Winners Receive:

$10,000 (Screenplay), $5,000 (TV)
Studio-level exposure | Development assistance | Long-term industry circulation

Early Deadline: June 1st, 2018

The 7th Annual First Look Project fulfills the requests of studios, production companies, agencies, and top managers by finding unique, high-concept material across two main categories:

  • Screenplay - divisions for Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Horror/Thriller, and Sci-fi/Fantasy
  • TV Pilot - divisions for Hour and Half-hour original pilots, any genre

One winner in each division receives a share of $15,000, industry circulation, and long-term development assistance from Script Pipeline’s executive team.

"The First Look Project was an awesome experience. From our first phone call, they became our personal champions and proceeded to surprise us again and again with the extent of their support. Thanks to them, we had meetings with a manager and production companies and are now developing our pilot with Mandalay Entertainment. Entering this contest moved our careers forward in an unprecedented way and was the smartest thing we did all year!"
-Ben and Tyler Soper, First Look Project Winners (The Devil in Evelyn)

Supported by Good Fear Film + Management (Rings), Panay Films (Masterminds), Lakeshore Entertainment (Age of Adaline), Zero Gravity Management (Ozark), Silent R Management (reps the Academy Award-winning director of Moonlight Barry Jenkins), Madhouse Entertainment (Prisoners), CAA, and other Script Pipeline partners, the competition introduces the best scripts to major companies.

Unlike Script Pipeline's main Screenwriting and TV writing competitions, entries for First Look are judged equally on writing ability and commercial potential. The originality of the concept and a strong understanding of genre and marketplace trends will take precedence, as well as overall writing ability.

           

Over the last 17 years, numerous Script Pipeline contest winners have found representation and gained crucial introductions to otherwise impossible-to-reach execs. The result: $6 million in specs sold from Pipeline competition finalists and "Recommend" writers since 2000, in addition to several produced scripts, and many currently in development. View recent success stories here.

Our goal with The First Look Project is to present exceptional work to industry partners and push more scripts into production.

Entries also accepted via:

     Submit on Withoutabox


- NOTABLE SUCCESS STORIES -

Script Pipeline Contest Winner Spec Sells to Universal for $3 Million

SWATHposter2016After introductions by Script Pipeline to partner Jake Wagner, Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for $3 million. It marked one of the biggest studio spec sales in years and subsequently made Evan one of the hottest young writers in the industry. The film has grossed over $400 million worldwide and spawned the 2016 film The Huntsman.

"Immediately after the competition, Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager, and the connection helped launch my screenwriting career."
- Evan Daugherty (Rose Red, Divergent)

Shortly after the Script Pipeline screenwriting contest, Evan landed an assignment with Warner Bros. to rewrite an adaptation of He-Man, which led to the sale of SWATH.

Evan co-wrote an adaptation of the young adult novel Divergent for Summit Entertainment (Twilight). The film released March 2014 and stars Shailene Woodley (The Spectacular Now) and Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet.

After selling a pilot pitch, it was later announced Evan would be one of the writers and executive producers on an adaptation of the DC comic franchise Midnight, Mass. for NBC and Five Ghosts for Syfy. He was one of the writers on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Michael Bay film starring Megan Fox released summer 2014. Evan was tapped to write and executive produce the event series Esmeralda for ABC Studios and signed on to pen the third installment of the GI Joe franchise for Paramount.

In March 2016, Disney gave the go-ahead on developing Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan that will serve as a companion piece to the Snow White story.

Among all these projects, he'll be making his directorial debut with Ink and Bone for Dimension Films and wrote an initial draft for Warner Bros. and MGM's Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina).

Watch the interview with Evan and Script Pipeline CEO Chad Clough

Read Evan's Script Pipeline Interview

Tripper Clancy's Contest-Winning Script in Production, Sells Other Projects to Major Studios

Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner following a top-four finish in the contest. A few months after the screenwriting competition ended, 20th Century Fox selected Tripper for their feature comedy writing team to help develop new material.

