The 11th Great Movie Idea Contest is searching for original, innovative material. Ideally, groundbreaking film concepts that are both marketable and fresh–something a global audience can connect with. Accepted entries include loglines, synopses, video pitches, or full treatments. Completed screenplays are not reviewed, nor are entrants required to have a completed script. You only need one spectacular idea. Any market, studio or indie.
Script Pipeline provides additional development assistance to polish the pitch, or help the writer complete a circulation-ready screenplay. At that point, we connect the winner with top studio producers, including execs from Lakeshore Entertainment (Million Dollar Baby), Good Fear Film + Management, Darko Entertainment (Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies), and other major companies looking for new concepts.
Since 2000, Script Pipeline has established relationships with hundreds of production companies, managers, and agents, resulting in $6 million in specs sold from previously undiscovered writers. The Great Movie Idea Competition looks to not only increase that total, but help visionary creatives get on the right track toward exposing their stories to the world.
$1,000 | long-term consultation and development | industry circulation
Results Announced: February 5th, 2017
Next Season Opens: February 15th, 2017
– NOTABLE SUCCESS STORIES –
Universal Buys Script Pipeline Contest Winner Spec for $3 Million
After 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.
“Immediately after the competition, Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager, and the connection helped launch my professional screenwriting career.”
– Evan Daugherty (Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman)
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. Most recently, he was one of the writers on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Michael Bay film starred Megan Fox and was released summer 2014. Evan is tabbed 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.
Among all these projects, he’ll be making his directorial debut with Ink and Bone for Dimension Films, and as of February 2015, he will write Warner Bros. and MGM’s Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina).
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, which brought a new plot to the project during development.
Tripper Clancy Sells Screenplay to Fox, Writing Comedy for Sony and Hasbro
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. Tripper’s buddy-comedy pitch Winter Break was picked up by QED International as the last spec sale of the year, and in early 2014, he was hired to write the animated comedy Shedd for Paramount.
“I cannot underestimate the impact Script Pipeline has had on my writing career. Winning the contest directly led to my new representation, which in turn led to working with studios such as 20th Century Fox.”
– Tripper Clancy (Stranded, Shedd, The Ambassadors)
In addition to the action-adventure comedy Stranded for Sony Pictures, with Kevin James (Grown Ups, The King of Queens) attached to star, Tripper is writing Hacker Camp for Hasbro.
Meanwhile, as of October 2015, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is slated for production by summer 2016–Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps (The Spectacular Now) and 3311 Productions to produce.
Fox picked up Tripper’s spec Stuber in April 2016 as well, acquiring the script for the mid-six figures. The screenplay is based on an idea developed by Tripper and his manager Jake Wagner (Good Fear Film + Management).
– View more news in the Success Stories section above –
- 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.
- 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.
- 2015 Screenwriting Contest winner Henry Dunham signed with Madhouse Entertainment and UTA less than a month after Script Pipeline announced results. His winning script Militia is currently in pre-production and made the 2015 Blacklist as one of the most popular unproduced screenplays of the year.
- Production wrapped on the feature Galileo, written by competition finalist Jen Goldson, in October 2016. At the 2015 Script Pipeline writer/industry event, Jen met director Jay Silverman and producer Bethany Cerrona, who optioned the script immediately. It took less than a year to get the film made. Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Entourage, Devious Maids) star in the romcom.
- TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) signed with UTA less than a few weeks after placing in the 2016 Script Pipeline TV Competition. She’s currently repped by Tom Drumm at ThinkTank Management.
- Android, written by Script Pipeline Fellowship selection 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 (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 in August 2016, the script Red Widow to studio STX Entertainment.
- Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Velocity Entertainment Partners in December 2015.
- Contest winner Jason Kaleko 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 Five Nights at Freddy’s, which he’s co-writing with director Gil Kenan (Poltergeist).
- 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 a one-hour drama, Ricochet, to NBC, a few years after finding management through a Script Pipeline industry contact.
- After placing as a finalist with the horror/thriller Shed, Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch went on to direct the hit indie film Starry Eyes. They were tabbed in January 2016 to direct the sequel to Universal’s breakout horror Mama and are also attached to direct Summit Entertainment’s Exorcism Diaries.
- 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 first brought the screenplay to Sean McKittrick (Donnie Darko, Bad Words) at Darko Entertainment.
- 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 industry partners Marty Berneman, Eric Balfour, and Stephanie Varella (Off the Grid Entertainment) are representing the TV project Breathers, a sci-fi/drama written by TV Writing Finalist Will Wallace and based on the comic by Justin Madson.
- Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin‘ 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.
Script Pipeline’s criteria is based primarily on the overall originality and marketability of the concept, preferably hitting the “Goldilocks zone” between commercial/mainstream and artistic/visionary.
