top of page

Harvardwood Writers Competition

The Harvardwood Writers Competition (HWC) was founded in 2006

to recognize superior work by Harvard writers and to give talented individuals

the opportunity to gain industry exposure. 

 

View the full list of past HWC winners below.

Read the 2024 Deadline announcement here.

HWC Winners 2024.png
All submission instructions for the Harvardwood Writers Competition are below. 

Winners of the 
2024 HARVARDWOOD WRITERS COMPETITION

What is a MOST STAFFABLE WRITER?
David and Jamie Holt Aguilar-Rodríguez were awarded the additional honor of

"Most Staffable Writer" because their outstanding TV pilot was incubated in

the Harvardwood Writers Program.

HWC SUCCESSES

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), THE SOCIETY(Netflix), and WANDAVISION (Disney+). Among our feature film writers, successes include writing for: Marvel Studios, 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.

Previous HWC winners and Most Staffable List writers have been covered by Deadline. 

Submission instructions for the 2024 Harvardwood Writers Competition

The HWC features three categories:

  • Feature screenplays (90-120 pages, all genres)

  • Television pilots (half-hour and one-hour, all genres)

  • One-Act play* (40 pages maximum)

*Plays must be in stage play format. The competition no longer accepts short films.

In addition, writers who have participated in the HWP - TV Modules during the preceding fall and spring semesters are eligible for the annual Harvardwood Most Staffable TV Writers list.

PROCEDURE

A review committee, with support from the Harvardwood Board of Directors, will evaluate all scripts entered to determine the winner and runner-up (if applicable) from each category. Results are announced on a rolling basis, strategically, in line with industry trends. HWC judges are working executives and creatives, with a balance of gender, race and other diversity and experience across various fields of entertainment. 

HWC submitters can opt to receive judging comments and feedback for each script submitted. 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 a qualified review committee. All winners will receive a mentor and a small cash award.


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.

Previous HWC winners and Most Staffable List writers have been covered by Deadline

RULES

Only Full Members of Harvardwood are eligible for the competition (Friends of Harvardwood are ineligible).

To become a Full member, non-members can register by clicking here.

Submissions for the contest must be received in PDF format by the submission deadline. Full payment must also be received by the submission deadline.

 

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 fees per script will be:

  • Early bird deadline - September 30: $45

  • Official deadline - October 31: $55

  • Late deadline - November 14: $75

If you'd like to receive reader feedback and notes, the additional fees (exclusive of the submission fee) are as follows:

  • Half-hour pilot and One-Act play: $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 admin@harvardwood.org."
 

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. 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 plays, non-equity readings/productions will not 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.

MOST STAFFABLE LIST

IMPORTANT NOTE: Only Full Members are eligible for the Most Staffable List (Friends of Harvardwood are ineligible), regardless of where you participated in the HWP — TV Modules Program.

To become a Full member, non-members can register by clicking here.

Within the Harvardwood Writers Competition, the top scripts from the HWP — TV Modules program may be selected for Harvardwood's Most Staffable TV Writers list and sent to managers, agents, networks, studios, and production companies. Each of the selected writers may also be paired with an industry mentor.

The Most Staffable List is part of the annual Harvardwood Writers Competition, but only writers of original pilots from the previous year's TV Modules program will be eligible for consideration. Writers who complete only a spec script during the Program will not be eligible for the Most Staffable List.

Writers who participated in the HWP — TV Modules in the immediately preceding fall and/or spring term(s) should review the rules and terms of eligibility below.

View list of past Most Staffable TV Writers

TERMS, CONDITIONS, AND RULES
  • After the Harvardwood Writers Competition judging is complete, the top submitted original television pilot scripts that were written in an HWP — Jeff Sagansky LA TV Intensive Module will be placed on Harvardwood's Most Staffable TV Writers list.

  • Scripts must be original pilots (spec scripts are not eligible).

  • Scripts must have been written in an official HWP TV module during the immediately preceding fall/spring semesters.

Material:

Material submitted for the Most Staffable List must be original material (never submitted for competitions and the like, and be new to the industry), and must be created, significantly rewritten, and/or improved in the course of the module. If you have questions about these requirements, please discuss them with the Program Director and your module leader.

To be eligible, you must

  1. Be a Full Member of Harvardwood

  2. Miss no more than two module sessions (and even then, only with prior notice from your module leader)

  3.  Complete and submit your material consistently

  4. Actively workshop your material and participate in discussions regarding other participants’ material.

If You Completed More Than One Module:

  • If you completed more than one official HWP original pilot module in the preceding fall and spring terms, you may submit those additional scripts for Most Staffable List consideration.

  • Please note that you still may only submit ONE script for the Competition itself (which automatically includes consideration for the Most Staffable List).

Deadline:

Same as the Harvardwood Writers Competition

Submission:

Original TV Pilot scripts submitted to the Competition will automatically be eligible for the Most Staffable List.

Cover Sheet:

Your pilot must have an anonymous cover sheet in the following format:

Show Title

"Episode Title" (if applicable)

Genre: [one-hour drama, half-hour comedy, etc.]

Short Logline: [yours here]

State on your cover sheet: "Submitted for evaluation in advance of Harvardwood's Most Staffable TV Writers list. If you have further questions or would like to contact the writer, please email admin@harvardwood.org."

Membership & Fees:

You must be a current Full Member of Harvardwood and have paid your $100 program fee for the immediately preceding fall and/or spring module(s).

Results will be announced in the Spring (depending on judges' schedules). The number of writers selected will be based upon final script scores. The number of writers selected will vary from year to year.

