Writing is a tough gig.

Sure, it’s not exactly mining coal, but writers mine the depths of the human soul.

(See what I mean? It may not be black lung disease, but Crappy Metaphor Syndrome — or CMS — is a very real occupational hazard.)

Poverty’s another one.

The Maine filmmaking community I’ve gotten to know is all about hustle, thrift and cooperation, engendered in equal parts by a collective generosity and a serious lack of money.

In that spirit, the Maine Studios’ screenwriting competition offers local screenwriters the chance to have their best work evaluated by the creative talents behind the studio.

And to win 500 bucks.

The second annual Scriptsation Screenwriting Competition (www.wix.com/mainefilm/scriptsation) is now accepting entries in the teleplay (20-plus pages), short film (maximum 59 pages), and feature film (60-plus pages) categories.

Screenplays judged best in each category by a diverse Maine Studios board (comprised of “directors, investors, producers, actors and others”) will be officially recognized in all press releases and offered advice on developing their scripts.

The overall winner, according to Maine Studios public relations director Gary Hauger, gets “consultation on their script, suggestions for improvements, and potentially an opportunity to have their film produced here in Maine.”

Plus, you know, the money. (Last year’s inaugural winner, Chris Sorensen’s Hitchcockian short “Double or Nothing,” is scheduled to begin production in conjunction with the Maine Studios this summer.)

Scriptsation’s winners will be announced on Halloween, with staggered submission deadlines beginning May 31 ($30 entry fee), July 31 ($40 entry fee) and the last-minute “Aaaaah!! I had to rework the entire third act” Sept. 1 deadline ($50 entry fee). And if throwing down money to enter Scriptsation seems antithetical to the whole “writers are poor” theme, well, that’s ignoring another trait common to anyone willing to really take a chance as a writer.

We all live in hope.

 

Dennis Perkins is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.