2023 Pitch Contest (Summer/Fall)
Next Season Opens This Thursday, February 1st
by Oliver Woolf
by Rudi O'Meara
$2,000 | script development | industry circulation
The bi-annual 2023 Script Pipeline Pitch Contest is searching for original feature film and television series ideas—distinct stories a global, diverse audience can connect with. Any genre or budget, studio-level or indie, is accepted. Entrants are not required to have a screenplay or pilot, as we help develop the selected projects.
One Grand Prize Winner is chosen amongst all pitches, and that writer receives additional long-term assistance with our in-house creative execs to refine the pitch, the story, the vision, and help develop the script. When the work is ready for circulation, we send to specific producers and reps looking for fresh, higher-concept material.
All writers retain the rights to their material, and development assistance for the winner is entirely optional.
Over $8 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by Script Pipeline writers as well as numerous scripts produced since 1999, such as studio releases Stuber by Tripper Clancy and Snow White and the Huntsman by Evan Daugherty. Pipeline Screenwriting finalist Bring Me Back by Crosby Selander sold to Legendary for seven figures—one of the biggest spec sales in years. And Helen Gaughran's winning script Visitation began production in 2023, starring Olivia Cooke (House of the Dragon) and Isla Johnston (The Queen’s Gambit). Several Pipeline writers have made The Black List, with Cauliflower by Daniel Jackson (2021) and Pure by Catherine Schetina (2022), both landing at the #1 spot. While winners Daniel Jackson (Screenwriting), Elad Ziv (First Look Project), and Brian T. Arnold (First Look Project) landed at Bellevue over the past couple seasons, many others have signed at UTA, Kaplan/Perrone, Alibi Management, and more after Script Pipeline introductions. View notable success stories.
NEXT SEASON OPENS
Thursday, February 1st
Submissions also accepted on ...
Grand Prize Winner (1) - $2,000: January 31st, 2024
The winner also receives:
- Extensive development and assistance in completing a screenplay or pilot
- Long-term circulation to producers and other companies
- Review of additional pitches and completed film or TV material for industry consideration
- Invitations to exclusive events through Pipeline's Symposium platform
Script Pipeline's criteria is based primarily on the overall marketability of the concept, preferably hitting a "Goldilocks zone" between commercial/mainstream and something wholly new, relevant, and creative.
We're open to all types of narrative or scripted pitches. Note that movie and TV entries compete against one another, so if you aren't sure what medium your idea fits best, that's okay (you'll need to pick Movie or TV during registration, but that isn't set in stone).
In the past, selected ideas have ranged from lower-budget indies, to big-budget studio films, animation, and high-concept genre material. Anything unique and universally appealing is fair game. We highly recommend writers submit more detailed summaries spotlighting the elements that make your project distinct: why this story, why these themes, and in many cases, why you, the writer, are most apt to develop this type of project.
Oftentimes the vision for the concept comes across best as a pitch deck, but that's entirely up you. Not a requirement.
- Must submit a full story synopsis and logline at minimum. This can range from a page in length to a full treatment or pitch deck. We don't necessarily judge on format, we judge on the idea itself. The best format is usually comprised of a logline, a page-long summary, and any other comments on the originality of the premise.
- Do not send full-length screenplays—summaries ONLY.
- Only written submissions are accepted, we no longer accept video pitches.
- Must be for a scripted film or TV series. No reality, documentary, or game show ideas.
- Script Pipeline will not share your pitch with anyone unless you’re chosen as a winner and give us explicit permission to do so.
- Previous Screenwriting, TV Writing, First Look Project, and Pitch Contest winners and finalists (since 2013) are ineligible.
- Obviously ... the idea needs to be ORIGINAL and not based on an existing franchise or property, unless it's in the public domain.
Script Pipeline has cultivated relationships with over 250 production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, networks, and other executives over the past 25 years, leading to multiple writers signed, scripts making the Black List, specs sold, and films produced.
Some of the industry reviewing Pipeline material:
- Bellevue Productions - Infinite
- Divide/Conquer - M3GAN, Adopt a Highway
- Liz Destro (producer) - Swimming with Sharks
- QC Entertainment - Get Out, Antebellum
- Hungry Man
- Alibi Management
- Mar Vista
- Grandview Management
WHAT ARE DEADLINE DATES AND ENTRY FEES?
Next season opens for early entry on February 1st, 2024.
HOW DOES THIS WORK? IS THIS THE SAME AS PAYING TO PITCH TO INDUSTRY?
Not to be confused with a "pay-to-pitch" structure, we develop the script with our winner before sending to industry. This could take a few weeks, or a few months, or a year. Depends on the writer and the project. But once the script is up-to-speed, we formulate a plan with the writer and send to select production companies and managers for review.
If the script doesn't land somewhere right away, we keep on hand for industry over the long-term. Additionally, we help in the development of other pitches and scripts for future circulation.
IS MY IDEA PROTECTED? WILL I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO THE IDEA?
All rights remain with the writer, regardless of the contest results.
No one outside of Script Pipeline's team of judges will review your entry without the writer's permission. For the winner, we don't send out their completed script until we have their consent and mutually deem the project "circulation ready."
