2022 Pitch Contest (Summer/Fall)
Next Season Opens February 1st
by Liz Arcury
by Marc Lott
NEXT SEASON OPENS:
February 1st, 2023
$2,000 | script development | industry circulation
The bi-annual Script Pipeline Pitch Contest is searching for original feature film and television series ideas—distinct stories a global, diverse audience can connect with. Any genre, studio-level or indie, is accepted. Entrants are not required to have a screenplay or pilot, as we help develop the selected projects.
One Grand Prize Winner is chosen amongst all pitches, as well as a minimum of one runner-up. For those writers, Script Pipeline provides additional long-term assistance to refine the pitch, the story, the vision, and help develop the script. Our in-house creative execs review and offer feedback at all stages. When the work is ready for circulation, we send to specific producers and reps looking for relevant, higher-concept material.
All writers retain the rights to their material, and development assistance for the winner is entirely optional.
Over $8 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by Script Pipeline writers as well as numerous scripts produced since 1999, such as studio releases 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 for seven figures—one of the biggest spec sales in years. And Helen Gaughran's winning script Visitation began production in 2023, starring Olivia Cooke (House of the Dragon) and Isla Johnston (The Queen’s Gambit). Several Pipeline writers have made The Black List, with Cauliflower by Daniel Jackson (2021) and Pure by Catherine Schetina (2022), both landing at the #1 spot. While winners Daniel Jackson (Screenwriting), Elad Ziv (First Look Project), and Brian T. Arnold (First Look Project) landed at Bellevue over the past couple seasons, many others have signed at UTA, Kaplan/Perrone, Alibi Management, and more after Script Pipeline introductions. View notable success stories.
Entries also accepted via:
Grand Prize Winner (1) - $2,000: January 31st, 2023
Runner-up (1 minimum): January 31st, 2023
The Winner and Runner(s)-up will also receive:
- Extensive development and assistance in completing a screenplay or pilot
- Long-term circulation to producers and other companies
- Review of additional pitches and completed film or TV material for industry consideration
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, documentary, or game show ideas). Note too that movie and TV entries compete against one another, so if you aren't sure what medium your idea fits best, that's okay.
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.
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 or pitch deck—entirely up to you on how to best present your idea. We do not necessarily judge on format, we judge on the idea itself. That said, sometimes how you pitch your idea can make all the difference, so take that into consideration. 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.
- Must be for a scripted film or TV series. No reality, documentary, or game show ideas.
- 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 2013) are ineligible.
- Obviously ... the idea needs to be ORIGINAL and not based on an existing franchise or property, unless it's in the public domain.
Script Pipeline has cultivated relationships with over 250 production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, networks, and other executives over the past two decades, leading to multiple writers signed and specs sold.
Some of the industry reviewing Pipeline material:
- QC Entertainment - Get Out, Antebellum
- Liz Destro (producer) - Swimming with Sharks
- Bellevue Productions - Infinite
- Zero Gravity Management - Ozark
- Hungry Man Productions
- Assemble Media - The Forgiven
- Paramount TV - Yellowstone, 1883
- Grandview Management
- Good Fear Film + Management - Mulan, Under the Silver Lake
- Divide/Conquer - M3GAN, Adopt a Highway
*Industry: request to read Script Pipeline winners and finalists here.
WHAT ARE DEADLINE DATES AND ENTRY FEES?
FINAL: January 7th, 2023
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 completed 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 general notes as an optional service 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.
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 (head start on development!), 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 getting you started on the script itself. While that might indicate the competition is open only to screenwriters, it's actually not: we'll help you develop a first-ever draft of a screenplay or pilot.
Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.
Finalist Sells Spec to Legendary in Seven-Figure Deal
Crosby Selander's Bring Me Back sold to Legendary Entertainment in September 2020 after a bidding war. The deal landed in the seven figures, making it one of the highest spec sales in years—and one of the few specs ever sold for over $1 million from a "new," unproduced writer.
After placing in the top 10 of the 2020 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."
Tripper Clancy Sells Specs to Fox, Writing for Netflix 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 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, a reimagining of the cult hit Anaconda, 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.
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.
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