The horror screenplay contest leans on the use of specific writing skills that supports the expansion of the genre through film. Horror screenplays as they a represented is diverse, and can lean on several forms as it works to express its message. The purpose of this category is to provide a platform where all horror screenwriters can gain exposure for the message they work to share with the international horror community. Screenplays are awarded to expand that effort. Below are the submission requirements for the horror screenplay contest:

  • You must be the original screenwriter on the project to upload the screenplay. Any unauthorized use of another's work is considered both plagiarism and copyright infringement. 

  • Submissions should be short-script screenplays (3-40 pages) written for short film, or for feature-script screenplays (40+ pages). As a rule of thumb, each page of a screenplays equals 1 minute of screen time. Short-script and feature-script will be submitted to the same category, however judged separately. 

  • Submissions must be accompanied with a screenplay cover/poster to be presented in lieu of their screenplay script if chosen as an official selection or CTDA and or CTEA recipient. Due to the sensitivity of the screenplay pursuit, full screenplay scripts will not be presented on our website. This protects your screenplay and allows you to preserve your right to produce it later without spoilers.

  • Correct formatting is most easily achieved by using screenwriting software built for industry standards. Books are also available that demonstrate the proper format. Do not show any personal information within the interior pages of the submitted script (name, address, etc). Contact information may appear on the cover or title page only. Remember to number your pages, but you do not need to number your scenes. Note: this is not a production script.

  • All scripts must be submitted in PDF format.

  • Each project submission must be complete, please review the submission checklist provided on the submission page.


All screenplay project submissions are judged by the CTFF Judging Panel who determine the CTDA and CTEA recipients for each award category based on evaluation of the following elements:

  • Concept: The idea behind the story. What the film or series is about.

  • Presentation: Standard spec screenplay or teleplay format (12 pt. Courier font, correct margins, etc.), as well as spelling, punctuation, grammar, and usage.

  • Structure: The framework of the script. Effective use of three-act (most common), odyssey, linear or non-linear story progression.

  • Plot: The actions, events, conflicts, and turning points that propel the story forward. How the story unfolds (points for originality/unpredictability).

  • Pacing: The timing of the action, unfolding of plot elements and character development.

  • Characters: Personalities that are distinctive, compelling, multi-layered, and unpredictable. A protagonist and antagonist with clear and active goals.

  • Dialogue: Voices that are natural, succinct, and unique to each character. Use of language that effectively reveals character and moves the story forward.

  • Theme: The underlying message of the story as revealed through plot, dialogue, and visual elements.

  • Style: The overall quality of the writing. Narrative that is distinct, cinematic, and effectively conveys the mood or “creepy feel” of the film or series.

  • Commercial Appeal: The audience appeal and marketability for the script's particular genre or niche.

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