Become An Award-Winning Filmmaker!

The Flip the Script ™ Filmmaking Fellowship is a 10-week script development and production program that starts with education and ends in an exciting filmmaking competition focused on helping emerging writers of color become successful filmmakers. Entrants learn to write, plan and produce a short film through immersive in-class and on-set training as they compete for the chance at full funding for the production and marketing of their original screenplay.

2022 Season Partners/Sponsors:

Strategic Partner: True Star Foundation

2021 Partners
DCASE: Chicago Film Office
Camera Ambassadors
IFA Chicago

Emerging young filmmakers work side by side with industry professionals to master the art and process of rapid filmmaking.

Learn as you develop your short film script from concept to completion to production and beyond!

Wish there was a way you could become a fellow in a film education program that gave you more than feedback, but an actual chance to bring your story to life and kick-start your filmmaking career?

Tired of feeling like the media doesn’t reflect YOUR world?

We heard you! That’s why we’ve developed The Flip The Script Filmmaking Fellowship & Competition to create real learning and opportunities for aspiring filmmakers of color.

You Should Submit If:

• You’re a writer or content creator in the Chicagoland area and you’re ready to develop the skills to write and direct your OWN short film
• You could use more than $15,000 in film production training to help you develop skills that build your career
• You'd like to try your hand at directing professional actors on a LIVE film set
• Want to see your film screened at Film Festivals across the country

It's so easy to submit, you might be surprised.

Step 1: Create a 90 second pitch video & your written personal statement telling us about yourself, your work and why you are ready to Flip the Script

Step 2: Upload Your Submit information

If you are selected, we'll schedule your interview with producers and judges.


No, you don't have to submit a script first.
No, you don't have to run out and create a professional video

20 aspiring filmmakers will be invited to Learn & Compete LIVE in Flip the Script Filmmaking Fellowship & Competition. One filmmaker will win the chance to have their original screenplay produced with a full film crew, SAG-AFTRA talent and mentors every step of the way.

Based in Chicago and managed by The WordSmith Writer’s Lab, we Flip the Script from start to finish. This unique fellowship and competition doesn’t require you to already have proven success – just solid potential, "coachability", and a strong desire to elevate your skills.

We know you are learning and growing. We want to help you get there. You just need to be ready to roll up your sleeves and grind hard.

Our seasoned mentors will guide you through 10 POWERFUL concepts:
• Concept Development
• Scripting for Optimal Production
• Lighting and Grip Techniques
• Receiving Constructive Feedback
• Leading Productive Teams
• Shooting for The Edit
• Production Support Roles in Filmmaking
• Delivering Under Pressure
• Marketing Your Project
• Building Your Brand as a Filmmaker

NOTE: This experience requires you to be available for specified dates (indicated below) participate in the competition. If you can do that, we got the rest covered. Participants may be dismissed if availability becomes an issue.

DATES: April 15 – June 25 – detailed schedules will be provided to selected participants.

Our mission is to create a real pathway for Filmmakers of color by equipping them with vital skills and connecting them to the industry in a meaningful, energetic, and inspiring way that leads to job and sustainable careers. 


1. Experience Level
Q: What if I've never written a script or produced or filmed anything?
A: If you have a bit of experience in your chosen discipline, that’s a plus but it is not required. We want you to be coachable and ready to learn.

2. Team Entry
Q: I have a team that I already work with. Can we enter to work together?
A: No, every writer must enter on their own and will act as a one-person team.

3. Cost
Q: How much does it cost to get the mentoring and film my project:
A: The only cost for this immersive experience is the submission fee. If you're selected, we foot the whole bill for your training an competition participation.

4. Project Length
Q: Is this only for short films?
A: Yes and No. Flip The Script exclusively focuses on short script production however, the skills you learn can be applied to short films, micro-content, feature films and television pilots.

5. What's Your Why
Q: Why are you doing this?
A: The Flip the Script Filmmaking Competition is here to bring real, exciting opportunities for creatives to tell their stories and share them in a way that helps carve a path to a filmmaking future. That's the whole mission. We want to see YOU win!

6. Staying Power
Q: How long has this competition been around?
A: This is the 4th year for Flip The Script. In 2019, we brought the Script to Silver Screen Pitch Competition to The Chicago South Side Film Festival. Now we’ve expanded from just a competition to a full fellowship with comprehensive learning at the center of the experience. We wanted to bring more to the table so, we are starting with the personal pitch, but ending with a greater investment in Chicagoland Creatives.

7. Location
Q: Speaking of Chicago, do you have to be a Chicago resident to be considered?
A: The short answer is NO! We accept entries from across the Chicagoland area. Be aware though, that the competition WILL take place in Chicago and surrounding suburbs.

8. Travel
Q: If I don't live in the area and win, will Flip the Script cover my travel?
A: It is our goal to provide stipends to participants in future seasons of the fellowship program. As of today though, you'd be responsible for getting to Chicago and staying for the duration of the competition. If you have family or friends, now is the time to ask them to help you go for your dreams!

9: Students
Q: I'm still in school. Can I submit for the competition?
A: YES! Students are welcome, we just ask that you be 18 or older.

11: COVID-19
Q: What about COVID-19?
A: We have considered this and are working to ensure the project is following COVID-19 Safety guidelines. We'll be using technology like video conferencing to help minimize unnecessary interactions while maximizing the fun. We will also always have a Covid Compliance Officer on set.


True Star Magazine will offer mentoring positions to the top three (3) filmmakers who demonstrate technical skill, personal leadership, and passion for the craft during the competition.

On-Set Production Mentoring
Participants who demonstrate proficiency in during production education sessions will be granted the opportunity to shadow professional film crew members during production of the selected project.

