2024 First Look Project

Special Entry Deadline: March 15th, 2024

SUBMIT

Winners Receive:
$15,000 (amongst 6 winners)
industry circulation | long-term development | 1-on-1 career guidance

The 13th Annual First Look Project searches for higher-concept material across six categories of entry:

  • Screenplay - Action & Sci-fi, Comedy, Drama, and Horror & Thriller
  • TV Pilot - Hour and Half-hour original pilots

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

Supported by Divide/Conquer (M3GAN), STX Entertainment (The Irishman), Bellevue Productions (Eli), Destro Films (Clerks III), and additional Script Pipeline management and producer partners, the competition introduces the winners and runners-up to these and other companies.

Unlike Script Pipeline's Screenwriting and TV writing competitions, entries for First Look are judged on both writing ability and market potential, in addition to the originality of the concept. In other words: for this particular contest, your script could need a bit of refining and still have a great chance to win if we feel the story itself could stand out in the current landscape. Writers will receive extensive feedback post-contest prior to industry circulation, should the script need fine-tuning.

The six First Look winners, with at least one runner-up in each category, receive the following:

  • $15,000 total awarded to winners ($2,500 in each category)
  • Long-term facilitation to Script Pipeline's industry network of producers, agents, and managers seeking features.
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's execs on both the screenplay and pitch
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Invitations to private events and Symposium panels hosted by Pipeline

Over $8 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by Script Pipeline writers as well as numerous scripts produced since 1999, a notable list that includes studio films 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 in 2020 for seven figures—one of the all-time biggest spec sales by an unproduced writer. Helen Gaughran's winning script Visitation was produced in 2023, starring Olivia Cooke (House of the Dragon) and Isla Johnston (The Queen’s Gambit). Several Pipeline writers have made The Black List recently, such as Elad Ziv's Court 17, Cauliflower by Daniel Jackson, and Pure by Catherine Schetina, the latter two securing the #1 spot. And writers have signed with multiple top managers and agents over the years, landing with reps at Bellevue, UTA, Kaplan/Perrone, Alibi Management, and more following Script Pipeline development and introductions. View notable success stories.

UPCOMING DEADLINES

Special Entry: March 15th, 2024 - $35
Early: June 20th, 2024 - $40
Regular: September 30th, 2024 - $50

Submissions also accepted through:

   

Screenplay

Winners (4): December 15th, 2024

  • $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, with expanded circulation afterward

Runners-up (4, minimum of one in each category): December 15th, 2024

The Screenplay winners and runners-up receive:

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

TV

Winners (2): December 15th, 2024

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

Runners-up (2, minimum of one in each category: December 15th, 2024

The TV Pilot winners and runners-up receive:

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

RULES + GUIDELINES

Please review the following prior to submitting:

  • For both Screenplay and TV, the script must not be under a representation, option, or shopping agreement at the time of entry (if it happens after, that's absolutely fine!).
  • The same script cannot compete in multiple categories. Genre hybrids (i.e. an Action/Comedy) can be whatever category the writer chooses.
  • Writers who have sold, optioned, or produced scripts in the past are eligible; however, the material submitted must not have been produced and released as a feature film or TV series at any time before the end of the season.
  • Judging criteria emphasizes both writing ability and concept, unlike our Screenwriting and TV Writing competitions, which are centered almost exclusively on writing ability. Preference may be given to higher-concept material.
  • The material must be wholly original. For adaptations, the story must be in the public domain, or you have retained the adaptation rights.

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

View complete rules and guidelines here

CATEGORIES + INDUSTRY REVIEWING

Screenplays: No page length restrictions, as long as the script is intended to be a feature film (so 80-120 is a preferred range, but we don't have a minimum or maximum). Mixed genre and animated screenplays are accepted, but writers must submit to only one category with the same script.

If your specific genre isn't listed here, you may submit to the one closest resembling it. For example, Fantasy, Western, and Adventure could fall under Action & Sci-Fi. Or Crime and Mystery scripts could be submitted to Thriller.

TV Hour & Half-hour: pilot scripts in the 30-60 page range (appx.). All genres accepted, including animation, sketch show, off-the-wall genre hybrids ... anything goes.

Industry receiving first look at the winners:

Screenplay
Action & Sci-Fi - Bellevue Productions (Eli)
Comedy - Alibi Management (Stuber)
Drama - Destro Films (Clerks III)
Horror & Thriller – Divide & Conquer (M3GAN)

TV Pilot
Half-hour and Hourlong – STX Entertainment (The Irishman)

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES AND ENTRY FEES?

Special Entry: March 15th, 2024 - $35
Early: June 20th, 2024 - $45
Regular: September 30th, 2024 - $50
Late: October 15th, 2024 - $55

Highly recommended to register early and take advantage of the lower entry fee.

CAN I UPDATE MY DRAFT AFTER ENTERING?

We'll accept updated drafts (no extra fee) up until the final deadline October 30th, 2024.

DO YOU ACCEPT OTHER GENRES?

Genres adjacent to the current categories may be submitted. For example, Western, Fantasy, Adventure ... those could all fall under Action & Sci-fi. If you're unsure of which category to submit to, feel free to email us for clarification.

WHAT SHOULD GO ON THE TITLE PAGE?

Contact info can be on the cover page. Logline and genre is preferred, but not required.

HOW IS FIRST LOOK DIFFERENT FROM SCRIPT PIPELINE'S OTHER COMPETITIONS?

The 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 on both writing ability and "marketability" (a term we don't particularly like, but basically 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, as it has in the past.

Writing ability is obviously still critical, but the script needn't be "circulation-ready" if it leans on a great premise. All winners and runners-up will go through in-house development 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.

DO I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO MY SCRIPT?

Yes. All rights to the material remain with the writer, regardless of whether they place.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

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

ARE NOTES INCLUDED?

Written feedback is not included on entries, but entrants may add general notes (appx. one page of feedback) 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.

View sample

Alternatively, full notes from one of our development execs can be requested through the Workshop.

CAN I SUBMIT TO OTHER CONTESTS OR COMPANIES AFTER ENTERING?

Yes. There are no restrictions on submitting to other writing contests, programs, etc., or sending your script to industry while in competition.

WILL YOU ACCEPT SHORT SCRIPTS OR PITCHES?

Only full-length feature and TV scripts are accepted. Pitches may be submitted to our Pitch Competition. Short scripts may be submitted to Film Pipeline.

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, Releasing in 2024

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 DragonSound 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.

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