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Short scripts are a fantastic way to get your screenwriting feet wet, explore a new genre, hone your craft, and gain recognition within the entertainment industry!
At least 4 winners will be invited to take part in our exclusive Virtual Shorts Lab to help define the next steps in their projects journey – whether that’s self-producing, crowdfunding, or connecting it with producers looking for short content.
$10,000 SHORT FILM GRANT
Presented by Talon Entertainment Finance
This year WeScreenplay is excited to partner with Talon Entertainment Finance who will select one project from this year’s submissions to receive a $10,000 short film grant! Talon Entertainment will also offer development mentorship and support to the selected project and writer. They will also review all of this year’s lab finalists scripts and meet with select finalists.
Plus, every entry receives one page of feedback from a professional reader!
Jun 15, 2023
Jul 15, 2023
Aug 15, 2023
Sep 6, 2023
Sep 29, 2023
Nov 1, 2023
Talon Entertainment Finance
$10,000 Short Film Grant
Talon Entertainment Finance will select one project from this year’s submissions to receive a $10,000 short film grant! Supporting this initiative is Talon’s Managing Partner Steven Demmler and Board Member Tony Armer.
Screenwriter, LIAR LIAR, HEARTBREAKERS
Paul Guay’s movies have grossed over half a billion dollars. He conceived and co-wrote LIAR, LIAR, at the time of its release the sixth-highest grossing comedy in history. The screenplay received an Honorable Mention in Scr(i)pt magazine’s list of the Best Scripts of the Past 10 Years. He co-wrote THE LITTLE RASCALS, Universal’s second-highest-grossing film of the year; co-wrote HEARTBREAKERS, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, and Gene Hackman. He polished THE NEVERENDING STORY, the beloved children’s fantasy which spawned two sequels, two TV series, three computer games, a stage play, a ballet, and an opera. After directing the most successful comedy (or for that matter, drama) in the 75-year history of Santa Monica’s Morgan-Wixson Theatre, Paul made his movie-directing debut with three short comedy films he wrote: THE GODFATHER, THE VAMPYRE, and WHO GUARDETH THE GUARDS? The films will be unleashed in 2023.
Development Executive, Original Film
Sammy Warshaw began his career at WME, working in the Motion Picture talent department. His obsession with horror movies lead him to Blumhouse Productions, where he worked on films such as HAPPY DEATH DAY, INSIDIOUS 4 and BLAKKKLANSMAN. From Blumhouse, Sammy joined Neal Moritz’s company Original Film (FAST & FURIOUS SAGA, SONIC THE HEDGEHOG 1-2, 21-22 JUMP STREET) as an Executive. At Original Film, he worked closely on the development, prep, production and post-production process on SONIC THE HEDGEHOG, ESCAPE ROOM, and SPENSER CONFIDENTIAL. While his passion for genre filmmaking remains strong, he’s dedicated to championing unique & fresh voices across all genres.
Writer / Director, The Smiling Man (Short)
A.J. Briones has over 20 years of film and games experience with an emphasis on visual storytelling, animation and performance capture. His began his career in the videogame industry, where he worked at various roles at Sega of America, Midway Games and High Moon Studios. In 2007, A.J. began working as an animator. Over the years, he has collaborated with directors Matt Reeves, Brad Bird, Peter Berg, Chris Colombus and others, designing iconic shots and sequences for films such as Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens, Iron Man 2, and the Planet of the Apes franchise. Currently, A.J. is working at Lightstorm Entertainment as a Sequence Supervisor on James Cameron’s Avatar sequels. This year he was recognized with a Visual Effects Society award for Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a CG Project for his work on Avatar: The Way of Water.
A.J.’s short horror film The Smiling Man has screened internationally in over 60 film festivals, including SXSW, and won numerous awards. The Smiling Man debuted online via Blumhouse and Crypt TV, going viral with over 10 million views, and had its network television premiere on Robert Rodriguez’ El Rey Network Horror Anthology, presented by John Carpenter.
Producer & Literary Manager, Pannon Entertainment
Andrea Dimity is a film producer and literary manager based in Los Angeles. She started working in the entertainment industry while attending the UCLA School of Theatre, Film and Television. Since then she has worked for such prolific producers and directors as Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Todd Phillips and Chris Meladandri in feature film development. Before starting Pannon Entertainment Inc., a Los Angeles based production/management company, she has collaborated on several projects with the Walt Disney Studios. She is currently executive producing “Burn Run” a spec script that was set up at Thunder Road Pictures.