Quarter-Finalist Laurels
Semi-Finalist Laurels
Best Screenplay/Official Selection

In addition to your fully produced film, the winning filmmaker will receive awards commemorating their accomplishment as well as funding to support their festival run.

Imagine... 100% funding, mentoring and production support to write and direct your short film for the world to see!

Writers that have previously won more than two screenwriting contests, competitions, grants, labs, fellowships, mentorships, readings, or awards of any kind, are NOT eligible to enter this competition. Professional/working screenwriters and filmmakers are not eligible to enter this competition.

Selected entrants agree to be available for 6-weeks to participate in the full fellowship experience including, but not limited to development and filming of film projects. Participants may be released, at the discretion of competition producers, if availability becomes an issue.

Flip The Script Filmmaking Competition is open to Chicagoland area residents between the ages of 18 and 26 years of age. Competition reserves the right to request proof of address and age for verification purposes.

All entrants must submit a video pitch AND a written personal statement to be considered for this opportunity.

By submitting your pitch video to Flip the Script, you agree to the following terms and conditions:

All entrants MUST submit:
1. A written personal statement (max 500 words)
2. One high resolution headshots/photos
3. 90-second personal a pitch video MP4

Personal Statement
Tell us a bit about yourself in 500 words or less. Be creative, be yourself, share your world and what makes you a great fit for the competition.

Pitch Video
All videos must be MP4 and shall not include any individual that is not submitting for consideration. All videos MUST include the following to be considered:
a. Legal Name
b. Age at the time of submission
c. City
d. Prior Writing/Filmmaking Experience (if any)
e. What You Like to Write (think genre, project types, etc.)
f. Why You Should Be Chosen for Flip the Script Filmmaking Competition

NOTE: Your personal pitch video does NOT need to be professionally produced or edited.

• All personal pitch videos must be submitted to Flip the Script Filmmakers Competition as URL links. Consider loading your video to YouTube or Google for easy sharing.
• Entries are accepted from anywhere in the state of Illinois however, entrants are responsible for all travel to the Chicagoland area and related expenses associated with participation in the competition.
• You must submit one or more high resolution photos of yourself.
• Submission fees are non-refundable. See schedule for rates.
• Once entered, submissions may be withdrawn however, once withdrawn, may not resubmitted.
• By submitting MATERIALS, I grant Flip the Script Filmmaking Competition the right to utilize my information for promotional and programming purposes, including use of photographs, biographical material, names, and likenesses from my submission.

• I agree that Flip the Script and The WordSmith Writer’s Lab (WSWL) may provide copies of submissions information for journalists to review, and use at press screenings and releases, if any, and during the Competition.

• I grant The Flip the Script Competition the right to film and utilize mentoring, coaching sessions and team interactions and film production footage throughout the competition and beyond, in perpetuity.

• I understand that Flip the Script Film Competition and WSWL will use its best efforts to ensure the correct title and credits are listed in all programming but shall not be held liable for inadvertent errors or omissions.

• I understand competition programmers and judges shall determine selections and together with the Competition audience for the award winners, if any, at their sole discretion.

• The WordSmith Writer’s Lab reserves the right to adjust dates and times of sessions without prior notice.

• Any work produced or submitted by Competition personnel or staff involved in organizing any aspects of the Competition will not be accepted.

• I agree that any part of said Material which does not in itself constitute protectable literary property may be used by any member, officer, agent or employee of Flip The Script, or those participating in the selection process for The WordSmith Writer’s Lab without any liability, and nothing in this agreement or the fact of my submission of said Material to you shall be deemed to place you in any different position than anyone else to whom I have submitted said Material.

• The WordSmith Writer’s Lab is not responsible for lost, late, incomplete, invalid, unintelligible, or misdirected Material, which will be disqualified. The Submission Fee will not be returned or adjusted. Submissions that do not comply with ALL Submission Requirements will be disqualified, and the Submission Fee will not be returned or adjusted.

• I specifically acknowledge that The WordSmith Writer’s Lab may refuse to accept, consider, or otherwise evaluate my Material in the absence of my acceptance of the provisions herein.

• In further consideration of your evaluation of said Material, I and my successors or assigns hereby release The WordSmith Writer’s Lab, their directors, officers, agents, representatives and employees, from any and all actions, claims and demands of any kind whatsoever, which I had, now have, or hereafter may have, by reason of any matter in connection with this submission and, if accepted, my participation in Flip The Script Filmmaking Fellowship to which I am applying.

• In return for participation in the Fellowship, if my selected project is produced as part of the program, The WordSmith Writers Lab, and Flip the Script Filmmaking Competition, and included partners will receive a credit line and logo placement in the film's end titles. I further accept that production funding, training, and mentoring serve as ONLY compensation to which I am explicitly entitled for MATERIAL I create as part of the competition.

• I understand that if my project is not selected for production, I retain all rights to my MATERIAL created during the Flip the Script Fellowship and Competition. The WordSmith Writer’s Lab will NOT claim rights to any MATERIAL not selected for film production within this competition cycle.

• I have read and understand this agreement. No oral representations of any kind have been made to me and this agreement states our entire understanding with reference to the subject matter herein. Any modification or waiver of any of the provisions of this agreement must be in writing and signed by both of us.

Overall Rating
  • Wayne Hazle

    In more than 20 years of entering screenwriting and filmmaking contests and actually winning the grand prize in one. The Flip the Script contest is simply the best experience I have ever had in filmmaking. I am extremely grateful for the experience.

    In a short time I learned a great deal. I also got great feedback on my writing and personal development. I felt charged and ready to keep working and getting better.

    Flip the Script has not seen the last of me. :)

    August 2020