One script will receive $1,000 up front, plus a $1,000 upon completion of the final film. The final film is also guaranteed entry into and upcoming DC Shorts Film Festival.
(as of December 1, 2017)
Entry deadline is Monday, April 30, 2018 or until there are no more slots available. Because we provide the review committee’s comments, we are only able to review 200 screenplay entries.
When submitted through FilmFreeway.com
EARLY BIRD (by January 31, 2018) $50
REGULAR (by February 28, 2018) $60
EXTENDED (by April 30, 2018) $70
DC Shorts does not extend registration deadlines.
DC Shorts champions short filmmaking. One of the reasons we have been listed as a Moviemaker Magazine favorite year after year is because of our unique scoring and feedback system. EVERY screenplay reviewed by DC Shorts is analyzed by at least two reviewers whose evaluations are available for you to read after decisions are announced. This feedback is worth every penny of our entry fee. Because of this, we do not waiver fees for screenplay entries.
July 1, 2018
All writers will receive notice of acceptance or rejection via email, as well as a complete report with reviewers’ comments. If you do not receive this email by the notification date, please contact the office.
DC Shorts is proud to be one of a small number of festivals to provide feedback to ALL entrants. We also pride ourselves on our open judging process—we explain how it works before you enter, provide feedback after decisions have been made, and allow you the opportunity to call us for additional feedback and comments.
For the 2018 Competition, we expect to review 100 screenplays. Only 6 will be selected for the final round of live readings. The competition is very tough.
DC Shorts only reads scripts formatted in the generally accepted standard screenplay format. We highly suggest using a professional screenwriting program such as Final Draft, Screenwriter, or the free package, Celtx.
Scripts, submitted as PDFs, are stripped of their cover pages, and sent with 10-12 others to a local screenwriter or film director. Scripts submitted in a format other than a generally recognized industry standard are disqualified without refund.
Each script is read in its entirety and scored by each reader for strength of plot, originality, writing proficiency, ability to be produced on a budget of less than $10K, ability to be successfully read, performed, and understood by a live audience, and other values.
Readers are encouraged to leave a substantial comment (but not complete script coverage.)
The top 3 scripts from each reader are sent to the second round and reviewed by an additional reader and the festival director who may opt to make programming notes (but not additional scores.)
At the end of the second round, a final lineup is chosen based on scores and comments.
We try to include at least one script from a DC-area writer.
DC Shorts encourages writers to become an active part of the process. If you have questions, comments or need more clarification of the review process, please feel free to contact us.
InkTip: Where everyone goes for scripts and writers. Producers have made more than 200 films from scripts and writers they found through InkTip.
Winner of the Screenplay Competition will receive an InkTip Script Listing: A listing of your script on InkTip so that producers and reps can find you.
DC SHORTS SCREENWRITING COMPETITION
Please read this agreement carefully before you submit your film. By submitting your film, you expressly acknowledge and agree that you shall be bound by the terms of this agreement.
GUIDELINES FOR ALL SCRIPTS. (a) Screenplays must have been completed after January 1, 2017. (b) Scripts must not exceed 15 pages in length, excluding cover page. (c) All non-English language screenplays must be translated and submitted in English. (d) A separate entry form and additional entry fee must be submitted for each script.
ENTRY FORM AND PREVIEW MATERIALS FOR ALL SCREENPLAYS. All entry forms must be submitted and paid for through Filmfreeway.com. Illegible or incomplete entry forms will not be accepted. Entry forms that do not include full payment of entry fees by May 30, 2017 will not be considered.
Screenplays must be formatted in standard screenwriting style and exported as an Adobe Acrobat .PDF file and be uploaded with your online application. Incomplete applications, failure to include payment, or submitting materials we are unable to read will disqualify your entry. Submissions may not be withdrawn from the Festival once they have been entered, except at the sole discretion of the Festival directors. There are no refunds for entries with incomplete entry forms, or incorrectly formatted scripts.
