The Outfest Screenwriting Lab started as a screenwriting contest in 1997 and has become the cornerstone of our education and mentoring program, Outfest Forward. Twenty-two years later, this program has become an intensive three-day lab in Los Angeles, shepherding the next generation of screenwriters.

The authors of five scripts will be invited to participate in this dynamic lab in mid-June, where they will work closely with Lab Mentors — established writers who will critique and encourage their work. Only narrative feature-length screenplays and episodic pilot script (standard broadcast length - half hour or hour) will be considered.

After the lab, the fellows work with experienced Outfest directors to present their screenplays on stage with a live reading at the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival in July. Screenwriting Lab Fellows will continue to receive guidance from Outfest Staff and Mentors for the full calendar year.

Throughout its history, the Outfest Screenwriting Lab has shepherded over 100 scripts through its mentoring program. The scripts from the lab have been selected as Opening and Closing Night films at Outfest Los Angeles, nominated for an Independent Spirit Award, and premiered at Sundance. One has even been selected as Peru’s official submission for the Academy Awards in 2011!

Founded by UCLA students in 1982, Outfest is the leading organization that promotes LGBTQ equality by creating, sharing, and protecting LGBTQ stories on the screen. Outfest builds community by connecting diverse populations to discover, discuss, and celebrate stories of LGBTQ lives. Over the past three decades Outfest has showcased thousands of films from around the world, educated and mentored hundreds of emerging filmmakers, and protected more than 20,000 LGBTQ films and videos. Outfest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.


Thursday, December 19
Submissions open on FilmFreeway - ROUND 1 (first 10 pages)

Tuesday, December 24
Early deadline

Friday, January 31
Regular deadline

Sunday, March 22
Final deadline - Script submissions will not be accepted after this date!

Friday, July 10 (new date)

If your script is selected for the second round of the selection process, you will receive an email with a request to submit a PDF of the COMPLETE SCRIPT by TUESDAY, JULY 14; you may also be called for an interview.

Friday, August 7 (tentative)
ROUND 2 NOTIFICATIONS ARE SENT OUT. Five Screenwriting Lab fellows are selected.

Dates TBD
The Outfest Screenwriting Lab takes place in Los Angeles.

To be held in August of 2020 with a follow-up live reading during the Outfest Los Angeles LGBTQ Film Festival in August 2020, the lab includes sessions with industry professionals, structured career development opportunities, and participation in ongoing Festival events. Lab Fellows are selected by Outfest staff, with recommendations from an illustrious panel of writers, directors, producers, and development executives.

All participants will receive full filmmaker accreditation for 2020 Outfest LA. Travel is not guaranteed for fellows based outside of Los Angeles.


Do NOT submit a complete script. The following needs to be submitted as a single, combined PDF file:

- THE FIRST TEN (10) PAGES OF YOUR SCRIPT, not counting the title page.
- A synopsis of the script, i.e. a summary of the entire story, including the ending; not a pitch or a teaser. Episodic entries must also include a series and/or season synopsis (750 words maximum altogether).
- A statement of your career history and objectives, as well as what you hope to gain from participating in the Lab (750 words maximum).

If your project is already set up on FilmFreeway as a complete script, you can either replace the file, or add a second file, or create a new project for Outfest and submit that.

The Outfest Screenwriting Lab does not accept scripts based on a pre-existing work, unless the writer has the rights to that work.

You may only submit the same screenplay for two consecutive years. Screenplays submitted for a third time will not be considered.

The Screenwriting Lab was originally designed for early career writers who have not received screenplay credit on a feature film, but as the lab's reputation has grown, more established writers may be considered. Individuals are eligible to enter regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Lab is not open to individuals in the following categories, nor to their immediate family members: employees of Outfest, members of its Board of Directors, and the Lab Selection Committee.

Submitting to the Lab constitutes permission to use the entrant's name and likeness for publicity and promotions.

Although not necessary at time of entry, Outfest encourages writers to register their material with either the Writers Guild of America or The U.S. Copyright Office.
- U.S. Copyright information: 202-707-3000
- Writers Guild East: 212-767-7800
- Writers Guild West: 323-951-4000.

Any disputes or questions regarding the application or effect of these rules shall be resolved by the Board of Directors of Outfest, whose judgment shall be binding and final on all parties.