The Del Shores Foundation Writers Search aims to elevate and expose the unknown voices of LGBTQ+ writers in the Southern United States. Our goal is to celebrate specifically queer voices telling whatever stories they have to tell. This Writers Search is open to writers of stage plays, screenplays, short films and web series who currently live in the South and who identify as LGBTQ+.

The Del Shores Foundation is a 501c3 non-profit with a mission to find and facilitate the development of new southern queer artistic voices through bringing together artists and working professionals, amplifying new work and connecting artists to platforms for the creation of the work.

Del Shores is an openly gay and award-winning writer, director and producer originally from Texas. He has created successfully across studio and independent film, network and cable television and live theatre. His eight plays have led to five film adaptations and his southern, gay franchise Sordid Lives began as a play in 1996 and spawned a cult-hit film in 2000, a LOGO TV series in 2008 and a marriage equality-themed sequel in 2017.


In 2022, we presented the first Del Shores Foundation Writers Festival in Dallas at the Trinity River Arts Center with Winners and Finalists in all categories sponsored to attend. The weekend included private workshops for the writers with industry professionals, public panels and stage readings of all three winning scripts. In 2024, we presented the DSF Writers Festival in Atlanta.
See information on the Festival here:

CASH AWARDS will be given to a single winner in each category:
Short Film/Web Series – $1,000 Award
Screenwriting – $3,000 Award
Playwriting – $3,000 Award
All category Finalists – $250
All category Semifinalists – $100

- If a Del Shores Foundation Writing Festival is presented in 2025, the winning script in each category may receive a staged, public reading at the festival.
- Semifinalists and Finalists may be announced in advance of the winners at a date to be determined.

- Grants will be made available associated with each category to promote the development of each winner.
- Short Film/Web Series – a grant of $2,000 to the production budget of the winner if produced within one year of winning the award.
- Screenwriting – travel and accommodations provided to the winner for a three-day trip to Los Angeles to meet with production companies.
- Playwriting – a $10,000 grant to the production budget of the first professional theatre company Del Shores Foundation partner to produce the winning play.
- See website Terms & Conditions for more information on these grants.
- Finalist Play Reading Series Grant - up to $1500 to one of our theatre partners to produce a one-night stage reading of a play finalist script.

- Must identify as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Must be 18 years or older.
- Must be a current resident of one of 15 Southern States inclusive of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia.
- Screenwriters or playwrights who have had previous features, full-length plays or short film produced by non-independent means are ineligible.
- Scripts submitted must NOT have been previously optioned, purchased or produced at the time of entry. Previous workshops or readings of the scripts are acceptable.

- All scripts must be in PDF format. The name of the PDF should be only the title of the script.
- All scripts must be written in English in 12-point font. Brief dialogue in another language is acceptable so long as an English translation is provided.
- All scripts should adhere to standard industry margins and format.
- All scripts must be submitted online through
- All submissions are final. No substitutions of pages, drafts or scripts will be considered.
- Waivers are available for financial hardship. To request a waiver please email

SCREENWRITING – 80-130 pages
PLAYWRITING – Must be full length, single or multiple acts, no musicals. 75+ minutes or 60-130 pages.
SHORT FILM/WEB SERIES – 8-25 pages. Web series may submit multiple episodes within the page count.

- All winners are subjectively determined by our readers and jurors selected at the sole discretion of the Del Shores Foundation.
- Scripts must be an original idea, free and clear of any copyright issues.
- Scripts submitted to the competition must not have received grand jury prize awards from other competitions or nationally recognized playwriting competition.
- Submitting your script with a cover page with your name, script name, and contact information is recommended but not required. This may include a title, author name, WGA registration number and/or Copyright information. A single cover page does not count toward your page count.
- It is not required, but we encourage writers to register their script with the US Copyright Office and/or Writers Guild of America.
- Multiple scripts may be entered across different categories but only one per category, and each script must pay separate registration fees.
- For a writing team, both writers must meet all eligibility requirements and both be named on the script as writers. Limited to two writers.
- All scripts submitted will remain the property of the writer(s). Neither the Del Shores Foundation nor any of its readers or jurors and/or their respective companies assume any attachment to your work.
- All submission fees are final. No refunds will be issued.
- By entering the Writers Search you agree to receive competition updates by email and periodic marketing emails from the Del Shores Foundation. You may unsubscribe at any time.
- Entering the competition constitutes permission to use the winners’ names and likenesses for publicity and promotions with no additional compensation. We reserve the right to publicize and promote any and all progress, development and success of entered projects.
- The Del Shores Foundation reserves the right, at our sole discretion, to change or modify these terms at any time without notice.
- By entering the Del Shores Foundation Writers Search you agree to its Complete Terms and Conditions. See the Complete Terms and Conditions for submitting an entry at

Overall Rating
  • John Medlin

    Emerson, Del, and the Del Shores Foundation have really put together a stellar opportunity for Southern Queer Creatives. I was such a joy to be able to compete again. The support they give to their writers is top notch. There is a community with this competition that I've never felt before. I look forward to see what next year brings. And all of the years after.

    June 2023
  • Robbie Robertson

    It was such an honor to have my screenplay, PRETTY UGLY, selected as a finalist for this competition. The communication was so welcoming and friendly and made me feel very special to be included. It's amazing that this festival exists and kudos to Del Shores and Emerson Collins for shining the spotlight on southern writers!

    June 2023
  • Arianna Rose

    I was thrilled to be a finalist in the playwriting category last year. This was such a professional contest. There was clear and consistent communication, opportunities given for the winners and finalists to meet via zoom, and at all times I felt respected as a writer. Although I did not attend the in-person festival due to the pandemic, from all accounts it was a huge success. I'm proud to have the Del Shores Foundation on my resume!

    December 2022
  • Kaylon Willoughby

    As a finalist, this contest provided a great opportunity to connect with other queer artists in my home region. I loved meeting so many wonderful creatives and networking with like-minded individuals. The festival was very informative, and all the foundation staff were friendly. All in all a great opportunity, and a much-needed platform for an underrepresented group.

    October 2022
  • Zach Shultz

    I am so grateful to the Del Shores Foundation for selecting my feature film screenplay as a finalist in their inaugural writer's search. The organizers of the competition have been amazing to work with, and they have offered so many opportunities for emerging writers. I will be spreading the word to all the queer southern writers I know to submit for this competition in the future!

    October 2022