Short scripts are a fantastic way to get your screenwriting feet wet, explore a new genre, hone your craft, and get noticed. With so many Oscar-qualifying film festivals, it’s one way to gain recognition within the entertainment industry!
For this competition, all 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 a production company looking for short content. Plus, every entry receives one page of feedback from a professional reader!
Our industry jury is chock-full of experience bringing compelling shorts to life — and have the accolades to prove it.
We’re also excited to welcome back crowdfunding platform and specialists Seed&Spark as an official partner for this year’s competition! Seed&Spark will meet with this year’s Top 25 Finalists to offer 1:1 mentoring.
Ready to turn your short script into long-term success? Submit today!
All coverage packages include a 72-hour turnaround time at no additional charge.
Natalie is a Spirit Award nominated producer whose films have premiered at top festivals around the world including Sundance, Cannes, Berlin, SXSW, Tribeca, and Locarno. She is best known for critically acclaimed IFC release THE BETA TEST, WEREWOLVES WITHIN, Jim Cummings’ THE WOLF OF SNOW HOLLOW, Sundance darling GREENER GRASS, and SXSW Grand Jury Award winner THUNDER ROAD. Her feature writing/directing credits include LGBTQ sports documentary ALONE IN THE GAME and medical documentary SPECIAL BLOOD. She has also directed numerous award-winning commercials and short films.
Meghan Ross is currently the Head of Creator Success at Seed&Spark and previously worked for VICELAND and SundanceTV. She’s also a writer/director, comedian, and activist based in Austin. Her short films have made The New Yorker’s Best Shouts of 2020 list and she was nominated for The Webby Awards 2021 for her short, If You Ever Hurt My Daughter, I Swear to God I’ll Let Her Navigate Her Own Emotional Growth, which features narration by Jon Hamm. Meghan’s writing has appeared in Reductress, IFC, Slackjaw, VICE's Broadly, TV Without Pity, The Toast, and some other defunct but beloved sites. She’s currently a fellow in the Sundance Episodic Lab with her pilot Here to Make Friends, which is also her personal tagline.
Jasmine Johnson originally hails from Bowie, Maryland. She attended Temple University where she received her B.A. in Film and Media Arts. After graduation, Johnson moved to Los Angeles where she cut her teeth in talent management, working at various companies including Anonymous Content. She transitioned to development at Gulfstream Pictures, helping shape a diverse slate of film and television projects across genres. She now serves as Crypt TV's EVP of Development and is a Co-Executive Producer on Peacock's THE GIRL IN THE WOODS. She's spoken at Los Angeles Comic Con, New York Comic Con, the American Film Market and RTX in Austin, TX. Collectively her projects have garnered over 200 million views across platforms.
A graduate of the University of Maryland and the University of Florida with a master’s degree in journalism, Dan Seco is currently a literary manager and partner at Empirical Evidence where he represents both writers and directors for film and television. Previously, Dan served as a literary manager at Schemers Entertainment (STRANGER THINGS; THE GREATEST SHOWMAN) and was a motion picture literary coordinator at Writ Large (SHIMMER LAKE) and an assistant for a motion picture literary agent at CAA. Prior to moving to Los Angeles, Seco worked as a sports journalist covering MLB, US Soccer, and the NBA, as well as a special education teacher in New Orleans.
Allie Watson is currently a Manager of Development on the Rooster Teeth Studios team where she focuses on scripted development and current series as well as podcast development and production. She has spent the past four years at Rooster Teeth helping to grow their studios business covering series including GEN:LOCK for HBO Max and podcasts including Ryan Condal & David Mandel's THE STUFF DREAMS ARE MADE OF. Originally from Texas, Watson spent five years in Los Angeles working in television development after graduating from The University of Texas in Austin. In that time, she worked on the drama development and programming team at FOX and before that, for Ellen Pompeo's production company Calamity Jane under their deal at ABC Studios.
Canadian producer and two-time Academy Award nominee Maria Gracia Turgeon co-founded Midi La Nuit with producer/director Annick Blanc. She has produced numerous short films including Brotherhood by Meryam Joobeur (92nd Oscar nominee, Best Canadian Short TIFF 2018, Sundance 2019), The Color of Your Lips by Annick Blanc (Canadian Screen Awards, Best Fantastic Short – Austin Fantastic Fest 2019), FAUVE by Jérémy Comte (91st Oscar nominee, Sundance Special Jury Award 2018, Telluride 2018), Marc-Antoine Lemire's PRE-DRINK (Best Canadian Short TIFF 2017), How Tommy Lemenchick Became a Grade 7 Legend by Bastien Alexandre (Tribeca 2018). Maria Gracia Turgeon has also line-produced short films such as François Jaros’ Oh What a Wonderfull Feeling (Cannes Critics' Week, TIFF, Slamdance), and Meryam Joobeur's Born in the Maelstrom starring Sasha Lane (American Honey).
Vidhya's journey is a classic, age old Hollywood story. Born in Nigeria. Moved to India at 12 where she lived alone in an apartment with no adult supervision till 18. Majored in Computer Engineering in college while running a franchise of an Italian restaurant with her brother. Then made the natural transition into writing TV comedy. She's worked with Imagine Entertainment, Disney TVA, Netflix Animation and Apple TV. She is currently writing on Season 4 of Hulu's 'Solar Opposites'. Oh and she's been profiled in Vogue!
