The Samuel Goldwyn Foundation named UCSB alumna and screenwriter Cameron Lund a finalist in its 56th annual writing contest for an opportunity to gain exposure and a chance to win up to $15,000 in prize money.

The organization began in 1955 at UCLA in honor of renowned film producer Samuel Goldwyn Sr. and has recognized notable screenwriters including Francis Ford Coppola, Eric Roth and Colin Higgins. Producer and Oscar nominee David Hoberman, Oscar nominee Paul Mazursky and writer/producer and Goldwyn Award winner Melanie Marnich will judge the finalists’ screenplays and announce the winners on Nov. 2 at UCLA.

Lund’s screenplay, “Practice Makes Perfect,” is a romantic comedy depicting the story of a high school student who has sex with his best friend to help her become sexually proficient for her older prom date. Lund wrote her script last summer and finalized the first draft for a film writing class in the Fall Quarter of 2010 with the mentoring and encouragement of film and media studies lecturer Paul Portugés.

Lund said the nomination surprised her due to her screenplay’s more lighthearted tone.

“I was shocked when I found out! As I said before, I really was not expecting much and it took a lot of pressure from Portugés to convince me to submit it at all,” Lund said. “My script is a comedy and I felt like the competition would be looking for something serious and dramatic, so it was a very nice and unexpected surprise.”

According to Awards Coordinator Rorri Feinstein, judges will select the winning screenplay based on criteria including craft, original voice, imagination and storyline. Feinstein said the competition helps students transition into professional entertainment careers.

“This award is important because it opens doors within the industry and helps the winners make the transition from student to professional writer,” Feinstein said in an e-mail. “They receive enormous interest from producers, directors, agents and development executives. In 2010, within one month of announcing the winners, all five winners had representation.”

In a statement announcing the finalists, Dean of the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Terri Schwartz said the writing awards are an incredible form of recognition for the university.

“It is an honor for us to have this wonderful alliance with the prestigious Samuel Goldwyn Writing Awards,” Schwartz said in the release. “Their vision and commitment to rewarding excellence in dramatic writing from outstanding emerging talent is to be applauded.”