The First Features scheme is for writing, writing/directing and producing talent from all across Scotland who have bold and compelling fiction projects with theatrical ambition and the potential to resonate with audiences globally.

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.

All applicants must have a strong track record in short films or other narrative-based medium, and industry recognition for previous work. 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.

Please note that the last round of applications for First Features closed on Sunday 18th September 2022. We are not currently accepting applications for this funding scheme.



Who does First Features support?

First Features is a scheme for emerging filmmaking talent in Scotland. As a writer, writer/director, or producer you will have a track record in short film or another narrative-based medium, and some acclaim or industry recognition for your previous work.

Applications will be considered from established 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.

All applicants should be able to demonstrate significant experience of crafting a dramatic narrative in at least one of these formats, as well as recognition from the relevant industry or creative sector.

Short Circuit is keen to encourage applications from individuals and teams currently under-represented within the Scottish screen industries, which includes writers, directors and producers from Black, Asian or Ethnic Minority backgrounds, Disabled and D/deaf people, the LGBTQI+ community and women.



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.