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Harvardwood Writers Competition

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 full list of past HWC winners below

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

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.

2023 Winners of the 
HARVARDWOOD WRITERS COMPETITION

What is a MOST STAFFABLE WRITER?
Warner James Wood was awarded the additional honor of "Most Staffable Writer" because his 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), 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.

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

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.

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)

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