2015 Student Screenwriting Contest

- 2014 contest closed

2014 winner and runners-up announced. Check back soon for updates.

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3rd Annual Student Screenwriting Contest Results

Grand Prize Winner

Cheap Paint (Drama) by M. Esther Sherman


Jackson Crowder (Dramedy) by John Otteni

The Man at Asher (Western/Thriller) by Kate Young

The Crossing (Sci-Fi/Action) by Jake Disch

The 4th Annual Student Screenwriting Competition is open to qualified entrants who are a 2015 graduate or are currently enrolled in a university, junior college, or certified film school. Students may submit a feature-length script in ANY genre or budget range. Non-film majors and graduate students are welcome to enter as well.

As a guest lecturer at a number of film schools, including USC, UCLA, and Full Sail, Script Pipeline founder Chad Clough recognized that talented students in the beginning stages of their writing careers needed a better chance at connecting with the industry, so this exclusive competition was launched to find the next up-and-coming screenwriter. For over a decade, Script Pipeline has linked writers with execs looking for new material, with over $5 million in specs sold to major studios from Pipeline alumni.

The winner and runner-up are given exposure to approximately 200 qualified contacts, as well as:

  • $1,000 cash to Grand Prize winner
  • Consultations with Script Pipeline’s Director of Development and Senior Consultant
  • Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, and others searching for new projects.
  • An opportunity to submit other material to Script Pipeline for internal review
  • A reserved spot to the 2015 Secret Door Pitchfest as a recognized contest finalist

As one of the only screenwriting competitions specifically geared toward students, this is a rare opportunity for talented, promising writers to gain real-world development experience–the key steps toward launching a career in film.


Script Pipeline Contest Winner Sells Spec for $3 Million

After introductions by Script Pipeline to industry 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 was released summer 2012 and grossed over $400 million worldwide.


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.

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, holding the top box office spot its opening weekend.

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.

Watch interview with Evan and Script Pipeline CEO Chad Clough
Read Evan’s Script Pipeline Interview

Robert De Niro Stars in Script Pipeline Contest-Winning Script


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

Script Pipeline Winner Tripper Clancy Sells Screenplay to Fox, Writing Comedy for Sony

2010 contest-winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner following a top-four finish in the contest. Just 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.

20thFox Sony   Paramount   QED

It was announced in May 2014 that Tripper will write the action-adventure comedy Stranded for Sony Pictures, with Kevin James (Grown UpsThe King of Queens) attached to star.

Meanwhile, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is in development with 21 Laps.

“I cannot underestimate the impact that 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.”
- 2010 Winner Tripper Clancy (SheddThe Ambassadors)

- View more news in the Success Stories section above -

 UTA        WB       NBC

  • Script Pipeline Writers Workshop “Recommend” Micah Barnett sold a one-hour drama, Ricochet, in September 2013 to NBC, a few years after finding management through a Pipeline industry contact.
  • 2013 contest winner Morgan Von Ancken (Cutting Numbers) signed with UTA.
  • Screenwriting Finalist Craig Weeden and veteran comic writer/inker Jimmy Palmiotti (Ultimate Spider-manJonah Hex) optioned an adaptation of Painkiller Jane to Solipsist Films (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For) in 2013. As of 2014, twin directors Jen and Sylvia Soska are attached to direct.
  • 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.” View the film here for free on Hulu.
  • Contest winner Jason Kaleko signed with Energy Entertainment in 2015.

  • Finalists Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett had their first feature, Virgin Alexander, produced after their placement in the Script Pipeline contest’s top 20 sparked interest in the project.
  • Brian Watanabe’s “Recommend” script Operation Endgame was produced with Zach Galifianakis, Adam Scott, Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Bob Odenkirk, and an ensemble cast. Script Pipeline owner Chad Clough first brought the project to Sean McKittrick (Donnie Darko) at Darko Entertainment.