Russell Kahn is an actor and producer born and bred in New York City. While in highschool, his first short film project as a producer premiered overseas at London's Raindance Film Festival. He has since held posts on both coasts at Hollywood's Creative Artist Agency, and currently serves as an executive at Scrap Paper Pictures - Emmy and Golden Globe winner Rachel Brosnahan's Amazon Studios first look deal. At Scrap Paper Pictures Russell has managed development and production of TV, Film, Theatre, and Podcast projects, including the Gracie Award winning and two-time WGA Award nominated Amazon Prime special, Yearly Departed. Russell is a co-founder of the indie multimedia storytelling hub, Voyeur, whose most recent short film, CHAPERONE, premiered at Sundance 2022 and was designated as a top title of the festival by Indiewire and Filmmaker Magazine. Voyeur's 2018 immersive performance installation ARCADE AMERIKANA enjoyed a sold out run, and was listed among New York's best immersive offerings by Time Out NY, Gotham, and Playbill. Other work by Voyeur has been celebrated at Tribeca Film Festival, Palm Springs Shortfest, Outfest, NewFest, Canadian International Fashion Film Festival, Seattle International Fashion Film Festival, and more.
WeScreenplay Shorts Virtual Lab
Five winners will be invited to a day of exclusive virtual meetings with industry professionals to talk about the most effective ways to move forward with their short film scripts.
During this one-day Virtual Shorts Lab, we’ll explore topics such as securing financing, getting talent and producers attached to your project, tips and tricks for making the most of the festival circuit, and how to balance practical needs with getting your passion project off the ground. The small group setting will allow you to ask questions of creators who have been through it and execs who are looking for short form content. Learn how to get the most mileage out of your short script!
Our top scripts are read by our incredible industry jury and competition winners get access to ongoing mentorship from WeScreenplay 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 next steps in their careers — all based on the writer’s specific goals.
The Top 25 Finalists will win 1:1 mentoring with Seed&Spark’s crowdfunding specialists!
We’re pleased to bring back our partnership with Seed&Spark, a crowdfunding platform with the lowest fees, the highest campaign success rate in the world (88%), and a track record of setting filmmakers on a path to success. Crowdfunding is not a stop-gap funding measure; it’s a tool in your professional arsenal to take control of your career.
Live webinar — CROWDFUNDING TO BUILD INDEPENDENCE with Seed&Spark
In addition to our FREE feedback, every entry comes with admission to a live webinar — CROWDFUNDING TO BUILD INDEPENDENCE with Seed&Spark, which will take place later in the year. Learn how to have a successful crowdfunding campaign…and career! You’ll learn how to find your audience, structure your crowdfunding campaign, pick the right goal and incentives, and more.
See what some of our past Lab Mentors and Lab Winners had to say!
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
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.
The writers had group meetings with executives, literary managers and other writers to learn more about the craft, industry to get a 360 educated learning experience of a professional screenwriting career. Each session had a mentor who would share their experience and area of expertise followed by a Q&A with the writers.
Check out more of our Writers’ Successes.
After placing as an Honorable Mention in the 2020 Shorts Contest, WeScreenplay connected Shaun & Jay with an Oscar-nominated short filmmaker and prepped them for meetings with reps. They've signed with one of the top agencies in Australia, and their short is now in pre-production!
“WeScreenplay has been instrumental in our career, their coverage was exactly what we needed to strengthen our resolve. Otherwise, we would still be fumbling around the intricacies of the industry, lost and without the tools required to bang down the door. Their dedication, support and insight is unique and something to celebrate. There is no doubt in our minds that without WeScreenplay we would not be in the exciting position we are. “
After placing in the 2019 WeScreenplay Shorts Contest and being encouraged to adapt the short into a feature script, Sam Thompson signed with a manager at AK Management.
“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.”
After winning the Fall 2020 Diverse Voices Competition, WeScreenplay set Junot up with numerous meetings with literary reps. After fielding multiple offers, he signed with manager Cameron Cubbison at Zero Gravity and agent Halle Mariner at APA!
“WeScreenplay gave me inspiration and encouragement. It just takes one person to believe in you to help you get a running start. WeScreenplay filled those shoes, and I’m grateful. The world is hungry for fresh news in the form of story, and you as the artist are their chosen messenger. Your story and voice are worth it. WeScreenplay treated us all with care, support, and insight. My first reader’s notes were the most helpful, actionable notes I’d ever received.”
After winning the Fall 2020 Diverse Voices Competition, WeScreenplay set up Elise with a general at UCP. Shortly after the Diverse Voices Lab, Elise got staffed on CANDY for UCP/ Hulu, starring Elisabeth Moss.
“Diverse Voices was an incredible experience, and one that I’m very happy to have had. Sarah Eagen and the staff at WeScreenplay put a lot of (very appreciated) work into creating a lab that would prepare us for the next step in our careers, while encouraging us and doing anything they could to help move us forward. Once you’re part of the WeScreenplay family, it feels like they are truly rooting for your success and do what they can to help you achieve it. “
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.
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!
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.