2019 First Look Project

June 1st, 2019 - Early Deadline

$55.00

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

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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.

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Special Entry Deadline: February 20th, 2019

Winners Receive:
$17,500 split amongst 7 winners
Studio-level exposure | Development assistance | Extensive industry circulation

The 8th Annual First Look Project fulfills the requests of studios, production companies, agencies, and top managers by finding unique, high-concept material across two main categories:

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

One winner in each division receives a share of $17,500, industry circulation, and long-term development assistance from Script Pipeline’s executive team.

Supported by QC Entertainment (Get OutUs), Good Fear Film + Management (Mulan), Panay Films (Masterminds), Lakeshore Entertainment (Age of Adaline), Zero Gravity Management (Ozark), Silent R Management (reps Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins), Lit Entertainment Group (Prisoners), 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.

For over 20 years, numerous Script Pipeline contest winners have found representation and gained crucial introductions to otherwise impossible-to-reach execs. The result: $7 million in specs sold from Pipeline competition finalists and "Recommend" writers since 1999, in addition to several produced scripts, and many currently in development. View recent success stories here.

*new for this season: all 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.

Submissions also accepted via. . . .


- NOTABLE SUCCESS STORIES -

Screenwriting Contest Winner Produced, Premieres in 2019

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 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It was released in January 2019.

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

"Without the momentum my win gave me, I don’t know where my screenplay would be. I owe Script Pipeline for everything."
- Henry Dunham (writer/director, The Standoff at Sparrow Creek)

The script was a unanimous pick amongst Script Pipeline staff for top honors. Both CEO Chad Clough and Senior Executive Matt Joseph Misetich pegged the screenplay as a fresh, relevant spin on the genre, and an "unquestionably strong calling card" for the up-and-coming Dunham.

Top critics praised the directorial debut, including:

"This debut shows pulpy promise and is a step ahead of its genre peers." - The Hollywood Reporter

"A pitch perfect example of low budget craft." - Birth. Movies. Death.

"Deafens through sensationalized silence. . . . You’re not supposed to feel safe or comfortable, precisely as Henry Dunham plans." - Slash Film

And Rolling Stone selected Standoff as one of the top 10 films to see in January 2019.

Script Pipeline Contest Winner Spec Sells to Universal for $3 Million

SWATHposter2016After introductions by Script Pipeline to management, Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for $3 million. It marked one of the biggest studio spec sales of all-time and subsequently made Evan one of the most in-demand writers in the industry. The film grossed $400 million worldwide.

"Immediately after the competition, Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager, and the connection helped launch my screenwriting career."
- Evan Daugherty (Rose Red, Divergent)

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 Snow White.

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 and Five Ghosts for Syfy. He was one of the writers on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, the Michael Bay reboot starring Megan Fox. Evan was tapped to write the event series Esmeralda for ABC Studios, and wrote an initial draft for Warner Bros./MGM's Tomb Raider reboot.

Disney's Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan, will serve as a companion piece to the Snow White story. Vinson Films co-producing. The film is in development.

Tripper Clancy Sells Multiple Specs to Studios, Including the Action-Comedy Stuber

Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner following a top-four finish in the contest. A few months after the screenwriting competition ended, 20th Century Fox selected Tripper for their feature comedy writing team to help develop new material.

"The impact Script Pipeline had on my writing career is extraordinary. Winning the contest directly led to my new representation, which in turn led to working with studios such as 20th Century Fox and Paramount."
- Tripper Clancy (StuberHigh Five)

In September 2013, he sold the comedy The Ambassadors, and Tripper's buddy-comedy pitch Winter Break was picked up as the last spec sale of the year. In early 2014, he was hired to write the animated comedy Shedd for Paramount and, in 2016, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro.

Tripper's biggest script sale to date: Fox picked up his spec Stuber for the mid-six figures. The action-comedy is based on an idea developed by Tripper and his manager. Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy, Blade Runner 2049) co-stars alongside Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick, Silicon Valley), Mira Sorvino (Mighty Aphrodite), and Betty Gilpin (Glow)The film releases May 2019.

