Frequently Asked Questions and Should (be) Asked Questions

If your question isn’t answered below please contact us by email or leave a comment below and someone will get back to you within 1-2 days.

Q: Is the competition only open to writers of Canadian nationality?

A: Not at all. In the true spirit of being Canadian, we’re just too darn polite and can’t find it in our hearts to turn someone away because of the country they are from. We welcome entries from all over the world. In fact, to date, we have received entries from over 30 countries worldwide. So call up your Aunt in Luxembourg and let her know that Loïc can enter his script. In fact, you might be thrilled to learn that 2008′s 2nd place entry “No Man’s Land”, came all the way from Ireland and the 2009/10 1st Place Writers Block Crystal went to Neil Graham of the United Kingdom!

Q: How do I know if my online submission went through using the direct online submissions form?

A: You will know your submission has been accepted when the page refreshes with a small ‘success’ message immediately above the registration form (see the below picture for what it will look like on your screen once completed). You will also receive a confirmation email from the CSSC notifying you that your entry has been received and wishing you the best of luck. These emails are only generated when both your payment and your online form have been successfully completed and the system has had time to link the two pieces. In some cases it can take up to 24-48 hours for the system to refresh and link. We also recommended you use Firefox or Opera as your internet browser when filling out this form, as some other browsers seem unreliable with the script upload process. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. If you are still having issues, please contact us to notify us of any issues you may be experiencing.
thanks for your submission

Q: What is the top prize?

A: The Grand Prize winning screenwriter(s) of the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition will receive CAD $1,500, an Apple iPad, accreditation to attend the Yorkton Film Festival and have the opportunity to have their screenplay produced by Year of the Skunk Productions. If made, it will be premiered (subject to availability), and entered into film festivals around the world. For more information, you can check out the prizes page.

Q: So does that mean if my script places first, that it will be made?

A: Unfortunately, we cannot commit to making the 1st place script every year. We can, and do, commit to making one of the top 3 scripts each year! And if funds and resources permit, we will make additional scripts from the top 3 and as well the top 13 finalists. In fact, to date, we have made 5 short films out of the competition: Gordon Pengilly’s 2008 1st place SEEING IN THE DARK, Surita Parmar’s 2009/10 2nd place MINUS LARA,  2008′s 3rd place script by Daniel Audet RUSTED PYRE, 2008′s 2nd place script by David Carey, NO MAN’S LAND (now called WILL) and 2010′s 1st place script by Jesse and Zachary Herrmann, ELIJAH THE PROPHET. And now, with the evolution of the director’s competition we hope to have even more of the top 13 films produced!! So, the odds are in your favour if your script is in the top 3 that you will become a produced writer!

Q: Is there a cash alternative?

A: No. While the top three prizes and remaining 10 finalists are accompanied by a cash amount, there is no cash alternative to any prize. Prizes are awarded ‘as is’. Our hope is to launch a writer’s career with this competition. We believe that the best prize would be to set a screenplay writer on a career path. Having your screenplay produced and to be able to show it to an agent / producer / the world on the screen is the best opportunity you can hope for. That is the golden opportunity on offer here. Not to mention the bragging rights about placing as a finalist or winning the CSSC and the added publicity that comes along with this honour.

Q: Can I read last year’s winning and finalist scripts?

A: Absolutely! In 2010 we introduced the ability for fans of the CSSC to download copies of the top 3 winning short film screenplays. We hope this will inspire your work.

Q: I’m not yet 18, but I have a great script I want to enter… What do I do?

A: No need for fake ID’s here. Simply have your parent or legal guardian sign your entry form in the appropriate box and your script is on it’s way to being a part of the competition!

Q: Live-Action screenplay?! Does that mean you only accept action genre films?

A: No. This simply means we are looking to produce scripts that are NOT animation, lifestyle or documentary scripts. Otherwise, so far as genre goes… your imagination is the only limit we’ll place on you. So bring on the Western-zombie-romantic-political-thrillers!

Q: Who will produce the films?

A: Year of the Skunk Productions and CSSC founder David Cormican will produce the winning screenplay(s) that are greenlit for production. But now with the introduction of the directors challenge, this will be opened up to additional films being produced by outside director and producer teams.

Q: Who is Year of the Skunk Productions?

A: Year of the Skunk Productions is a Canadian based production company. YOTS was approached to manage the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition. This of course is great news for the entrants of the competition as we are able to offer more opportunities for writers than your average competition.

Q: Who will direct the films?

A: Year of the Skunk Productions and the Canadian Short Screenplay Competition will select directors for all films produced. They will be provided with a professional cast and crew.

Q: Why are the writers expected to pay a CAD $35 and upwards fee?

A: We are extremely grateful to our sponsors for their in-kind support but as generous as their sponsorship is, the competition has considerable administration costs which have to be met, separately from any of the film production budget(s). Having said that, we are constantly looking for ways to reduce the cost of submission. As soon as we can, we will do so. It is also worth noting that there are several discount codes floating around out there that can be applied to reduce the fee for entrance to the competition. Keep your eyes open for them. And when you find one, share ‘em with your writers group.

