Judging Criteria

The Official Jury evaluates film entries based on several criteria: Originality, Creativity, Plot, Pacing, Structure, Characters, Cinematography, Direction, Writing, Entertainment Value, Overall Quality of Production.

Similarly, screenplay contest entries are judged based upon the following criteria: Concept, Presentation, Structure, Plot, Pacing, Characters, Dialogue, Theme, Style, Overall Quality of Screenplay.

Film and screenwriting critique is not an exact science. Powerful new ideas, expressions and methods of communicating and effectively telling a story arise constantly, reshaping old ideas or paving over them completely. Not every American Movie Award Winner or Nominee scores 10's across the judging table. The weight of each category varies with the nature of each entry; an American Movie Awards entry is much more than the sum of its parts.

Originality
The uniqueness and originality of the premise or story.

Creativity
The effective use of imagination as evidenced in the entry.

Plot
The actions, events, conflicts, and turning points that propel the story forward. How the story unfolds.

Pacing
The timing of the action, unfolding of plot elements and character development.

Structure
The framework of the film or script. Effective use of three-act, odyssey, linear or non-linear story progression.

Characters
Personalities that are distinctive, compelling, multi-layered, and unpredictable. A protagonist and antagonist with clear and active goals.

Cinematography
The quality of cinematography or videography demonstrated in the work.

Direction
The quality of direction exhibited in the work.

Entertainment Value
Does the story keep the viewer's or reader's attention?  It is fun, engaging, or thought provoking?

Dialogue
Voices that are natural, succinct, and unique to each character. Use of language that effectively reveals character and moves the story forward.

Overall Quality of Production or Script
Is the entry well constructed and well executed as a whole?

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