August 15th, 2019 ($20/entry)
$1,000 | script development | industry circulation
*feedback included on all entries
The 14th Great TV Show Idea Contest is looking for the next big television series--a story that puts a clever spin on the types of successful shows picked up by networks and digital platforms. All genres and formats allowed, including anthology, limited series, and short-form digital series. Completed pilot scripts are not reviewed, nor are entrants required to have a pilot, as we help develop the winner and runner-up.
Every entrant receives brief feedback from a judge with remarks on the pitch's marketability and originality, sent after final judging is completed.
For the winner, Script Pipeline provides additional, long-term assistance to refine the pitch, or help the writer draft a polished pilot or series outline. Our execs review the project and offer feedback at all stages of development. When the work is ready for circulation, we send the material to specific producers who would be a good match, including partners at Good Fear Film + Management (Mulan), Zero Gravity Management (Ozark), QC Entertainment (Get Out), Lakeshore Entertainment (Age of Adaline), and others looking for relevant, high-concept, marketable films.
All writers retain the rights to their pitch, and development assistance for the winner is entirely optional.
"Script Pipeline helped me develop my pilot, found me representation, and played a key role in getting a very ambitious TV project to some of the top producers, showrunners, and even networks. Their continual support and guidance has been invaluable--they are second to none."
- Kevin Jones, TV Show Idea Winner, 3x Script Pipeline Finalist
The company’s intensive process, consisting of long-term writer development and widespread circulation of material, gives Script Pipeline writers access to some of the top industry execs worldwide. $7 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by competition finalists and "Recommend" writers, with several scripts produced since 1999. As of summer 2019, over 10 films and series from Script Pipeline writers are in active development or production, with some due for release later this year. The Great Movie and TV Show Idea Competitions aim to continue this successful process by working one-on-one with writers to fine-tune their writing skills and push worthwhile stories into production.
Special Entry: August 15th, 2019 - $20
Early: October 15th, 2019 – $30
Regular: December 15th, 2019 - $35
Late: December 22nd, 2019 - $40
Enter the 14th season by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. Writers may register at any time. There is no additional fee to send an updated pitch from now until the regular December 15th deadline.
Entries also accepted via:
- FEATURED SUCCESS STORIES -
Tripper Clancy Sells Stuber and Multiple Specs to Studios
Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2009 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, the Amazon film High Five, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro, and an adaptation of The Art of Fielding for Mandalay / IMG. He also sold additional specs The Ambassadors and Winter Break.
"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 (Stuber)
His first 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).
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 has grossed $450 million worldwide.
"Immediately after the competition, Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager, and the connection helped launch my screenwriting career."
- Evan Daugherty (Divergent)
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, as well as writing and producing roles with NBC's Midnight, Mass. and the series Five Ghosts, 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.
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 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 before being picked up by Cinestate. 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.
"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)
Top critics praised Henry's directorial 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.
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 competition winner to get produced.
- View more in the Success Stories section -
- 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.
- 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, moving on afterward in 2019 to Netflix's Family Reunion and CBS' The Unicorn.
- Screenwriting winner Peter Malone Elliott (Junior) signed with manager Zach Book. Peter's biopic on Frank Sinatra Jr. was hailed as one of the best true story screenplays Script Pipeline ever reviewed. He wrapped production on his first feature, Wired Shut, in 2019 and has multiple other film and TV scripts in development.
- Searching, written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty (Screenwriting Competition finalists and winners of the First Look Project), premiered at Sundance and was quickly picked up by Sony for $5 million. Sev previously co-produced The Intervention and Fruitvale Station. The film is Aneesh’s feature directorial debut. Their next feature, Run, produced by Lionsgate, premieres in 2020.
"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)
- Sara Monge signed with Josh Dove at IPG Management after Script Pipeline circulation. Her pilot SOS placed in the top 10 of the TV Writing Competition.
- 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.
- Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) is 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.
