The Hollywood Film Institute cultivates inspiring competitions for storytellers around the world. Participants are challenged to create original stories, screenplays, or films using assigned elements under time constraints. If you enjoy a creative challenge and enjoy winning money, then we may be for you.


A film genre is a motion-picture category based on the emotional response to the film.  The genre will influence the filmmaking styles, techniques and this case, the writing. Some ways one can classify films is by the setting, theme, topic, mood or even format. For example...


 The environment where the story and action take place.

 The Wild West (Western) - The front lines during WWII (Historical/Period Piece) - Outer Space (Science Fiction)


The way the film was shot or the manner of presentation

Black and White


The issues and/or concepts the film revolves around.

Solving a mystery-Thriller - Quest to find a lost city-Adventure - Elves protecting their forest homeland-Fantasy



The emotional tone of the film.

Romantic and funny - Suspenseful - Dramatic

We at HFI understand genres are not fixed; they change and evolve over time. Keeping this in mind, we encourage our writers to push the boundaries of their assigned genres while at the same time, keeping in mind the scripts without dominant elements of your assigned genre will be disqualified. Genre definitions have been provided below simply as guidelines. In no way are these instructions on what your scripts must include or how to write them.



The Action genre is defined by risk and stakes. While many movies may feature an action sequence, to be appropriately categorized inside the action genre, the bulk of the content must be action-oriented, including fight scenes, stunts, car chases, and general danger throughout.


The Comedy genre is defined by events that are intended to make someone laugh, no matter if the story is macabre, droll, or zany. Comedy can be found in most movies, but if the majority of the film is intended to be a comedy you may safely place it in this genre. 


The Drama genre is defined by conflict, and often looks to reality rather than sensationalism. Emotions and intense situations are the focus, but where other genres might use unique or exciting moments to create a feeling, movies in the drama genre focus on common occurrences.


Mysteries are stories that frequently involves a mysterious death or a crime to be solved, though not always. The main character is often a detective who must consider a small group of suspects--each of whom must have a reasonable motive and opportunity for committing the crime. The detective eventually cracks the code by logical deduction from clues presented to the reader or filmgoer. Common elements: overt clues, hidden evidence, inference gaps, suspense, foreshadowing, red herrings. 


Westerns are defined by their setting and time period. The story needs to take place in the American West, which begins as far east as Missouri and extends to the Pacific ocean. They’re set during the 19th century, and will often feature horse riding, military expansion, violent and non-violent interaction with Native American tribes, the creation of railways, gunfights, and technology created during the industrial revolution. 


The Romance genre is defined by intimate relationships. Sometimes these movies can have a darker twist, but the idea is to lean on the natural conflict derived from the pursuit of intimacy and love.


Movies in the Adventure genre are defined by a journey, often including some form of pursuit, and can take place in any setting. 


The Crime genre deals with both sides of the criminal justice system but does not focus on legislative matters or civil suits and legal actions. 


Horror movies are centered upon depicting terrifying or macabre events for the sake of entertainment. A thriller might tease the possibility of a terrible event, whereas a horror film will deliver all throughout the film. 


The Fantasy genre is defined by both circumstance and setting inside a fictional universe with an unrealistic set of natural laws. The possibilities of fantasy are nearly endless, but the movies will often be inspired by or incorporate human myths. The genre often adheres to general human psychology and societal behavior while incorporating non-scientific concepts like magic, mythical creatures, and supernatural elements. 


The Historical genre can be split into two sections. One deals with accurate representations of historical accounts which can include biographies, autobiographies and memoirs. The other section is made up of fictional movies that are placed inside an accurate depiction of a historical setting. The accuracy of a historical story is measured against historical accounts, not fact, as there can never be a perfectly factual account of any event without first hand experience.


Science Fiction is defined by a mixture of speculation and science. While fantasy will explain through or make use of magic and mysticism, science fiction will use the changes and trajectory of technology and science. Science fiction will often incorporate space, biology, energy, time, and any other observable science.


A Thriller story is mostly about the emotional purpose, which is to elicit strong emotions, mostly dealing with generating suspense and anxiety.



Judging will be based on the following criteria: 

  • Originality

  • Creativity

  • Plot/Story structure

  • Characterization

  • Overall Impression.


48hr early deadline: March 13th

48hr final deadline: April 3rd

Short Screenplay early deadline: April 16th

Short Screenplay final deadline: May 15th

Feature film early deadline: May 29th

Feature film final deadline: July 3rd

Resubmission deadlines remain the same as final deadlines above.


Resubmission allows you to revise your script and resubmit. There is no limit to resubmissions within the eligible time frame (submission Deadline). Each entry is considered a stand-alone submission, meaning your resubmitted script will replace your original entry. 


