Academy Accepting Entries For Nicholl Screenwriting Fellowships

Beverly Hills, CA – The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is now accepting entries for the 2012 Don and Gee Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting competition. As many as five $35,000 fellowships will be awarded through the program in November.

The Nicholl Fellowships competition is open to any individual who has not earned more than $5,000 from the sale or option of a screenplay or teleplay, or received a fellowship or prize of more than $5,000 that includes a “first look” clause, an option or any other quid pro quo involving the writer’s work. To enter, writers must submit a completed application online, upload one PDF copy of their original screenplay in English and pay the entry fee before 11:59 p.m. PT on May 1, 2012. The regular entry fee is US$52; an early-bird entry fee of US$35 is available for those who enter by 11:59 p.m. PT on March 15, 2012.

Online applications, rules and other details are available at

  1. I’m unsure about entering. I heard rumors Nicholl was fixed. They only want LA writers. What’s the 411 about the contest? I’ll decide if I’ll based on guys comments.

    1. I made it past to the Quarterfinal round, and I was out of Florida, and one of my mentors who made it to the finals was out of Indiana. It may or may not favor LA writers, but it’s definitely worth a shot. Ultimately, anyone with a strong, solid script has a chance.. although they do favor certain styles over others.

        1. They favor dramas.

          No matter how great, don’t bother with a raunchy comedy.

          Nicholls is one of the most legitimate competitions to enter if you’re an aspiring screenwriter. YOU WILL be going to a lot of meetings if you make the quarterfinals. Winners all sign with TOP agencies: Gersh, CAA, ICM…

          Another reason why most winners are from LA is because LA writers are more likely to know what to do to give themselves a better chance to win. They usually have a mentor and friends in the industry giving them notes on their script. Best thing to do is have someone who has succeeded in the Nicholl’s help you with your script.

          What is it now $40? It’s worth it. I’ve entered the past 4 years.

          By the way, scripts do get read thoroughly… IF THEY’RE GOOD. If you were a reader and the first 25-30 pages are beyond awful, would you continue to read?

    2. It’s not rigged. The reason why so many winners are from Los Angeles is that a majority of people who are really serious about screenwriting — not just as a hobby — move to LA. Also, it’s pretty obvious that the Nicholl is not a money-making operation, so the theory they don’t want to pay for hotels or whatever is just silly. Bitter grapes from those who think they are better writers than they are. You should enter. I have nothing to do with the contest — placed in the Quarterfinals a few years ago, and now write professionally. It’s amazing how much you learn just being around the industry, in LA.

    3. Don’t be silly… If LA-based writers seem over-represented in the winners list, it’s because a lot of scribes truly dedicated to their craft take the plunge and move here.

      You can succeed from anywhere… but you most certainly won’t if you don’t even try!

      All power to you.

    4. All entries in the Nicholl competition are read blind – no names, no addresses, no phone numbers, etc. on the title page – so it’s impossible for readers to know where an entrant lives.

      Last year’s five Nicholl-winning scripts were set in Miami and Rwanda; India; Laos; Iraq; and the Baltimore/D.C. area.

      The seven writers (there were two collaborative teams) were:

      Born in England, moved to LA for film school;
      Living in Oklahoma;
      Born in Sudan, raised in Australia, moved to LA for film school;
      Born in England, moved to LA for film school;
      Born in Santa Ana, CA, raised in Fresno (the son of Hmong refugees);
      Born and raised in Fresno (also the son of Hmong refugees);
      Raised in Texas, moved to LA to work in film.

      Last year the ten finalist script genres were: comedy; romantic comedy; drama; war drama; historical sports drama; drama thriller; supernatural drama; horror; and two supernatural thrillers.

      The instructions to Nicholl readers are to read the screenplays. In 2012, all entries will be read at least twice in the first round.

  2. Any aspiring writer who could use a push should be entering the top contests: Nicholl, Austin, trackingb, Page, Bluecat, etc… Only good can come of it.

  3. Did you find that being a quarter finalist got your script any attention elsewhere? I heard sometimes even making it past the first round is enough to get some heat behind your name

  4. Do the judges actually read the entire script? I get annoyed when I pay for contests and feedback and it’s painfully obviously they only read 30 pages or so. (If a script is bad, it’s bad but at least read through the whole thing to judge it fairly.)

    1. what’s not fair about being given 30 pages? if you can entertain in the last act you should be able to entertain in the first

  5. I guess my gripe is with some contests in general. For instance, i placed in the quarterfinals of a reputable contest and even paid extra for a critique but it was painfully obvious that the whole script was not read. I’m just curious how thorough Nicholl judges are as I know that the contest is as legitimate as it gets.

  6. Other than this competition what are best screenwriting competitions – or fellowships where they actually help you polish your script.

    Huge thanks

  7. Don’t count on competitions to give you good feedback for polishes, etc. The readers for the competitions often get paid for each script they read and they go through tens/hundreds of them. Plus from what I’ve been told they mostly skim unless it really draws in their attention, so you won’t get the in depth feedback you need.

    Find someone who you can trust will give you honest feedback (preferably someone with a writing background).

  8. I wanted to ask everyone when u do competitions do you think you should copyright your script before you send it off? Do you think it’s important to do that?

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