “personalized” instructors are much better at getting you ready to present a script in a contest. They do NOT need to possess an arm’s length IMDB listing to be a valuable asset. How many college or professional coaches were former star players?
Fortunately or unfortunately this is still very much a “who you know” business.
That is how the crime- romcom Gigli , among many other losers, were greenlit.