2020 First Look Project

Deadline: September 15th, 2020

$55.00

Deadline:
September 15th, 2020

Winners Receive:
$15,000 split amongst 6 winners
industry exposure | development assistance

The 9th Annual First Look Project fulfills the requests of studios, production companies, and top managers by finding unique, high-concept material across two main categories:

  • Screenplay - divisions for Action/Sci-fi, Comedy, Drama, and Horror/Thriller
  • TV Pilot - divisions for Hour and Half-hour original pilots, any genre

One winner in each division receives a share of $15,000, industry circulation, and long-term development assistance from Script Pipeline’s executive team. A minimum of one finalist is also chosen for each category.

Supported by Zero Gravity Management (Ozark), Grandview Management, QC Entertainment (Get OutUs),  Bellevue Productions (Infinite), Destro Films (Lizzie), and other Script Pipeline partners, the competition introduces the best scripts to major companies.

Unlike Script Pipeline's main Screenwriting and TV writing competitions, entries for First Look are judged equally on writing ability and commercial potential. The originality of the concept and a strong understanding of genre and marketplace trends will take precedence, as well as overall writing ability.

$7 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by competition finalists and "Recommend" writers, with numerous scripts produced since 1999. In the last few years alone, Script Pipeline writers have optioned screenplays, sold shows, or were staffed on major streaming and network series, including Writers Guild Award-winner Howard Jordan Jr. (Family Reunion, The Unicorn), Tripper Clancy (Die Hart, I Am Not Okay With This), and Laura Bensick (Everyday Insanity). Many others were connected with representation, such as Screenwriting winner Helen Gaughran signing with agents at UTA.

DEADLINES

Regular: September 15th, 2020 - $55
Late: October 1st, 2020 - $60

Entries also accepted via:

   

"I have had a tremendous experience with the Script Pipeline First Look Project. Within weeks of winning, I received some great feedback on my pilot and found representation. It's given me and my career a much-needed tangible (and psychological!) boost."
- Nick Roth, 2019 First Look Project Winner (Power Suit)

The First Look Project is focused primarily on connecting the winners with specific production and management companies, in addition to monetary prizes across all categories. One winner and one runner-up are selected for each category, announced in December 2020.

Screenplay

Winners (4)

  • $10,000 awarded. $2,500 to the winner of each genre category (Action/Sci-fi, Comedy, Drama, Horror/Thriller)
  • Circulation to select production and management companies for first look

Finalists (minimum of 4; one in each category)

The Screenplay winner and finalists receive:

  • Long-term facilitation to Script Pipeline's industry network of producers, agents, and managers seeking features.
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's senior execs on both the screenplay and pitch
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Invitations to writer/industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

TV Pilot

Winners (2)

  • $5,000 awarded total. $2,500 to the winner of each category (Hour and Half-Hour)
  • Circulation to select production and management companies for first look

Finalists (minimum of 2; one in each category)

The TV Pilot winner and finalists receive:

  • Long-term facilitation to Script Pipeline's industry network of producers, agents, and managers seeking original pilots.
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's senior execs on the pilot and series pitch or bible
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Invitations to writer/industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

"Winning Script Pipeline's First Look Project and being a finalist in their TV writing competition has been a huge boost to my career. The Script Pipeline staff goes the extra mile promoting and championing their winners' work and have gotten me opportunities I would never have been able to get on my own. It's wonderful being a part of the Script Pipeline family, and I am proud to be counted as one of their winners."
- Diana Wright, First Look Project Winner

CATEGORIES + INDUSTRY REVIEWING

Screenplay
Action/Sci-fi - Bellevue Productions
Comedy - Grandview Management
Drama - Destro Films
Horror/Thriller - QC Entertainment

TV Pilot - Zero Gravity Management
Half-hour
Hourlong

For screenplays, no page length restrictions, as long as it's intended to be a feature film. Mixed genre screenplays are fine, but writers must submit to only one category--would recommend selecting the primary genre of the script. Feature-length "backdoor pilots" may be submitted to one of the Screenplay categories.

For TV, all genres accepted, including animation. Half-hour pilots should be between 25-35 pages (longer if animation), and hourlong pilot should fall around 55-70.

RULES + GUIDELINES

Please review the following prior to submitting:

  • For Screenplay and TV, the script must not be under a representation, option, or shopping agreement at the time of entry.
  • The same script cannot compete in multiple categories.
  • Writers who have sold, optioned, or produced scripts in the past are eligible; however, the material submitted must not have been produced as a feature or TV series at any time in the past.
  • Judging criteria equally emphasizes both writing ability and marketability, unlike our main Screenwriting and TV Writing competitions, which are centered on writing ability. Preference may be given to material intended for a broader, mainstream audience.
  • There are no restrictions on amateur or professional status.
  • The material must be wholly original. For adaptations, the story must be in the public domain, or you have retained the adaptation rights to a particular work.

Email our contest coordinator with any other questions on guidelines or judging criteria.

View complete rules and guidelines here

"I can’t speak highly enough about the Script Pipeline team. The support they provided throughout the evolution of my latest action/comedy screenplay was invaluable. Script Pipeline truly cares about my success, not only promoting my work at every opportunity but also challenging me to push the limits of my skills. Thanks to their efforts, I am now working with a great manager and have an exciting new project on the horizon."
- Kristi Hall, First Look Project Winner

What are the deadline dates?

