The Write Stuff: 13 Amazing Screenwriting Grants, Labs and Competitions To Enter Today

You’ve spent hours working on a screenplay that would surprise, delight and inspire audiences—if only you could get it made!

Here’s the perfect list of credible writing competitions, screenwriting grants labs and grants for screenwriters of all skill levels. Don’t delay, those deadlines are coming up fast. If you’ve already missed the deadline for your favorite competition, bookmark it for next year. And above all—keep writing.

Open for Submission:

Warner Bros. Television Writers’ Workshop
A wonderful opportunity to get your foot in the door at a studio producing some of the world’s best entertainment. Many prominent filmmakers started out in the world of TV, could the next one be you?

Every year, the Workshop selects up to 10 participants out of almost 2,000 submissions and exposes them to Warner Bros. Television’s top writers and executives, all with the ultimate goal of earning them a staff position on a Warner Bros. produced television show.

Deadline: May 1-May 31

Academy Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting
One of the most prestigious and well known international screenwriting competitions, used to discover new talent in the field of screenwriting. Stiff competition but well worth the entry fee, should you win one of the fellowships.

Each year, the Academy Nicholl screenwriting competition awards up to five $35,000 fellowships to amateur screenwriters. To enter, submit a feature length screenplay and entry fee via the online application when the competition is open for submissions. Fellowship winners are invited to participate in awards week ceremonies and seminars and expected to complete at least one original feature film screenplay during the Fellowship year. (via The Academy)

Deadline: April 18 (regular) or May 2 (late)

ScreenCraft Short Film Production Fund

Every three months, Screencraft awards $20k to filmmakers looking to make a short film. Ideal for students!

Every 3 months, at least one filmmaker will win this production grant of up to $20,000 in production funds. We announce the winner(s) 4 weeks after the final deadline. In partnership with BondIt, a film & media fund based in Beverly Hills, ScreenCraft is offering between four and ten production grants per year to talented filmmakers for short film and online series that display originality, vision & exceptional potential. Grant amounts will vary from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on the scale and merit of the project. (via Screencraft)

Current Deadline: March 31 (Next application period opens April 1)

BBC Writersroom Script Room (Comedy)
The BBC conducts an an ongoing search for compelling content, and the newest deadline is just around the corner! Be sure to check out the guidelines for eligibility requirements.

Script Room is not a competition but a means by which the BBC seeks out the best writing talent. We look for writers with the strongest potential to be developed and produced for BBC broadcast. You could be new to writing or new to the BBC but equally, you may be a playwright looking to write for TV, or you’ve written for radio drama and would like to try your hand at writing for CBBC. We understand that carving a career as a writer takes time and that each writer’s development needs will be different. We receive many thousands of scripts every year and can only focus on the writers who we feel have the most potential. (via BBC)

Deadline: April 4

Slamdance Writing Competition

With four categories and awards for the top three winners in each, along with feedback for every entry, this competition gives the aspiring screenwriter an excellent shot at winning.

The Slamdance Screenplay Competition is dedicated to discovering and supporting emerging writing talent. We welcome screenplays in every genre, on any topic, from anywhere in the world. (via Slamdance)

Deadline: April 11 (Early deadline)

Film Independent Screenwriting Lab
Labs are an often overlooked way to network and develop significantly as a writer. This four-week program takes place in Los Angeles.

The Screenwriting Lab also helps to further the careers of its Fellows by introducing them to film industry veterans who can offer guidance on both the craft and business of screenwriting. Each Screenwriting Fellow will be paired with a Creative Advisor, with whom they’ll work one-on-one and in Lab sessions to further develop their project over the course of the program. A variety of guest speakers may screen and discuss their own films, or offer insights into their career trajectories, and a final retreat offers further opportunity for individualized feedback and discussion with additional established filmmakers and producers. (via FIND)<

Deadline: April 18 (May 2 for Film Independent members)

Sundance Screenwriters Lab
The Sundance Screenwriters Lab is perhaps the most well-known of all the screenwriting labs, it’s a way to get your foot in the door at Sundance and potentially secure a shot at the Director’s Lab and other Sundance grants as well.