REVIEW AND SELECTION PROCESS. DC Shorts will review scripts in their entirety. Scripts will be read and reviewed by members of the Selection Committee, a volunteer group of DC-area filmmakers, film enthusiasts and critics. Scripts are numerically scored, and in addition, each script might receive a short critique. After the final submission deadline, the Selection Committee will review the total scores of all the scripts in competition, and select final scripts from a group of the top scorers.
AWARD INFORMATION. Five to seven screenplays will be featured at the competition in September 2018 in which the screenwriters must attend, and cast a live reading of the script from a bank of actors and directors. DC Shorts will not pay for transportation costs to Washington, DC for the live competition, but does offer free guest housing, and various meals. The live readings will be performed in front of an audience who will vote on their favorite, and, along with the scores of the readers, will determine a competition winner. DC Shorts will present $1,000 to the winning screenwriter (awarded immediately at the reading), plus $1,000 if the film is completed and delivered to the DC Shorts offices by April 30, 2019. The film is also guaranteed to screen at the DC Shorts Film Festival 2019. The winning film must contain the final single card, on-screen credit “Produced in association with the DC Shorts Film Festival, dcshorts.com” The purpose of the competition and award money is to foster the creation and successful completion of an independent short film. All film/video shooting must take place after the award presentation. If it is discovered that principal photography was begun before the live reading, the screenplay will be disqualified from the competition. Restitution for associated expenses will be sought from the screenplay submitter. Prizes are subject to change, and updates to the prize package will be posted online at festival.dcshorts.com.
PRODUCER RIGHTS. DC Shorts retains the rights as a producer to act as a legal representative of the film to assist the writer with developing distribution and marketing deals with other film festivals. DC Shorts reserves the right to screen the final film based on the winning screenplay at DC Shorts sponsored events in perpetuity.
NOTIFICATION OF ADMISSION. Letters of Inclusion or non-inclusion, with a link to the reviewers’ comments, will be sent to the email address provided on the entry form. DC Shorts does not send physical mail — please ensure that your email address is accurate in your application.
COMMUNICATIONS. DC Shorts does not send physical mail — please make sure the email address in your entry form is accurate. Changes of email address can be sent to email@example.com. DC Shorts is not liable for emails delayed by spam filters, server rejections, outdated email addresses or any other technical or human error. DC Shorts staff can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mailing DC Shorts, 1317 F Street, NW, Suite 920, Washington, DC 20004 USA. The office phone number is 202-393-4266.
PUBLICITY AND MARKETING. All selected films and scripts may be excerpted for publicity purposes. DC Shorts reserves the right to promote any film or script to print, broadcast or internet media as required to market the Festival or our parent organization, the DC Film Alliance.
INTERNET BROADCAST. DC Shorts may make scripts performed at DC Shorts available for commercial internet broadcast and download. Writers participating in this venture will receive 50% of the profits (total revenues collected minus total expenses to produce and distribute the content) from the licensing for internet broadcast and download. This is an optional program in which the writer has the ability to opt-in on acceptance of the Participation Agreement, sent on inclusion into the festival.
CONTROLLING LAW, VENUE AND SEVERABILITY. This License shall be governed by the laws of the United States and the District of Columbia without consideration of conflicts of laws provisions and principles.. All claims between the parties, regardless of legal theory and whenever brought, shall be resolved in the state or federal courts of the District of Columbia, USA, and you stipulate that you expressly submit to the personal jurisdiction of such state and federal courts, and you further agree that any judgment may be entered in any court having jurisdiction thereof. If for any reason a court of competent jurisdiction finds any provision, or portion thereof, of this Agreement to be unenforceable, the remainder of this License shall continue in full force and effect.
COMPLETE AGREEMENT. This License constitutes the entire agreement between the parties with respect to the use of films and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous understandings regarding such subject matter. No amendment to or modification of this License will be binding unless in writing and signed by an authorized representative of DC Shorts Film Festival. Nothing in this Agreement constitutes a waiver of DC Shorts’ rights under the United States of America patent and copyright laws or any other Federal or State law, nor of any of DC Shorts’ rights under the rules or laws of any country, territory, republic, and/or province. DC Shorts reserves the right to remove a script from the festival program for any reason or for no reason and shall not be liable for any refund or claims of any kind arising out of such removal.