**For information on 2015 VSC winners, click here!**

The 2016 Virginia Screenwriting Competition

Opens for Submissions April 1, 2016!

E-mailed no later than Monday, May 30, 2015
All submissions must be emailed

The Virginia Screenwriting Competition was established in 1988 as a means of showcasing the work of Virginia writers and encouraging the development of scripts that could be shot in Virginia. Since that time, the competition has received more than 1,000 entries from all parts of the state. 

The first round of judging is by judges from within the state who each select one or two scripts to be finalists in the competition. These scripts are then sent to working professionals in the industry who read all of the final screenplays and select the three winners. An award of $1,000 is given to each of the winners without rank as part of the Virginia Film Festival, held in Charlottesville in November.

The Virginia Screenwriting Competition is unique in that all entries receive a written evaluation from the first round judges, often giving writers valuable insight into ways to improve their work. In addition, the competition is one of the few in the nation requiring no entrance fee.


Please be sure to read ALL the rules and apply them to your script, or the script will not be eligible for review.


• Applicants must be legal residents of the state, have a valid Virginia address and must have lived in the state for at least six months during the past year. Exceptions are those who are legal residents but who are required by their work to reside overseas (such as members of the military) or students attending Virginia schools. 

• No applicant may have earned money in excess of $5,000 as the writer of either a theatrical film or television program or as a result of the sale of (or the sale of an option to) any original story, treatment or teleplay. 

• Scripts may be co-authored, if each author is a Virginia resident. One author must be selected as the primary applicant, who will be the one that receives mailings and other information about the competition. 


Since one of the goals of the competition is to find new work that could be shot in the state,  the majority of the script must take place in Virginia or at locations that could reasonably be found in Virginia. For example, a script that uses a farm and a river as primary locations would probably be acceptable, whereas a script that takes place in a desert or arctic location would not. Any judge can disqualify a script that does not meet the location criteria and the decision of the judge will be final. 

• Screenplays currently in production, or optioned for production, are ineligible. 

• Only one script may be submitted by each author. 

• Previously entered, non-winning scripts may be re-submitted. It is the policy of the Virginia Screenwriting Competition that re-submitted screenplays not be submitted to the same judge in subsequent years. Therefore, writers are asked to indicate whether they have submitted the script in the past. 

• Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entry will not be allowed. 

• Adaptations are acceptable if accompanied by documentation affirming that a legal option to the property has been obtained by the writer. 


• The script must be typed and submitted in a screenplay format that is standard to the United States motion picture industry. There are numerous books, computer software and websites that provide examples of this kind of formatting. 

• Feature film scripts must be approximately 90 – 120 pages in length. 

NEW! We are now also accepting scripts for HOUR-LONG TELEVISION PILOTS.  These must be approximately 45 – 65 pages in length.

• IMPORTANT: All pages must be NUMBERED. A cover page with TITLE ONLY must be attached.

• The name, address and/or any personal information about the author must not appear anywhere in the script. 

• The script must be saved in a non-editable format such as a PDF, with the title of the PDF the same as the screenplay.  The PDF should not be more than 5 MB. Before converting to PDF format, the text document should not be sized over twenty megabytes.

• Supplemental materials may not be included  including resumes, reviews or letters of recommendation. 


To submit a screenplay, email a copy the script and the completed application to screenplay@virginia.org.

Please save both the script and application with the title of the screenplay in the file name. 

Download the application form here.

NOTE: For some operating systems, it is easiest to SAVE a new NEW version of the form first (so it opens as a PDF, not a file accessible only on the internet), and then begin filling in your information.


Submissions will be accepted from April 1 – May 25, 2015. All submissions must be e-mailed by May 25, midnight. No extensions past midnight on May 25 will be granted for any reason. Notification of the results will be made in late October 2015.

For more information email Margaret Finucane at mfinucane@virginia.org, or call 800.854.6233.


Click here to read about previous winners and finalists.



Why is it important that you put your screenplay in an accepted screenplay format? Because it will give your script the best possible chance of being received favorably by the judges who are accustomed to reading and evaluating professional level work. Samples of accepted formats are available on the internet and in books about screenwriting. If you are unsure about an acceptable format, you may want to check some of the resources listed below. We cannot emphasize enough how important proper format is in getting your screenplay moved forward in the competition.  

It is also extremely important to check your screenplay carefully for typographical or other kinds of errors, as well as missing pages. In the view of some judges, sloppy work can make the difference between a winning and a non-winning screenplay.


Websites: There are many websites dedicated to screenwriters. The Writers Guild
of America website (www.wga.org) has much useful information and links to other sites. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences sponsors the Nichols Fellowship in Screenwriting, one of the largest and most successful competitions in the country. The Nichols Fellowship website www.oscars.org/nicholl has some of the most useful and practical information available to new screenwriters.


Virginia photography courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Production photography by Kent Eanes, www.kenteanes.com
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