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The College of Arts Sciences

Heermans-McCalmon writing competition proposals due Oct. 23

September 18, 2017

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:

  • Best 10-minute stage play
  • 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 March 23, 2018, at 4:30 p.m.
  • Selected additional writers will also receive a professional response to their scripts.
  • In preparation for the public event on March 23, the first-place stage play will be workshopped by associate professor Beth F. Milles and her students.
  • The first-place screenwriter will be invited to modify the script as needed to prepare it for filming. This work will be completed by the end of the fall semester. In the spring, members of assistant professor Dehanza Rogers’s advanced filmmaking class will create a film of the work that will be presented on March 23 alongside the play reading.
  • A panel of Cornell University faculty and other industry professionals will participate in a discussion about the work. 
  • 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 2017 and Spring 2018 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 4:00 p.m. on Monday, October 23, 2017. 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.

Heermans-McCalmon call for submissions