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Recent Writer Success Stories

- The action-comedy Stuber, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner Tripper Clancy, attached Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy) in December 2017, Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley) in March 2018, and Iko Uwais (The Raid) this month. Jonathan Goldstein (Horrible Bosses) and John Francis Daley (Bones) producing. Shooting begins soon in Atlanta.

20th Century Fox picked up the script, based on a pitch developed by Tripper and manager Jake Wagner (Good Fear), in April 2016.

Tripper was one of the Grand Prize Winners of the 2010 competition. Soon after, Script Pipeline execs linked him with Jake, initiating a long working relationship that has led to projects set up at Sony, Fox, Hasbro, Paramount, and Mandalay, where he’s adapting the acclaimed novel The Art of Fielding.

View More Success Stories

DEADLINE: Tuesday, May 1st - Screenwriting and TV Writing Competitions

 

Winners Receive:
$50,000 | long-term industry circulation | script development


Submit a Screenplay
 | 
Submit a Pilot

Now in its 16th year, the Script Pipeline Competitions seek talented writers to connect with production companies, agencies, and managers. As one of the longest-running film and TV writing contests, we focus specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production.

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

• $50,000 to winners

• Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays

• Development assistance with Script Pipeline execs

• Long-term circulation for all finalists


Submit a Screenplay
 | 
Submit a Pilot

Writers may also submit via FilmFreeway or Withoutabox

Script Pipeline Interview - Jay Silverman

Script Pipeline met director/producer Jay Silverman (The Cleaner) in 2015 and connected him and producer Bethany Cerrona with Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest finalist Jen Goldson (Everything’s Gonna Be Okay). Jay went on to produce Jen’s romantic comedy Off the Menu in 2017. The film premiered in 2018 and stars Santino Fontana and Dania Ramirez. It’s available on Amazon and iTunes.

You started your career as a photographer. How did you make the transition to the film/TV industry? Was it a logical next step given the types of connections you were making and the work you were doing, or did it take sort of a leap?

Yes, I started as a photographer doing advertising. My speciality was working with people and celebrity endorsements. The transition into film started in the 90s when I began doing what I called hybrid filmmaking. It certainly seemed natural to offer live action along with my photography when a famous person’s time on commercial sets are always so limited. It was a huge leap at the start, but my clients enjoyed the synergy and the creative control I gave them. I decided to make the move to feature directing with Girl on the Edge (2015), which was a very personal story. The motivation to make it  was one of wanting to share my experience of healing and to show others who have children who suffer trauma and PTSD that there are answers. . . there is hope. Everything I had done in my career and life up to this point prepared me for the opportunity to tell this story. It felt like such a natural transition, and now telling purposeful films has become my calling.

What were some of the early hurdles in becoming a director (for TV, commercials, or otherwise)? When crossing between different formats, which of course can be a challenge creatively speaking, what drew you to each? And now, with decades of experience, has a preference emerged? Or is directing just directing, no matter the medium?

I always enjoyed problem solving throughout my career, especially when a client would ask for the impossible. Universally, most challenges for TV and commercials involved trying to retain a focused creative vision while dealing with limited budgets and quick turnaround. In the 80s, I got my first studio and was fortunate to solve creative challenges without having to go outside of a studio. This control proved invaluable working in independent filmmaking and selling TV shows. Hence, the reason in 2000 I acquired my stages in Hollywood.

One huge hurdle I had was trying to sell The Cleaner to AMC after developing it for five years. It came as a shock to learn that even though this was my baby, I would never receive “created by” credits. The fact that we had offers for this show twice in two months proved it was a great idea, but not being treated fairly was a lesson I had to learn the hard way.

To be a good director in both TV or film, you need to be a good listener–so many creative people are involved in such detail on a film that it’s important to be open to their expertise and knowledge. It’s about taking all the best ideas to make the project better and to collaborate. Also, it was very helpful that I am knowledgeable in every trade on the set. I’m very hands-on and am never afraid to lift a hammer or hang a light or learn to compromise with budgets.

You met writer Jen Goldson at our 2015 Script Pipeline event, and it seemed like her screenplay Off the Menu was optioned instantly. What was it about the script that stood out? 

First,  I believe a person’s passion is the most critical to sell anything. Jen not only had a great pitch that made her stand out, but she totally displayed a desire to want her project in the hands of a filmmaker with equal passion. My producer Bethany Cerrona brought the script on the heels of my last film, which was a serious drama. Timing is everything, and I was excited to jump into this contemporary love story, as Jen’s writing style was very engaging, funny, and inspiring.

