The Last Draft

Feature Film Script Development Program

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Screen Nova Scotia is pleased to announce the call for applications for The Last Draft, a new 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. Over a period of up to six months, the participant and script development editor will work together to develop financeable, producible and exportable projects that are tailored to reach global audiences. This program will identify scripts beyond the first draft that have the greatest potential for success.

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 support for local writers to take their feature scripts to the final draft with the guidance of an established feature film script editor. Screen Nova Scotia will work with an external jury to select two writers who currently have developed scripts that are past the first draft and best positioned for success. The program is administered by Screen Nova Scotia but selections will be made by an external jury of experienced national industry stakeholders.

The program will provide selected participants with the services of an experienced script editor (Script Development Consultant) to work one-on-one with selected participants. The consultants will advance the selected screenplays by examining, for example but not limited to, premise, story structure, characterization, theme, dialogue, and marketability.

Consultants will deliver bespoke feedback on multiple drafts over a four to six month period via video calls with the selected writer, plus provide written summary notes (three to five drafts). 

Participants will also be paired with an established local producer who will be available for three to five 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 also receive an honorarium of $1,000.

Eligibility Criteria: This program is not intended as a training course for emerging writers. Eligible applicants must:

1) Be a resident of Nova Scotia.
2) Have a minimum of one writer 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 and Heritage Screenwriters Development Fund.
3) Have a feature film screenplay that is beyond the first draft (high-level second draft, 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). This program is also open to Associate Members who identify as a member of an equity-seeking or sovereignty-seeking community (Black, Indigenous, Person of Color, LGBTQ+, Persons with Disabilities). 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 fulfill 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 Melanie Solomon, Industry Services & Locations Manager: melanie@screennovascotia.com / 902-229-1499.

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 second draft, in order to maximize the one-to-one meetings with the consultants. In addition to completing and submitting the online Application Form HERE, entrants must send SNS the following documents:

1) A feature-length narrative screenplay (high-level second draft minimum). Screenplay must be submitted in industry-standard format and pagination, maximum page count 130.
2) An up-to-date resume/CV of applicant.
3) The following written materials from the submitted project: 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 letter of interest and intent describing why you believe this program is right for you, based on your background and career objectives (one-page max).
5) A current letter of reference (2020/2021) from a recognized screen industry professional.

The jury will be looking for stories that are most likely to attract financing and an audience, both here in Canada and abroad. This program welcomes and encourages stories that include diverse perspectives, themes, and characters.

There is no fee to apply to this program.

When submitting your application, please save all support materials in .PDF format. Applications can be sent to: melanie@screennovascotia.com with the subject line “The Last Draft – 2021 Application”. Please submit the online Application Form at the same time, so all materials are received together.

The deadline to apply is Friday, June 25th, 2021. 

Frequently Asked Questions: If you have any other questions, please contact Melanie Solomon, Industry Services & Locations Manager: melanie@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 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.

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’re 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.