Alex George Pickering & Matthew Breault
Screenwriters and WeScreenplay Alumni
Matthew Breault and Alex George Pickering are an LA-based screenwriting team repped by Citizen Skull Management. Originally from Colorado Springs and Boston, MA respectively, they met at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, where they earned an MFA in Cinema-TV Production and collaborated on the FotoKem gold-winning short Efrain, USC’s best film of 2011.
Since then, they have written webisodes of Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda for DreamWorksTV (now Peacock Kids) and optioned several scripts, including the upcoming features Crate and Impulse Control. They also won the Filmmatic Drama, Shore Scripts Drama, Script Pipeline TV and Script2Comic contests, as well as finalist awards in the Nicholl Fellowship, Austin Film Festival, WeScreenplay, ScreenCraft and more. Matt directed the Streamy-winning series The New Adventures of Peter and Wendy, and Alex wrote the Ryan Coogler-directed short film Fig, distributed on HBO, and the upcoming comic book series Heard, based on his award-winning feature script. Most recently, they set up their feature historical drama Jumpman with a prominent production company.
Filmmaker & Producer, Dweck Productions
Theodore Schaefer is a New York-based filmmaker and producer. His directorial debut, GIVING BIRTH TO A BUTTERFLY premiered at the 25th Fantasia International Film Festival and is being released by Cinedigm and Fandor. Through his work at Dweck Productions, Theodore produced WE’RE ALL GOING TO THE WORLD’S FAIR (Sundance 2021, released by Utopia and HBO MAX) and THE ADULTS (Berlin 2023, released by Universal). He began his career working as a first assistant director on independent features including HOW HE FELL IN LOVE and FRAMING JOHN DELOREAN, before joining Dweck Productions in 2018.
Head of Development & Partner, Mammoth Pictures
Alexis Bronte is a screenwriter and development executive whose scripts have won several awards. Prior to her executive work in development, Bronte was mentored by two award-winning screenwriters of Disney/Universal hits and a Golden Globe/BAFTA-nominated director, who she continues to consult with today. She later worked as a script consultant and on several independent features, eventually landing on Disney’s Christopher Robin. Bronte has a unique grasp of story that connects on both a deep personal level and large scale. Bronte started as Head of Development at Mammoth Pictures in 2021.
A Note To WeScreenplay Lab Entrants
And Those Considering Submitting to a Lab During The WGA Strike
WeScreenplay stands in solidarity with the WGA and its efforts to ensure fair, livable compensation for writers.
In an effort to support WGA and non-WGA writers alike, we will not share your work with struck companies until the strike is over. This might mean postponing or providing alternative options for outreach–whatever selected writers are comfortable with.
We hope the strike will be over soon, but if it isn’t, we will continue to work with writers and the WGA to ensure we’re following all rules and procedures.
WeScreenplay Shorts Virtual Lab
At least 4 winners will be selected to participate in this game-changing virtual lab. This two-day lab will be PACKED with virtual meetings with industry professionals, workshops, and more so you can learn, network, and gain exposure.
Winners will also receive:
• A copy of Final Draft screenwriting software
• Ongoing mentorship from WeScreenplay team including an initial phone call, guidance for drafting query letters, research methods for finding the right representation, prep before big meetings, and strategic planning for career next steps.
Our virtual labs have directly led to writers getting staffed, signing with their dream reps, and more.
$10,000 Short Film Grant Award
Talon Entertainment Finance will select one project to receive a short film grant and mentorship
Finalist scripts read by Talon Entertainment Finance
Talon Entertainment Finance's Steven Demmler and Tony Armer will review all of this year's finalists. They will also meet with a select number of finalists.
Free page of feedback
All entrants will receive one page of feedback from a professional reader.
WeScreenplay Lab Testimonials
All entrants will receive one page of feedback from a professional reader.
When I’m reading scripts from WeScreenplay, one of my favorite things is to have the chance to discover such different universes! From drama to comedy, there is a really wide range of style from talented screenwriters that I enjoyed reading.
Maria Gracia Turgeon
Producer (2021 Lab Mentor)
It’s always exciting to be able to engage with emerging writers through programs like WeScreenplay because it opens the door for talent from around the world to be discovered and potentially find the right fit in terms of literary representation.