ARE NOTES INCLUDED?
Written feedback is not included on entries, but entrants may add general notes as an optional service during registration, for a reduced rate. Feedback is kept separate from judging—meaning you'll have a different executive reviewing your contest entry, and the notes have no bearing on the judging process.
HOW SHOULD I FORMAT MY ENTRY?
A full synopsis is required, detailing the story beginning, middle, and end. Can be brief, anywhere from 1-3 pages is typical. Pitch decks (any length) are also more than welcome. If you're unclear on the details of what goes into a pitch deck, we have a Pipeline Artists Symposium event available for streaming here.
CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?
Yes. As with all Pipeline competitions, anyone worldwide can enter.
IF I WIN, DO I NEED THE COMPLETED SCREENPLAY OR PILOT?
Not at all!
If you do, great (head start on development!), but it won't affect the outcome of the contest. We're just looking for original, unique concepts. Our development team will assist in refining the pitch and getting you started on the script itself. While that might indicate the competition is open only to screenwriters, it's not: we'll help you develop a first-ever draft of a screenplay or pilot, as we've done with authors, playwrights, and other storytellers in the past.
Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.
Finalist Sold Spec in Seven-Figure Deal
Crosby Selander's finalist script Bring Me Back sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2020 after a bidding war. The deal landed in the seven figures, making it one of the most lucrative spec sales in years—and one of the few specs in Hollywood history for over $1 million from an unproduced writer.
After placing in the top 10 of the Screenwriting season, Bring Me Back was circulated to several Pipeline industry partners, with Kaplan/Perrone signing Crosby.
Pipeline judges called the script a "wonderfully sprawling genre hybrid ... expertly drawn by a writer with a profound understanding of the human condition."
Winning Screenplay Visitation Produced
Helen Gaughran's Visitation, winner of the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition and First Look Project, went into production in January 2023, with Nicolas Pesce directing. The cast includes Olivia Cooke (House of the Dragon, Sound of Metal), Isla Johnston (The Queen’s Gambit), Stephen Rea (Interview with the Vampire), Alfie Allen (Game of Thrones), and Penelope Wilton (Downton Abbey).
Entertainment One, Blinder Films, and Rumble Films producing.
After winning the 2019 Screenwriting season and getting wide circulation to industry execs, Helen signed with UTA. A unanimous choice for both the Screenwriting Competition and genre-specific First Look Project, Script Pipeline execs called Visitation "a haunting depiction of this time and place," "a refreshing, grounded twist on the genre," and "one of the most impactful scripts we've ever read from a new, rising screenwriter."
The horror will be Helen's first produced film.
Tripper Clancy Sold Specs to Fox, Wrote for Multiple Series
Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2011 before selling several specs to studios.
A few months after the Screenwriting Competition ended, 20th Century Fox selected Tripper for their feature comedy writing team to help develop new material. Later, he was hired to write the animated feature Shedd for Paramount, Stranded for Sony, the Amazon film High Five, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro, and an adaptation of The Art of Fielding for Mandalay / IMG. He sold two specs in that span: The Ambassadors and Winter Break.
Tripper's first produced studio feature, Stuber (2019) sold in the mid-six figures. The action-comedy stars Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Mira Sorvino, and Betty Gilpin (Glow). Following the release of Stuber, he was brought on to write the Varsity Blues reboot and joined the staff of the Netflix series I am Not Okay With This, starring Sophia Lillis (It).
He's the co-creator, writer, and co-producer as well of the series Die Hart, starring Kevin Hart, Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), and John Travolta.
One of the Biggest Spec Sales in History from Script Pipeline Winner
After introductions by Script Pipeline to management, Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for $3.25 million. It marked one of the biggest studio spec sales of all-time and subsequently turned Evan into one of the most in-demand writers in Hollywood. The film grossed $450 million worldwide.
Shortly following the contest win, Evan landed an assignment with Warner Bros. to rewrite the adaptation of He-Man, which led to the sale of Snow White.
Amongst selling a pilot pitch, Evan wrote the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles reboot, produced by Michael Bay. Other studio projects: the adaptation of YA novel Divergent for Summit Entertainment, starring Shailene Woodley and Academy Award-winner Kate Winslet, the Tomb Raider reboot starring Alicia Vikander, a reimagining of the cult hit Anaconda, and Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan. In 2023, he was tapped to write The Ultimate Weapon for Allen Media.
His 2008 winning script Shrapnel was also turned into the film Killing Season, starring Robert De Niro and John Travolta. Corsan and Millennium Films helmed the action/thriller and rehashed the original plot during development. It was the first Script Pipeline winner to get produced.
TV Contest Runner-up Staffed on Netflix, BET, Fox, and CBS Shows
Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Verve and Lit Entertainment. He went on to write for the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts, followed by the CBS comedy The Unicorn, Netflix's Family Reunion, where he won a WGA Award, then joined the staff of the BET show Bigger and Fox's Call Me Kat.
2023 Pitch Contest (I)
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2021 Idea Contest (II) | 2021 Idea Contest (I)
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