48hr early fee $39 - 48hr regular fee $59 

Short early fee $49 - Short regular fee $69

Feature early fee $59 - Feature regular fee $79

Resubmission fee: $10


All entries are non-refundable.


All rights and ownership regarding submitted material to all competitions, remains with the original holders until and unless other agreements are made.


Winners will be announced via personal email and Social Media.

The 48hr Script - May 15th, 2021

Short Film - June 18th, 2021

Feature Film -  Aug 14th, 2021


The Grand Prize Winner will receive the option of the cash prize or the opportunity to have their winning script produced and filmed. The Hollywood Film Institute will fund, produce and film the winning script in its entirety. At present time only Short Films are eligible but is subject to change at anytime.

The Feature Screenplay Competition

First place - $6,000

Second place - $4,000

Third place - $3,000

The Short Script Competition

First place - $5,000

Second place - $3,000

Third place - $2,000

The 48hr Script Challenge

First place - $3,000

Second place - $2,000

Third place - $1,000

*All cash prizes will be disbursed 30 days after the winners are announced.

Winners may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. Winning participants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. Finalists may be required to sign and return, within seven business days of receipt, a notarized Affidavit of Eligibility, a release and identification with proof of valid passport or drivers license  Along with any other documents that The Hollywood Film Institute or any partner may require before receiving prize payment. Failure to respond to the initial notification within ten days or return of notification will result in disqualification. We reserve the right to amend these rules at any time.


Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to The Hollywood Film Institute and its agents’ and contest sponsor’s use of entrants’ names, likenesses, photographs, and/or personal information for promotional purposes in any media, worldwide, without further payment or consideration.



  • Submissions are accepted via electronic submission only.

  • All script entries must be uploaded in PDF format.

  • Submission payments must be made in full at time of the submission.

  • All entry fees are non-refundable.

  • Scripts will not be returned.

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

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

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

  • Material must be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin.

  • Material must be submitted by the writer.

  • All submitted material must be in English.

  • All writers must be credited on title page.

  • No preference regarding title page. Title and name of writer will suffice.

  • Contact info may be included on the cover page of the screenplay, however it is not required.

  • All entries must be received on or before deadline dates and by 8:59PM Pacific Standard Time.

  • Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material will be allowed for a limited time with a resubmission fee. Please proofread all material carefully before submitting.

  • Registration with the WGA or The Library of Congress before submitting is not required to participate in competitions, however The HFI highly recommend it.

  • Any participant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of The Hollywood Film Institute.


  • All ages are eligible.

  • All persons from anywhere in the world are eligible to participate.

  • Material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible.

  • Adaptations are ineligible unless the rights are owned by the writer.

  • Feature screenplays longer than 130 pages will not be eligible.

  • Short screenplays longer than 30 pages will not be eligible.

  • If a submitted script becomes optioned, produced or purchased between the time of submission and the end of the judging period, that script will no longer be eligible

  • Competition judges, readers and employees of The Hollywood Film Institute, past and present, their immediate friends and families are not eligible to enter.

  • Previous winners are eligible.

  • Scripts, including outlines, treatments, pitches, log lines or any developmental material related to the script, that has previously won any contest, competition, grant, lab, fellowship, mentorship, reading or award of any kind, are not eligible.

All submissions must adhere to the 2020 Hollywood Film Institute Competition Rules & Guidelines.




You agree to release and hold harmless The Hollywood Film Institute, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, Prize contributors, judges, screenplay readers, Sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the Contest, and every one of their respective members, directors, employees, agents and representatives (collectively, the “Released Parties”) past and present from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liability, including but not limited to damages and negligence to property and persons, including but not limited to invasion of privacy, defamation, slander, libel, violation of right of publicity, copyright, infringement of trademark or other intellectual property rights relating to a participant’s Entry, participation in the Contest and/or acceptance or use or misuse of Prize; provided however, that such release will not apply to any commercial exploitation of the script by a Released Party in violation of your rights under applicable copyright law; and (c) indemnify, defend and hold harmless The Hollywood Film Institute and its Sponsor, agents and employees from and against any and all claims, expenses, and liabilities (including reasonable attorneys fees) relating to an entrant’s participation in the Contest and/or entrant’s use or misuse of Prize. Employees of The Hollywood Film Institute and their immediate families are ineligible to participate in this contest. Any such submission will be immediately disqualified. ENTRY TO THIS CONTEST IS VOID WHERE PROHIBITED or restricted by any Federal, State or Local law. Voided entries will be refunded. Recipients’ eligibility will be verified before the grant is awarded and the winner may be required to sign an affidavit of eligibility. By entering the contest, you authorize us to use any trusted third-party online and cloud-based services and databases for hosting, managing and/or transmitting your submission file(s).

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