The Last Draft

Applications are closed for 2024

Subpage Flourish

Screen Nova Scotia is pleased to announce the call for applications for the 2024 Last Draft script development program. This feature film writing program will develop, to an advanced level, the feature screenplays of two Nova Scotia screenwriters by partnering selected participants with established script development editors and producers.

Over a period of six to eight months, the participant and script development editor will work together to develop financeable, producible and exportable projects tailored to reach global audiences. This program will identify scripts beyond the first draft that have the greatest potential for success in this regard. The goal of The Last Draft is to not only develop great scripts, but for these stories to become great films.

Program Details: The Last Draft will provide selected local screenwriters with the services of an experienced script editor/script development consultant. Writers will work with these mentors in one-on-one sessions to develop well thought-out screenplays. As they go through the process, consultants will provide feedback by examining a wide range of screenwriting fundamentals, including premise, story structure, character development, theme, dialogue, and marketability. Consultants will deliver bespoke feedback on multiple drafts over a six to eight month period. (We anticipate this will include three to five drafts). 

Participants will also be paired with an established local producer who will be available for three one-hour discussions throughout the program. The producer will challenge the participant to consider project financing and production logistics throughout the script development process.

Selected screenwriters will receive an honorarium of $1,000.

Important note: Participants in this program will be given a list of mentors and script consultants curated to include those from underrepresented groups.

The deadline to apply is Friday, March 22, 2024 at 9:00 p.m. AST.

Eligibility Criteria: This program is not intended as a training course for emerging writers. Eligible applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

1) Be a resident of Nova Scotia (living and paying taxes in the province in the year of participation), or be part of a Nova Scotia-based reserve.
2) Have a minimum of one writing credit on a feature film that has been developed, and/or received feature film development financing on previous works from Telefilm Canada, or the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism and Heritage (CCTH) Screenwriters Development Fund.
3) Have a feature film screenplay that is beyond the first draft (a high-level second draft at minimum). The submitted script is the one that will advance if selected to participate in the program.
4) Demonstrate ownership of all underlying rights to their original concept.
5) Demonstrate in all materials an understanding of the fundamentals of feature film screenwriting.
6) Be prepared to commit to strict deadlines for the delivery of each new draft – providing accountability and sustained momentum.
7) Be a member in good standing of Screen Nova Scotia. (Professional Members and Producer Members are eligible to apply). This program is also open to Associate Members who identify as a member of an equity-seeking or underrepresented community (Black, Indigenous, Person of Colour, 2SLGBTQIA+, and persons with a disability). If you are not yet a member, join HERE.

Please note: Screen Nova Scotia intends to ensure that 50% of program placements will be filled by diverse voices. If you are a member of an equity-seeking or sovereignty-seeking community who does not meet the eligibility criteria, but can fulfil the below application requirements, we welcome your application to this program. Please self-identify in your letter of interest and if you have any questions about this process, contact Danya Knowles, Industry Services Coordinator: danya@screennovascotia.com

Application Requirements: This program will only focus on feature film screenplays, with a concentration on script and project development. Screenplays should be at an advanced stage of development, preferably no less than a second draft, to maximize the benefits of the one-to-one meetings with the chosen consultants. In addition to completing and submitting the online application form HERE, applicants must send SNS the following documents:

1) A feature-length narrative screenplay (a high-level second draft at a minimum). The screenplay must be submitted in industry-standard format and pagination, the maximum page count being 130.
2) An up-to-date resume/CV.
3) The following written materials for the submitted project: a logline (50 words), synopsis (250 words), and one-page outline. If applicable, please also include a description of any other funding, or support, that this particular script has previously received.
4) A current letter of reference (2023/2024) from a recognized screen industry professional.

The program is administered by Screen Nova Scotia, but selections will be made by an external jury of experienced national industry stakeholders. The jury will be looking for stories most likely to attract financing and an audience, both here in Canada and abroad. This program welcomes and encourages stories including diverse perspectives, themes, and characters.

There is no fee to apply to this program.

Please send all support materials in .PDF format when you submit your application. Applications can be sent to danya@screennovascotia.com with the subject line “The Last Draft – 2024 Application”. Please submit the online Application Form at the same time, so all materials are received together.

Frequently Asked Questions: If you have any other questions, please contact Danya Knowles, Industry Services Coordinator: danya@screennovascotia.com / 902-229-1499.

Do I have to be a member of Screen Nova Scotia to apply to the program?
Yes, all entrants must be a member in good standing at the time of their submission. Participation in professional development opportunities and training programs are one of the many membership benefits of joining Screen Nova Scotia. Learn more about membership HERE.

How will my application be evaluated?
Applications will be reviewed by an independent jury of experienced industry stakeholders.

How will participants for the program be chosen?
Participants will be chosen on the strength of their feature film screenplay and its potential to be developed into a financeable and marketable feature film.

How will I know if I’ve been selected?
All entrants – even those who are not selected – will be notified of the status of their application by email.

*If selected, an additional element to send in is a letter of interest and intent describing why you believe this program is right for you, based on your background and career objectives. (This is to be one-page maximum).

May I send in additional support material beyond what is required?
No, the jury will only review the required materials. Additionally, incomplete applications will not be considered.

What are the acceptable program genres?
We are seeking a broad selection of scripts across all genres of fiction (drama, comedy, horror, action, thriller, science fiction, animation, musical, etc.). Submissions must be feature-length screenplays in English (no script fragments, treatments, synopses, shorts, stage plays, book excerpts, or documentaries).

May I apply if a producer has already optioned my project?
No. Projects that have already been optioned are not eligible. You may, however, apply with a different project.

May I apply with a co-screenwriter?
Yes, but if selected the honorarium will need to be shared between the co-screenwriters. 

If selected, is there a fee for participating?
No, Screen Nova Scotia covers all costs of the program.