Literary Manager at Empirical Evidence (2021 Lab Mentor)
Having the wide variety of people to talk to was very helpful – I felt like I gained just as equal benefit from talking to the independent filmmakers as I did the industry executives. It was really lovely to see how many different ways there were to move forward after writing a short script.
2021 Lab Winner
Speaking with a literary manager was the most beneficial to my career development at this stage. However, pitching myself over and over to executives is a close second.
2021 Lab Winner
Sample Lab Schedule
Learn About the Different Session Types
Group Mentorship Meetings
Before the lab, we will share all the winning scripts with the group. During a one to two hour session, the group will share script notes verbally. While all the winning scripts are already strong, the purpose of this notes session is to refine your work, to get thoughts on next steps, and to practice giving and receiving notes.
We will have exciting workshops for winners to get hands on experience with industry professionals. Winners participate in curated workshops with screenwriters, literary managers which have included managers like AE Jones of Stagecoach Entertainment, and a Pitching Masterclass with Jim Arnoff.
Writers will meet with executives, literary managers and working writers to learn more about the craft and industry for a deeper 360 perspective of a career in screenwriting. Each session includes a mentor who will share their experience and area of expertise followed by a Q&A with the writers.
Check out more of our Writers’ Successes.
Hired for a writing assignment
Don’t hesitate to enter. WeScreenplay provides feedback on every single script entry. That in itself is worth the cost of submission. Additionally, if your script places, it can give you a boost in the exposure department. I earned a writing assignment from a complete stranger – a producer/director in Canada.
Signed with a manager
What drew me to WeScreenplay was their fast turn around on note services, and the quality of the readers. A few years ago, I was writing an early draft of the first feature I had ever written, and they were the first service I turned to for notes. To this day, those notes still rank among the best notes I’ve ever gotten. I entered a short script of mine to their short screenplay contest, and the reactions to it were eye opening in a good way. This pushed me to adapt the short to a feature script, and that script ended up getting me my manager.
Shaun & Jay Perry
Signed with one of the top agencies in Australia
The WeScreenplay team deserve a round of applause for everything they are doing. Our conversations with the team were always fruitful. Not only are they incredibly friendly, but have a wealth of industry knowledge. They educated us on agencies, managers, writing query letters and generally how to get our foot in the door. They’re also responsible for setting up a meeting with Oscar nominated writer/director Vincent Lambe, who has since become a great contact for us – and led us to a meeting with Profile Creative. The rest is history, we signed with our agent, and we also have a producer for our short film.
Every Entry Includes Judge's Notes
A FREE, 1-page mini-version of our phenomenal coverage from the entry’s first round judge, including their scores!
*Note: You can upgrade your free Judges Notes to the 2-page Classic Notes for an additional fee.
Quarterfinalists - Top 20%
A new reader and another read for every script that makes it to this round.
*Note: You can upgrade to include Judges Notes for a small fee!
Semifinalists - Top 10%
Another new reader and another full read for every script that makes it to this round … and you are welcome to submit an updated version of your script for only $6.
Scripts that make it to this round will be read internally by the WeScreenplay team as well as our industry jury. Scores will not be provided for this round, as judging will be discussed privately.
The top scripts selected by the Judges and WeScreenplay team! We’ll be reaching out to the winners to invite them to attend our exclusive Virtual Shorts Lab.
- Screenplays entered must:
- Be under 35 pages – Anything over 35 pages will be charged an extra $1 per page.
- Be submitted in PDF form and must fit all standard screenplay format guidelines. Personal formatting conventions will be accepted but must not intentionally or accidentally alter the page count of the project as determined by the judges.
- Be owned solely by the writer or writing team listed. It may be an adaptation or reimagining of true events or fictional stories. Spec scripts of existing shows are NOT accepted at this time.
- Be written in English. However, scripts from anywhere in the world will be accepted.
- NOTE: WeScreenplay automatically removes the cover page before assigning scripts to readers, so writers may include any typical information on their cover page. Scripts are accepted with or without cover pages.
- Writer must be 18 years of age or older at the time of the winner’s announcement.
- By entering this screenplay into the competition, you must have full permission from all co-writers and any attachments to the project.
- WeScreenplay claims no ownership nor option on your work. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remain with the original rights holder(s).
- Screenplays entered may be in any genre or combination of genres. All will be treated equally and read by an unbiased panel of readers and jury members.
