Spotlight Studio’s ‘A Shot for the Short’ Contest

Now in it’s third year, Spotlight Studio’s scriptwriting contest aims to produce its third podcast series and short film

Spotlight Studio, the digital content production arm of CEPA in Pell City, is now accepting submissions for its third-annual short film contest: A Shot for The Short 2023. Submissions will be accepted until Jan. 6, 2023.

A Shot for the Short provides an opportunity for students in CEPA’s Spotlight program to write and record their own dramatic audio podcasts or “audio plays” that will appear on The Black Box by Spotlight Studio Podcast, which is available on all listening platforms. The educational process provides students and adults with an immersive experience in scriptwriting, recording and audio editing.

From the finalized scripts, the team at Spotlight Studio will select one winning audio play to convert into a short film. The winning writer will then be led through the process of creating a film based on their script. That film will be submitted to Sidewalk Film Festival in Birmingham, where, if accepted, the cast and crew receive a VIP experience at an international film festival.

CEPA and Spotlight Studio completed this process in 2021 and 2022, screening “Ms. Christmas Business” by Lacey Pierson and “SEM;COLON” by Anna Claire Hathorn and Emma Gibson respectively. Both audio versions can be found in The Black Box library wherever you get your podcasts.

“Spotlight Studio has created resources for anyone to write a story and display it through narration and sound,” said Anna Clair, a Pell City High School student. “This unique art form offers beginner and advanced writers the opportunity to create a virtual show for their audience.”

A Shot for the Short

Spotlight Studio, the digital content production arm of CEPA in Pell City, is now accepting submissions for its third-annual short film contest: A Shot for The Short 2023.This unique art form offers beginner and advanced writers to have the opportunity to create a virtual show for their audience. 

A Shot for the Short Guidelines (Film Contest)

Spotlight Studio is a nonprofit arts effort that relies on volunteer and student labor. For a script to improve its chances of being selected in the Shot for the Short 2023 Contest, it should seek to adhere to one of the following categories:

  • Narrative nonfiction
  • Dramatized personal experiences
  • Realistic fiction (a story that probably hasn’t happened, but would be interesting if it did)
  • Satire (making fun of something ex. coffee addiction)
  • Something your generation understands, but other generations don’t
  • A change you want to make in the world or your life
  • Horror or Suspense based in realistic settings

Podcast Contest Guidlines

From the recorded episodes, the Studio team will choose one script to convert into a short film. In the past two years, Spotlight Studio has produced short films from this contest that screened at the Sidewalk International Film Festival in Birmingham.

The Black Box by Spotlight Studio is a content platform that encourages members of the St. Clair County community to produce original dramatic scripts and convert them into audio plays. 

  • All submissions will be considered for audio recording
  • Spotlight Club members will be prioritized (Learn more about joining a Spotlight Club here)
  • All submissions will be reviewed by CEPA administration and the Spotlight Studio production team
  • A maximum of 8 podcast episodes will be recorded
  • Podcast release dates will vary based on editing time required

Podcast Contest Guidelines

  • Script submissions of all genres will be considered
  • Submissions will be accepted through Jan. 6, 2023
  • Estimated recorded duration should not exceed 15 minutes
  • Submissions may not include any material that infringes the intellectual property rights of any person
  • Please be respectful of copyright and trademark laws
  • All material must be original to the persons who create the podcast
  • Submissions that focus primarily on depictions of violence, profanity, and vulgar language will not be considered
  • There is no limit to the number of collaborators on a script
  • A maximum of eight (8) voices can be recorded simultaneously at Spotlight Studio. It is recommended that the number of characters in the script not exceed eight

Judging Criteria

  • Narrative Structure: Does your story make sense? Is it told in a way that a listener will understand and engage with the plot?
  • Impact: Does the Submission tell a compelling story or teach us something new and important?
  • Editing: Have you eliminated unnecessary information or repetition?
  • Personality and Creativity: Does your script have a voice? Will it evoke emotion? Will it cause listeners to laugh, cry or think deeply about your subject?
  • Feasibility: Can it be produced primarily using Spotlight Studio’s current staff and equipment?

The Contest Submission period will begin on December 8, 2022 and end on January 6, 2023. It is preferred if scripts are submitted as Google Docs emailed to: [email protected]