It’s no secret that the economic recession has hit Hollywood hard, forever changing the way it does business. There is however, an upside for television writers. According to sitcom pilot writing instructor Christopher Parrish, “The networks and studios willingness to take a chance on pilots from rookie television writers has never been greater.”

Capitalizing on this new trend, the Writers’ Program launched a Television Writing Competition this year to join the ranks of the esteemed UCLA Extension Screenwriting Competition. Stuart Beattie (G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra; Australia; Collateral; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl); Randi Mayem Singer (Mrs. Doubtfire); and Gavin Hood (Tsotsi), all gained their first industry exposure through a previous Writers’ Program screenwriting competition. All three winners of the 2010 Screenplay Competition–Elissa Matsueda, Terence Michael, and Greg Amici–acquired Hollywood representation as a direct result of their 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place wins last year.

The Writers’ Program is hopeful that the new Television Competition will do for its television writers what the Screenplay Competition did for its screenwriters; that is, give them an opportunity to gain the valuable exposure they need to break into the industry.

If you’ve taken three television-writing courses in the Writers’ Program between March 2009 and March 2011, you are eligible to enter this year’s competition. Acceptable submissions include one-hour and half-hour original pilots or spec scripts of an existing series (30-60 pages). Multiple submissions are acceptable, however each script must have been developed in a Writers’ Program course and each entry must be accompanied by an application form with appropriate fees. Scripts that have been sold and/or optioned are ineligible.

The three finalists of this year’s Television Writing Competition will be mentored by a Writers’ Program instructor/writing professional before the final judging by industry insiders in September, when cash prizes of $1,000, $500 and $250 will be awarded. The top three winners’ names will be featured in an ad in the Hollywood Reporter, and loglines with contact information will be sent to more than 1,000 television executives.

The deadline of March 17 is fast approaching, so get started on your submission packet today!

For detailed eligibility requirements, submission guidelines, and application forms, click here.

Questions? Call (310) 825-9415 or email

Chae Ko is the Program Representative for onsite and online screenwriting courses. Contact him at

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