- The following formats will be accepted: Short script
- Entrant’s total earnings for writing produced or unproduced, published or unpublished, must not exceed $35,000 in the previous 18 months from submission. A writer’s lifetime earnings can’t exceed $300,000 from writing anything produced or unproduced, published or unpublished. This excludes any prize money from competitions or fellowships and only applies to fund or money transferred in exchange for an option or sale of a script, treatment, idea, intellectual property, or other writing for filming. Money earned from acting, directing, producing, or any other film work outside of writing is not included.
- Screenplays submitted must not have been previously sold or produced unless said sale or production was completed with no financial gain to the writer.
- Purchasing Additional feedback throughout the competition will in no way impact your standing or odds of advancement.
For a submission to be valid it must be accompanied with the appropriate payment based on the submission deadlines.
- All deadlines are at 11:59pm PST on the date listed. Any deadline alteration or promotion of any kind does not make any entry valid for a refund of any kind.
- RESUBMISSIONS will be accepted. Alterations can be re-uploaded via our submissions management platform at coverfly.com for $6. New drafts of an entry will be accepted at any time during the contest.
- There are no refunds for any submitted screenplay. Coupons may not be applied to previously submitted scripts. Coupons deemed for WeScreenplay coverage may not be used for submission to the contest or addition of coverage to any submission unless explicitly stated or exempted on the coupon or by a WeScreenplay representative via e-mail communication only.
- There is no limit on the number of scripts a writer or writing team may submit.
- Prizes are awarded per script and teams of writers are expected to divide prizes on their own accord. WeScreenplay will send prizes to the writer who submits the project and will in no way be responsible for how the prizes are distributed among the writing teams.
- The decision of the judges will be final and cannot be contested in any manner. There is no score on a scorecard that guarantees advancement to the next level as advancement will be based on all scores in the competition.
- Scorecards can be accessed on the writer’s dashboard. Feedback will be delivered before the next announcement but usually sooner. Feedback for each round of the competition, whether it’s the 1 Page or 2 Page option, will be returned before the next competition announcement.
- WeScreenplay reserves the right to delay announcements for any reason. While we never anticipate any delays, such delays will not alter the standing of any screenplay entry and will not qualify an entry for a refund under any circumstance.
- By entering a WeScreenplay competition every entrant is agreeing to all WeScreenplay Terms of Service listed on the website and additional terms agreed upon at checkout. If you disagree with any terms you may not submit to the contest.
- By submitting to the contest you are releasing your script (but not it’s underlying rights) to WeScreenplay and holding harmless WeScreenplay or any affiliates from any claims, expenses, and liabilities, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, copyright, libel, trademark infringement, slander, personal property infringement, etc.
- Any prize winners will be required to sign an affidavit validating their entry into the contest.
- Any writer winning a cash prize of over $599 will be required to file the appropriate tax and legal documentation before the cash prize is distributed.
- All prizes provided by sponsors or mentors are subject to said sponsor or mentor providing the prize. WeScreenplay will do everything in its power to collect the prize packages promised, but is not responsible for a sponsor’s failed delivery.
- Former Grand Prize, Second Prize, and Third Prize Winners of the contest may enter so long as it is NOT the same script that won in a previous year. Any other placement in former years does not disqualify the script from being entered this year.
- By entering the competition, entrants are acknowledging their eligibility for the competition. 99.9 % of entrants enter in good faith, and validating everyone at that stage would be inefficient and take away from efforts reading and finding the best scripts. We do check eligibility at the finalist stage before picking winners or distributing any prizes. We also advance a few additional scripts to ensure no one is missed by someone entering who is not eligible. We check all finalists and on a case by case basis in earlier rounds if something seems like it may not be eligible.
- Void where prohibited.
- BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE CONDITIONS. You agree to release and hold harmless WeScreenplay, Red Ampersand, Inc., Industry Arts, LLC., WeScreenplay.com, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, Prize contributors, judges, screenplay readers, Sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the Contest, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s Entry, participation in the Contest and/or acceptance or use or misuse of Prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless the WeScreenplay.org and its Sponsor, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorney’s fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize. Employees of WeScreenplay and their immediate families are ineligible to participate in this contest. Any such submission will be immediately disqualified. ENTRY TO THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED or restricted by any Federal, State or Local law. Voided entries will be refunded. Recipients’ eligibility will be verified before the grant is awarded and the winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility.