SmashCut Screenplay Competition

Taliesin Nexus is now accepting submissions for the inaugural 2018 season of the SmashCut Screenplay Competition.


We are currently accepting scripts (PDF format only) in two separate categories: Feature Film and Short Film/Series Pilot.

Feature Films
Must be an original screenplay or an adapted screenplay. It must be at least 65 pages in length and no longer than 120 pages.  You must be the author of the screenplay. You may submit a screenplay written by more than one person provided that you are one of the authors.  Screenplays longer than 120 may be rejected and not considered for any prize or analysis.

Short Film / Series Pilot
Both short films and series pilots share that same category.  Short film screenplays must not be any longer than 30 pages but can be as short as one page.  Series pilots scripts must be at least 20 pages and no more than 65 pages in length. Series pilots must be original – NO spec scripts.  You must be the author of the script. You may submit a script written by more than one person provided that you are one of the authors.


All submissions must be sent through FilmFreeway 

SmashCut Screenplay Competition proudly accepts entries via,
the world’s best online submission platform. FilmFreeway is the exclusive place to submit!



The final round judging panel is made up of a few of the industries most dynamic players.

Bill co-wrote the romantic time-travel thriller DEJA VU, which holds the record for the highest-priced spec screenplay of all time after selling to producer Jerry Bruckheimer and Touchstone Pictures for $5 million. Starring Denzel Washington, Paula Patton, Val Kilmer and Jim Caviezel, the movie opened Thanksgiving 2006 and went on to gross over $180 million worldwide. Soon after, Bill sold 20,000 LEAGUES UNDER THE SEA: CAPTAIN NEMO to Walt Disney Pictures, and with his DEJA VU partner Terry Rossio sold their space adventure LIGHTSPEED to Bruckheimer/Disney as well. Bill is currently adapting the sci-fi comic SEBASTIAN X for producer Gale Anne Hurd and director Martin Campbell, and has just sold an original project, COLD, to Lionsgate with Reese Witherspoon attached to star and produce.

Sara Anne Fox is a former development executive and producer with over 40 years in the film industry. Sara played a vital role in the conception and development of over 25 screenplays, three published novels and three produced films: MY FAVORITE YEAR, NOSFERATU and the Oscar winning film QUEST FOR FIRE. For over 20 years, she has used her skills as a writing coach and story editor with screenwriters and novelists to strengthen character development, clarify motivation and improve story structure and plot.

Craig currently is co-executive producer on Marvel’s AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D on ABC television. As a screenwriter, Craig wrote PERCY JACKSON & THE OLYMPIANS: THE LIGHTENING THIEF, CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN starring Steve Martin, and wrote for the tv series STAR WARS: THE CLONE WARS.


• First 100 submissions will receive feedback!

No matter what, the first 100 scripts submitted will receive feedback on their work. You will receive basic analysis of what worked and what didn’t work by one of the Taliesin Nexus screenwriting selection committee members.

• Feature Film winning screenwriter receives a $2500 12-week paid Odysseus fellowship.

The winning feature film writer will be awarded the Odysseus Fellowship and be paired up with an industry veteran screenwriter for 12 weeks to write a new full length treatment, outline or screenplay.  The fellow will be paid a $2500 stipend in bi-weekly installments over the course the 12 week fellowship. Once a screenplay has been written, it will be sent to various literary managers in our network for consideration. The winning screenplay will also receive an in-depth analysis from an industry veteran screenwriter and filmmaker.

• Feature Film winner will receive a complete script analysis in-person (or by video chat) from screenwriter and script consultant Paul Guay.

Paul Guay’s movies have grossed over half a billion dollars. He conceived and co-wrote the Jim Carrey starrer LIAR, LIAR, at the time of its release the sixth highest-grossing comedy in history.  The screenplay received an Honorable Mention in the Scr(i)pt magazine’s list of the Best Scripts of the Past 10 years.  Paul also co-wrote the beloved children’s film THE LITTLE RASCALS and the romantic comedy/con-women caper HEARTBREAKERS, starring Sigourney Weaver, Jennifer Love Hewitt, Gene Hackman and Jason Lee.  Paul is an associate professor of screenwriting and a sought-after script consultant:

• Short Film/Series Pilot winning writer receives an automatic invite into the SmashCut Film Lab as a writer, and a $500 cash prize.

The winner will be invited to participate in the SmashCut Film Lab. Our flagship program that grants a $10,000 budget toward the production of a short film or series pilot.  You will be paired with an industry mentor and embark on a 100 day development of a new short film or series idea. (The winning script will not be produced in the film lab, due to the nature of how the program works. Read all about the film lab here.)

• Both winners will receive an automatic invite to Apollo: Storytelling in Film & Television Workshop.

All winners are invited to attend our weekend workshop in Los Angeles, Apollo: Storytelling in Film & Television Workshop.  Spend a weekend with industry professionals breaking your ideas and concepts, learning how to pitch, and fleshing out the stories you are working on.  Screenwriters, producers, directors and executives are all on hand to share with you real time information about what is going on Hollywood, and sit down with you to talk over your stories. You end the weekend learning more about the TN network and hearing from literary and talent managers on how to get, work with, and keep representation.

• Both winners will be invited to the SmashCut CineFest Los Angeles premier and introduced as the winners of the SmashCut Screenplay Competition and handed an award.


All submissions must be sent through FilmFreeway 

Deadlines and Submissions Fees:
Feature Film
• Early Bird deadline – $45 (ends February 15)
• Regular deadline  – $55 (February 16 – April 30)
• 11th Hour deadline – $65 (May 1 – May 31)

Short Film/Series Pilot
• Early Bird deadline – $25 (ends February 15)
• Regular deadline – $35 (February 16 – April 30)
• 11th Hour deadline – $45 (May 1 – May 31)


• All submission must be made digitally through the FilmFreeway website. Emailed copies, hard copies sent by mail or private parcel carriers. and/or by any other means outside of FilmFreeway will not be accepted.
•By submitting your work to this competition, all submitters agree to the rules and terms outlined here.
• All ages are eligible, however certain prizes may be restricted due to legal age requirement of certain programs.
• All submissions must have been written originally in english. (No translations accepted.)
• Feature films scripts must be between 65-120 pages
• Series pilot scripts must be between 25-65 pages
• Short film scripts must not be any longer than 30 pages.
• All scripts must be submitted in PDF format. (.fdr, .doc, .docx, .cltx, etc. will not be considered.)
• You may submit more than script, but you will need to pay an additional submission fee for each additional script.
• You may not substitute a “newer” draft of your script once it is submitted. Repeat submissions of the same script will not be considered nor will the submissions fee be refunded.
• If a submitted script becomes optioned, produced or purchased between the time of submission and the announcement of the winner, that script will no longer be eligible to win.
• All participants acknowledge that no offer or contract is being made to the author (optioned, produced, purchase etc.) of the submitted work for anything other than consideration of the terms of the competition as outlined above. Taliesin Nexus reserves the right to rescind any of the prizes, offers, invitations, etc., for any reason without warning.



Each submission will be read by a member our selection committee and those moving to the next round will be notified no later than June 30, 2018.  The first 100 submissions will receive their feedback based on the following schedule.

Early Bird – by March 1, 2018
Regular – by May 15, 2018
11th Hour – by June 30, 2018


The top submissions will be evaluated by our executive selection committee, who will then select the top 5 finalists of each category (feature film and short film/series pilot) to move on to the final round.  Finalists will be notified on September 15, 2018.


The finalist scripts will be read by a three-judge panel with the winners being announced on Thanksgiving 2018.