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The SCL Awards

The inaugural SCL Awards will be presented by The Society of Composers & Lyricists in January 2020.

The awards will celebrate excellence and innovation in music for visual media.

First-round voting is now closed. Nominees will be announced on December 3, 2019.


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. 

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 first release that is not solely financed or produced by the major studios (Sony, Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros. Disney, Universal, Netflix, or Amazon) and must have a production budget of no more than $15 million.

Outstanding Original Score for Television or Streaming Production: Original music that serves as dramatic underscore and is written specifically for a television or streaming production, including documentaries.

Outstanding Original Song for Visual Media: Original words and music written specifically for a studio or independent motion picture, documentary, television/streaming 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 by a composer to a filmmaker, with whom the composer has had an enduring and distinguished creative partnership, representing a significant body of work. 


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, commercially released in the U.S. between January 1, 2019 and December 31, 2019.

3. The competitive categories above are open to any composer or songwriter of any age or nationality. The Spirit of Collaboration Award is determined by the SCL Awards Committee and Board of Directors.

4. 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.

5. Joint submissions for co-written works are permitted for no more than two 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

Further questions about eligibility may be addressed to the Awards department on our Contact page.

Entry Fees & Procedures

  1. Current voting SCL composer/songwriter members may submit one free entry in each category. Member entries will be subject to verification of current membership status by the SCL Awards Committee.
  2. Non-members may apply to join SCL membership here, then submit as members.
  3. Member entries are limited to one free entry per category. Additional entries within the same category will incur a fee of $100. Additional entries may be submitted here.
  4. Entries may be submitted by a representative of the composer(s)/songwriter(s) with the consent of the composer(s)/songwriter(s).
  5. Entries must include corresponding cue sheets and will be verified by the SCL Awards Committee. Entries must include proof of date and venue of initial public performance or commercial release and will be verified by the SCL Awards Committee.
  6. SCL Board members may submit but are ineligible to judge in the same category for the preliminary round of voting. Board members will be eligible to vote in all competitive categories in the final round of voting after the nominees have been announced.
  7. Entries must be submitted online via the official SCL Awards website portal with all requisite materials and fees.
    • Film and Television/Streaming score entries must be delivered as one file, and may include multiple selections/edits 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.
  8. Nominations will be judged on their compositional craft, creativity, originality and cinematic effect.
  9. Members who submit entries accept responsibility for acquiring the requisite clearances and permissions from all third-party copyright holders to enable the SCL to host the uploaded assets on its gated web site.
  10. The SCL reserves the right to change, modify or add terms and conditions governing the SCL Awards. The decision of the SCL Awards Committee is final.

Further questions about entree fees and procedures may be addressed to the Awards department on our Contact page.

Awards Timeline

September 9, 2019: SCL Awards announced.

September 18, 2019: SCL Awards open for submissions.

November 15, 2019: SCL Awards submissions close.

November 18, 2019: First round of SCL Awards voting opens.

December 2, 2019: First round of SCL Awards voting closes.

December 3, 2019: Inaugural SCL Awards nominees announced.

December 12, 2019: Final round of SCL Awards voting opens.

January 3, 2020: Final round of SCL Awards voting closes.

January 7, 2020: Inaugural SCL Awards ceremony.

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, however posting on the SCL’s social media sites is not permitted and may result in disqualification.
  • Any mailers (e.g. DVDs, CDs, flyers etc.) must be facilitated via IngleDodd Media, the SCL’s sales and marketing partner.
  • Live performances of songs and scores are acceptable forms of promotion.
  • Screening events, to which SCL members are invited, are permitted, but must be arranged by the entrant, the entrant’s representative, or the associated film/television studio or video game company, and all related costs must be borne by them. The SCL will assist in scheduling and staffing for which customary fees for screenings will apply.
  • During the Final Round only, the SCL will provide the opportunity, at no cost, for all nominees to exhibit full versions of the film, television/streaming production or extended video gameplay on a dedicated SCL Awards Vimeo channel, as well as the possibility for social media-based Q&A sessions on Instagram Live. These opportunities will be scheduled and facilitated by SCL staff.
  • If any of the promotional rules contravene those of another organization of which you are a member, it is your responsibility to check with the other organization.