2019 Screenwriting Contest

December 31st, 2018 - Pre-register Deadline

$50.00

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Pre-Register Deadline: December 31st, 2018

Winner Receives:
$25,000 | long-term industry circulation | script development

Now in its 17th year, the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition seeks talented writers to connect with production companies, agencies, and managers. As one of the longest-running screenplay contests, we focus specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production.

The company’s intensive facilitation process, consisting of long-term development and circulation of material, helps Script Pipeline writers gain elite representation and crucial introductions to Hollywood. $6 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by competition finalists and "Recommend" writers, with several scripts produced since 1999.

Finalists receive immediate circulation to Script Pipeline partners, in addition to the following:

  • $25,000 to winner, $2,500 to runner-up
  • Introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays
  • Long-term script circulation to industry and continual guidance connecting with companies
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's senior execs
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Exclusive invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

Submissions also accepted via. . . .

       Submit on Withoutabox


- NOTABLE SUCCESS STORIES -

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 has grossed over $400 million worldwide and spawned the 2016 film The Huntsman.

"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 SWATH.

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 and executive produce the event series Esmeralda for ABC Studios and signed on to pen the third installment of the GI Joe franchise for Paramount. 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.

Among all these projects, he wrote an initial draft for Warner Bros. and MGM's Tomb Raider reboot, starring Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina), and is on the Paramount film Earthseed and Hulu's adaptation of Myst.

Watch the interview with Evan and Script Pipeline CEO Chad Clough

Read Evan's Script Pipeline Interview

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.

Screenwriting Contest Winner Premieres at TIFF 2018

Henry Dunham's The Standoff at Sparrow Creek began production in 2018 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 producing. Dunham makes his feature directorial debut.

The film premiered at the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It's due for an early 2019 release.

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.

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 produced the action/thriller and rehashed the original plot during development. It was released in 2013.

- View more news in the Success Stories section above -


           Disney       

  • 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.
  • 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).

"I have been blown away by the amount of work Script Pipeline has put into getting my script out there. The best part: they're interested in you as a writer. From reading and circulating additional material to developing new concepts with you, the Script Pipeline team are wonderful partners-in-crime, and I count myself lucky to have them by my side."
- Peter Malone Elliott, Screenwriting Contest Winner (Junior)

  • 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.
  • 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 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)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Script Pipeline partner Bohemia Group Originals (BGO) optioned two Screenwriting and TV Writing Competition finalists: Bradley Stryker's action/thriller The Dragon Run and Diana Wright's comedy pilot Franchise. The following month, they optioned Nadeem Siddiqui's romcom Slut, also a Screenwriting finalist.

"From our first phone call, Script Pipeline became our personal champions and proceeded to surprise us again and again with the extent of their support. Thanks to them, we had meetings with a manager and production companies and are now developing our pilot with Mandalay Entertainment. Entering this contest was the smartest thing we did!"
- Ben and Tyler Soper, First Look Project Winners (The Devil in Evelyn)

  • 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, will be donating 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

"Being a finalist has 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. . . makes all the difference--you realize they care about and respect the writers."
- Gary King, Screenwriting Contest Finalist (Encounters)

  • 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 winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) signed with WME and Grandview. He has multiple projects in development with major production companies, including Spooked, with Dan Lin producing, a reboot of Child's Play, and the horror Five Nights at Freddy's.
  • 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.
  • Finalist Matt Altman signed with APA and Parallax Talent Management. He and co-writer David Matalon sold their feature script The Feud to Vandal Entertainment, and Matt later sold his spec Sam & Liz: A Killer Love Story to Relativity Media and the script Red Widow to studio STX Entertainment.

"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

  • 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 (Donnie Darko, Bad Words) 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

After quarterfinalist and semifinalist judging rounds, 10 finalists are chosen by July 1st, 2018. From those 10, we select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up, announced in late July.

