Screenwriting Competition FAQ

Can you tell me a little about the competition?

Sure! Founded in 1969 as the Sinking Creek Film Festival, the Nashville Film Festival (NashFilm) is one of the longest-running film festivals in the country and one of the most acclaimed festivals in the South. For years, film-goers and filmmakers alike have come to experience the big city festival atmosphere and the laid-back Southern hospitality here in Music City. In the last few years, NashFilm has expanded to include several new competitions, including an Episodic Competition, Song Competition, and the reason you clicked on this page…. The Screenwriting Competition!

The Screenwriting Competition is entering its 5th year and has been met with great enthusiasm by our festival-goers and emerging screenwriters. Last year, we received over 1350 entries and awarded nearly $50,000 worth of awards and prizes, and got to know some amazing screenwriters from all over the world. We’re positive that with your help, the 2018 Screenwriting Competition will be our best one yet!


What are the deadlines?

June 1 – Competition Opens

July 28 – Earlybird Deadline

Sept 29 – Regular Deadline

Dec 1 – Late Deadline

Jan 12 – Extended Deadline

Prices vary by category and deadline. The earlier you submit, the lower the submission cost.


What are the suggested lengths for scripts?

Feature: 40-130 pages (although, we suggest keeping it between 80-130)

Short: 40 pages or fewer

60 min. Teleplay: 45-65 pages

30 min. Teleplay: 30 or fewer pages


What are the categories?

There are 18 total categories, separated into Features, Shorts, and Teleplays. You may submit your script to as many categories as you seem fitting (although, you’ll need to pay an entry fee for each one).

Features Categories:

  • Action/Adventure
  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Family/Animation
  • Historical
  • Inspirational
  • Music-Inspired
  • Science Fiction
  • Tennessee
  • Thriller/Horror

Shorts Categories:

  • Comedy
  • Drama
  • Thriller
  • Tennessee
  • Young Screenwriter
  • Genre Short (Action/Adventure, Family, Animation, Historical, Inspirational, Music-Inspired, Science Fiction)


  • 30-minute Pilot
  • 60-minute Pilot


What are the prizes?


  • Grand Jury Prize of $2,000
  • Drama winner – $500
  • Comedy winner – $500
  • Other categories – $250


  • Grand Jury Prize – $1,000
  • Category winners- $250


  • Category winners – $250

Every Semi-finalist gets ONE Silver laminate valued at $250.

Every Finalist gets TWO Gold laminates valued at $399 each.


How many Semi-Finalists, Finalists, and Winners will be awarded?

For Comedy Features, Comedy Shorts, Drama Features, Drama Shorts, and Teleplays:

  • 15 Semi-Finalists
  • 3 Finalists
  • Winner

For all other categories, each:

  • 10 Semi-Finalists
  • 3 Finalists
  • Winner

For categories receiving under 15 entries, only Finalists will be named.


When are Semi-Finalists, Finalists and Winners announced?

The Semi-Finalists and Finalists are scheduled to be announced by late March 2018.Winners will be announced during the Awards Ceremony at the festival in May 2018.


Do you accept scripts for existing TV shows?

No, we do not accept Spec Scripts at this time.


What if I submitted the wrong draft of my script or it included my name on it?

Email the correct copy to robin[at] Everything from that point forward will use the updated version. Any scoring already complete will remain the same, based on the original submission. For more information on how to format your submission, please see the Official Rules.


May I submit to multiple categories?

You sure can! You will need to pay an entry fee for each category, but may enter as many categories as you deem appropriate for your script.


Can I submit a revised copy of a script that I submitted a previous year?

Yep, go ahead!


Can I get a refund?

NashFilm does not give refunds or waivers. All submissions are final.


What if my script has been optioned?

NashFilm only accepts screenplays and teleplays that have not been sold and are not currently under option prior to May 10th, 2018. (Congratulations, though!)


What qualifies a script for the TN category?

The writer must have been born in Tennessee, or currently reside in Tennessee. The entrant is responsible for the authenticity of this claim and any inquiry regarding that authenticity. You may be asked to provide proof of residence at any point during the duration of the contest.


Do you accept adaptations?

Absolutely. Permission to adapt an original work must be submitted as the first page in the screenplay PDF.


Who will be reading my script?

The first two rounds will be reviewed by trained readers carefully chosen by the festival staff. After being selected, every reader is required to go through training provided by the festival in order to begin judging. In later rounds, each script is reviewed by industry professionals. The Finalist Jury consists of high-level industry professionals including professional screenwriters, literary agents, managers, and production companies. Select winning scripts will also be offered to additional high-level professionals upon completion of the festival.


Do I need to get my script copyrighted in order to enter?

Although we do not require you to copyright your material, we strongly suggest you do so upon completion of your screenplay. We recommend registering your screenplay with both the Writers Guild of America and the US Copyright Office.


Anything else I need to know?

We hope you’ll share your scripts with us here in Nashville! If you think of any more questions, email Robin Robinson (Programming Coordinator) at Robin[at] Best of luck!