In September 2013, he sold the comedy The Ambassadors, and Tripper's buddy-comedy pitch Winter Break was picked up as the last spec sale of the year. In early 2014, he was hired to write the animated comedy Shedd for Paramount and, in 2016, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro.

Fox picked up Tripper's spec Stuber in April 2016 in a mid-six figure deal. The screenplay is based on an idea developed by Tripper and his manager Jake Wagner (Good Fear Film + Management). Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049) will co-star in the action-comedy alongside Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley).

In addition, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is in pre-production—Shawn Levy's 21 Laps (Stranger Things) and 3311 Productions to produce. Tripper will is also adapting the acclaimed novel The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.

"The impact Script Pipeline had on my writing career is extraordinary. Winning the contest directly led to my new representation, which in turn led to working with studios such as 20th Century Fox and Paramount."
- Tripper Clancy (Stranded, The Ambassadors)

Screenwriting Contest Winner in Production, Filming in 2018

Henry Dunham's The Incident at Sparrow Creek Lumber began production in March 2018 with an ensemble cast featuring James Badge Dale (Rubicon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Happy Anderson (Mindhunter), Robert Armayo (Game of Thrones), and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). Dallas Sonnier, Jonathan Brownlee, and Amanda Presmyk producing. Dunham is making his feature directorial debut.

The project, originally titled Militia, won the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Writer Henry Dunham was connected with representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with Pipeline industry partner Madhouse Entertainment.

"Without the momentum my win gave me, I don’t know where my screenplay would be. I owe Script Pipeline for everything."
- Henry Dunham (writer/director)

The script was a unanimous pick amongst Script Pipeline staff for top honors. Both CEO Chad Clough and Senior Executive Matt Joseph Misetich pegged the screenplay as a fresh, relevant spin on the genre, and an "unquestionably strong calling card" for the up-and-coming Dunham.

Robert De Niro Stars in Script Pipeline Contest-Winning Script

The Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Shrapnel was turned into the film Killing Season, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Corsan and Millennium Films produced the action/thriller and rehashed the original plot during development. It was released in 2013.

- View more news in the Success Stories section above -

Listed below are the First Look Project categories: Screenplay (with five genre divisions) and TV Pilot (with two format divisions). Also noted are the companies receiving first look at the winners.

All entries must fit into one of the following categories. There are no budget requirements. Adaptations of work in the public domain, or material the writer has secured the rights to, is acceptable.

SCREENPLAY 

Open to feature-length screenplays of any genre. If your screenplay is an equal mix of genres (for example, action/comedy or sci-fi/horror), you may submit to whichever single category you feel fits best. Winners are reviewed by the companies listed, with CAA consideration across all categories.

Action/Adventure - QC Entertainment (Get Out, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies)

ComedyPanay Films (The Girlfriend Equation, Earth to Echo)

Drama - Silent R Management (manager Jewerl Ross)

Horror/ThrillerGood Fear Film + Management (Rings, Polaroid)

Sci-fi/Fantasy - Lakeshore Entertainment (The Age of Adaline, Underworld)

TV PILOT

Original half-hour sitcoms and one-hour pilots.  Entries can be intended for network or cable television or digital. Spec scripts of existing shows or reality concepts will not be accepted. Must be for an original, scripted series.

Hour - Zero Gravity Management (OzarkBeasts of No Nation)

Half-hourMadhouse Entertainment (Awkward)


     Disney       

  • The Devil in Evelyn, winner of the 2016 First Look Project (Teleplay), was picked up for development by Mandalay Entertainment in September 2017. Script Pipeline set up the writers, brothers Ben and Tyler Soper, with meetings after extensive circulation to Pipeline's industry network.
  • Searching, written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty (winners of the 2015 First Look Project), was selected for the 2018 Sundance Festival—and soon after picked up by Sony for $5 million. Sev previously co-produced The Intervention and Fruitvale Station. The film is Aneesh’s feature directorial debut.
  • Writers Burke Scurfield and Adam Lederer signed with manager Drew Shenfield at Mosaic in 2018. Their comedy pilot, Big Boy, was circulated by Script Pipeline to Mosaic execs after the script's top 10 placement in the 2017 TV Writing Competition.
  • Chrissy Metz (This is Us) to star in Will O Wisp, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest finalist Evan Cooper. Evan previously placed in the competition with the thriller Ballerina Girl. He’s repped by manager Kailey Marsh and UTA.