Off the Menu went from Jen’s initial pitch to you and exec Bethany Cerrona, to production, to finished film in about two years. Quick, certainly, relative to the frustratingly slow-ticking industry clock, where it can take a while get a project produced. Naturally, it’s easier for a lower-budget indie to hit that fast lane, however what were some of the crucial pieces that had to fall into place? Or was it fairly straightforward? If anything is ever “fairly straightforward” in filmmaking. . . .

Every film is different and presents its own set of challenges. After optioning the script, we met with Jen several times about small changes. Just coming off my last film with new wisdom and experience, we had to figure out a way to get this wonderful script produced affordably without sacrificing the story.

Will Newman, one of my producers, had warned about the cost of having too many characters and locations when making a indie. We mandated early on that to keep the authenticity of the story, it had to shoot, at least partially, on location in New Mexico, so that decision pushed many other decisions into the forefront. Being that Javiara’s kitchen was a character itself, our Production Designer Bonnie Bacevich was able to have full creative freedom on my stage. This decision not only saved us loads of time and money but helped me fulfill my creative vision without all the distractions of using a practical restaurant location. Careful thought and consideration was made to the changes needed to be made to the script to scale down for the budget, which kept faithful to Jen’s original story.

The cast of Menu really seemed to click on-screen. Especially the leads. How did Dania Ramirez and Santino Fontana come on board?

We had an amazing casting director, Nick Anderson. The script went out to Dania and we both met for coffee, and she was excited because she too loved cooking. I knew she would make a perfect fiery chef, and she loved the script, so the timing was perfect.

Around the same time, we were introduced to Santino via Skype from NYC and he also loved the script. And as luck would have it, he was able to fit us in between his show Crazy Ex Girlfriend and his Broadway opening. Once we had Dania and Santino, the rest of the cast fell into place fairly easily.

Every director and producer is different. Everyone leans toward certain themes. But what motivates you to continue directing and producing? What excites you most about the future of the industry?

I’m totally drawn into filmmaking by my desire to share inspiring stories. It’s beyond words how fortunate I was that my first film Girl On The Edge has changed so many young people’s lives.

I’m committed to working on purposeful films with social messages. It’s critical for me to make films that matter. Films have the ability to cross all borders, to bring hope and unite people. Off the Menu gave me the opportunity to tell a hopeful, sweet story about love and family that unites people from opposite worlds through food.

Read the Full Interview

Pitch a Film or TV Idea for Development - Early Deadline April 25th

The 14th Great Movie Idea and 12th Great TV Show Idea contests are searching for original feature film and television series concepts. Ideally, unique stories a global, diverse audience can connect with.

Accepted entries include loglines, synopses, video pitches, and series "bibles" for TV entries. Completed screenplays and pilots are not reviewed, nor are entrants required to have a finished script. You only need one spectacular idea, any genre.

For the winner, Script Pipeline provides additional development assistance to refine the pitch, or help the writer draft a polished screenplay. At that point, we circulate the material top studio producers, including execs from Energy Entertainment (Extant), Lakeshore Entertainment (Age of Adaline), Good Fear Film + Management (Rings), Madhouse Entertainment (Prisoners, The Ark), QC Entertainment (Get Out), and other major companies looking for new concepts. Note that all entrants, including the winner and runner-up, retain the rights to their submission.

Since 1999, 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 and TV Show Idea Competitions look to not only increase that total, but push worthwhile stories into production.

Pitch a Film | Pitch a TV Series

March 2018 Script Sales

Last month in spec sales, David Koepp sold his feature supernatural thriller You Should Have Leftto Blumhouse Productions. The script, which Koepp will also direct, follows a screenwriter and his family for a week in a house they’ve rented, but mysterious things happen as he tries to finish the script for a horror movie sequel. The H Collective and Busted Shark Productions have teamed to produce Aaron W. Sala’s horror script The Beast. After a woman is stranded alone on an island, she has to face her worst fears. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. picked up Madison Turner’s untitled WWII spec about the 761st Regiment, an all black regiment that paved the way for military desegregation. Michael B. Jordan will produce. Millennium Films and Electric Pictures have picked up Adam Alleca’s Michael Zero, a sci-fi action that follows a man who has to hunt down his own clones, who were created to be soldiers but have decided to go after the corporate state that made them instead. Tim Blake Nelson is set to direct. Finally, Platinum Dunes and Skydance Productions picked up Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese’s action spec 6 Underground. Michael Bay to produce/direct.

