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The BSH Foundation 2022 Back to School Screenplay Writing Contest

Dr. Barbra Seniors Harkins Foundation- Back to School Screenplay Writing Contest knows that our strength lies not only in the words we stand by, but most importantly through the actions of our initiatives. Back in 2000, our Non-Profit Organization realized that by working together we could overcome our challenges much more efficiently, and that is why we ultimately decided to launch Dr. Barbra Seniors Harkins Foundation- Back to School Screenplay Writing Contest

Have you ever watched a movie and said: "You know what would make this better?"
Now is your chance to show the world how scary, romantic, dramatic, imaginative, funny and just-plain amazing you can be! Create your own screenplay for the movie you wish you could watch!

THE Screenplay Writing Contest IS OPEN TO TEENS BETWEEN THE AGES OF 11-17!





Top three winners will win a

Nextbook 7″ Tablet with 8GB to write your Award-Winning Script!

Here is all you have to do:


Review the Rules of the Contest:

Contest Rules


Write your script!


Entry Deadline: Friday, November 11, 2022


Congratulations to our 2020-2021 Lockdown Script Writing Winners!

1st Winner

Phoenix Campbell

Title of the Script: The Man in the Attic

2nd Winner

Alyssa “Noel” Hunt

Title of the Script: Just Drink Your Space Juice

3rd Winner

Anirudh Kota

Title of the Script: Perfect

Need help getting started with your script?

Join us for a “Special Workshop,” on Script-Writing.

Date: Saturday, October 8, 2022, 
Time: 10:00am-12:00pm (Online)



CEO, Acme Industries

When asked about the early phase of his career in the motion picture industry, M. Dal Walton, III responded: “The first film I ever wrote and directed was a video commercial. I starred in it as a salesman dressed like I was Don Johnson from MIAMI VICE and I was trying to sell someone something on a blue Princess Phone. I was 11 and was bitten [emphasis his].” M. Dal Walton, III began his career in motion picture production accounting and segued into the role of feature film production executive, a job he held for a decade. As an executive, Walton oversaw the development of dozens of feature films including “16 Blocks” Bruce Willis for director Richard Donner (” Lethal Weapon”); “The Wicker Man” starring Nicolas Cage for writer/director Neil LaBute (“In the Company of Men”); as well as the Sundance hit “Narc” starring Jason Patric and Ray Liotta for director Joe Carnahan (TV’s “The Blacklist”). Following his experience serving as Executive Producer on “Once Fallen” where he was able to work with an all-star cast under director Ash Adams which included Oscar Nominees: Ed Harris, Taraji P. Henson and Amy Madigan; Walton decided to take his career in a more creative direction and work on smaller projects closer to his own creative sensibilities. His first experience as a writer came with the comedy web series “Super Group Therapy” which was created by Cinematographer and Stereographer Josh Fritts (“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”). From there, Walton went on to create, write and direct the sitcom pilot “The Majestics” which is currently being screened at festivals across the world. Last year, Walton expanded in the theatrical stage by writing and directing a drama-dy in The Hollywood Fringe Festival. He quickly followed up his incredible experience at Fringe by directing “Divorce Fantasies” in the Hollywood Short and Sweet Festival. When asked why he has chosen to pursue comedy, Walton replied: “Wait. What? You thought it was FUNNY [emphasis his]?!?”. He goes on to add: “Humans have always gathered around some sort of flickering light, from campfire to pixel, to hear tales that remind us of our human-ness; and what’s more human that laughing at the guy slipping on the banana peel?”

Ms. Ellen Houlihan

Director and Creative Director Writer

Ms. Ellen Houlihan is an Emmy and Clio-winning Director and Creative Director Writer based in New York City and Los Angeles focused on Celebrity and Branded Content, available for representation or hire. Most notably, Ellen has directed Gabrielle Union, the late comedy icon Sally Kellerman, rock stars, comedians, CEOs and “real people” alike. Recent brand work includes Paramount (ViacomCBS), Google, P&G, Coach, Kate Spade, Motorola, Sprint, Deloitte and countless others. Free The Work!

