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The College of Arts Sciences

Heermans-McCalmon competition for plays and screenplays open for submissions

October 13, 2016

Heermans-McCalmon Competition for Plays and Screenplays

Contest Guidelines and Rules

The Heermans-McCalmon awards were established at the bequest of Forbes Heermans (Class of 1878) and in memory of the late George McCalmon, Professor of Speech and Drama.  

The contest will award prizes in two categories:

• For the best 10-minute stage play

• For the best 10-minute screenplay  



  • Two cash prizes for each category: $250 for first-place entries and $100 for second-place entries.  First-place winners will also be given a copy of Final Draft software and either a yearlong subscription to a relevant professional publication or a yearlong membership in a relevant professional organization.
  • The two first-place entries will be presented as works in progress at an event to mark the achievement of the writers and to further the works’ development. This public presentation of material will be held at the Schwartz Center for the Performing Arts on February 10, 2017 at 4:30pm.
  • Selected additional writers will also receive a professional response to their scripts.
  • In preparation for the public event on February 10, the first-place stage play will be workshopped by Beth Milles and her students. The first-place screenplay will be workshopped in Dehanza Rogers’s advanced filmmaking class, where portions of the script will be staged and filmed.  The resulting film will be presented on February 10 alongside the play reading.
  • A panel of Cornell University faculty and other industry professionals will discuss how they would approach work on the winning scripts.
  • A celebratory dinner for all participants, including the second-place winners, will follow.

The judging committee reserves the right to withhold awards if no winning entry is chosen.


Submission Rules:

  • The competition is open to any Cornell University undergraduate student who is registered for both Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 semesters. To take full advantage of the workshop process, students should be in residence on campus (i.e., not studying abroad) during the spring semester.
  • Submissions must be original work and may not be translations or adaptations.
  • Previously produced projects are not eligible.
  • All scripts should reflect the guideline that this is a 10-minute maximum, short-form competition.
  • The scripts must engage some aspect of American life.
  • Entrants may submit one script in each category but may win only one prize.
  • The competition is judged by a committee of representatives from the Department of Performing and Media Arts.
  • Scripts should be typewritten and appropriately formatted for the category.
  • A pdf attachment of the script should be emailed to along with a completed Cover Sheet form
  • Authors’ names should NOT appear anywhere on the script (including the title page), as these are to be anonymous submissions.
  • Paper entries will not be accepted.
  • Scripts must be submitted by 4 p.m. on Monday, November 28, 2016. To be fair to all entrants, there are no exceptions to this deadline.

All applicants will be contacted by email with the announcement of the winners.

Questions should be addressed to Pam Lillard at or 607-254-2703.

2016 Heermans McCalmon Writing Competition