Q: What is the budget of the film?

A: This is a difficult question to answer definitively. Why? Because we don’t yet know the screenplay we are to greenlight for production. Does it have a cast of one or thirty-three? Will we use union or non-union talent? Is it all interiors or exteriors with a cast of thousands? Where will we shoot? Can we make it eligible and maximize all the available tax credits? Do we need a crane or have to block off traffic? And do we include or exclude sponsorship in this budget? Each winning script will have different needs and requirements that will determine the individual screenplay’s production budget.

Q: Who are the judges?

A: We use industry professionals with a variety of experience in the business. We prefer to protect the judges’ and writers’ anonymity prior to judging and the results being announced for the respective competition year. This protects the judges and competitors of any reprisals and accusations of misappropriating the outcome of the competition. We feel this creates a fair judging system. Judges for 2010/11 consisted of the following fine folks:

Carolynne Ciceri, Writer, #WriterWednesday Laureate and 2-time CSSC Top 5 Finalist
Neil Graham, Writer, Winner of 2009/10 CSSC
Dillon Andrews, Web-Entrepreneur, CSSC Social Media Coordinator and Associate Producer
Joanne McDonald, Broadcast Executive – SCN
Stephen Kayfish, Writer
Richard Comely, Artist and Creator of CAPTAIN CANUCK
Michael Leo Donovan, Writer
Glenn Cockburn, Agent – Meridian Artists
Sarah Wayne Callies, Writer and Actress (PRISON BREAK, THE WALKING DEAD, LULLABY FOR PI)
Eileen Arrandiga, Festival Director – CFC Worldwide Short Film Festival
Laurence Cohen, Director (RUSTED PYRE, ROCKET MAN)
Jeff Boulton, Producer/Director
Tonya Lee Williams, Actress (SHE’S THE MAYOR, YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, POOR BOY’S GAME) and Founder – Reel World Film Festival

Judges for 2009/10 consisted of the following fine folks:

David Carey, Writer and 2nd place winner of 2008 CSSC
Anna Tsouliagiannis, Broadcast Executive and Programmer – Movieola, the Short Film Channel
Josh Strait, Actor and Song Writer
Joanne McDonald, Broadcast Executive – SCN
Stephen Huszar, Producer – Hulo Films
Dillon Andrews, CSSC Social Media Coordinator & Web Entrepreneur
Michael Bien, Producer
Glenn Cockburn & Sheron Scherba, Agents – Meridian Artists
Tyler Ward, Actor
Shaista Ahmed, Series Creator
Laurence Cohen, Director
Jeff Boulton, Producer/Director
David Cormican, CSSC Founder & Producer

Q: Will the winning writer get a copy of the film?

A: Yes. This whole project is being run for the screenplay writer. Their prize is the production of their screenplay. Of course the winner will receive DVD copy of the final film as well as all the press and publicity we can drum up for them. We also encourage winners to pursue other avenues of self-promotion and PR for their winning/finalist scripts. We can lead a writer to water, but we can’t force a writer to drink… is that how the saying goes?

Q: How much is the CAD $35 submission fee in USD?

A: Get up-to-date currency conversion here.

Q: How about in Pesos, Rubles and Swiss Francs?

A: Get up-to-date currency conversion here.

Q: Can I pay the entry fee by Credit, Debit Card or Bank Transfer?

A: Yes. There is a direct link on the ENTRY page for you to pay by these means using a secure connection via PayPal and/or Withoutabox. You can also pay using money order via mail in entries. Please note, the CSSC does not endorse the sending of cash through the mail system.

Q: I have a short screenplay which is seventeen pages will it be disqualified from entry into the competition?

A: Yes. 15 pages is the maximum page length accepted. And with that said, do remember the competition slogan:
Short. Is. Better.

Q: How can I increase my chances of winning?

A: Write the best script possible.

Here are some other helpful suggestions to better your chances of winning
any screenplay competition:

* Send your submission in early! Waiting until the deadline will only place your submission at the bottom of the pile. Some competition piles can run into thousands of submissions, in which event the readers can be under pressure to read quickly and not give your screenplay the time it may require.

* Always bind your screenplay. The preferred binding for the CSSC is using only one brass brad in the top left corner. They keep the screenplay together and the reader doesn’t lose the all important scene.

* No fancy binding. Seriously. Ditch the covers and the booklets and plastic. Stick to one brass brad in the top-left corner. It is appreciated. And in this case, cheaper is better!

* Please, please, please! Do not send submissions by registered post. It’s a waste of time to go to the post office and collect your submission, and your money to pay for this extra feature.

* Please put your name, address, telephone number and Email address, if you have one, on your entry form and title page so that you can be contacted should you win.

* Make sure that the copy you send is legible without the magnifying glass!

* Make sure your payment is made out properly to: Year of the Skunk Productions

* Use standard screenplay format. There are lots of books on the market which will teach you and also available are many computer screenwriting programs.