"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)
- Writers Burke Scurfield and Adam Lederer signed with manager Drew Shenfield at Mosaic. 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.
- 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).
- After extensive development through Script Pipeline's Workshop, Eddie Mensore produced his gripping drama Mine 9, released in 2019. The film won top honors for Best Film at Cinequest and The Arizona International Film Festival.
- TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) signed with UTA less than a few weeks after placing in the contest.
""I've been amazed at the quality and depth of the development my idea has received since winning the Great TV Idea Contest. I know my concept in a richer, deeper way than I did before thanks to Script Pipeline."
- Bryce McLellan, TV Idea Contest Winner (Verge)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
"Having no connections to the industry and needing some quality feedback, I turned to high-level contests like Script Pipeline. From the day I became a finalist, they've championed my work and sent it to a long list of industry members. Even through reputation alone, I’ve gotten requests to read my script."
- Sommer Rusinski, TV Writing Contest Finalist (In Irons)
- Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) wrote the reboot for Child's Play released in 2019 and has multiple film and TV projects in development.
- First Look Project contest winner Besa on track for production—Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) directing. Written by Michael Miceli, the crime/thriller won the Adaptation category for the inaugural First Look season and was later optioned by Cecil Chambers of Triumphant Pictures.
- Dragon Run, written by Bradley Stryker, was optioned by Pop Art Film Factory and producer Daniel Zirilli. The script placed in the top 10 of the Screenwriting Competition.
- 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.
- 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.
"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 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.
- 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). Craig placed in the top 10 of the Screenwriting Competition and is a Script Pipeline "Recommend" on other features.
- 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.
- 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.
"While I knew Script Pipeline would help circulate my script, the amount of attention they gave my pilot, my other material, and me was mind-blowing. I wouldn't be here without them."
- Sara Monge, TV Writing Contest Finalist (SOS)
- Charles Stulck signed with manager Andrew Kersey, after introductions by Script Pipeline. Charles placed in the top 10 with his horror/comedy Cult-de-Sac.
- 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.
- Precious Cargo, a finalist in the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition written by Max Adams, was produced. The film stars 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 with 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.
- The first major success for Script Pipeline: Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin' by Aaron Metchik and Joseph Garner sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003. They were the first Script Pipeline writers 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.
Script Pipeline's criteria is based primarily on the overall originality marketability of the concept, preferably hitting a "Goldilocks zone" between commercial/mainstream and something wholly new and artistic.
Although we're extremely strict on judging, all types of genres, styles, and premises are accepted (must be for a scripted series, not reality or game show). In the past, selected ideas have ranged from character-driven dramatic series, to sitcoms and animation, true stories, and hourlong dramas. Anything unique and universally appealing is fair game.
Industry contacts reviewing winner includes:
- Anonymous Content - The OA, 13 Reasons Why
- QC Entertainment - Us, Get Out
- 21 Laps - Stranger Things, Arrival
- Lit Entertainment Group - Prisoners
- Energy Entertainment - Extant
- Circle of Confusion - The Walking Dead
- Good Fear Film + Management - Mulan, Under the Silver Lake
- Zero Gravity Management - Ozark, The Accountant
- Scott Free Productions - The Good Wife, Taboo
- Fuqua Films - The Resident
- Select Films - Million Dollar Arm
- Silent R Management (reps Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins)
- Mosaic Media Group - Downward Dog, Talladega Nights
- Jeremy Garelick (American High) - The Wedding Ringer, The Break-up
- LBI Entertainment - We Bought a Zoo
For execs interested in reviewing Script Pipeline competition winners, email us or complete the industry request form here. We will only consider applicants who are active producers, agents, managers, or directors.
