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American Gem Short Screenplay & Literary Festival
2011 Screenplay Contest

Enter your Short Screenplay, Short Story, Treatment in American Gem Short Screenplay Contest / Literary Festival. 

Winning Screenplay in the American Gem Short Screenplay Contest will be Produced.

Grand Prize Winner / Short Screenplay Gets to Pitch Screenplay to Producers, Studio Executives and Agents. Certificate of achievement awards to the Top 25 scripts and top 3 in each of the other categories.

from script to screen


FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards
Screenplay Contest Interview

| Winners | Bio | Synopsis | Script Excerpt |






Tadhg Culley
of Burntwood, United Kingdom



Tadhg Culley

Tadhg Culley was born in Münster, British Forces Germany and spent the first few years of his life in Soest, Westphalia. He moved to England with his mother at the age of 3 to be with the rest of his family. He has spent the majority of his life living in Burntwood, Staffordshire. Tadhg was a creative child, often writing short stories, who discovered a love for film.

He graduated from the University for the Creative Arts in 2011 with a BA (Hons) in Film Production, achieving a mark of 2:1. He specialised in screenwriting in his final year and since then has devoted his spare time to writing feature screenplays. Tadhg works tirelessly with fierce determination towards a career in screenwriting. He shall soon begin an MA in Screenwriting at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Beaconsfield, Buckinghamshire. Tadhg has recently been awarded a British Academy for Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) Scholarship to continue his study.


A group of students shooting a documentary about grimy findings in seedy motel rooms unwittingly unearth a crime scene trail left by a serial killer. Blinded by ambition, they pick up the pieces of the puzzle rather than alert the authorities and feature in a final film that will change their lives forever.


Part 1.


I knew I wanted to be screenwriter........

after I spent my second year at University directing short films. I had so much material within me that was bursting out and decided there and then to dedicate the following years to get it all onto the page.

I know I've succeeded when........ 

I’ve optioned my first feature length screenplay. I am soon to begin writing spec features number 7 and 8 so the journey continues.

My inspiration to write STEPPING STONES.....

came from firsthand experiences in directing documentary film at University. It is an ethical minefield with so many boundaries being blurred. After a particularly vivid nightmare while I was in a motel on holiday in West Virginia, USA, my mind began to work tirelessly on this story. I wrote my dissertation on the overlooked ethical responsibilities of a director and this creative project felt like a natural progression from that.

Part 2.


FilmMakers Magazine: What inspired you to write?

Tadhg Culley
: I am lucky to come from a very creative family so have been encouraged to write and create by my loved ones from an early age.

FilmMakers Magazine: Is this your first script and how long did it take you to complete?

Tadhg Culley: ‘Stepping Stones’ was my third feature length screenplay. I had to wait 2 years before I could actually work properly on it as I was in a very stressful full-time job at the time. When I began writing, it probably took around a year to complete. I think the time it had spent in my mind while at work really helped solidify the story before I even began to write it.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you have a set routine, place and time management for writing?

Tadhg Culley:
My routine is to write two feature length screenplays at one time. I work for one whole week on the first project and then alternate to the second for the following week. This process keeps my mind fresh and engaged. I am an extremely organised person when it comes to writing so have a diary that outlines the hours I can assign to each task.

FilmMakers Magazine: Do you believe screenplay contests are important for aspiring screenwriters and why?

Tadhg Culley:
Screenwriting contests have been invaluable to the developments I am making in my career. They enable the writer to have a guaranteed read by an industry gatekeeper, to be on the receiving end of professional feedback and also gauge where they might stand in a sea of other talented writers all fighting for a chance to be heard.

FilmMakers Magazine: What influenced you to enter the FilmMakers International Screenwriting Awards / Screenplay Contest?

Tadhg Culley: I believe this has been my second year of trying with this competition so I’d urge writers to never give up! It’s always worth getting your work out there and read. I’ve never been afraid to show people my work and simply want it out there instead of hidden away in a drawer gathering dust.

FilmMakers Magazine: What script would you urge aspiring writers to read and why?

Tadhg Culley: I’d urge aspiring writers to read any script that they can get their hands on! It’s useful to see how the pros do it but just as helpful to see how your colleagues or screenwriter friends are developing too. Giving and receiving feedback of your own and others work is always beneficial to get a firmer grasp on the craft.

FilmMakers Magazine: Beside screenwriting what are you passionate about and why?

Tadhg Culley: I’m also extremely passionate about writing poetry. I’ve compiled my first collection of 50 poems over the years into a small book that I would like to keep building on and one day hope to publish.

FilmMakers Magazine: Who is your favorite Screenwriter and Why?

Tadhg Culley:
I am a huge fan of Derek Cianfrance. I found his use of structure to be very innovative in ‘Blue Valentine’ and ‘Place Beyond the Pines’ and his story content to be particularly engaging. I realize he is a writer/director but it all begins on the page.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the director you would love to work with and why?

Tadhg Culley: Michael Mann has always been one of my favourite directors since an early age. Everything from ‘Last of the Mohicans’ to ‘Public Enemies’, ‘Collateral’ and ‘Miami Vice’, speaks volumes to me and are masterfully handled.

FilmMakers Magazine: Name the actor you would love to work with and why?

Tadhg Culley: There is so much talent out there it would be hard to narrow it down to one actor. Michael Fassbender is at the top of the pile of an endless list of raw talent. However, I’d much prefer to discover an actor or actress who is yet to become the star they were born to be.

FilmMakers Magazine: Any tips and things learned along the way to pass on to others?

Tadhg Culley:
You are your own best critic. Always trust your gut instinct and follow your heart. You’ll know when you’ve been led astray and your soul will guide you back on the right path.

FilmMakers Magazine: What's next for you?

Tadhg Culley: In the next five months I will begin and hopefully come close to finishing my seventh and eighth screenplays as I eagerly await contest results on my fifth and sixth endeavors.

FilmMakers Magazine: Where will you be five years from now?

Tadhg Culley: In 2016 I will begin a two-year MA Screenwriting course at the National Film & Television School in Buckinghamshire, England, supported by a BAFTA scholarship to continue my studies. After that, I hope to acquire an agent, option a screenplay and begin my journey into the professional world as a working industry screenwriter.



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