Melissa Marlette

Director / Writer

Melissa Marlette is a director/writer, born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri. She attended Columbia College Chicago, where she directed LOVE IN CHAINS, a short film that screened in the Cannes Short Film Corner. After graduating, she worked as an on-set PA on shows including THE ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, WIN WIN, WHITE COLLAR, 30 ROCK, BLUE BLOODS and PERSON OF INTEREST. In 2012, she made the move to Los Angeles with her writing partner, Jen, working as an assistant while also writing and directing her own projects. In 2014, after raising $30k in a successful Kickstarter campaign, she directed the short film MIKE INDIA ALPHA. While working for showrunner Julie Plec, Melissa and Jen were hired to co-write the penultimate episode of THE VAMPIRE DIARIES, which was one of the highest rated episodes of the show’s final season. In 2017, Melissa directed the short film, THE HAMMOND BROTHERS, co-written with Jen. Later that year, they were accepted into the Warner Brothers TV Writers’ Workshop and will be going out for TV staffing in the spring of 2018. In recent years, Kim has worked as a Consulting Producer on NBC’s The Blacklist, and just finished this season as Co-Executive Producer on Gotham for Fox.

Jen Vestuto

Director / Writer

Jen Vestuto was born in Lindenhurst, NY and studied screenwriting at the School of Visual Arts. While at SVA, she wrote a number of short and feature length scripts. After graduating in 2011, she started working on set as a production assistant in New York on shows like LAW & ORDER: SVU, THE ONION NEWS NETWORK, GREAT HOPE SPRINGS, and PERSON OF INTEREST.
After wrapping a job on the Steven Soderbergh film SIDE EFFECTS, Jen moved out to LA with Melissa. She worked as an assistant at a talent agency for a few years before becoming a writers' PA on THE VAMPIRE DIARIES. In the 8th and final season of the show, Jen and Melissa got their first writing credit on the penultimate episode. In 2017, Jen wrote the short script THE HAMMOND BROTHERS, which was shot in August of that year, directed by Melissa. Later that year, they were accepted into the Warner Brothers TV Writers’ Workshop

Essay Writting Contest

Win the Grand Prize and receive a Nextbook 7″ Tablet with 8GB memory with Google Mobile Services!

2021-2022 ESSAY WINNERS!!!!

1st Place: Dynava Niclasse, John F. Kennedy Middle School, North Miami Beach, FL.

2nd Place: Jack Pritchard, Cannon School, Concord, NC

3rd Place: Jack Hines, Cannon School, Concord, NC

Honorable Mention: Mark Pascual. Louis, John F. Kennedy Middle School, North Miami Beach, FL.

Essay Question:

Imagine that you could give advice to someone—it could be someone you know personally, a historical figure, or a famous person living today. Write an essay that identifies the person and the advice you would give. Choose a familiar subject so that you can provide details and explain why this person needs your advice. (Answers must be from 300-500 words)


  • Only one essay per student may be submitted.
  • Your essay must be 300-500 words.
  • All essays should:
    • be double-spaced
    • have 1-inch margins
    • include page numbers
    • include an essay title
    • student’s name, age, and grade must appear on each page of the essay
    • be typed in Times New Roman, 12-pt font
    • be in Microsoft Word, PDF, or other compatible format

Entry Deadline: 

Entry must be postmarked by 11:59 pm ET on Friday, 29 April 2022. Only the person entering the essay is eligible to win. No substitutes with be accepted. Only one entry per person and only one person is allowed on the entry form.


Entrants must be a middle school student (6-8 grades) attending school in the United States. Student can attend a public/private school or homeschool program.

How to enter:

Entrants must complete an official entry form (make sure that your parent/teacher signs the form). Submit the form with the essay via:

Entries must be complete or they will not be eligible for consideration.

Contest prizes:

  • 1st place: Nextbook 7″ Tablet with 8GB Memory with Google Mobile Services
  • 2nd place: $50.00 Gift Card for Barnes & Noble
  • 3rd place: $25.00 Gift Card for Barnes & Noble


e-mail: elisia@barbaraseniorsharkinsfoundation.org
Telephone Number: (305) 203–4554