Rom-coms and crime stories dominated submissions to the first Chinese-language scriptwriting competition co-presented by Taiwan’s Studio76 and MediaCorp in Singapore.

Unveiled at the Taiwan Creative Content Fest last year, “Rising Stories” received 520 submissions, far higher than the 100-150 organizers had anticipated, Studio76’s CEO and managing partner Dennis Yang told Variety. Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, organizers only promoted the event online and approached scriptwriters chat groups on social media.

Around 75% of the entries came from Taiwan, Yang said. But the competition — also backed by Tencent’s WeTV and X Media Asia — also received submissions from Chinese-speaking parts of Asia, mainland China, the U.S., Europe and Australia.

Nearly half of the submissions — story treatments rather than full scripts — are romantic comedies, or rom-com, according to Yang. “Some come with a twist of fantasy or sci-fi,” he added. Around 28% of the proposals are crime stories, while the remaining ones are sci-fi and sports stories. In terms of format, 53% were for feature films aiming at either theatrical or television release, while 35% were pitched as mini-series of six to eight episodes.

The contest attracted many young writers, Yang said. Around 26% participating are amateurs, while 48% said they have had up to three years of scriptwriting experience. “They may be good at story concepts, but they are still learning the craft of writing,” he said.  The remaining contestants are seasoned scriptwriters.

The entries will be winnowed down to 50. The top 10 projects will take part in a pitching session in mid-July. Of these, five will get investment backing and production green light from Studio76, MediaCorp, WeTV and X Media.