Although we’re extremely strict on judging, all types of genres, styles, and premises are accepted. In the past, selected ideas have ranged from lower-budget indies, to animation, to studio-level epics, to high-concept comedies. Anything unique is fair game. Come up with a fresh twist on an old concept, and you’ll have an excellent shot at getting selected.
Industry contacts reviewing winning pitches include:
- Jake Wagner (manager/producer)
- Michael McKay (producer, Lakeshore Entertainment)
- Brooklyn Weaver (manager/producer, Energy Entertainment) – Extant
- Sean McKittrick (producer, Darko Entertainment) – Donnie Darko, Bad Words
- Tripp Vinson (producer, Vinson Films) – Journey 3, Rose Red
For other industry execs interested in reviewing Script Pipeline competition winners, email us or fill out the industry request form here. We will only consider applicants who are active producers, agents, managers, or directors.
Grand Prize Winner (1) – Announced February 2017:
- Consultation sessions with Script Pipeline executives to prepare your pitch for circulation
- Assistance in getting a completed screenplay circulation-ready (depending on the writer’s experience level)
- Exposure to producers for potential development
- Review of additional pitches and material
Runner-up – Announced February 2017:
- Extended consultation with Script Pipeline’s Director of Development to fine-tune your pitch
- Consideration for industry circulation
Written or video submissions accepted.
For written pitches:
- A two-sentence logline to a 3-5 page treatment–entirely up to you on how to best present your idea. We don’t judge on format, we judge on the idea itself. Extended treatments and supplemental materials (illustrations, etc.) are also allowed. Please do not send full-length screenplays–summaries ONLY. Pitches may be emailed direct or uploaded.
- Remove your name and contact information from the materials prior to submitting.
- Longer submissions are judged on the SAME criteria as short ones, so whatever length you think is best.
For video pitches:
- Submit a link to the video after registration through email. We prefer a private link on YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video hosting site, or your personal website. *make sure to include the password, if private
- Videos can be any length, but shorter is typically better. No short films (or for that matter, features). Must adequately convey to overall premise.
- Concept MUST be for a feature-length film. Ideas for TV pilots, novels, short stories, and any other creative medium are not accepted.
- It is highly advised that you register your concept with the WGA prior to submitting, however it is not required. Script Pipeline will not share your idea with anyone unless you’re chosen as a finalist and give us explicit permission to do so.
- Previous Script Pipeline writers and former Great Movie Idea entrants are welcome to submit.
- Goes without saying, but the concept needs to be WHOLLY ORIGINAL and not based on an existing franchise. In other words, don’t send us the next Avengers installment. Come up with your own epic story.
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES AND ENTRY FEES?
Next season opens – February 15th, 2017
HOW SHOULD I FORMAT MY ENTRY?
We’ll accept anything from a logline (as brief as a sentence) all the way up to a full treatment with supplemental materials. We’ll also review video pitches through a private link or as an attached file. Whatever format you prefer that best exemplifies your idea.
WILL I BE DISQUALIFIED FOR A FORMATTING REASON?
No. If for some reason we can’t open the file, or link, or there’s an issue with the entry itself, we’ll contact you immediately, and you’ll be able to re-send.
DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY ENTRY?
For all contest entrants, we offer an exclusive discounted rate on Treatment / Pitch Notes that cover everything from plot and concept to tone and character. A sample can be found here. Additional notes are optional and are kept separate from the judging process.
IF I WIN, DO I NEED THE COMPLETED SCREENPLAY?
Not at all. If you do, great, but it won’t affect the outcome of the contest. We’re just looking for original, unique concepts. No screenwriting experience necessary. Our Director of Development will assist in refining the pitch and helping you get started on the script itself.
CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE IDEA FOR THE SINGLE FEE?
There is no limit to the number of entries. Each idea, however, is a separate entry fee.
WHAT IF THE IDEA IS FROM MY EXISTING SCRIPT OR NOVEL? AM I STILL ELIGIBLE?
Yes, as long as the idea is original (i.e. your own creation) and intended to be a feature film, or if you own the film adaptation rights to a property that isn’t yours.
IS MY IDEA PROTECTED? WILL I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO THE IDEA?
All rights remain with the writer, regardless of the contest results, and no one outside of Script Pipeline’s small team of judges will review your entry. For the winner, we will not send out their winning idea until we have their consent.
IS THE COMPETITION OPEN TO INTERNATIONAL ENTRANTS?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone worldwide can enter.
Email our contest coordinator with any other questions.
- 10th Great Movie Idea Contest Results
- 9th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists
- 8th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists
- 7th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists
- 6th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists
- 5th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists
- 4th Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists
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- 1st Great Movie Idea Contest Finalists