Regular: September 15th, 2020 - $55
Late: October 1st, 2020 - $60

What should go on the title page?

The title of the script, without name, contact info, or email. You can include the genre and logline, however. Logline is preferred, but not required.

How is the First Look Project different from Script Pipeline's Screenwriting and TV Writing Competitions?

Main difference would be the judging criteria. Our annual Screenwriting and TV Writing Competitions are critiqued almost exclusively on their writing ability for film and television.

The First Look Project, however, focuses equally on both writing ability and marketability. A unique concept in line with current trends and industry preferences--something relevant that twists the genre or hits on relatable themes--will most likely fare well.

Writing ability is still critical, but the script needn't be "circulation-ready" if it leans on a commercial premise. All winners and finalists will go through an in-house development process with Script Pipeline execs prior to circulation, if necessary. We want promising writers with big, fresh ideas. Those who we can work with now and in the future.

So I should submit a "commercial" script?

For the genre categories and TV, the entry should be considered higher-concept. Something commercial, character-driven. . . a script that will draw A-level producers and talent.

Can I submit a new draft of my script after entering?

Yes, we'll accept updated drafts (no extra fee) up until the regular deadline in September.

Do I retain the rights, even if I win?

All rights remain with the author. By entering, you’re not surrendering any rights to your script submission.

Can I get feedback on my entry?

For all contest entrants, we offer an exclusive discounted rate on our General Notes. A sample can be found here. Additional notes are entirely optional and are kept separate from the judging process.

*Turnaround: notes are sent after judging is completed, but may arrive earlier. However, entrants should anticipate receiving after the final deadline has passed.

Do you accept multiple authors?

Yes. Just list each writer's name when registering your script.

Can I send in an idea instead of a completed script or film?

You may send supplement materials such as a synopsis, treatment, or any other type of written or video pitch to any category, but these would be in ADDITION to a completed screenplay or pilot.

For pitches, writers may submit to our Movie or TV Show Idea competitions.

Do you accept animation scripts?

Yes. In recent years, numerous animation scripts have placed in and won the First Look Project. You may submit any genre of animation as well, as long as it fits into a category.

Email us with any questions not answered here.

Tripper Clancy Sells Specs to Fox, Writing for Netflix and Quibi Series

Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2011 before selling several specs.

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 Quibi series Die Hart, starring Kevin Hart, Nathalie Emmanuel (Game of Thrones), and John Travolta.

Fox Buys Show from Script Pipeline Contest Runner-up

Runner-up in the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition, Laura Bensick sold her show Everyday Insanity to Fox. Ken Olin (This is Us) and Sterling K. Brown producing. The drama series addresses mental illness within three different families who come together to form one supportive group.

Laura placed with the hourlong drama The Mother in the 2016 Script Pipeline season, besting over 2,500 other pilots. Bensick’s autobiographical play Life in Paradox, premiered in Los Angeles in 2019.

Everyday Insanity is Laura’s first TV show sale.

One of the Biggest Spec Sales in History from Script Pipeline Winner

SWATHposter2016After 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 has 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, and Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan, which is in development with Vinson Films and Disney.

In 2020, he began development with Sony on a reimagining of the cult hit Anaconda.

Script Pipeline Winner becomes Acclaimed Indie Hit

Henry Dunham's The Standoff at Sparrow Creek was produced with an ensemble cast featuring James Badge Dale (Rubicon), Brian Geraghty (The Hurt Locker), Happy Anderson (Mindhunter), Robert Armayo (Game of Thrones), and Gene Jones (The Hateful Eight). Dallas Sonnier, Jonathan Brownlee, and Amanda Presmyk served as producers.

The film premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It was released in 2019.

The project, originally titled Militia, won the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition before being picked up. Writer Henry Dunham was connected with representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with Pipeline industry partner Lit Entertainment and UTA.

Top critics from The Hollywood ReporterSlashFilm, and others praised Henry's directorial debut, and Rolling Stone selected Standoff as one of the top 10 films to see in 2019.

Robert De Niro Stars in Script Pipeline Contest-Winning Screenplay

The Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Shrapnel by Evan Daugherty was 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.

2019 First Look Project
2018 First Look Project
2017 First Look Project
2016 First Look Project
2015 First Look Project
2014 First Look Project
2013 First Look Project
2012 First Look Project

"Within hours of Script Pipeline announcing the results, I was getting read-requests from management companies. Within a week, one of those companies reached out and asked to meet with me. Two weeks after that, I had a manager. . . . I think the only mistake a writer can make with Script Pipeline is not submitting each year. If you don’t get the result you were hoping for, then just keep working and resubmit the next year. It is 100 percent worth it."
- Jess McKillop, TV Writing Contest Runner-up

Submit

2020 First Look Project

September 15th, 2020 - Deadline

$55.00

Category *

Title *

Writer(s) *

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Upload your script below, or email it to entry@scriptpipeline.com after you finish your order.

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Follow-up Call with Creative Executive

Entrants may schedule a *no-cost* 15-minute call with our Senior Coordinator, who can answer any general questions on the industry or the Script Pipeline process.

Terms and Conditions *

Please confirm that you have read the First Look Project terms and conditions.