ABOUT THE HWC
The Harvardwood Writers Competition (HWC) was founded in 2006 with the aim of recognizing superior work by Harvard writers and giving these talented individuals the opportunity to gain industry exposure. View the list of past HWC winners (2021 winners pictured below).
The HWC features three categories:
Feature screenplays (90-120 pages, all genres)
Television pilots (half-hour and one-hour, all genres)
Shorts (30 pages maximum, all genres)
In recent years, participants in the Harvardwood Writers Program and Competition have seen unprecedented success, with pilot sales to ABC, the CW, Disney+, Jim Henson Company, Netflix, Showtime, Sony,, Syfy, and TV Land, in addition to blind script deals at ABC Studios and Warner Bros. Harvardwood writers have been staffed on over two dozen shows, and recent shows include: Almost Paradise (WGN), American Dad (Fox), Animaniacs (Hulu), Awkwafina is Nora From Queens (Comedy Central), Billions (Showtime), Bridgerton (Netflix), DC's Legends of Tomorrow (CW), Emergence (ABC), Family Guy (FOX), Fear the Walking Dead (AMC), The Flash (CW), Future Man (Hulu), The Goldbergs (ABC), Gotham (Fox), Grey's Anatomy (ABC), The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu), Homeland (Showtime), How To Get Away With Murder (ABC), In The Dark (CW), Jane the Virgin (CW), Manhunt: Deadly Games (CBS), Marvel’s Runaways (Hulu), Power (Starz), Queen Sugar (OWN),The Resident (FOX), Shadowhunters (Freeform), and The Society (Netflix). Among our feature film writers, successes include writing for: Marvel Films, Circle of Confusion, Electric Entertainment, and Netflix.
Participants have secured representation at Apostle, Benderspink, Brant Rose Agency, Brillstein Entertainment Partners, CAA, Circle of Confusion, Echo Lake, Gersh, ICM, Madhouse Entertainment, Management 360, Mosaic, Original Artists, UTA, WME, and others.
Industry professionals, with support from the Harvardwood Board of Directors, evaluate all scripts entered to determine the winner and runner up from each category. Results are announced on a rolling basis, strategically, in line with industry trends. HWC judges are working executives and creatives (51% women, 49% men) with experience across various fields of entertainment.
HWC submitters can opt to receive judging comments and feedback for each script submitted. All comments and feedback are given by Harvardwood-vetted, working TV and feature writers, e.g., writers who have sold/optioned scripts, are staffed, whose scripts have been produced. The notes are aimed to illuminate judges' reactions to your script (beyond the numerical average of your scores received by semi-finalists and finalists) and may be useful to you for future rewrites.
Winning scripts will be read by an array of industry professionals, including literary managers, agents, and development professionals. All winners will receive a mentor and a small cash award, in addition to waived program fees for the subsequent program.
Only Full Members of Harvardwood are eligible for the competition (Friends of Harvardwood are ineligible). To become a Full member, non-members can register here.
Submissions for the contest must be received in PDF format. Full payment must also be received by the end of that month. Under no circumstances will materials received later be considered.
Neither the applicant's name nor any other identifying information should appear on the title page or any other page of the script — this information should only be included on the entry form.
Applicants must agree to the terms and conditions of the Harvardwood Writers Competition Release Form.
The entry fee per script will be:
- Early bird: $25
- Regular: $35
If you'd like to receive reader feedback and notes, the additional fees (inclusive of the submission fee) are as follows:
- Short or half-hour pilot: $100
- One-hour pilot: $115
- Feature: $130
Your script must have an anonymous cover sheet in the following format:
Title (if a Pilot, then Title of Show)
"Episode Title" (only applicable for TV Pilots)
Genre: [horror, comedy, drama, suspense, one-hour drama, half-hour comedy, etc.]
Short Logline: [yours here]
State on your cover sheet: "Submitted for evaluation in advance of the Harvardwood Writers Competition and Harvardwood's Most Staffable Writers list. If you have further questions or would like to contact the writer, please email Justin White at [email protected]"
Each individual may submit no more than TWO SCRIPTS per category.* Repeat entries are allowed, only if the script has been rewritten since it was entered in a previous contest. But we would encourage writers to focus on completing new work.
*Exception to above: Writers who completed two HWP Original TV Pilot modules during Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 may submit an additional script for Most Staffable TV Writers list consideration only. You should submit what you believe is your top script for the Competition (which will also include consideration for the Most Staffable List), and you may submit another eligible script for Most Staffable List consideration only.
All genres are permitted. Scripts should be submitted in PDF format using standard script margins and conventions, and body pages must be numbered. Submissions must be in English.
Submissions must be the original work of the contestant(s), although they may be based on a true story (historical or contemporary) or on other fictional or nonfictional material; if this is the case, please indicate as such on the title page of the script. Entries may also be adapted from the contestant's (or contestants') original work, which should also be noted on the title page.
Collaborative work, undertaken by no more than two writers, is eligible, provided that at least one writing partner is a dues-current Full Member of Harvardwood. Only one entry fee is required per script. Writing partners selected as winners will divide the prize equally.
Entered scripts may not have been previously optioned, sold, or produced (in the case of shorts, non-equity readings/productions will not be deemed to disqualify work from entry). Scripts must be the original work of the author(s), 18 years of age or older. No substitutions of new drafts or corrected pages for script entries will be accepted under any circumstances.
Paid employees of Harvardwood and their immediate families are ineligible, as are competition judges and their immediate families. Harvardwood recommends registering your scripts with the WGA and/or copyrighting your material with the Library of Congress before submission.
THE SUBMISSION PERIOD FOR THE CURRENT HWC HAS ENDED.
If you have any questions about the Writers Competition, please email us.