Other script sales:

- After tumbling out of bed, stumbling to the kitchen, and pouring themselves cups of ambition, Rashida Jones and Pat Resnick signed on to script the 9 to 5 remake. Resnick also wrote the original film.

- Stephen King’s The Tommyknockers is making it to the big screen, with James Wan and Roy Lee producing.

- Ashleigh Powell has been tapped to adapt Melissa Albert’s YA novel The Hazel Wood for Sony and Columbia.

- Paramount picked up James V. Simpson’s sci-fi script Intruders about a family defending themselves from alien home invaders.

- Tracy Letts to adapt A.J. Finn’s The Woman in the Window. Scott Rudin will produce, Joe Wright will direct.

Read More Script Sales

Film Pipeline

Seeking Produced and Unproduced Shorts - Film Pipeline Competitions

The 1st Annual Film Pipeline Competitions seek remarkable writers and directors with diverse, engaging work--the type defined by forward-thinking perspectives and unconventional yet universally appealing stories.

For produced shorts, Film Pipeline's platform is significantly different from the typical festival: selected entrants are given introductions to managers and agents for potential representation and extended promotion of their short or series pilot.

For unproduced scripts, Film Pipeline creates an opportunity to get your material made and collaborates with selected entrants from development to production.

Submit a Film | Submit a Script

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel - Pilot

Perhaps the most difficult part of creating a hit show is not only finding a unique story that could sustain (hopefully) multiple seasons of television but also anchoring the series on a protagonist audiences will continue watching. The best television shows (and oftentimes the most successful ones) strike a balance between those two criteria.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel hits both on the head. Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino of Gilmore Girlsfame, the series follows a Jewish housewife, the eponymous Miriam Maisel (or Midge as everyone calls her), as her life falls apart and she begins a career as a stand-up comedian in the late 1950s. The pilot opens on her wedding as she gives her own toast. Midge effortlessly brings down the room as she recounts how she met her husband—and also offends half the mostly-Jewish attendees when she reveals the eggrolls contain shellfish. Three years later, Midge supports her husband Joel, a wannabe comedian who can get laughs only when he steals Bob Newhart’s routine, and helps him with his act from the sidelines, keeping track of which jokes get the most laughs in the most Type-A way possible. However, their marital bliss quickly evaporates when Joel reveals that he’s sleeping with his secretary. From there, Midge has a bit too much to drink, wanders onto the stand-up stage, and absolutely nails it.

Right away, the show earns points for originality. Although the show is ostensibly about the very real stand-up scene of the late 50s (Lenny Bruce is a frequent character), Midge is a fictional character, and that allows Sherman-Palladino more opportunities to explore the sexism of the era, among other things. Midge’s point-of-view is one we rarely see on television, especially in this setting. As strong as the writing is, perhaps the show’s greatest asset is Mrs. Maisel herself, Rachel Brosnahan. Brosnahan oozes charisma and sells each of Midge’s jokes. This is one of the rare depictions of stand-up where the stand-up is actually, you know, funny.

The show has already won awards for its first season (most notably the Golden Globes for best comedy series and comedy actress) and deserves all the praise it gets. As a comedy series and a character study, you couldn’t do better.

Read The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel Pilot

Script Pipeline Workshop Notes - Screenplays and Pilots

Established in 2000, the Script Pipeline Workshop is one of the longest-running notes services in the industry, offering feedback on screenplays, pilots, and pitches for film and television. Hundreds of writers each year, from beginners to professionals, benefit from the expertise of a small, seasoned group of development execs, many of whom are active writers and producers themselves.

"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 was unrivaled."
- Jen Badasci & Christopher Poe

Any genre or format accepted. We review everything from partially completed scripts to production-ready final drafts. Writers may also request a critique on supplemental materials (such as a TV show bible, synopsis, or logline), as well as follow up with their reader with additional questions on the feedback.

Together with our competitions, the Workshop is another outlet to funnel upper-echelon projects to an array of industry contacts and shepherd scripts into production.

*contest entrants receive a discounted rate on General Reviews; add-on notes available during registration for any competition

Development Notes | General Review

Upcoming Competition Deadlines & Dates

2018 Great Movie Idea Contest - Early Deadline: April 25th

2018 Great TV Show Idea Contest Early Deadline: April 25th

2018 Screenwriting Competition - Deadline: May 1st

2018 TV Writing Competition - Deadline: May 1st

2018 First Look Project - Early Deadline: June 1st

Other Competitions:

Book Pipeline - Next Deadline: April 15th

Film Pipeline - Next Deadline: May 20th

Script Pipeline is a division of Pipeline Media Group, LLC