The Screenwriters Lab is a five-day writer’s workshop that gives independent screenwriters the opportunity to work intensively on their feature film scripts with the support of established writers in an environment that encourages innovation and creative risk-taking. Through one-on-one story sessions with Creative Advisors, Fellows engage in an artistically rigorous process that offers them indispensable lessons in craft, as well as the means to do the deep exploration needed to fully realize their material. (via Sundance)

Deadline: May 3

CBS Writer’s Mentoring Program

Television remains a wonderful way for aspiring film writers to hone their craft and learn the ropes.

The focus of this six month program is on opening doors: providing opportunities to build relationships with network executives and show runners; to support new and emerging writers in their efforts to improve their craft; and to develop the interpersonal skills necessary to break in and succeed. (via CBS)

Deadline: May 2

Showtime’s Tony Cox Screenplay Competition
A fantastic screenplay competition via the Nantucket Film Festival. Winner with scripts for feature films, short films, 30-minute and hour-long TV pilots are in the running for cash prizes and festival access.
Showtime’s Tony Cox Screenplay Competitions recognize emerging writers in four unique categories as the best from the pool of submissions each year. Finalists in each competition are read by prestigious juries, receive top industry recognition, and participate in a Festival focused specifically on screenwriting that includes cash prizes for all competitions and a Mentors Brunch with a prominent screenwriter

Deadline: Passed. Keep checking in for next year.

BlueCat Screenplay Competition

Founded by a writer, the BlueCat Screenplay Competition’s passionate commitment to develop and discover the unknown screenwriter continues to define our work today. We provide each writer who enters BlueCat one written analysis while supporting screenwriters of all levels and stages of development with the constructive feedback all writers require. Our Winners and Finalists have been signed by major talent agencies like UTA, CAA and WME, sold their work to studios like Warner Bros., Paramount and Universal, and won major awards at the Sundance, Berlin and Tribeca Film Festivals, all after being discovered by and winning BlueCat.

Deadline: 2016 is closed, deadline for 2017 is June 26

American Zoetrope Screenplay Contest
Want to have your work read and judged by Francis Ford Coppola? Of course you do! The 2016 competition is closed, but submissions will open in summer for the next round.

The contest’s aim is to seek out and encourage compelling film narratives, and to introduce the next generation of great screenwriters to today’s leading production companies and agencies. (via Zoetrope)

Deadline: Summer 2016

Nickelodeon Writer’s Program
Plenty of new screenwriters get their start in the world of TV. While 2016’s competition is over, it’s good to prepare for 2017!

Our global Writing Program is one of the best in the biz. Consider the facts: alum have gone on to create their own Nickelodeon shows and write for all sorts of TV series and films. While in the Program, writers meet our series creators, work in writers’ rooms, and receive hands-on experience writing spec scripts and pitching story ideas in both live action and animated television. Basically, they write a lot and do cool things, all while being provided a salary! (via Nickelodeon)

Deadline: Passed. Keep checking in for next year.

NBC Writer’s on the Verge
One of the most prestigious programs in the entertainment industry, and an auspicious beginning to any career.

Writers on the Verge is a 12-week program focused on polishing writers and readying them for a staff writer position on a television series. We are looking for writers who are “almost there” but need that final bit of preparation with their writing and personal presentation skills. We particularly encourage writers of diverse backgrounds to apply. (via NBC)

Deadline: Passed. Keep checking in for next year.

MM

2 Comments

  1. Dale Swaby

    February 10, 2019 at 5:24 am

    I feel Mister Roberts via mediation probable centrist to absolute left, political I maybe, near odd, but not and definitely not nationalist right scale just accepted. Anyway you make an adequate point of praise for the competition stage and how it works for yourself, slave to the rhythm, and competent. But would, scrap all that, work for free? No, we enjoy paying producers speculation realms and readers who belong. That’s Hollywood ! A lot don’t get there and need the hovercraft fare. peacexxx

  2. Robert Roberts

    April 4, 2018 at 9:45 pm

    I truly find and appreciate the many opportunities given to screen writers. I’ve been trying to find someone or some company to help me bring to life my thoughts; which is someone’s cure, comedy, thriller and insight. I’m early in the stages of going thru the hoops of what it takes, but I’m a give it a try and look forward to coming back letting those on the same path know how real and worthy it is.

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