2021 Movie and TV Show Idea Contest (I)
Next Season Opens Sunday, August 1st
2021 MOVIE IDEA
2021 TV IDEA
$2,000 | script development | industry circulation
The Great Movie and TV Show Idea contests are searching for original feature film and television series pitches. Ideally, distinct stories a global, diverse audience can connect with. Any genre, studio-level or indie, is accepted. Completed scripts are not reviewed, nor are entrants required to have a screenplay or pilot, as we help develop the selected projects.
Each of the two divisions, Movie and TV, select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up.
For the winner and runner-up, Script Pipeline provides additional assistance to refine the pitch, or help the writer draft a polished screenplay or pilot. Our execs review and offer feedback at all stages of development. When the work is ready for circulation, we send the material to specific producers and reps looking for relevant, high-concept, marketable films and series. All writers retain the rights to their script, and development assistance for the winner is entirely optional.
The company’s unique process, consisting of long-term writer development and widespread circulation of material, gives selected writers access to top execs worldwide as well as the proper guidance to advance their careers.
Over $8 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by Script Pipeline writers, with numerous scripts produced since 1999. In September 2020, Legendary picked up finalist screenplay Bring Me Back by Crosby Selander for seven figures, and in the last few years alone, Script Pipeline winners and finalists have optioned screenplays, sold shows, or were staffed on 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 connected with representation, such as Screenwriting winner Helen Gaughran signing with UTA and 2020 writers signing with managers at Kaplan/Perrone, Writ Large, and Zero Gravity.
Grand Prize Winner (1) - $1,000: July 31st, 2021
Runner-up (1): July 31st, 2021
Grand Prize Winner (1) - $1,000: July 31st, 2021
Runner-up (1): July 31st, 2021
Winners and Runners-up in both divisions receive the following:
- Extensive development and assistance in completing a screenplay or pilot (optional)
- Long-term circulation to producers and other companies
- Review of additional pitches and completed film or TV material
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. Although we're strict on judging, we're open to all types of narrative or scripted pitches (no reality or game show ideas).
In the past, selected ideas have ranged from lower-budget indies, to big-budget studio films, animation, true stories, 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. Sell yourself and your script concept.
Only written submissions are accepted, we no longer accept video or other media.
- Must submit a full story synopsis and logline. 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.
- Do not send full-length screenplays--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.
- Concept must be for a feature-length film or scripted TV 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 Idea Contest winners and runners-up (since 2012) are ineligible.
- Should go without saying, but the idea needs to be ORIGINAL and not based on an existing franchise or property, unless it's in the public domain. If the idea is in the public domain, it should have some sort of defining factor that takes a distinctive approach and clearly demonstrate how you plan to adapt.
Script Pipeline has cultivated relationships with over 200 production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, networks, and other executives over the past two decades, leading to more success stories annually than any other competition.
Some of the industry in Script Pipeline's network include:
- Zero Gravity Management - Ozark, The Accountant
- Bellevue Productions - Infinite
- Good Fear Film + Management - Mulan, Under the Silver Lake
- Solstice Studios - Hypnotic, Unhinged
- Liz Destro (producer) - The Butler, Cake, The Little Hours
- QC Entertainment - Get Out, Us, BlacKkKlansman
- 3Pas Studios - How to be A Latin Lover
- Mosaic Media Group - Talladega Nights, Get Smart
- 3 Arts - Space Force, The Call of the Wild
- BET - American Soul, Boomerang
- Silent R Management (reps Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins)
- Fuqua Films - The Magnificent Seven, Southpaw
As well as Script Pipeline's network of over 200 agents, managers, indie producers, directors, and production companies.
WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES AND ENTRY FEES?
Next season opens August 1st, 2021.
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 winners and runners-up 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 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 do not send out their winning idea or script until we have their consent and mutually deem the project "circulation ready."
CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?
Yes. As with all Pipeline competitions, anyone worldwide can enter.
ARE NOTES INCLUDED?
Written feedback is not included on entries, but entrants may add notes as an optional service during registration. Feedback is kept separate from judging---meaning you'll have a different executive reviewing your contest entry, and the notes have no bearing on judging.
CAN I COMPETE IN BOTH COMPETITIONS IF MY PITCH COULD BE FOR FILM OR TV?
Yes, but we require two separate registrations and entry fees if you'd like your pitch considered for both contests. We would recommend, however, sending a single pitch for one or the other, film or TV.
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.
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 ADD 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 SCREENPLAY OR PILOT?
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 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 screenplay or pilot, if the winning entrant decides to write the script.
Email our contest coordinator with any other questions.
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
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.
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.
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 Reporter, SlashFilm, 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.
TV Contest Runner-up Staffed on Netflix, BET, 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 in 2018, with his first solo-written episode premiering that year, followed by the CBS comedy The Unicorn, starring Walton Goggins (Justified).
Afterward, he wrote on Netflix's Family Reunion, where he won a WGA Award for the episode "Remember Black Elvis?", then joined the staff of the BET show Bigger in 2020.
2021 Idea Contest (I) - Movie & TV
2020 Idea Contest (II) - Movie & TV
2020 Idea Contest (I) - Movie & TV
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