Past HWC Winners

2023

Deadline announcement

FEATURE Winners:

  • EMERY & ELLSWORTH MAKE A PICTURE by Madi Stine (adventure)

  • SHORT TIME by Anthony Zonfrelli (drama)

TV Winner:

  • FUCKBOI by Warner James Wood (one-hour drama)

HARVARDWOOD’S MOST STAFFABLE WRITER: 

  • FUCKBOI by Warner James Wood

 

2022

Deadline announcement

FEATURE Winner: 

  • RIVER KINGS by Penn Javdan*

FEATURE Runner Up:

  • GOLDEN OPPORTUNITY by Carolina Brettler* (drama)

SHORTS Winner:

  • [OUTPUT] by Connor Riordan (drama)

TV Winners: 

  • MELLOW DRAMA by Eric Cheng (comedy)

  • OLIGARCHS by Deborah Cincotta (drama)

HARVARDWOOD’S MOST STAFFABLE WRITERS: 

  • MELLOW DRAMA by Eric Cheng (comedy)
    OLIGARCHS by Deborah Cincotta (drama)

2021

Deadline announcement

FEATURE Winner: 

  • CHERRY HILL BLUES by Shay Ball

SHORTS Winner:

  • THE BURDEN OF JAMIE MILNER by Ty Turley

TV Winners: 

  • GAS N’ SHOP by Rupak Ginn and Amar Shah

  • SHROOMS by Min-Woo Park

TV Runner-Up: 

  • BOONE by Katherine Hart

HARVARDWOOD’S MOST STAFFABLE WRITER: 

  • LOST CAUSE  by Jared Lopez

2018

FEATURES Winner:

  • STARDUST by Daniel Rogers

FEATURES Runner-Ups:

  • OVER IT by Joy Goodwin​

  • GREAT BIG LOVE by Samuel Johnson

  • THE CELEBRITY by Virginia Marcus

  • THE PERFORMER by Nandana Sen

TV Winner:

  • BEYOND THE CALL by Ryan Slattery-Martinez

TV Runner-Up:

  • SCOUT'S HONOR by Nora Sagal and Henry Johnson 

SHORTS Winner:

  • JUNIOR HIGH by Kimiko Matsuda-Lawrence​

2017

Deadline announcement

TV Winners:

  • DIRTY BUSINESS by Alison McKenzie (One-Hour Drama)

  • BRANCHING OUT by Katie O'Hanlon (Half-Hour Comedy)

SHORTS Winners:

  • BARDO (Animated Short) by Myles McDonough 

  • CITY OF ANGELS (Sketch Comedy) by Justin Monticello

2016

Deadline announcement 

FEATURE Winner:

  • HESSE  by Jill Bayor (Drama)

FEATURE Runner-up: 

  • THE GROVE  by Richard Nguyen (Drama)

TV Winner:

  • CHARGER by Garrett Schabb (One-hour Drama)

TV Runner-up: 

  • POWER HOUSE by Nicholas Nardini & Jess Brownell (One-hour Drama)

SHORTS Winner:

  • PANDAS! by Samuel Johnson (Animated Short)

2015

FEATURE Winner:

  • RAIN TO MAKE A RIVER by Meredith Bagby (Drama)

FEATURE Runner-up: 

  • BY MY EYES by Dustin Stevens (Drama)

TV Winner:

  • HEAT by Todd Bartels (One-hour Drama)

TV Runner-Up: 

  • SERUM by Alison McKenzie (One-hour Drama)

SHORTS Winner:

  • TWIN STUDY  by Alex Lee (Short Adaptation)

2014

Deadline announcement

FEATURE Winner:

  • PLEASE DON'T DIE, ROGER BERMAN by Ryan P. Shrime ( Dramedy)

FEATURE Runner-up: 

  • WEREWOLVES OF NEW LONDON by Peter Limm (Horror-Comedy)

TV Winner:

  • LULLABY  by Nick Baker (One-hour Crime Thriller)

TV Runner-up: 

  • THE UNDERGROUND by Joy Goodwin (One-hour Drama)

SHORTS Winner:

  • BLANCHIN' JIMMIES by Mustapha Khan

 

2013

Deadline announcement

FEATURE Winner: 

  • THE RACE FOR TELEVISION by Nicholas Paleologos (Biopic)

TV Winners:

  • BAGHDAD by Anna Fishko (One-Hour Drama)

  • YEAR OF THE TIGET  by Kathleen Chen & William Brian Polk (Half-Hour Comedy)

ONE-ACT PLAY Winner:

  • WIN WIN by Paul D'Andrea (Comedy)

2012

FEATURE Winner:

  • A SITUATION  by Sean Presant (Comedy)

FEATURE Runner-up: 

  • TREASURE ROAD by Lauri Donahue (Action/Adventure)

TV Winner:

  • SECOND ACTS by Dorothy Fortenberry (Half-Hour Comedy) 

TV Runner-up:

  • BLOOD MONEYby Rory Kozoll (Drama) 

ONE-ACT PLAY Winner:

  •  THE ORPHANS OF PANEL 516  by Ryan Slattery (Drama)

2010

FEATURE Winner:

  • ONLY WAY OUT by Richard Arthur

FEATURE Runner-up:

  • THE FURIES by Alex Schemmer

TV Winner:

  • MENTAL CASE by Sean Presant

TV Runner-up:

  • BLOODACRE CANYON by Leonard Chang

ONE-ACT PLAY Winner:

  • ($350) 3/5s by Alex Burger

ONE-ACT PLAY Runner-up:

  • HONEY, THE DOG IS DEAD by Samuel Chalsen

2010 FEATURE SCREENPLAY SHOWCASE
  • HERALD by James Granger (Sci-Fi)

  • TECH SUPPORT by Justin Monticello (Comedy)

  • I LOVE YOU MORE  by Cameron Porsandeh (Comedy)

  • LOVE FOR LEASE  by Mark Wooster (Comedy)

bottom of page