2019 Script Writing Contest

Wanted: Creative Writers! Win Cash Prizes. Submission Deadline Sept 15

SikhNet is looking for creative writers to create new original Sikh-themed stories for kids. Select stories to be made into SikhNet Audio stories and animated! 

PRIZES! We will be selecting prize winners from two categories:

Ages - up to 15 years old

First prize:  $500 USD
Second prize: $50 Amazon giftcard
Third prize: $25 Amazon giftcard

Ages - 16-24 years old

First prize: $500 USD
Second prize: $50 Amazon giftcard
Third prize: $25 Amazon giftcard

Adults aged 25+

No prize, but the chance to have your story made into a SikhNet story. 

One or more of the winning stories will be made into new SikhNet Audio Stories and may also be turned into a simple animated video as well!

We did this in 2011 and Team Khalsa was the winning story, written by a brother and sister team, ages 13 and 11. Team Khalsa has been a favorite on SikhNet Stories for years and it is currently being animated for release in September.  Click here to read about the winners. Your story could be the next great story on SikhNet Stories! 

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Submit a Story Script to SikhNet 

Submission Deadline: September 15, 2019

(Please read contest rules below)

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What We are Looking for:

  1. An original story with Sikh characters that is inspirational, teaches something, and speaks in an entertaining and engaging way to modern children.  Or,
  2. Stories that are geared towards Sikh girls and female characters that serve as role models and address the needs of Sikh girls. Stories can have both boy and girl characters together as long as there is a strong female character in addition to the boy character. (See 4 below.)
  3. Stories that can be made into a series (i.e., multiple unique stories using the main characters in different plots and settings.) We want characters kids can 'connect with' and get familiar with through lots of different "Adventures."
  4. Stories with Sikh Boy & Girl characters that appeal to both genders and tackle topics that relate to both. It could also have other main characters, parents, teachers, adults, animals/imaginary characters/sidekicks, etc.
  5. We are primarily looking for original work. This means that if history is used, it should be used in a new and original way. Historical stories are more limited, and for that reason we want new ideas and situations that apply to young people today. Historical fiction can serve this purpose provided it is original and "modern." Modern fiction and future fiction will also be exciting. I'm sure you have some good ideas that are itching to come out.

If this sounds interesting to you, then get started right away since we need your scripts really soon! Once you've started your creative process, you may want to read the suggestions below to help create more inspiring stories for kids on SikhNet.

In order for your story to be produced as an actual SikhNet Audio or Video Story you will want to keep in mind the following guidelines (of course don't let anything hinder your creativity!)

Ideas

  • Sikh Superhero type story series. Should have some grounding in reality even if parts might be fantasy. Make things real...but amplify them.
  • Super Powers - Different characters could have "super powers" that they discover. For example: Intuition from doing lots of meditation and being able to know what is going to happen before it happens. Perhaps the character can see the cause and effect of making a particular action based on different choices that he or she might make? 
  • Martial Arts powers, power of compassion and heightened awareness. Could be like a Sikh version of the "Incredibles."
  • Female character that is beautiful and princess-like (or transforms into such a character in some way).
  • The hero of your story might discovering his/her "secret identity" and "super powers" in interesting ways.
  • When he/she says a particular "Magic word"  (WaheGuru?) turns into the "super hero" all dressed in full bana. Kind of like "Wonder Woman"and is thereby transformed and ready to serve others in a unique way.
  • You might integrate Sikh history as a side story using a character like Grandmother or Uncle telling a story within the story.
  • Your story could be in today's world...but could also be sometime in the future.
  • Make it inspiring by focusing on beauty, standing out, service, helping others, courage and standing up for others.
  • Have your stories teach various tools that kids can actually use to deal with different situations in today's world.

Length

We like to have stories 5 to 10 minutes long. Attached you will find an example of a story that ended up being 5:13 long "God In Every Moment" Audio / Script; another that ended up being 8:25 long "Listening to the Heavens" Audio / Script as well as one that turned out to be 12:43 long "Attitude of Gratitude" Audio / Script. This is just to give an idea of the required length when it's on paper. Keep in mind this is a guideline. If a story is really good, it may deserve more time, just so long as it can keep the attention of children.