In addition, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is being shepherded by Shawn Levy's 21 Laps (Stranger Things) and 3311 Productions. Tripper is also adapting the acclaimed novel The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach, and is one of the writers on Amazon's High Five.

Robert De Niro Stars in Script Pipeline Contest-Winning Script

The Script Pipeline contest-winning screenplay Shrapnel 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 be produced.

- View more news in the Success Stories section above -

Listed below are the First Look Project categories: Screenplay (with five genre divisions) and TV Pilot (with two format divisions). Also noted are the companies receiving first look at the winners.

All entries must fit into one of the following categories. There are no budget requirements. Adaptations of work in the public domain, or material the writer has secured the rights to, is acceptable.

SCREENPLAY 

Open to feature-length screenplays of any genre. If your screenplay is an equal mix of genres (for example, action/comedy or sci-fi/horror), you may submit to whichever single category you feel fits best. Winners are reviewed by the companies listed.

Action/Adventure - Good Fear Film + Management (Mulan)

ComedyPanay Films (The Girlfriend Equation, Earth to Echo)

Drama - Silent R Management (manager Jewerl Ross)

Horror/ThrillerQC Entertainment (Get Out, Us)

Sci-fi/Fantasy - Lakeshore Entertainment (The Age of Adaline, Underworld)

TV PILOT

Original half-hour sitcoms and one-hour pilots.  Entries can be intended for network or cable television or digital. Spec scripts of existing shows or reality concepts will not be accepted. Must be for an original, scripted series.

Hour - Zero Gravity Management (OzarkBeasts of No Nation)

Half-hour - Lit Entertainment Group (Free Guy)


     Disney       

  • The Devil in Evelyn, winner of the First Look Project (Teleplay), was picked up for development by Mandalay Entertainment. Script Pipeline set up the writers, brothers Ben and Tyler Soper, with meetings after extensive circulation to Pipeline's industry network.
  • Octagon Entertainment signed Screenwriting Competition winners Joshua Johnson and Jamie Napoli (Getaway). Script Pipeline execs introduced Octagon manager Jeff Diamond to the writing team, who have another feature in development.
  • Writers Burke Scurfield and Adam Lederer signed with manager Drew Shenfield at Mosaic in 2018. Their comedy pilot, Big Boy, was circulated by Script Pipeline to Mosaic execs after the script's top 10 placement in the Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition.

"The First Look Project was an awesome experience. From our first phone call, they became our personal champions and proceeded to surprise us again and again with the extent of their support. Thanks to them, we are now developing our pilot with Mandalay Entertainment. Entering this contest moved our careers forward in an unprecedented way--the smartest thing we did all year!"
-Ben and Tyler Soper, First Look Project Winners (The Devil in Evelyn)

  • Sara Monge signed with Josh Dove at IPG Management in August 2018, after receiving circulation by Pipeline execs. Her pilot SOS placed in the top 10 of the 2017 TV Writing season.
  • Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) set to direct the Script Pipeline finalist screenplay Everything's Gonna Be Okay, written by Jen Goldson. It will be Jen's third produced film after meeting execs at the Script Pipeline writer/industry event, joining the romcom Off the Menu, directed by Jay Silverman and starring Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Devious Maids), and the thriller Snatched, produced by Nasser Entertainment. Off the Menu released in 2018 and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).

"In the few days after the competition announcement, we had a slew of terrific meetings. . . . Script Pipeline was a gift from the gods: it allowed us, two unknowns from Australia, to come to LA, meet people in the industry, and begin relationships."
- Penelope Chai and Matteo Bernardini, Screenwriting Contest Winner (Cinderella Must Die)

  • First Look Project contest winner Besa is in development with Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) directing. Written by Michael Miceli, the crime/thriller won the Adaptation category of the inaugural First Look season and was later optioned.
  • Searching, written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty (winners of the First Look Project), was selected for the 2018 Sundance Festival--and soon after picked up by Sony for $5 million. Sev previously co-produced The Intervention and Fruitvale Station. The film is Aneesh’s feature directorial debut and released in August 2018.
  • Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Madhouse Entertainment and Paradigm. He wrote for the CBS sitcom Superior Donuts until 2018 and continues a career in TV writing.

