The SCL Awards


The Society of Composers & Lyricists, the premier organization for composers and songwriters working in visual media, hosts the annual SCL Awards, which celebrate excellence and innovation in music for visual media.

Awards are presented in five competitive categories: Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film, Outstanding Original Score for an Independent Film, Outstanding Original Score for a Television Production, Outstanding Original Song for Visual Media, and Outstanding Original Score for Interactive Media.

Nominees and winners are judged and determined solely by member composers and songwriters.




The SCL is mindful that as a result of the pandemic the vast majority of audiovisual productions released this year are being delivered via streaming. Certain categories have been adapted accordingly, and for this year only.

Outstanding Original Score for a Studio Film: Original music that serves as dramatic underscore and is written specifically for a major film studio-produced motion picture, released theatrically or via streaming.*

Outstanding Original Score for an Independent Film: Original music that serves as dramatic underscore and is written specifically for an independent motion picture, including documentaries. For the purposes of the SCL Awards, an Independent Film is one with a theatrical or streaming first release that is not solely financed or produced by the major studios, and must have a production budget of not more than $15 million.

Outstanding Original Score for a Television Production: Original music that serves as dramatic underscore and is written specifically for a television movie, series (limited or unlimited), or documentary.

Outstanding Original Song for Visual Media: Original words and music written specifically for a studio or independent motion picture, documentary, television production, video game, or interactive medium. The song must be used in the body of the production, or as the first music cue in the end credits.

Outstanding Original Score for Interactive Media: Original music that serves as dramatic underscore and is written specifically for a video game, extended reality experience, or similar interactive platform.

Spirit of Collaboration Award: A lifetime achievement award that will be presented to a composer and filmmaker who have had an enduring and distinguished creative partnership representing a significant body of work.

*Major film studios include but are not limited to: Amazon, Disney, Fox, Hulu, Netflix, Paramount, Sony, Universal, and Warner Bros.


1. All entries will be reviewed for eligibility and categorization by the SCL Awards Committee. Competitive categories are determined by the medium or venue of initial public performance or commercial release.

2. Submitted scores or songs must have been, or due to be, publicly released in the U.S. between January 1, 2020 and midnight US Pacific Time on February 26, 2021. Festival performances qualify as a public release.

3. The competitive categories above are open to any composer or songwriter of any age or nationality who meets all other qualifications. International productions are eligible, and subject to all other eligibility requirements.

4. The Spirit of Collaboration Award is determined by the SCL Awards Committee and Board of Directors.

5. The score or song must be an original work, submitted by the composer/songwriter and in the given names of the composer/songwriter. Pseudonyms will not be accepted on the entry.

6. Joint submissions for co-written works are permitted for no more than three composers per score entry, and no more than four songwriters per song. A minimum 25% creative contribution, supported by cue sheet credit, is required. Certificates honoring additional musical contributions to the winning entry will be presented at the discretion of the category winner(s) and the SCL Awards Committee.

7. Music videos are not eligible for SCL Awards.

8. Submissions may be watermarked with the name of the composer or film company and may include visual timecode. The SCL will not sign NDAs.

9. All composer/songwriter entrants must be active voting SCL members. Patron, Sponsor, and Associate members are not eligible to enter. Non-members must apply for membership to be eligible for entry.

10. Representatives of composer/songwriters may submit on their client’s behalf provided they use the member’s login credentials.

11. It is the responsibility of the member to ensure their membership remains current for the duration of the 2021 SCL Awards season, from time of submission up to and including March 2, 2021. Expired membership during period this may result in disqualification of the member’s entries. Use this link to check your membership status.

Further questions about eligibility may be addressed to the Awards Department.

Entry Fees & Procedures

1. Current voting SCL members may submit one free entry in each category (below). Additional entries within the same category will incur a fee of $100. Member entries will be subject to verification of current membership status by the SCL Awards Committee.

2. Non-members may apply to join the SCL as voting members (Full, Gold, Platinum, or Diamond) prior to December 1, 2020, and upon qualification may submit as members. Composers and songwriters applying for SCL membership on or after December 1, 2020 may apply for an expedited membership at Gold level or above, and upon qualification, may submit to the SCL Awards.

3. Entries must include corresponding cue sheets and proof of date and venue of initial public performance or commercial release. Submissions will be verified by the SCL Awards Committee for eligibility.

4. SCL Board members may submit but are ineligible to vote in the same category for the preliminary round. Board members will be eligible to vote in all competitive categories in the final round.

5. Entries must be submitted online via the official SCL Awards website with all requisite materials and fees.

  • Film and Television score entries must be delivered as one file, and may include multiple selections/edits from a single episode, totaling a minimum of 8 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes with music synchronized to its visual media.
  • Video Game/Interactive Media score entries must comprise a minimum of 8 minutes and a maximum of 15 minutes of music accompanying visual images, showing actual gameplay with music chosen by the composer. This can include gameplay with synchronized music or selected gameplay visuals with appropriate music from the game. It may also include original scored cinematic material but must contain at least some of the gameplay interactive score. Music licensed from third parties cannot be included.
  • Original Song submissions must include the visual images that accompanied the song in the medium and a single-paragraph synopsis of the production’s storyline.

6. Video files must be .mov or mp4 format.

7. Members will be encouraged to evaluate entries based on their compositional craft, creativity, originality, and cinematic effect prior to voting.

8. Entrants are responsible for acquiring the requisite clearances and permissions from all third-party copyright holders to enable the SCL to host the uploaded assets on the SCL Awards members-only voting portal.

9. The SCL reserves the right to change, modify, or add terms and conditions governing the SCL Awards. The SCL also reserves the right to move an entry from one category to another should the Awards committee deem it appropriate. In all instances, the decision of the SCL is final.

Please ensure you have read all the above information before contacting the SCL with questions. If you still have questions that are not addressed above, you may contact the Awards Department.

2021 Awards Timeline

November 4 to December 30, 2020: SCL Awards open for submissions.

January 4 to 29, 2021: First round of SCL Awards voting.

February 1, 2021: SCL Awards nominees announced.

February 8 to February 26, 2021: Final round of SCL Awards voting.

March 2, 2021: SCL Awards ceremony.

Advertising & Promotional Rules

Nominees are permitted to promote their work in the context of The SCL Awards.

  • Canvassing of votes via email, telephone, texting, video conferencing, and social media is permitted. Posting on the SCL’s social media profiles, feeds, or comment threads is NOT permitted and may result in disqualification.
  • Any mailers (e.g. DVDs, CDs, flyers etc.) must be facilitated via the SCL’s sales & marketing partner, IngleDodd Media.
  • Live or virtual performances of songs and scores are acceptable forms of promotion.
  • Virtual screening events, which may include Q&A sessions to which SCL members are invited, are encouraged. These must be arranged by the entrant, entrant’s representative, the associated film/television/streaming studio, or video game company. Related costs must be borne by the entrant or entrant’s representative(s). The SCL will manage scheduling and staffing of virtual screening events, for which fees apply. Depending on demand, screening availability may be limited and will be scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. To organize a screening event for the SCL Awards, please contact the SCL Office.
  • It is the sole responsibility of the entrant to determine whether submission to the SCL Awards and any promotional activity contravenes any other organization’s rules and regulations. The SCL will not be held liable for any action by an entrant that precludes entry to other competitions.


If you have any questions, please use the form below to contact our Awards Department:

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