"I've personally signed a number of writers from the Script Pipeline competitions, including Evan Daugherty and Tripper Clancy, and immediately review any material they send my way."
- Jake Wagner, Manager (Good Fear)

  • First Look Project contest winner Besa will be produced in 2018—Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) directing. Written by Michael Miceli, the crime/thriller won the Adaptation category for the inaugural First Look season and was later optioned by Cecil Chambers of Triumphant Pictures.
  • In February 2017, Script Pipeline partner Bohemia Group Originals (BGO) optioned two Screenwriting and TV Writing Competition finalists: Bradley Stryker's action/thriller The Dragon Run and Diana Wright's comedy pilot Franchise. The following month, they optioned Nadeem Siddiqui's romcom Slut, also a 2016 Screenwriting finalist.
  • Screenwriting Contest finalist Max Martini directing his feature Will Gardner starring Martini in the lead role alongside an all-star cast including Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County), and Gary Sinise (CSI: NY). Martini's company, Mona Vista Productions, will be donating 30% of the film's profits to charity.

"When I relocated from NYC to LA to pursue sitcom writing, everyone I met in the industry said it wasn’t about entering competitions, it was about entering the right competition. Script Pipeline was a turning point."
- Howard Jordan Jr., Writer (Superior Donuts)

  • Nir Paniry's Princesses to be produced by Grey Matter Productions and Disney. Joachim Røenning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) directing. Nir placed second in the Script Pipeline contest with his action screenplay The Coyote.
  • Kevin Jones, winner of the Great TV Show Idea Competition and a three-time Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist, signed with Jake Wagner (Good Fear) and UTA in 2016. Script Pipeline helped develop his contest-winning pitch into a pilot script, which is being shopped to major producers and networks.
  • Screenwriting Contest finalist Charles Stulck signed with manager Andrew Kersey in September 2017, a mere two weeks after introductions by Script Pipeline. Charles placed in the top 10 with his horror/comedy Cult-de-Sac.
  • TV Writing Competition finalist Dani Messerschmidt (Hello, I Live Here) signed with John Zaozirny at Bellevue Productions in March 2017. Dani was introduced to reps from Bellevue at a Script Pipeline writer/industry event months prior.

"Less than a week after the competition, I scored a meeting with Andrew Kersey for my finalist script. We hit it off right away, and I am now signed with a smart and talented manager. . . . I can't thank Script Pipeline enough for their dedication and the exposure they provide writers."
- Charles Stulck, Screenwriting Contest Finalist

  • Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) set to direct the Script Pipeline finalist screenplay Everything's Gonna Be Okay, written by Jen Goldson. It will be Jen's third produced film after meeting execs at the 2015 Script Pipeline writer/industry event, joining the romcom Off the Menu, directed by Jay Silverman and starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids), and the thriller Snatched, produced by Nasser Entertainment. The film was released in 2018 and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
  • Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Madhouse Entertainment and Paradigm in March 2017. He currently writes for the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts.
  • First Look Project contest winner Kristi Hall is developing a feature script with Kersey Management. Script Pipeline execs worked with Kristi for over a year on a high-concept action/comedy screenplay before sending it to manager Andrew Kersey.
  • Six years after winning the 2010 Screenwriting Competition, Debbie Chesebro and Tyson FitzGerald optioned their screenplay Prom Queen to Classy Films as a result of Script Pipeline's long-term facilitation.
  • TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) signed with UTA less than a few weeks after placing in the 2016 contest.

