The First Features scheme is for writing, writing/directing and producing talent from all across Scotland who have bold and captivating fiction projects that possess a strong theatrical ambition and have the potential to resonate with audiences worldwide

First Features supports projects from initial idea to fully polished draft. There are two levels of awards, distinguished between early development (to treatment or first draft) and further development (second draft and beyond). You will be able to apply for support at either level. We are able to support only a small number of projects at each stage, and support at one level will not guarantee support at the next.

After reading the application guidelines, we encourage you to get in touch with the Short Circuit Team if you would like to discuss your application and need support in order to apply.

Successful applicants can expect to receive financial support towards their project along with creative/editorial support from the Short Circuit Talent Executives and the Scripted team at Screen Scotland.

UPDATE: We are extending the deadline for the second round of First Features 2023/24.

The new deadline is 10am on Monday 8th January 2024.

This is to account for a slight change to the guidelines. 

We would like to encourage filmmakers to explore a wide range of genres and styles. We’re receiving a high level of coming of age and period dramas; and we’d like to invite a more diverse range of applications, for example sci-fi/fantasy, thriller, comedy, action, romantic drama, animation etc. 

For clarity if you have a great coming of age or period drama; don’t feel you can’t submit it, you can! Though we’d like to be transparent that we’re receiving mostly this genre. 

Who does First Features support?

We welcome applications from individual writers and writer/directors looking to develop a treatment or first draft, as well as teams with a producer or production company attached. To apply for support beyond the first draft, you must have a producer or production company on board.

All applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Aged 18 or over
  • Based/resident in Scotland
  • Not in full time education

Producers must have a demonstrable ability to drive a project through development.

Applications will be considered from creative talent looking to make the transition to fiction from documentary or experimental film, as well as practitioners working in other mediums such as television, theatre, literature and other forms of visual and/or performing arts.

We are aware that within the screen industry that Disabled and D/deaf people, global majority communities, women, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex people (LGBTQI+), and those who have been socially and economically disadvantaged by their circumstances and upbringing are proportionately under-represented. We encourage applications from individuals who are currently under-represented within the sector and seek to foster equal opportunities for new and emerging talent from diverse backgrounds, with support on hand for those who need it.



What kind of support can I apply for?

There are two levels of support, each defined by specific stages of the project:

Early Development – to treatment and first draft

Further Development – to second draft and beyond

Early Development projects will be supported by the Short Circuit Talent Executives and be expected to meet designated milestones in order to develop a feature idea from outline to treatment or treatment to draft. Further Development projects will be supported by the Scripted team at Screen Scotland.

Early Development

For Early Development, we are able to provide support to take an outline or treatment through to a polished first draft script.

Awards are made in stages and you can apply for up to a maximum amount at each stage of your project, as outlined below.

Award Stages

  • Treatment: maximum £5,000
  • First draft: maximum £15,000

We do not require applications to have a producer or production company attached to apply for Early Development funding.

The maximum that can be awarded for a single project for Early Development (across all stages to polished first draft) is £20,000.

Further Development

These awards are for teams with existing feature projects that have a developed first draft. Projects that have received Early Development support from Short Circuit can also access Further Development support.

We require all applications at this level to have a producer or production company attached. We also expect you to supply a market strategy and finance plan for your project that indicates its commercial potential and how you intend to move the project closer to being made.