"When I relocated from NYC to LA to pursue sitcom writing, everyone I met in the industry said it wasn’t about entering competitions, it was about entering the right competition. Script Pipeline was a turning point."
- Howard Jordan Jr., Writer (Superior Donuts)

  • Kevin Jones, winner of the Great TV Show Idea Competition and a three-time Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist, signed with management after extensive development with Script Pipeline's senior execs, who helped turn his contest-winning pitch into a pilot script. The project was shopped to major networks, which secured numerous meetings for Kevin.
  • Chrissy Metz (This is Us) to star in Will O Wisp, written by Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest finalist Evan Cooper. Evan previously placed in the competition with the thriller Ballerina Girl. He’s repped by manager Kailey Marsh and UTA.
  • Director Scott Speer (Midnight Sun) is set to helm Script Pipeline finalist and "Recommend" writer Greg Wayne's dark romcom S21. Catapult and Needle's Eye producing.
  • TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) signed with UTA less than a few weeks after placing in the contest. The series is being considered by top studios and production companies.

"In a matter of hours, Script Pipeline achieved what I’d been trying to do for years: they got my foot in the door. . . and changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined."
- Justin Daries James, TV Writing Contest Winner (Powerhouse)

  • Screenwriting Contest finalist Max Martini directed his feature Will Gardner starring Martini in the lead role alongside an all-star cast including Elisabeth Röhm (American Hustle), Lily Rabe (American Horror Story), Dermot Mulroney (August: Osage County), and Gary Sinise (CSI: NY). Martini's company, Mona Vista Productions, donated 30% of the film's profits to charity.
  • Nir Paniry's Princesses to be produced by Grey Matter Productions and Pascal Pictures. Joachim Røenning (Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales) directing. Nir placed second in the Script Pipeline contest with his action screenplay The Coyote.

"Less than a week after the competition, I scored a meeting with Andrew Kersey for my finalist script. We hit it off right away, and I am now signed with a smart and talented manager. . . . I can't thank Script Pipeline enough for their dedication and the exposure they provide writers."
- Charles Stulck, Screenwriting Contest Finalist

  • TV Writing Competition finalist Dani Messerschmidt (Hello, I Live Here) signed with John Zaozirny at Bellevue Productions. Dani was introduced to reps from Bellevue at a Script Pipeline writer/industry event months prior. She's developing material for both film and TV.
  • First Look Project contest winner Kristi Hall is developing a feature script with Kersey Management. Script Pipeline execs worked with Kristi for over a year on a high-concept action/comedy screenplay before sending it to manager Andrew Kersey.
  • Screenwriting Contest finalist Charles Stulck signed with manager Andrew Kersey, a mere two weeks after introductions by Script Pipeline. Charles placed in the top 10 with his horror/comedy Cult-de-Sac.
  • Six years after winning the Screenwriting Competition, Debbie Chesebro and Tyson FitzGerald optioned their screenplay Prom Queen to Classy Films as a result of Script Pipeline's long-term facilitation.

"Script Pipeline's care and attention for their finalists is unparalleled. Their network is vast and their reputation stellar. Thanks to Script Pipeline, I signed with a manager. I couldn't be more grateful for all they've done to advance my writing career."
- Andrew Martin Robinson, Screenwriting Contest Finalist (Cut its Head Off)

  • Android, written by Script Pipeline "Recommend" Matt O’Reilly, attached Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, The Path). Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) also set to co-star in the sci-fi/thriller. Niall Johnson (White Noise) directing, with Infinite Studios and Picture Films producing.
  • Screenwriting finalist Andrew Martin Robinson (Cut Its Head Off) signed with Peter Katz of Story Driven less than a week after his horror screenplay was circulated to Script Pipeline's industry network.
  • Greg Martin and Eric Beu signed with Good Fear Film + Management (formerly Benderspink) in 2015. The writing duo were named the winners of the TV Writing Competition with their original pilot Beachwood.