"Script Pipeline's care and attention for their finalists is unparalleled. Their network is vast and their reputation stellar. Thanks to Script Pipeline, I signed with a manager. I couldn't be more grateful for all they've done to advance my writing career."
- Andrew Martin Robinson, Screenwriting Contest Finalist (Cut its Head Off)

  • Android, written by Script Pipeline "Recommend" Matt O’Reilly, attached Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, The Path) in October 2016. Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) set to co-star in the sci-fi/thriller and had been attached since 2015. Niall Johnson (White Noise) directing, with Infinite Studios and Picture Films producing.
  • Screenwriting finalist Andrew Martin Robinson (Cut Its Head Off) signed with Peter Katz of Story Driven in August 2016—less than a week after his horror screenplay was circulated to Script Pipeline's industry network.
  • Greg Martin and Eric Beu signed with Good Fear Film + Management (formerly Benderspink) in 2015. The writing duo were named the winners of the 2015 TV Writing Competition with their original pilot Beachwood.
  • Finalist Matt Altman signed with APA and Parallax Talent Management. He and co-writer David Matalon sold their feature script The Feud to Vandal Entertainment, and Matt later sold his spec Sam & Liz: A Killer Love Story to Relativity Media and the script Red Widow to studio STX Entertainment.

"From our first phone call, Script Pipeline became our personal champions and proceeded to surprise us again and again with the extent of their support. Thanks to them, we had meetings with a manager and production companies and are now developing our pilot with Mandalay Entertainment. Entering this contest was the smartest thing we did!"
- Ben and Tyler Soper, First Look Project Winners (The Devil in Evelyn)

  • Contest winner Jason Kaleko (Snatch) signed with Energy Entertainment. He was previously developing feature and TV material with Script Pipeline execs.
  • Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) signed with WME and Grandview. He has multiple projects in development with major production companies, including Spooked, with Dan Lin producing, and the horror Five Nights at Freddy's.
  • Precious Cargo, a finalist in the 2010 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition written by Max Adams, was released in April 2016. The film stars Bruce Willis, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Claire Forlani.
  • Script Pipeline "Recommend" Micah Barnett sold Ricochet, a one-hour drama, to NBC a few years after finding management through a Script Pipeline industry contact.

"No one has done more for our screenplay and our writing career than Script Pipeline. They've worked tirelessly in connecting us to industry professionals over the course of six years, ultimately resulting in our script getting optioned."
- Debbie Chesebro & Tyson FitzGerald, Screenwriting Contest Winners (Prom Queen)

  • Screenwriting Finalist Craig Weeden and veteran comic writer/inker Jimmy Palmiotti (Ultimate Spider-man, Jonah Hex) optioned an adaptation of Painkiller Jane to Solipsist Films (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For). The project is in development.
  • The Living Wake, Script Pipeline's first produced film, starring Academy Award nominee Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network) and comedian Mike O'Connell, was released theatrically in 2010, eliciting from Variety: "A stunning feature debut. . . . Eisenberg is note-perfect. Supporting ensemble couldn’t be more colorful."
  • Brian Watanabe's "Recommend" script Operation Endgame was produced with Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Adam Scott, Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and an ensemble cast. Script Pipeline CEO and producer Chad Clough brought the screenplay to Sean McKittrick (Donnie Darko, Bad Words) at Darko Entertainment.

"In the few days after the competition announcement, we had a slew of terrific meetings. . . . Script Pipeline was a gift from the gods: it allowed us, two unknowns from Australia, to come to LA, meet people in the industry, and begin relationships."
- Penelope Chai and Matteo Bernardini, Screenwriting Contest Winner (Cinderella Must Die)

  • Screenwriter Rob Nelms was hired to pen the script Between after introductions to a director by Pipeline's Chad Clough. The film premiered at Sundance and later aired on Lifetime.
  • Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin' by Aaron Metchik and Joseph Garner sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003. It was the competition's first major success story, and the first Script Pipeline writer to sell a spec for over six-figures.

Many other writers have optioned their work, found paid writing jobs, produced their films, and garnered management or agency representation through Script Pipeline's exhaustive process of industry facilitation for top screenplays and pilots.

View more Script Pipeline success stories

The First Look Project is focused primarily on connecting the winners with specific production and management companies, in addition to monetary prizes across all categories.

One winner and up to three finalists are selected for each category.

