The 2023 competition will open on April 3, 2023. The deadline is May 29, 2023.
HOW TO APPLY
To submit a screenplay into the competition:
- Email a PDF of the script to email@example.com, following ALL listed rules below. Please have the title of the screenplay in the file name.
- Fill out the accompanying online application here.
If both steps are not accurately completed, we will not email reminders about missing information, and your screenplay will not be eligible. Please accurately complete both steps prior to the deadline to make sure your screenplay is considered.
Submissions will be accepted from April 3 — May 29, 2023. All submissions must be e-mailed by May 29 at the end of the day – 11:59 PM. No extensions will be granted for any reason. Winners will be announced at the Virginia Film Festival in October, 2023.
Please be sure to read ALL the rules below and apply them to your script. If your script does not adhere to the guidelines and rules of the competition, it will not be considered eligible and will not be reviewed.
- 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 and filmed in Virginia. For example, a script that uses a farm and a river as primary locations would be acceptable, whereas a script that takes place in a desert, arctic location, or the once-planet Pluto 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. All entries are final.
- 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, apps, 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 40 – 65 pages in length.
- IMPORTANT: All pages must be NUMBERED. A cover page with TITLE ONLY must be attached.
- NO PERSONAL INFORMATION ON THE SCRIPT: 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.
NOTES TO WRITERS
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. If you do not edit your work or attempt proper formatting, the judge can determine it unfit for submission and you may not get an evaluation.
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 most judges, sloppy work can make the difference between a winning and a non-winning screenplay.
RESOURCES FOR WRITERS
Websites: There are many websites dedicated to screenwriters. The Writers Guild of America website 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 has some of the most useful and practical information available to new screenwriters. There are also free software programs that allow you to write your screenplay in the proper format, such as Celtx basic.