Department of Visual & Media Arts
General listings for film and TV script writing contests. Contests are listed in several ways: in alphabetical order, by deadline date, and by specialization.
Contests are listed by the deadline date.
Specific Competitions & Workshops
Walt Disney Studios/ABC Writers Fellowship
Fellows become employees of Disney | ABC Television Group and will be paid a weekly salary of $961.54 ($50,000.00 annualized) plus any applicable benefits for which they are eligible in accordance with the then-current Company benefits plans. The program is designed to expose aspiring writers to key executives, producers, and literary representatives—all essential in the pursuit of a writing career.
IAIA Summer Television and Film Workshop
Held on the IAIA campus in Santa Fe, New Mexico, the workshop is designed to assist novice and experienced Native American television writers and filmmakers. The program also brings executives, producers, screenwriters, directors, and actors, both Native and non-Native, from the mainstream television and film world to work with the selected students.
ABC Studios Production Associates Program
The one-year program offers access to entry-level positions within television production management for individuals from diverse backgrounds. Candidates work closely with ABC Studios personnel and executives, who mentor the associates and take a personal interest in their progress. The ultimate goal is to help prepare promising individuals for future career advancement within the television industry.
Directors Guild of America Student Film Awards
(For women and minority directors)
Designed to honor, encourage, and bring attention to outstanding minority and women students in DGA-selected film schools in the Eastern and Western regions. Projects must be student-produced under the supervision of a faculty member. Categories: drama, comedy, and documentary. Category prizes of $2,500. October deadline.
The Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting (Film Scripts)
Film scripts should be between 90 and 120 pages. Fellowships are open to anyone who has not made $5,000 in TV or film writing. Up to five fellows receive $30,000 during a one-year period. (Six checks of $5,000.) Winners are required to complete one new screenplay during the fellowship year. Students can apply and win—although they would have to defer the start of the fellowship until after they graduate. Application fee: $30. Early May deadline.
Austin Film Festival: Prime Time Teleplay Competition and Screenplay Competition
(TV Specs/Film Scripts)
The festival offers separate TV writing contests for comedy and drama specs, no pilots. There are separate film writing contests for comedy, drama, and science fiction and a separate contest sponsored by Latitude Productions. Prizes for both TV comedy and TV drama specs are $1,000 plus $1,000 to cover flight/hotel expenses for the Screenwriters Conference. Prizes for both film comedy and film drama scripts are $5,000 plus $1,000 to cover flight/hotel expenses for the Screenwriters Conference. Sci-Fi and Latitude winners receive $2,500. Fees: $30 for TV scripts and $40 for film scripts. Deadline for TV: June. Deadline for Film: May
Email Austin Film Festival
(TV Specs/Pilots/Film Scripts)
TV: four separate contests for comedy and drama specs, pilots, and reality shows. Film: any genre, scripts can be up to 140 pages. TV prizes: $100–$500. Film prizes: First place $10,000 and software. Runners-up get software from Write Brothers. Application fee: $45–$50. Deadlines in March and April.
Writers Network Screenplay Competition
(TV Specs/Film Scripts)
Applicants include TV writers, screenwriters, and prose writers. Sponsored by top literary agencies like ICM and William Morris. Up to 10 winners are selected for $1,000 prizes and a series of meetings with agents and producers. Application fee: $45. You may submit two samples of your work: two TV specs, two screenplays, or one TV spec and one screenplay. Deadlines in May or June.
Warner Brothers Writers Workshops
Separate contests for comedy and drama specs, no pilots. Prize: Admittance to highly coveted comedy or drama workshops. These workshops usually cost $495. Application fee: $30 for drama; $25 for comedy. Deadline in July.
(Shorts and TV Pilots)
Separate contests for shorts and TV pilots with separate categories for comedy, drama, and reality pilots. Deadlines in February and March. Application fees $20–$40. Varying cash prizes. Online submissions only.
Duke City Shootout
Seven winners will be flown to Albuquerque to film their shorts. Winners will be given film equipment, cast, crew, and a producer to film and edit the short in seven days. All seven will be screened at the festival in August. Ten finalists will be announced in June. All ten will be given notes and five days to rewrite. Judges will choose the final seven scripts to be produced at the shootout. Deadlines and applications Fees: April 15, 2009 ($30); May 15, 2009 ($35).
$1,000 for top script selected from spec comedies, spec dramas, pilots, TV movies, and reality show treatments. Deadlines in April and May. Online submissions only.
Ivy Film Festival Competition
Deadlines in January and February. Prizes: Possible cash prize plus a reading at the festival. Application fees: $20 (early), $30 (late). Contest open only to college students. Online submissions only through Withoutabox. Winner announced at festival, held at Brown University.
- Atom Films: A company that licenses and develops content, which they pay for, and distribute to huge audiences on the Internet, television, and mobile phones.
- Austin (Texas) Film Festival Competition: Check out the screenplay competition. This competition is open to writers who do not earn a living writing for film or TV with original, feature-length screenplays (90–120 pages). Cash prizes are awarded in three feature-length categories. Winners also receive hotel accommodation and airfare reimbursement (up to $500) to/from the Heart of Film Festival and Screenwriters Conference.
- Campus Movie Fest: A traveling film school and festival that provides thousands of student teams with Apple laptops, camcorders, and training. In addition, hundreds of local musicians provide the best independent music that students have permission to use as their soundtracks. The movie-making events culminate in finales, with the on-campus showcases attracting thousands of students and staff. It offers large cash prizes and plenty of exposure.
- Coolidge Corner Theatre: A local theater located in Coolidge Corner, Brookline; it now has an Internet screening room where it showcases local student shorts.
- Current TV: A television channel and internet site with more than 30% of its programming comprising viewer-generated content. It acquires 5–7 minute nonfiction videos ("pods") for television, culled from the uploads in the online studio at current.com. It also has a message board and a list of resources to help you make and upload your pod.
- Filmaka: An online competition, judged by award-winning filmmakers including Werner Herzog, Neil LaBute, Paul Schrader, and Wim Wenders. Founded by independent producers and financiers. Filmmakers have a new chance to enter each month. Membership is free for full-time students. Prizes include cash prizes, commissioned work, or funding your film.
- IFILM: An online video network, serving user-uploaded and professional content to more than 10 million viewers monthly.
- MTVU's Best Film On Campus: A student filmmaker web showcase where you can create a profile and upload your films. In addition to prizes such as state-of-the-art equipment and cash, BFOC will offer student filmmakers a “foot in the door” with invaluable professional exposure, including coveted internships, development deals, airtime on mtvU and mtvU.com, and the ultimate recognition—your very own Golden Popcorn for being the Best Filmmaker on Campus.
- OurStage: A democratic competition that’s free to enter video or audio content, where the fans decide who's best in emerging entertainment. Artists get a fair shot at winning $5,000.
At Emerson, when there’s a will, there’s a way. Some inventive Visual and Media Arts students have found a new means to raise funds to film and produce their work. It’s something called crowdfunding, through the online platform Kickstarter.com.
Equipment Distribution Center
The Emerson College Equipment Distribution Center (EDC) loans professional, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities to faculty and students to fulfill class assignments. Professional staff and student employees are available to provide technical support when needed. It includes the Film Equipment Center and the Video, Audio, New Media Equipment Centers.