Format

Your story needs to be in the format of a script. A movie script looks different than a novel or short story. This means indicating when a character is speaking and when the narrator (if there is one) is speaking. Please indent, use bold font in Caps to indicate character or narrator speech.  Please use parenthesis to indicate possible sound effects. The script is generally used word-for-word when recording, so write it in the same way that it would be spoken out loud by the character. See the three linked (script) examples in the section above.

Mood

Make your story lighthearted and fun. Don't make it overly serious. Keep in mind that these stories are for kids, so keep it fun so they enjoy it and learn something at the same time. Refrain from getting too technical. It's best to share something educational through the story indirectly, rather than "preaching" the meaning which can be boring for young kids. It never hurts to remember humor! Who's got a funny bone? We all do! It's connected to the creativity bone.

Language

The story script should be written in English. We are not currently able to produce stories in Punjabi or other languages.

Narration

We like to add character voices and sound effects so that kids don't get bored with the narrator. Keep in mind when writing a script, how long the narrator is talking without any sound effects or character dialogues. Put in sound effects or character dialogues to break up long narrator sequences. Also imagine how you want the narrator to say it. If there is any kind of intonation you would like to come across, do guide the narrator with that by indicating that with parentheses (Eg: (In a loud voice) or (whispers quietly).)

Audio Effects

When writing a script keep in mind that it will sound different when acted out loud than it will in your head. Try actually speaking out loud the dialogue you have written. Make your script as alive as possible and specify sound effects whenever appropriate.

Video Effects

The winning script will likely be turned into a semi-animated video. The animation will be very exciting to present extra visual entertainment along with the audio story! Visualize how the story will look as you write it. This may inspire you to include descriptions of a scene (in parenthesis of course.)

More than one story & story series

We welcome you to submit multiple stories, particularly stories that are part of a series with the same characters. If you are inspired to write more than one story, or your story is longer than you thought, you can split it up into a series of stories. Just make sure that each story ends with some resolution. Even though a story might continue and might leave you hanging...there needs to be some resolution and completion in each episode.

Audience

SikhNet audio stories are listened to by people of all ages, however our target audience is kids 4-12 years old.

Message

The message of the story should be implicit in the plot itself. It should not need side explanations for a child to understand what the moral of the story is. Keep in mind that although any positive message is good for kids, these should have with a distinctly Sikh flavor. Perhaps you could add a line (or short passage) of Gurbani to your story.

Questions to Ask Yourself

Here are some things you might want to ask yourself when writing a script:

  • What are struggles that kids these days are being faced with? 
  • What are issues that kids need guidance with today?
  • What inspires kids today as opposed to what might have inspired kids in the past?
  • If I were a child age 5-12, would I be excited to hear this story?
  • If I were a child age 5-12, would I be able to understand the message in the story?
  • Are there any friends with whom I can brainstorm ideas and together come up with a good storyline & characters?

Final production. If your script is selected to be produced as a SikhNet Audio or Video Story please be open to input from us. We want to make sure each story is as excellent as possible.

Above all, we want to hear your original voice speaking! Let the creative juices flow and who knows what will come out!

Submit a Story Script to SikhNet

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RULES:

  • The deadline is September 15, 2019. Submissions received after that date will not be included in the competition.
  • The project must be the creative work of the contestant. In order to ensure a fair competition writing should be done by contestant and not by another professional, a parent or someone over 25 years of age. You can get advice from adults, but you must do the work.
  • Winners will be announced in September or October 2019 and featured on SikhNet.com
  • If submission made by individual under the age of 18 years, A parent or legal guardian must give written permission for you to submit your story script and photograph for use in the competition. 
  • By submitting your Story, you are granting SikhNet non-exclusive rights to use your script for non-profit related purposes.
  • During registration, a photo of the contestant is required. The required size is min. 800×600, no maximum size. Acceptable formats: jpg, jpeg, bmp, gif, png, tif. This photo should be a clear view of the entire face, and preferably have space around the head and shoulders. This photo should not be a full body shot.
  • Entrants must comply with all rules to be eligible for the prizes.
  • Your submission may be disqualified from awards if it is directly or indirectly promoting an existing organization. 
  • Your story should be related to some aspect of being a Sikh and Sikh lifestyle