Screenplay:

  • $10,000 awarded total. $2,000 to the winner of each genre category (Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Horror/Thriller, Sci-fi/Fantasy).
  • Presentation to the company sponsoring the winner’s category, plus long-term facilitation to Script Pipeline's industry network of producers, agents, and managers, including reps at CAA, WME, and UTA.
  • Additional material review and assistance in getting other scripts into circulation on a case-by-case basis.
  • Exclusive invitations to writer/industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

TV Pilot:

  • $5,000 awarded total. $2,500 to the winner of both Hour and Half-Hour pilots.
  • Presentation to the company sponsoring the winner’s category, plus long-term facilitation to Script Pipeline's industry network of producers, agents, and managers, including reps at CAA, WME, and UTA.
  • Additional material review and assistance in getting other scripts into circulation on a case-by-case basis.
  • Exclusive invitations to writer/industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

Please review the following prior to submitting:

  • For Screenplay and TV, the script must not be under a representation, option, or purchase agreement at the time of entry.
  • The same script cannot compete in multiple categories.
  • Writers who have sold, optioned, or produced scripts in the past are eligible; however, the material submitted must not have been produced as a feature or TV series at any time in the past.
  • Judging criteria equally emphasizes both writing ability and marketability, unlike our main Screenwriting and TV Writing competitions, which are centered almost exclusively on writing ability. Preference may be given to material intended for a broader, mainstream audience. In other words "studio-level."
  • There are no restrictions on amateur or professional status. The First Look Project is open to writers of all levels.
  • The material must be wholly original. For adaptations, the story must be in the public domain, or you have retained the adaptation rights to a particular work.

Email our contest coordinator with any other questions on guidelines or judging criteria.

View complete rules and guidelines here

What are the deadline dates?

Deadlines are as follows. Keep in mind writers can register any time and submit their script later, as long as we receive by the September 20th deadline.

Early: June 1st - $50
Regular: September 20th - $55

What should go on the title page?

The title of the script, without name, contact info, or email. You can include the genre and logline, however. Logline is preferred, but not required.

How is the First Look Project different from Script Pipeline's Screenwriting and TV Writing Competitions?

Main difference would be the judging criteria. Our annual Screenwriting and TV Writing Competitions are critiqued almost exclusively on their writing ability for film and television.

The First Look Project, however, focuses equally on both writing ability and marketability. A unique concept in line with current trends and industry preferences—something relevant that twists the genre or hits on relatable themes—will most likely fare well.

Writing ability is still critical, but the script needn't be "circulation-ready" if it leans on a commercial premise. All winners and finalists will go through an in-house development process with Script Pipeline execs prior to circulation, if necessary. We want promising writers with big, fresh ideas. Those who we can work with now and in the future.

So I should submit a "commercial" script?

For the genre categories (Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Horror/Thriller, and Sci-fi/Fantasy) and TV, the entry should be considered "studio-level." Something commercial, high-concept, character-driven. . . a script that will draw A-level producers and talent. Regardless of budget.

Can I submit a new draft of my script after entering?

Yes, we'll accept a new draft at no additional fee any time before the final deadline in September 2018.

Do I retain the rights, even if I win?

All rights remain with the author. By entering, you’re not surrendering any rights to your script submission.

Can I get feedback on my entry?

For all contest entrants, we offer an exclusive discounted rate on our General Notes. A sample can be found here. Additional notes are entirely optional and are kept separate from the judging process.

*Notes are sent between 2-3 months from the date of registration or after judging is completed, depending on volume. If you need notes back ASAP, please let us know prior to or immediately after registering, and we will do our best to accommodate.

Do you accept multiple authors?

Yes. Just list each writer's name when registering your script.

Can I send in an idea instead of a completed script or film?

You may send supplement materials such as a synopsis, treatment, or any other type of written or video pitch to any category, but these would be in ADDITION to a completed screenplay or pilot.

For pitches, writers may submit to our Movie or TV Show Idea competitions.

Do you accept animation scripts?

Yes--and in recent years, animation has placed in and won the First Look Project. You may submit any genre of animation as well, as long as it fits into a category.

Email us with any questions not answered here.

2018 First Look Project

June 1st, 2018 - Early Deadline

$50.00

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