Writers Room Screenwriting Competition to Award Year of Personal Mentoring by Screenwriter Stephen Susco
By The Writers Room
Dec 14, 2004, 14:20

Writers Room Screenwriting Competition to Award Year of Personal Mentoring by Screenwriter Stephen Susco

Stephen Susco, the acclaimed screenwriter of the recent box office hit, "The Grudge," starring Sarah Michelle Geller, is going to make some Hollywood dreams come true.

The Writers Room of Bucks County-a not-for-profit writers' center providing writing workshops, publishing, and editorial services - is sponsoring The Stephen Susco Screenwriting Mentorship Competition. Three budding screenwriters will receive one year of personal mentoring by Susco on the business and craft of screenwriting.

Stephen Susco Screenwriting Mentorship Competition details:

Launches January 2005; deadline for entries April 30, 2005
Apply online at by submitting a brief treatment, writing sample, resume, short essay (optional) and $45 application fee.

Applicants narrowed to 36 by Writers Room professionals before submittal to panel of three industry judges. (Biographies below)

Panel selects 15 for personal interviews and final selection by Susco.

Three winners announced in June 2005; receive one year of personal mentoring by Susco.

"I've always enjoyed the mentoring process," says Susco, who's worked with high school students on the art of screenwriting. He encourages writers of all ages and backgrounds, however, to apply. "I like the idea of taking somebody with very little exposure and understanding of the industry, and mentoring them on the actual craft and reality of what it's like to be a working writer in Hollywood. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing if I hadn't met the right person on the first day of film school myself."

Susco has written 24 screenplays for studios including Universal, New Line, Sony and Paramount-and critically-acclaimed directors like Mike Nichols and Quentin Tarantino. The Grudge, a horror movie based on a Japanese film, earned over $70 million in its first 10 days in theaters-and $120 million to date ($108 million in the States).

"We believe it's essential to showcase the trials and tribulations of being a writer in all settings, including Hollywood," says Foster Winans, executive director of the Writers Room. "There are many writers with a strong desire to be part of that L.A. community," he says. "We want to help them get there, and show them what it's like once they arrive."

"We hope that when the winners of the competition are successful like Stephen, they'll remember other writers who need a hand," says Winans. "We are so grateful for Stephen's friendship and commitment to our profession, and we are very proud of him."

Judge bios:

Ian Abrams: Mr. Abrams, Associate Professor of the College of Media Arts & Design at Drexel University, spent 10 years as an entertainment industry publicist and 10 years as a screenwriter. He wrote the 1993 film "Undercover Blues" and created the television series "Early Edition," which ran for four years on CBS and has now entered syndication. For more information, visit

Alan Hines: Mr. Hines, who lives in Bucks County, wrote the screenplay adaptation of his novel, Square Dance, which starred Winona Rylder, Rob Lowe, Jane Alexander, and Jason Robards. Other feature film credits include: "A Stranger In The Kingdom," "O'Keeffe and Stieglitz," and the upcoming, First Comes Love." Hines has written nearly three dozen movies for television, including "Guilt By Association" (Court TV), "In Sickness and In Health" (CBS), "Too Close to Home" (CBS), "Willing to Kill: The Texas Cheerleader Story" (ABC), "Breaking the Surface: The Greg Louganis Story" (USA), and "The Familiar Stranger (Lifetime)." "The Interrogation of Michael Crowe" (Court TV) received a Peabody Award in 2003. Currently, he is writing a script about the Holocaust for ABC, which he will produce with Mel Gibson. He is also the recipient of numerous awards for his fiction, including the D.H. Lawrence Fellowship.

Mark Rosenthal: Mr. Rosenthal, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, has been a director, producer and screenwriter since 1987. He has directed "The In Crowd (1987)," produced "Planet of the Apes (2001)," and written the screenplays for "Mona Lisa Smile" (2003), "Planet of the Apes" (2001), "Mercury Rising" (1998), "Mighty Joe Young" (1998), "Beverly Hillbillies" (1993), "Desperate Hours" (1990), "For Love or Money" (1993), "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" (1991), "Superman IV" (1987), "Jewel of the Nile" (1985), and "The Legend of Billie Jean" (1985).

Additional Contest Info: Stephen ("The Grudge") Susco Screenwriting Mentorship Competition

Website: Writers Room Screenplay Competiton

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