* Word and Final Draft formatted screenplays will be accepted, but it is much easier if the file is emailed in as a .pdf

* Please attach the entry fee certified cheque or postal order/money order to the entry form with a paper clip, please do not staple it. Put your name/script title in the memo of the cheque/postal order/money order in case it gets separated from the screenplay or your entry at any time.

* Use enough postage to cover the cost of mailing.

* Fill in your Entry Forms and Release in BLOCK CAPITALS and clearly. Make sure they are signed!


Good luck with your submission!

Short. Is. Better.


71 Responses to FAQ’s

  1. Hi Pierre, if you entered via the online system, once your entry is officially rec’d by the competition you should receive a confirmation email. Have you received that email yet?

  2. su says:

    HI! I wanted to ask if is it possible to pay in cash and send it by mail? Cause I have no other possibility or via western union!

  3. Hi. The problem with paying using cash, is that your mail could get lost/stolen en route by someone who realizes there is cash in your envelope and as a result, we may never see your entry (if that is the case).

    Cash may be sent at the sender’s sole responsibility/liability/discretion.

    Best of luck.

  4. Glad you rec’d a response Pierre. Good luck with your submission.

  5. su says:

    Hi again!

    If I send it this way, will I have a response from you when my entry arrives (if arrives)?


  6. Which way were you referring to? Online submissions receive an email confirmation. Mail and Withoutabox do not have an email confirmation, though we try with all snail mail submissions to send an email notifying entrants their script has been rec’d and accepted into consideration.

  7. Shel says:

    What if my browser is not up to par and it’s not submitting the online registration form, what happens to the $45 I paid using paypal? Did the payment go through yet the screenplay submission didn’t? Can I just send the script the old-fashioned way without having to send money since I already paid for it via paypal?

  8. Hi Shel,
    You can feel free to print off the submission form and mail in a copy of your script. Please send an email to the Competiton and I will help get your entry in for competition.

  9. Scott says:


    I apologize in advance if my question has already been asked or if it’s been addressed at the FAQ site, but I didn’t spot it.

    For arguments sake, let’s say my screenplay wins the top first place prize. Can I also, then, direct it for free?

    Many thanks.

  10. Hi Scott,

    while we do not guarantee that you can direct your script (should it win), we would take it in to honest and full consideration.

  11. Danny says:

    Hello CSSC,

    I’ve just sent my scripts via ‘Snail Mail’. That is because I don’t like using online payment procedures. That said, I now wonder if in fact it is easier on your end if you at least receive the scripts online. I’d imagine you ‘send’ them off for various judges. I have seen a scanned copy of a winning script on your webpage, looks like a ‘hard read’. I’d be happy to make my script as ‘easy’ to read as possible.


  12. Kasey says:


    I submitted through withoutabox on the last day of the final deadline. I wasn’t required to provide an electronic signature via this method. Do I still need to fill out the online registration on the CSSC website or am I good to go? Also, will I still get a rec’d email from anyone?


  13. Nope, all is good and well and the withoutabox submission process is secure on it’s own and requires no further action on your part. Thanks for the courage to put your work forward and we wish you the best of luck!

  14. Sheldon says:


    I’m just curious. I had submitted my entry (without payment) through Withoutabox because my browser wouldn’t allow me to sumbit it via the online registration form. However, because Withoutabox doesn’t allow paypal payments, I gave up on that and just downloaded a new browser (firefox) in order to submit it using the online registration form so that I could use paypal to pay for it, and it worked. I was informed that the festival had received my payment and officially entered my script into the competition. This was on December 5 (the day the paypal payment was cleared).

    But I recieved an email today informing me that I have not yet made my payment, even though my paypal transaction record proves that I did. I think the problem may be that Withoutabox submission, which is just kind of hanging out there. I tried to withdraw that one, but Withoutabox doesn’t seem to allow the option for one to withdraw one’s entry. Is this going to create a problem? I was wondering if you could just ignore the Withoutabox entry seeing that it doesn’t have a payment attached to it anyway.

  15. Danny says:


    Just wondering if scripts/payments sent by snail-mail receive any confirmation of receipt (email or anything?)

  16. Hi Danny, typically we do not confirm snail mail entries. Only online entries are confirmed at the moment. If you can email us privately using the email on the contact page, I’m happy to check our database and confirm for you.

  17. You are correct Sheldon, the system is recognizing the WAB entry as being unfulfilled. Not to worry, we have your electornic/PayPal submission on file. You can ignore any further emails you receive in relatin to your WAB entry.

    Best of luck.

  18. Pierre says:

    Hi David,

    I’m linked with CSSC on LinkedIn but have noticed there hasn’t been an update for quite some time. It would be a great idea (now that entries have closed for this season) to put round successes on LinkedIn, regular updates or even the weekly blog.

    What do you think?


  19. Ayesha says:

    Can we see the winning entries from last year and this year? Will they become available to read?

  20. Danny says:

    Hello CSSC ~

    I appreciate your admonishment to send scripts in early. With that in mind, what is the earliest a script should be sent? What works best on your end?


  21. Pierre says:

    Hi David,

    Will you be posting any results for the current competition? Top 50, Quarter Finalists, etc?


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