Darko          APA          WME

  • Writer Rob Nelms was hired to pen the script Between after introductions to a director by Pipeline CEO Chad Clough. The film premiered at Sundance and later aired on Lifetime.
  • 2012 & 2009 Finalist Kevin Jones signed with Zero Gravity Management.
  • Sleeping Beauty by Tony Boland, a 2010 finalist, was optioned.
  • Finalist Matt Altman signed with APA and Parallax Talent Management. In 2014, he and co-writer David Matalon sold their feature script The Feud to Vandal Entertainment, and in January 2015 he sold his spec Sam & Liz: A Killer Love Story to Relativity Media
  • Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) signed with WME. As of 2014, he has multiple projects in development with major producers, including Spooked, with Dan Lin producing.
  • 2011 finalists Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch signed with Kersey Management.
  • Screenwriting and TV Writing finalist Julie Anne Wight published her first children’s book after introductions by Script Pipeline to publisher Intuary.
  • Finalist script Shed optioned by producer Josh Goldstein.
  • 2003 Script Pipeline screenwriting contest winning script Slammin‘ sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003.

Numerous other writers have optioned their work, found paid writing jobs, produced their films, and garnered management or agency representation through Pipeline’s extensive network of over 200 companies.

View more Script Pipeline success stories

Script Pipeline’s criteria is based primarily on the overall quality of 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.

Although we’re known to be strict on judging, all types of genres, styles, and voices are fair game. We’re simply looking for stellar writing and the key factors of a

Industry contacts reviewing 2015 finalists include:

  • JC Spink – The HangoverA History of Violence
  • Tripp Vinson (Vinson Films) – Journey to the Center of the EarthThe Rite
  • Jake Wagner (Benderspink)
  • Michael McKay (Lakeshore Entertainment)
  • David Boxerbaum (Paradigm)
  • Brooklyn Weaver (Energy Entertainment) – Extant
  • Sean McKittrick (Darko Entertainment) – Donnie DarkoBad Words
  • Michael Ohoven (Infinity Media) – Capote
  • Irene Yeung (Vertigo Entertainment)

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.

Grand Prize Winner:

  • $1,000 cash
  • Direct circulation to Script Pipeline’s industry network
  • 1-on-1 consultation sessions with the Pipeline development team

The Grand Prize Winner also receives everything listed below for finalists. . . .

Finalists (3):

  • A seat to Script Pipeline’s Secret Door Pitchfest in August 2015 as a recognized contest finalist to pitch to 25-30 industry reps ($1,600)
  • Exposure to 200 companies
  • Memberships to Script Pipeline’s Writers Database ($280)

Everyone who enters the 2014 Student Screenwriting Competition are eligible for the following prizes (random selections unless noted):

  • 10 memberships to Script Pipeline’s Writers Database ($700)
  • 2 free entries to the Secret Door Pitchfest with personal pitch consultation [writers hand-selected amongst entrants based on merit, such as those who came close to the finalists but fell short] ($950)

Basic guidelines:

  • Contact information (name, email address, etc.) preferred, but not required, on the cover page.
  • 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.
  • Open to writers worldwide.

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. High school students may enter, but must be 18 at time of entry.
  • You have not sold or optioned any film screenplay to any entity or individual greater than $25,000.

View complete rules and guidelines here

    Energy    Benderspink    ParadigmLogo

Our network of over 200 companies include studio-level representatives from: Benderspink (We’re the Millers), Energy Entertainment (Extant), Green Hat Films (The Hangover), WME, Lakeshore Entertainment (Million Dollar Baby), 3 Arts (Parks and Rec), Paradigm, Vinson Films (Journey to the Center of the Earth), CAA, and more.

View full list of companies reviewing finalists


You don’t have to be a film or writing major to enter. As long as you’re a currently enrolled student you’re eligible.


Students enrolled in a post-graduate or MFA program, or a certificate or extension course (e.g. UCLA) are allowed to enter.


If you’re selected as a winner or finalist, we’ll need some sort of proof of enrollment at that point only.


We would prefer basic contact info–name, email, and phone number.


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 are kept separate from the actual judging process.


Although it is not required to enter our 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.


Two or more writers is fine, but at least ONE of the co-writers must be a registered student. Only one writer (the student) needs to register.


You may list a pseudonym on the cover page of your script, however your real name must be used during registration.


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

Email our contest coordinator with any other questions: