Diverse Writers Represented Only 25% of Top Scripts in Major Screenwriting Competitions
Updated: Aug 3
Writer/Director La’Chris Jordan of DiverseCinemadb.com Launches Script Coverage Service to Elevate Underrepresented Voices
LOS ANGELES, CA - July 1, 2022 -- Thousands of diverse writers across the world vie for top spots in numerous screenwriting competitions across the country. However, in the inaugural 2021-2022 Screenwriting Competitions Diversity Report compiled by DiverseCinemadb.com, just 25% of screenplays that were placed in the finalist or winning rounds were written by BIPOC writers. Data on 824 scripts were derived from screenwriting platforms such as Coverfly, Moviebytes, and individual competition websites. The report did not include statistics from screenwriting labs, fellowships, or competitions with a focus on diverse writers.
“While there were many diverse writers that placed high in the 2021-2022 screenwriting competitions, the top spots were still elusive for a grand majority of them,” says DiverseCinemadb.com founder La’Chris Jordan, a writer/director and professional reader who compiled data from 21 major screenwriting competitions that ranked short, pilots and features.
Many screenwriting competitions accept “blind submissions” to avoid bias from readers. Yet, Jordan is concerned about the low placement rate among BIPOC writers, especially in light of the industry’s push to find more diverse voices. She says that in addition to thousands of dollars in cash prizes, many of the contests forward the top scripts to reps and producers which can lead to significant opportunities such as staffing and representation which many BIPOC writers are missing out on.
“There could be many factors affecting these low percentages such as the lack of diverse entrants with competitive scripts to the subjective scoring of the readers,” Jordan says. “What we do know is that there is an increased demand for BIPOC writers, yet their work is still struggling to make it to the top spots of major competitions. However, there were a handful of screenwriting competitions leading the push for diverse stories and that is encouraging.”
Screenwriting competitions that had a higher percentage of BIPOC winners and finalists were the 2022 Screencraft Drama Competition (53.6%); 2021 Nashville Film Festival Screenwriting Competition (45.3%); 2022 The Script Lab’s (TSL) Free Screenplay Contest and 2022 WeScreenplay TV Contest were tied at 33.3%. In addition to compiling the study, Jordan also launched a script coverage service for BIPOC writers to help ensure they are submitting their best work. “As a writer, you can’t control who reads and scores your work, but you can control your writing,” she says. “And if you aren’t placing, your investment would be better spent getting professional coverage from an unbiased script reader. In the end, screenwriters are entrepreneurs with a product to sell which means you want to put your best work out front, especially in this highly competitive market.”
To see the entire 2021-2022 Screenwriting Competitions Diversity Report, click here.
Founded in 2006 by writer/director La’Chris Jordan, DiverseCinemadb.com’s mission is to promote the work of diverse directors, writers, actors, producers, and technical crew. As an online movie database of films from the Black and African Diaspora, users can view hundreds of big-budget and independent films, TV movies, documentaries, classics, and notable foreign films from the 1920s and beyond. For more information visit
About La’Chris Jordan La’Chris Jordan is a Los Angeles-based playwright, writer/director, and story analyst. An alum of the 2021 BIPOC Writers Fellowship and the Stowe Story Labs, La’Chris is known for writing female-led historicals, gritty dramas, and gun-sling westerns such as PINEY RIDGE, ROSES IN THE WATER, THE SOFTWALKERS, and POE’S DISCIPLE. Her pilots, shorts, and features have placed in over 30 screenwriting competitions and labs including the Academy Nicholl for Screenwriting (Top 10%), Sundance Episodic Lab, MACRO Episodic Lab, and the Austin Film Festival. Recently, La’Chris wrote, directed, and produced her debut short, JANUARY 14TH, which was the Official Selection of 75+ film festivals and 50+ award wins and nominations.
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