Grand Prize Winner (1) - Announced February 1st, 2020
- Extensive development sessions with Script Pipeline to get your concept ready for circulation
- Assistance in completing a TV pilot script (optional)
- Long-term exposure to producers and other companies for potential development
- Review and development of additional pitches and material
Runner-up (1) - Announced February 1st, 2020
- Development with Script Pipeline executives to fine-tune your pitch
- Industry circulation consideration for the pitch or a previously existing pilot
- Review of additional pitches and material
We accept pitches for:
- Scripted television series in ANY genre
- Original, standalone mini-series (EX: Big Little Lies, True Detective)
- Digital series pitches intended to be adapted for cable or network television, or to be independently produced
- Note: Pitches for reality TV and game shows are not accepted. Must be for a scripted series.
Written or video submissions accepted. For written pitches:
- Must submit a full story synopsis. This can range from a page in length to a full treatment--entirely up to you on how to best present your idea. We do not judge on format, we judge on the idea itself. Supplemental materials (illustrations, etc.) are allowed. The best format is usually comprised of a logline, a page-long summary, and any other comments on the originality of the premise.
- Please do not send full-length scripts--summaries ONLY. Pitches may be emailed direct or uploaded.
- Remove your name and contact information from the documents prior to submitting.
- Longer submissions are judged on the same criteria as short ones, so whatever length you think is best.
For video pitches:
- Submit a link to the video after registration through email. We prefer a private link on YouTube, Vimeo, or any other video hosting site, or your personal website. *make sure to include the password, if private
- Videos can be any length, but shorter is typically better.
- Concept must be for a scripted television series.
- Script Pipeline will not share your idea with anyone unless you’re chosen as a winner or runner-up and give us explicit permission to do so.
- Previous Script Pipeline writers and former Great TV Show Idea contest entrants are welcome to submit, but material must not have been previously entered.
- Should go without saying, but the concept needs to be WHOLLY ORIGINAL and not based on an existing franchise.
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES AND ENTRY FEES?
IS MY IDEA PROTECTED? WILL I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO THE IDEA?
All rights remain with the writer, regardless of the contest results, and no one outside of Script Pipeline's team of judges will review your entry without the writer's permission. For the winner, we will not send out their winning idea until we have their consent and mutually deem the project "circulation ready."
DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY ENTRY?
Yes, ALL entrants receive brief, general feedback (appx. a short paragraph in length) on their pitch, specifically covering our thoughts on marketability and originality. Feedback is sent after final judging is completed.
For longer, more in-depth feedback, entrants may receive an exclusive discounted rate on Treatment / Pitch Notes that cover everything from plot and concept to marketability and character. A sample can be found here. These additional notes are optional and kept separate from the judging process--meaning you'll have a different reader during judging.
CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?
Yes, absolutely. Anyone worldwide can enter.
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. We'll also review video pitches through a private link or as an attached file. Whatever format you prefer that best exemplifies your idea.
Also remove your name and contact information from the materials prior to submitting.
WILL I BE DISQUALIFIED FOR A FORMATTING REASON?
No. If for some reason we can't open the file, or link, or there's an issue with the entry itself, we'll contact you, and you'll be able to re-send.
CAN I INCLUDE MY NAME ON THE TITLE OR COVER PAGE?
For entrants whose pitch documents have a cover page, please exclude your name and email. Should only be title of the project.
IF I WIN, DO I NEED THE COMPLETED PILOT SCRIPT?
Not at all. If you do, great, 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 helping you get started on the pilot script itself.
While that might indicate the competition is open only to screenwriters, it's not: we'll help you develop a first draft of a pilot, if the winning entrant decides to write the script.
CAN I SUBMIT MORE THAN ONE IDEA FOR THE SINGLE FEE?
There is no limit to the number of entries. Each idea, however, is a separate entry fee.
WHAT IF THE IDEA IS FROM MY EXISTING SCRIPT OR NOVEL? AM I STILL ELIGIBLE?
Yes, as long as the idea is original (i.e. your own creation), or you've retained the film adaptation rights to a property that isn't yours.
Email our contest coordinator with any other questions.
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15th Great TV Show Idea Contest
October 15th, 2019 - Early Deadline