Get ready to explore the darkest and weirdest corners of your imagination….

The Tasmanian Gothic Short Script Challenge asks registered participants to complete a short horror script of 7 pages (or less) within a 48-hour period. Writers must incorporate three unique “prompts” into their short script. They must submit their work before the deadline to be in the running for awards. To also receive a 1-2 page professional script assessment of the potential of the script for production (if applicable) and a summary of its strengths and weakness from a craft perspective participants may opt to pay an extra $10 on top of their entry fee.

3 August~ registrations open
7 September ~ registrations close
8-10 September ~ writing weekend
23 September ~ winners announced on or before this date
30 September ~ script assessments received (if requested) on or before this date


  • The Challenge opens for registrations on 3 August 2017.
  • Registrations close at 11 pm (Australian Eastern Daylight Time) on 7 September 2017.
  • The Challenge writing period is from 8pm on 8 September until 8pm on 10 September (48 hours total) – calculated according to the time zone that each writer registered from.
  • Winners will be announced on or before 23 September 2017.
  • Entry is $20 (AUD) and open to anyone in the world who is able to make payment via the delegated method.
  • An additional payment of $10 (AUD) entitles the Challenger to a 1-2 page professional script assessment, which will be sent by 30 September 2017. This may reflect on the concept’s marketability and potential for production, as well as on how the script may be improved. In the event that the script is not suited to production, feedback will focus on other aspects which may be useful from a skills development perspective.
  • Registered participants must write a short horror* script of up to 7 pages in duration (ie. roughly up to 7 minutes of screen time). There is no minimum length.
  • Registered participants will receive an email at 8pm on 8 September (in their own time zone) assigning them three unique and randomly selected prompts. These must ALL be incorporated in the script in some way and will consist of:
    • an object (eg. a knitting needle, a bottle of poison);
    • a brief character description (eg. a ballet dancer, a homeless person, a supermodel);
    • a simple phrase to be incorporated as dialogue (eg. “I don’t like it”, “We’re all alone now” etc)
  • Scripts must be provided as a PDF file and in standard screenplay style (although minor formatting errors will be overlooked, as first-time screenwriters are encouraged to participate).
  • You must submit by 8pm on 10 September (according to your nominated timezone) by emailing your script in PDF form to with Tas Gothic Short Script Challenge entry – TITLE OF YOUR SCRIPT in the subject line. Scripts not received by the deadline will not be in consideration for awards.
  • Script cover pages should display the screenplay’s title only. NO NAME or other identifying information should be included on the cover page or elsewhere in the document.
  • Multiple entries are not permitted.
  • The organisers of the Tasmanian Gothic Script Challenge 2017 retain no copyright or ownership of any material written for this Challenge.
  • The organisers of the Tasmanian Gothic Script Challenge 2017 will not upload scripts to its website for public perusal unless express permission is obtained from the relevant writers.


  • *The definition of “horror” used by the Challenge is extremely broad, and a story that is in any sense dark, disturbing or scary will be considered to comply with this definition. Genre hybrids such as horror comedy, dark fantasy, sci-fi horror, art house / horror or experimental are acceptable.
  • It’s up to the individual writer whether the three prompt elements shape their story in significant ways, but note that a responsive approach is likely to lead to more exciting and unexpected results. Have fun and try something new! Free your mind from thoughts of low budget suitability or marketability, as these are not addressed by the judging criteria.
  • If your script is clearly an excerpt from something written prior to the Challenge you are unlikely to score highly (ie. if it reads like the opening to a feature film and doesn’t integrate the prompts well).
  • The name of the Challenge reflects its origins from within in a Tasmanian-based film festival but there is no obligation to engage with the literary traditions of “Tasmanian Gothic” in your script or to use a Tasmanian setting or reference Tasmania in any way – unless you wish to be in the running for the Tasmaniana Prize. The other awards do not use this element as a judging criterion. (Writers who have never visited Tasmania and don’t know anything about it are warned that they are unlikely to win the Tasmaniana Prize unless their concept is extremely clever!)
  • Scripts will be judged on narrative drive, originality, the quality of the writing and the story’s resonance (either in the sense of contemporary society or in terms of engagement with genre traditions – or both), as well as an ‘x’ factor that the judges may use to choose between scripts that have scored equally.
  • To place entries in the Top 20 % the general criteria will be used. To be awarded a specific prize other criteria may be considered also, at the judges’ discretion.
  • The scripts will be blind-judged (ie. de-identified and without information as to gender, experience level or location).
  • Each script will be read by at least two judges.
  • Registered participants accept that the judges’ decisions are final and no discussion will be entered into.

Promotion and networking

  • Each registered participant will be given the option to have a listing on the Challenge website that displays their name, short bio, links to social media or their own website and a PDF of their 2017 Challenge script if desired (as well as past entries, if applicable) and/or another writing sample (any length) that they would like to feature.
  • The first stage of the judging process will reveal the top 20 % of scripts. This list will be announced via the Stranger With My Face website, social media and mailing list at some stage prior to the final awards announcement on 23 September.
  • Registered participants’ listings on the Challenge website will reflect if they have won a prize and/or were judged in the top 20 %. Other relevant information (eg. their past involvement with Stranger With My Face) may also be included.
  • Registered participants will be invited to join a Facebook group where they can interact and network with other participants. Note this group will not be moderated outside of the Challenge period of August/September 2017.
  • The festival will invite genre producers and directors to view the listings of 2017 participants and read their scripts (if the screenwriter has opted to upload it there).

The top prizes in 2017 are:

    • Best Australian Script
    • Best International Script

These two writers will receive a trophy. The following runner-up prizes will also be awarded:

    • Tasmaniana Award – for a script that engages with Tasmania as a location
    • Miss Havisham Award – for a script that engages with gender issues
    • Rebel Award – for a script that subverts conventions or challenges the status quo
    • The Trifecta Award – for a script that cleverly incorporates the three prompts

Prizes will include an Australian Writers Guild Membership for the Best Australian Script winner.

Best Australian Script and Best International Scripts will be given a trophy and their work read at a live event, with runner-up prizes including books and blu-rays/DVDs. Other awards and prizes may also be given, at the organiser’s discretion.

First, pay your registration fee by CLICKING HERE (will open in a new window) and choosing either AUD $20.00 or $30.00 (if requesting a script assessmement). Go to your cart and check out to finalise the payment. Registrations will be deemed invalid unless payment is received.

Then return to complete the registration form below. Use the same name and email as the one you used to make the payment. You will receive automatic receipts for both. This is your proof of registration, although you will also receive an email within a few days.

No Fields Found.

If you do not receive an automated email confirming receipt of this form try again, taking note of any required fields.

Feel free to email the organisers if you have any queries.