(The Steelkilt Media Festival was founded by comic book professionals who saw a lack of opportunities for comic book writers to get noticed. We started the Steelkilt Media Festival and created the Steelkilt Award to give writers, animators, and artists a chance to get noticed. We are driven by a desire to promote equality, justice, and inclusion.
We are looking for new talent, period. The competition is open to any individual living in any country. We allow published authors to submit work that has never been seen in recognition of the fact that editorial controls may prohibit them from creating freely. Therefore, both amateur/self-published authors as well as professional creators may submit work, and will be judged separately, yet all work must be new and never-before seen. Scripts and comics must not have been published – work that has already been published elsewhere, in any form (including digital), is not eligible for entry.
Who is Steelkilt? Steelkilt is a character from Melville’s Moby Dick. Melville called him, “a Lakeman and desperado from Buffalo…wild-ocean born, and wild-ocean nurtured.” He was a rebel, a scrapper, a scoundrel, (much like the founders of the festival!) But he had pride. He refused to be beaten down and oppressed by the cruel and unfair captain Radney. And he had a deep connection with the white whale itself. Steelkilt warned Radney not to whip him, but Radney did not heed his warning, and paid the price. Moby Dick carried Radney to the bottom of the sea.
“Where Steelkilt now is, gentlemen, none know; but upon the island of Nantucket, the widow of Radney still turns to the sea which refuses to give up its dead; still in dreams sees the awful white whale that destroyed him.” – Ishmael
THE AWARD: Your work will be judged against hundreds or even thousands of other projects. Winners will receive downloadable laurels that they should be proud to display alongside their projects. Our awards ceremony will give winners the chance to take the main stage and present themselves to the world. And we’ll have a hell of a fun time doing it, too!
THE SELECTION PROCESS: We vow to make sure everyone gets a fair review, regardless of who you are or where you come from. Your work will be judged by a panel of professionals who will take the time to review and score every submission. Work will be seen by comic book publishers, artists, writers, and creators, with decades of combined experience among them. We ask that you do not put your name or other identifiable information on your submissions.
LEARN: Participants will have a chance to talk to comic book professionals, attend workshops, and learn about how to navigate the ever-changing comic book industry. The comic distribution system, readership demographics, and comics’ relationship with Hollywood have all undergone massive shifts in the past decades. The past ten years has seen massive upheavals in trends, and the past year may have changed comics forever! We can all learn from one another to stay on top of the game.
EXPOSURE: Award winners will receive laurels that they can post on social media, and the Steelkilt Festival and partners will likewise promote all winners. Winners will appear on podcasts and have a chance to conduct a written interview with an online outlet. And, your work will appear in an anthology series that will reach readers across the world.
NETWORKING: The festival includes a chance to link with festival organizers, judges, and other winners through Facebook groups, WhatsApp, and other platforms. Writers and artists will get to know one another, form collaborations, and learn from one another. Zoom programs will allow all winners to introduce one another and pitch projects to the group.
Winners will be announced each year in September. Due to the possibility of limited flights and hotels, the majority of the 2021 awards competition and ceremony will primarily be held online. The event will include an online awards ceremony and interviews with the winners and semi-finalists.
In our first year, the Steelkilt Media Festival and Awards is committed to supporting creatives and empowering storytellers of all walks of life. First and foremost, we are a narrative festival that supports storytellers with bold vision and unique voices. You don’t have to know someone to get your script or story read. The submission process is open to all through FilmFreeway. We particularly seek hidden gems, unknown and unpublished writers and creators, first-time writers and newcomers to comics.
Transparency and fairness are at the heart of our core values. We understand that producing a comic book can be prohibitively expensive for many writers. Most comic book companies won’t read comic book submissions without completed pages of sequential art – putting the writer in the financial-challenging position of having to fund the pitch. Likewise, producing an entire comic book or graphic novel is not economically feasible for most writers, and a financial risk that many are unwilling to take. That’s why our script competition is the heart and soul of our competition. Our student and early bird submission fees are priced as low as $5 to allow anyone to enter the competition. Nothing more than a passion for sequential art and a killer script is needed for those who want to have their work seen. And our ultimate goal is to highlight forward leaning and innovative creators, putting new work into the hands of as many readers as possible through our printed and digital anthologies.