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2018 Screenwriting Contest

December 31st, 2017 - Pre-register Deadline

$50.00

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Winner Receives:
$25,000 | long-term industry circulation | script development

Pre-Register Deadline: December 31st, 2017

Now in its 16th year, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition seeks talented writers and exceptional screenplays to connect with production companies, agencies, and managers. Launched in 2003 as part of the early wave of screenwriting contests, Script Pipeline continues to cultivate relationships with the industry’s top executives, focused specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production.

The company’s distinctive long-term facilitation process helps contest alumni find elite representation and gain crucial introductions to Hollywood, with $6 million in screenplays and pilots sold by competition finalists and “Recommend” writers since 2010 alone. Last year, close to 5,000 screenplays were entered in the Screenwriting Competition, making Script Pipeline one of the leading companies reviewing unproduced material.

Finalists receive immediate circulation to Script Pipeline partners, in addition to the following:

  • $25,000 to winner, $1,000 to runner-up
  • Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays
  • Development assistance with Script Pipeline execs
  • Additional script reviews for potential circulation
  • Long-term circulation for all finalists (and select semifinalists), tailored to each individual project
  • Exclusive invitations to private writer/industry events hosted by Script Pipeline

Submissions also accepted via:

 


– 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.

“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)

20thFox  Paramount

Fox picked up Tripper’s spec Stuber in April 2016, 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). Dave Bautista (Guardians of the GalaxyBlade Runner 2049) will co-star in the action-comedy.

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.

Screenwriting Contest Winner “Militia” in Production

Jeffrey Dean Morgan to star in Militia, winner of the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Writer Henry Dunham found representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with industry partner Madhouse Entertainment.

Ralph Ineson (The Witch) and Jack Huston (American Hustle) join Morgan in the cast. Dunham, repped by UTA, will also direct. Cinestate and XYZ films are producing the crime/thriller.

“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, Militia)

The script was a unanimous pick amongst Script Pipeline staff for top honors in the 2015 contest. 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, which rehashed the original plot during development. It was released in 2013.

– View more news in the Success Stories section above –

Script Pipeline was integral in taking our screenplay to the next level through the Workshop. Their feedback and constructive insights were invaluable, and the exposure we had to industry after we placed in the finals of the Screenwriting Contest was unrivaled.

Jen Badasci & Christopher Poe, Screenwriting Contest Finalist



 UTA        Disney      NBC

  • Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) to star in Militia, winner of the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Writer Henry Dunham found representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with industry partner Madhouse Entertainment.
  • Search, written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty, winners of the 2015 First Look Project, was selected for the 2018 Sundance Festival. Sev previously co-produced The Intervention and Fruitvale Station. The film is Aneesh’s feature directorial debut.
  • 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)

  • The Devil in Evelyn, winner of the 2016 First Look Project (Teleplay), was picked up for development by Mandalay Pictures in September 2017. Script Pipeline set up the writers, brothers Ben and Tyler Soper, with meetings after extensive circulation to Pipeline’s industry network.
  • 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.
  • Producer Michael Klein (Dobre Films) picked up the sci-fi/action feature Moon Rush by Matt O’Reilly. Script Pipeline connected O’Reilly, who has other projects in various stages of development, with Dobre at the beginning of 2017.

“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. Off the Menu is set for a 2018 release 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 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 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 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.

“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 first brought the screenplay to Sean McKittrick (Donnie DarkoBad 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‘ 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

After quarterfinalist and semifinalist judging rounds, 10 finalists are chosen by July 1st, 2018. From those 10, we select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up, announced in late July. 

Grand Prize Winner (1) – July 29th, 2018

  • $25,000
  • Immediate circulation to select Script Pipeline partners

Runner-up (1) – July 29th, 2018

  • $1,000

Finalists (8) – July 1st, 2018

Semifinalists (up to top 1% of submissions) – June 25th, 2018

Quarterfinalists (up to top 3% of submissions) – June 18th, 2018

The Grand Prize Winner, Runner-up, Finalists, and select Semifinalists receive the following:

  • Development assistance with Script Pipeline execs
  • Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays
  • Additional screenplay reviews for potential circulation
  • Long-term circulation for all finalists (and select semifinalists), tailored to each individual project
  • Exclusive invitations to private writer/industry events hosted by Script Pipeline

     

Script Pipeline has cultivated relationships with a number of production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, and other executives over the past two decades, leading to several success stories annually.

Industry reviewing 2018 finalists include:

In addition to over 100 other managers, producers, and agencies.


