We launched this festival with the ultimate goal being a proper film festival that screened films for a live audience. It was never our intention to remain an online film festival and or writing competition. This was to be the first year we were going to screen films for a live audience. Unfortunately, due to the Covid Quarantine that won't be possible for some time. As such, we won't be relaunching until we can guarantee a date to screen films. Until then be safe and god bless.

Welcome to the Edinburgh Screenwriting Competition. Our goal is to be the world’s foremost screenwriting competition dedicated to promoting the most creative and original authors in the world. Because as Jack Kerouac once said, “the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes “Awww!”

Our aim is to launch the careers of cinema’s most original screenwriters by creating the world’s most prestigious screenwriting competition. Our goal is to connect emerging original talent with the film industry’s movers and shakers so original storytellers can get their scripts into production. We believe that we have created a vehicle that will do just that. We want to infuse new energy into filmmaking by supporting writers who don’t want to tell the same stories over and over. A lot of writers don’t want to write formula films or stories that fit neatly into a box. They want the blood and guts of raw emotion and creativity. And we want to support you.

We are a team of talented artists and industry professionals from around the world who are passionate about filmmaking and about nurturing, developing, and supporting the next generation of oddball filmmakers and screenwriters from around the globe. People who would dare to make films like “Being John Malkovich, M*A*S*H, Apocalypse Now, Inception, Leaving Las Vegas, Citizen Kane, Sex, Lies, and Video Tape, Clerks, Pulp Fiction, Fight Club, Before Sunrise, and Do the Right Thing.

Some day we would like to do for screenwriters what Sundance, Toronto, and San Sebastian, do for filmmakers. And we'd love to see more organizations like Disney, Warner Brothers, NBC, and Nicholl supporting screenwriters because every great film begins with a great script.

We guarantee to make personal introductions for our Grand Prize winner to at least three top talent managers and or production executives and to have one of those executives provide them with at least one hours worth of script notes. Finalists are guaranteed one personal introduction each.

2020's Grand Prize Winner was awarded a one hour consultation with Conrad Sun of Meridian Artists and introductions to Steve Smith of Stagecoach Entertainment, Chris Sarfin of Storyline, and Andrew Kersey of Kersey Managment. Our finalists met with Chris Deckard of Fictional Entity and Justin Ross of the Bohemia Group.

2019's Grand Prize Winner was awarded a one hour consultation with Fred Richter at Tradition Pictures, in addition to, being personally introduced to several industry executives.

Only the Grand Prize Winner and top two Finalists receive industry distribution and prizes. Semi-Finalists are rewarded with laurels and online recognition like in most screenwriting competitions. Prizes and recognition will not be given to any other entrants.

Writers retain all rights to their work.

We only accept submissions electronically through our website or partner websites.

There is no limit to the length of the scripts you submit and they can be in script or treatment form.

There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.

Scripts must be written in English and can be in any film or television genre.

Entrants are prohibited from contacting the judges during the competition.

Entry fees are non refundable and void where prohibited by law.

Employees and family members of the film festival are not eligible.

Entrants must be 18 years or older to enter the contest.

Industry distribution should in no way be interpreted as a guarantee of future representation or success. Whether or not industry partners choose to work with finalists, or even contact finalists, is done so at the sole discretion of each and every individual company.

EISC reserves the right to revoke recognition status at any time with or without cause.

Only our Grand Prize Winner and top two Finalists will receive industry distribution and prizes. Semi-Finalists will only be rewarded by recognition like in most screenwriting competitions.

All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer(s).

All entries must be the original, and unpublished, un-produced, un-optioned work of the entrant and entrant’s writing partner. The entrant and or partnership ensures that he or she is the sole author of the work.

The competition, its judges, and its officers accept no liability whatsoever for any claims of damages, real or perceived, by any entrant(s) as a result of their participation in this contest.

All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible.

Professional writers, journalists, poets, and previous contest winners are eligible.

There are no requirements as to when the material was written.

Material must be your original work. And all work must be wholly owned by the writer(s). The material submitted must not be encumbered by any obligation to, or option held by, a third party prior to entering the competition.

By submitting your material you agree to be added to our email list, but can remove yourself by unsubscribing at anytime.

We do not provide feedback, notes, grades, or rankings of any kind. We assume you already know how to write at a professional level and that is why you are entering this contest.

Please note that the Edinburgh Screenwriting Competition, ESC, and the Edinburgh Screenwriting Spectacular are in no way affiliated with any other film festival, screenwriting competition, writing group, networking group, film school, or film related enterprise or organization in the UK or abroad.

All judging is done at our sole discretion. We may have outside input, but all judging and all decisions are made at our sole discretion. Furthermore, we do not use "celebrity" judges or "industry" judges and we do not advertise that we use "celebrity" judges. We use experienced readers with a background in writing and a passion for cinema. We distribute our winners' scripts to industry executives, but those executives do not judge our contests. To prevent tampering we do not reveal the identities of our judges. Entrants are prohibited from contacting the judges during the competition. Any entrant who attempts to contact a judge will be disqualified and their entry fee forfeited. The decision of the judges is final.

Past prizes listed in winner reviews should not be construed as current prizes. All current prizes are spelled out on our website. We also do not reveal the names of recipients on our industry distribution list.

We do not offer script notes and or script advice. We are looking to reward professional level writers that we can help get to the next level by recognizing their work. If these are services you desire, we recommend hiring a script consultant. These services can be found via a simple google search.

By entering the competition you hereby accept these competition rules.  

Overall Rating
  • As a screenwriter for the comedy script, Hal The Spud King of Japan, I was honored that it was selected as a SemiFinalist and you chose this fun, irreverent story of three misfits trying to solve the problem of world hunger by building an underwater farm. You got it. Thank you.

    November 2020
  • Tsonko Bumbalov

    Friendly organizers, excellent script feedback and opportunities to network and connect.

    April 2020
  • Daniela Saioni

    This Festival is a breath of fresh air in a sea of confusing options. I was drawn to their mission statement of being indie and looking for "unabashedly original" scripts. They walk the walk! We had a layered and highly original project, and the final script notes were easily the most insightful notes we had ever received - constructive and with an unparalleled depth of understanding of the story and characters. And now that we are Finalists, the Festival is delivering on their promise to get our script into the industry and promote the writers. Well worth the price of admission, and friendly people on the other end of the phone as well!

    April 2020
  • Arlene Westermeyer

    I am thrilled to have "Dr. Portia" chosen as a semi-finalist. Thank you for the opportunity!

    March 2020
  • Alan Lambert

    Excellent feedback to my screenplay and definitely appreciated that it achieved semi-finalist status. I incorporated a number of the reader's comments which did improve it. I'm only sorry I couldn't come to Scotland to attend the festival . Thanks very much!

    March 2020