Congratulations to this year's outstanding writers!

This year’s contest is now complete, and we had entries come from around the world — thank you for all those who submitted their writing!

The judging results for this year's contest were close, and our semi-finalists and finalists deserve a big congratulations! Industry professionals evaluated all of the work, and as a result chose our four scholarship winners. Our judges chose their work as the best of 2016!

Next year's contest will kick off in December 2017, but it's never too early to begin creating a story that might earn you a $10,000 scholarship to attend Biola University.

Last year's winners are enrolled at Biola and are learning from one of the best story and screenwriting professors in L.A. Their work is getting better and they are writing short films that the production teams are making. We have close to 300 students in the undergrad program, and almost all of them stay busy working on films and trying to get ready to break into the entertainment industry. You can join them and discover just how much fun a career can be!

Congratulations to this year's winners!

First Place

Donald J. Schaffer Jr.

Chatsworth, California

The Boy and his Treemendous Companions

My dream writing job would be to write feature films independently, but it would be an honor to be hired by Paramount or Universal to write action adventure and dramatic scripts.

Second Place

Abigail McCoy

Monument, Colorado

Let Her Go

My dream writing job would be to write for BBC's Doctor Who and write feature films. I would also love to write and publish my own novel.

Third Place

Anna Hiestand

Blue Springs, Missouri

The Forgotten

My dream writing job would be to write a full-length screenplay for Disney or Pixar; eventually working alongside Pete Docter (Up, Inside Out). I also dream of working with story consultants to turn my script into a feature, learning about and advising the production process as Disney or Pixar makes my story a reality.

Fourth Place

Taylor Hein

Fruita, Colorado


My dream writing job would be to write for independent films or craft scripts for filmmakers who have shaped my love for storytelling, such as David O. Russell, while impacting others in any capacity that I could.


Andrew Brewster

After Yesterday — Apex, North Carolina

My dream writing job would be to write, produce and/or direct a multi-film series based on J.R.R. Tolkien's “The Silmarillion.” In the meantime, I’m committed to learning more about all aspects of filmmaking and telling Christ-honoring stories that make people ponder difficult and relevant issues that touch us all on a very human and relational level.

Jesse Creasman

The Untitled Film — Chino Hills, California

My dream writing job would be writing a drama, thriller, romance or musical. While these are are my preferred genres, that has not stopped me from working on anything from post-apocalyptic to stories about abstract ideas and the human form. I want to write and direct my own films once I graduate, bringing forth truth and beauty in my art.

Quinn Kilhenny

Count The Hours — Stafford, Virginia

My dream writing job would be to write scripts on spec, making a living selling original content.

Maralisa Ortiz

Boxed In — Henderson, Nevada

My dream writing job has always been to work for the Walt Disney Company in any form or capacity. I am also eager to hopefully enter the Christian movie industry, writing stories that exemplify my faith.

Elizabeth Rockhill

The Sound of Color — Buena Park, California

My dream writing job would be having the opportunity to write captivating stories and scripts about the little guy: seemingly ordinary people whom, in the grand scheme of the world, are not recognized for the amazing lives they have led. I would like to create a world where people recognize that every action or word is significant and that glory is found in the virtue of everyday life, not remarkable fame.

Merlin Senthil

Open Tents — Garrettsville, Ohio

My dream writing job would be writing a film or TV show amongst other talented writers, while visually experiencing our creativity come to life in a way that glorifies God. Writing makes a story to come to life, but film takes that creation one step further.

The 2015 Jury

Acquisition Director, Boulevard Pictures

Creative Executive, Marvel Studios & Slamdance Short Film Programmer

Brian Godawa
Award-Winning Screenwriter

Cindy Bond
Acquisition Director, Mission Pictures International

Frank DeMartini
Millennium Pictures

Judges may change due to unforeseen circumstances


Grand Prize: $10,000 Biola Scholarship
  • Phone consultation with a development executive from Boulevard Picture
  • Introductions to top producers
2nd Place: $5,000 Biola Scholarship
  • Phone consultation with an international distribution executive
3rd Place: $3,000 Biola Scholarship
  • Phone consultation with an award-winning producer

4th Place: $2,000 Biola Scholarship

Top 10 Finalists #5–10
  • A one-page evaluation by a story development professional
  • A copy of Final Draft Software to enhance your screenwriting

Judging Process

The judging panel, selected by Biola University or its representatives in its sole discretion, will include one screenplay development professional from each of these studios and production companies listed on this year’s jury, however these studios and companies are in no way official sponsors or endorsers of this contest.

The top 10 finalists will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  1. Originality
  2. Story
  3. Characterization
  4. Visual inventiveness
  5. Overall impression

The top 10 finalists will be notified by email and may be contacted by interested industry representatives, such as managers, agents or producers. Entrants may be required to submit further information to assist in the judges’ verification of eligibility. Any entrant may be deemed ineligible at the sole discretion of Biola University.

Information and deadlines for winner notification will be added soon.


  • Submissions are accepted via electronic submission on this website only through December 31, 2016.
  • Short scripts must be no shorter than five pages and no longer than 35 pages.
  • There is no limit to the number of projects you may submit.
  • All submitted material must be original, and all rights must be wholly owned by the writer.
  • Material must be submitted by one writer. No writing team submissions allowed.
  • Substitutions of either corrected pages or new drafts of the entered material are not allowed. Please proofread your script very carefully before submitting.
  • It is recommended that original material be registered with the WGA or The Library of Congress before submitting to any competition, however we do not require registration.
  • All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remain with the original rights holders.
  • All winners must use scholarship award over a four-year period beginning with the award of the first scholarship award semester. No more than one-eighth of the award will be distributed in one semester.
  • Any unused scholarship award will be completely used up at the end of the four years, regardless of the remaining scholarship award amount left in their account.
  • No refunds or cash value.


  • All writers at least 16 years of age are eligible. However, a writer who has earned more than $50,000 (or equivalent currency) from professional screenwriting in the preceding two years is not eligible. (Contest winnings not included.)
  • All persons from anywhere in the world are eligible; however, the material submitted must be in English.
  • All material submitted to other competitions or contests are eligible.
  • There are no requirements as to when the material was written.
  • The material submitted must not be encumbered by any obligation to, or option held by, a third party prior to entering the competition.
  • Any submitted work that becomes optioned, published, produced or purchased between the time of submission and the end of the judging period will no longer be eligible.
  • Material should be submitted in standard screenplay format, font, spacing and margin.
  • Adaptations are ineligible unless the underlying rights are owned by the writer or the work is in the public domain.
  • Short screenplays longer than 35 pages will not be eligible.
  • All material must be submitted electronically as a PDF or it will not be eligible.

Copyright and Ownership

Biola University, or any other partner, employee or agent associated with this contest claims no ownership nor first right of option to any original screenplay submitted to this contest. All ownership and rights to the scripts submitted to this contest remains with the original rights holders until and unless other agreements are made.


Except where prohibited by law, participation in the contest constitutes each entrant’s consent to Biola University 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. All uses of a entrants’ information are in accordance with our Privacy Policy.

Entry Conditions and Release

By entering this contest, each participant agrees to release and hold harmless Biola University, its subsidiary, parent and affiliated companies, prize contributors, sponsors, and any other organizations responsible for administering, advertising or promoting the contest and promotion, 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 promotion 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 Biola University 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.