"Being a finalist got me a meeting, an offer for representation, and has immediately given me exposure to high-profile managers/producers that I could never reach directly on my own. I'm still blown away where my script has been requested. And I really appreciate that they don't simply blast the industry in a 'one and done' manner. Knowing they actually go the extra mile and tailor their pitches to people's tastes makes all the difference--you realize they care about and respect the writers."
- Gary King, Screenwriting Contest Finalist (Encounters)

  • Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) signed with WME and Grandview. He's written the reboot for Child's Play and has multiple film and TV projects in development.
  • Screenwriting Finalist Craig Weeden and veteran comic writer/inker Jimmy Palmiotti (Ultimate Spider-man, Jonah Hex) optioned an adaptation of Painkiller Jane to Solipsist Films (Sin City: A Dame to Kill For). The project is in development.
  • Precious Cargo, a finalist in the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition written by Max Adams, released in April 2016. The film starred Bruce Willis, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Claire Forlani.
  • Script Pipeline "Recommend" Micah Barnett sold Ricochet, a one-hour drama, to NBC a few years after finding management through a Script Pipeline industry contact.

"No one has done more for our screenplay and our writing career than Script Pipeline. They've worked tirelessly in connecting us to industry professionals over the course of six years, ultimately resulting in our script getting optioned."
- Debbie Chesebro & Tyson FitzGerald, Screenwriting Contest Winners (Prom Queen)

  • 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."
  • Brian Watanabe's "Recommend" script Operation Endgame was produced with Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover), Adam Scott, Ellen Barkin, Ving Rhames, Maggie Q, Bob Odenkirk (Better Call Saul), and an ensemble cast. Script Pipeline CEO and producer Chad Clough brought the screenplay to Sean McKittrick (Get out, Us) at Darko Entertainment.
  • Screenwriter Rob Nelms was hired to pen the script Between after introductions to a director by Pipeline's Chad Clough. The film premiered at Sundance and later aired on Lifetime.
  • Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin' by Aaron Metchik and Joseph Garner sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003. It was the competition's first major success story, and the first Script Pipeline writer to sell a spec for over six-figures.

Over the course of 20 years, many other writers have optioned their work, found paid writing jobs, produced their films, and garnered management or agency representation through Script Pipeline's exhaustive process of industry facilitation for top screenplays and pilots.

View more Script Pipeline success stories

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 2019.

Screenplay

Winners (5)

  • $12,500 awarded. $2,500 to the winner of each genre category (Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Horror/Thriller, Sci-fi/Fantasy).
  • Presentation to the company sponsoring the winner’s category.

Runners-up (5)

The Screenplay winner and runners-up 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).
  • Presentation to the company sponsoring the winner’s category.

Runners-up (2)

The TV Pilot winner and runners-up 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

Please review the following prior to submitting:

  • For Screenplay and TV, the script must not be under a representation, option, or purchase 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. In other words "studio-level."
  • There are no restrictions on amateur or professional status. The First Look Project is open to writers of all levels.
  • 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

What are the deadline dates?

Special Entry Deadline: February 20th - $40
Early: June 1st - $55
Regular: September 15th - $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 (Action/Adventure, Comedy, Drama, Horror/Thriller, and Sci-fi/Fantasy) and TV, the entry should be considered "studio-level." Something commercial, high-concept, character-driven. . . a script that will draw A-level producers and talent. Regardless of budget.

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

Yes, and there is no additional fee if you email the new draft to us by the regular deadline: September 15th, 2019.

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.

*Notes are sent between 2-3 weeks from the date of registration, depending on volume. If you need notes back ASAP, please let us know prior to, or immediately after, registering. We'll do our best to accommodate.

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.