Basic guidelines:

  • Cover page should include the title only. Remove any contact information (name, email address, etc.) on the script. Logline and genre on the title page as well is preferred, but not required. If contact info is left on the script, we’ll adjust the file accordingly–the writer will not be disqualified.
  • Co-writers are allowed. Only one writer needs to register.
  • PDF preferred, but will accept Final Draft, Celtx, and other file formats.
  • Script should be a feature-length screenplay. All genres are allowed, and there are no length requirements. If it’s a multi-part series, please send only the first part.
  • No limit on the number of entries. Each entry is a separate fee.
  • Simultaneous submissions are of course allowed (i.e. you can enter other screenwriting contests with the same script).
  • Previous Script Pipeline competition entrants welcome to enter again and are guaranteed fresh reads from a new judge. Former finalists are not allowed to enter the same script again.
  • All rights to the material remain with the entrant, whether they place as a finalist or not. It is, however, recommended you copyright your material.
  • Electronic submissions only.

Some general rules:

  • The script entered must not have been produced in its full form (shorts based on the script are fine).
  • Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.
  • No restrictions on money earned as a writer, as long as the script entered has not been sold and is not under option at the time of entry.

View complete rules and guidelines

Script Pipeline’s criteria is based primarily on the overall quality of the script, including storytelling ability and fundamental screenplay components (e.g. dialogue, plot, structure, and characterization). Concept marketability and originality are also taken into consideration. Best piece of advice we can give all writers is to submit material that highlights your unique voice–what separates your script from the pack.

Although we’re strict on judging, all types of genres and styles are fair game. In the past, winning scripts have ranged from animated comedies, to microbudget indies, to dramas, true stories, and everything in-between. We’re simply looking for stellar writing.

For other industry execs interested in judging for the Script Pipeline Competition, email us. We will only consider applicants who are active producers, agents, managers, or directors.

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Pre-Register Deadline – December 31st, 2017
Early Deadline – March 1st, 2018
Regular Deadline – May 1st, 2018

*writer may register at any time and submit their script later at no additional fee as long as we receive by May 1st

WHAT ARE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

2018 quarterfinalists and semifinalists are selected in late June. The top 10 finalists are posted to the site on July 1st, and one Grand Prize Winner and Runner-up is announced in late July.

IF I MAKE UPDATES TO MY SCRIPT AFTER ENTERING, DO I HAVE TO RE-REGISTER AND PAY A NEW ENTRY FEE? 

No, you can email us the latest draft any time before May 1st, the final deadline, at no extra fee.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

Yes. Applicants outside the US are welcome to enter ANY Script Pipeline contest.

DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY ENTRY?

For all contest entrants, we offer an exclusive discounted rate on General Notes that cover everything from plot and structure to dialogue and character. A sample can be found here. Additional notes are optional and  kept separate from the actual judging process.

*Feedback is sent 4-6 weeks after submitting. You’ll have an opportunity to send an updated draft at no additional fee any time before the final May 1st deadline.

SHOULD I PUT CONTACT INFO ON THE COVER PAGE?

Cover page should include the title only. Remove any contact information (name, email address, etc.) on the script. Logline and genre on the title page as well is preferred, but not required.

If your contact info is left on the script, we’ll adjust the file accordingly–the writer will not be disqualified. However, we can replace any previous version with one you have updated.

WILL YOU ACCEPT SHORT SCRIPTS OR PITCHES?

Only feature-length scripts are accepted. Pitches may be submitted to our Great Movie Idea Competition.

WHAT KIND OF EXPOSURE WILL THE WINNERS RECEIVE?

Script Pipeline has a long history of linking finalists with the industry through personal introductions and general career assistance for our writers–more so than any other competition. In July 2018, we will announce the Grand Prize winner at a private writer/industry reception. Afterward, loglines and scripts are circulated long-term to companies looking for new material, and the winner is connected to a number of producers, agents, and managers.

IS THE FIELD LIMITED TO BEGINNING WRITERS AND AMATEURS?

No. Writers may have sold or optioned material in the past, however the script you’re entering must not be currently under option, and must not have been previously produced as a feature film.

CAN I SUBMIT TO OTHER CONTESTS OR COMPANIES AFTER ENTERING?

There are no restrictions on submitting to other writing competitions or sending your script elsewhere while entered in the contest.

IF I PLACE AS A FINALIST OR WINNER, DO I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO MY SCRIPT?

Yes. All rights to the material remain with the writer.

DO I NEED TO COPYRIGHT MY SCRIPT?

Although a copyright is not required to enter the competition, we recommend you register your work with a copyright service, such as the U.S. Copyright Office or the Writer’s Guild of America.

ARE WRITING TEAMS ACCEPTED?

Two or more writers are fine. Only one writer needs to register. For our records, please email us with the name of the other writer/s after registering.

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.