Grand Prize Winner (1) - July 28th, 2019

  • $25,000
  • Immediate circulation to Script Pipeline partners

Runner-up (1) - July 28th, 2019

  • $2,500
  • Immediate circulation to Script Pipeline partners

Finalists (10) - July 1st, 2019

Semifinalists (up to top 1% of submissions) - June 24th, 2019

Quarterfinalists (up to top 3% of submissions) - June 17th, 2019

The Grand Prize Winner, Runner-up, and Finalists receive the following:

  • Introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays
  • Long-term script circulation to industry and continual assistance connecting with companies
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's senior execs
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Exclusive invitations to annual writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group


          

Script Pipeline has cultivated relationships with a number of production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, and other executives over the past two decades, leading to several success stories annually.

Industry reviewing 2018 finalists include:

Basic guidelines:

  • Cover page should include the title, but remove any contact information (name, email address, etc.) from the script. Logline and genre on the title page as well is preferred, but not required. If contact info is left on the script, we'll adjust the file accordingly—the writer will not be disqualified.
  • Co-writers are allowed. Just list each writer's name when registering your script.
  • PDF preferred, but will accept Final Draft, Celtx, and other file formats.
  • Script should be a feature-length screenplay. All genres are allowed, and there are no length requirements. If it's a multi-part series, please send only the first part.
  • No limit on the number of entries. Each entry is a separate fee.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed (i.e., you can enter other screenwriting contests with the same script).
  • Previous Script Pipeline competition entrants welcome to enter again and are guaranteed fresh reads from a new judge. Former finalists are not allowed to enter the same script again.
  • All rights to the material remain with the entrant, whether they place as a finalist or not.
  • Electronic submissions only.

Some general rules:

  • The script entered must not have been produced in its full form. (Shorts based on the script are fine.)
  • Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.
  • No restrictions on money earned as a writer, as long as the script entered has not been sold and is not under option at the time of entry.

View complete rules and guidelines

Script Pipeline's criteria is based primarily on the overall quality of the script, including storytelling ability and fundamental screenplay components (e.g. dialogue, plot, structure, and characterization). Concept marketability and originality are also taken into consideration. Best piece of advice we can give all writers is to submit material that highlights your unique voice--what separates your script from the pack.

Although we're strict on judging, all types of genres and styles are fair game. In the past, winning scripts have ranged from animated comedies, to microbudget indies, to dramas, true stories, and everything in-between. We're simply looking for stellar writing.

For other industry execs interested in judging for the Script Pipeline Competition, email us. We will only consider applicants who are active producers, agents, managers, or directors. Assistance in finding new projects and writers is offered year-round at no fee.

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Pre-register: December 31st - $50
Early: March 1st - $60
Regular: May 1st - $65

WHAT ARE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

2019 quarterfinalists and semifinalists are selected in late June. The top 10 finalists are posted to the site on July 1st, and one Grand Prize Winner and Runner-up is announced on July 28th.

IF I MAKE UPDATES TO MY SCRIPT AFTER ENTERING, DO I HAVE TO RE-REGISTER AND PAY A NEW ENTRY FEE?

If you registered after May 1st, we'll accept updated drafts any time before the late and final May 15th deadline.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

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

DO I GET FEEDBACK ON MY ENTRY?

For all contest entrants, we offer an exclusive discounted rate on our General Notes that cover everything from plot and structure to dialogue and character. A sample can be found here. Additional notes are optional and kept separate from the actual judging process.

*Feedback is sent by July when judging wraps

SHOULD I PUT CONTACT INFO ON THE COVER PAGE?

Cover page should include the title, but remove any contact information (name, email address, etc.) from the script. Logline and genre on the title page as well is preferred, but not required.

If your contact info is left on the script, we'll adjust the file accordingly—the writer will not be disqualified. However, we can replace any previous version with one you have updated.

WILL YOU ACCEPT SHORT SCRIPTS OR PITCHES?

Only feature-length scripts are accepted. Pitches may be submitted to our Great Movie Idea Competition.

WHAT KIND OF EXPOSURE WILL THE WINNERS RECEIVE?

Script Pipeline has a long history of linking finalists with the industry through personal introductions and general career assistance for our writers—more so than any other competition. In July 2019, we will announce the Grand Prize winner at a private writer/industry reception. Afterward, loglines and scripts are circulated long-term to companies looking for new material, and the winner is connected to a number of producers, agents, and managers.

IS THE FIELD LIMITED TO BEGINNING WRITERS AND AMATEURS?

No. Writers may have sold or optioned material in the past; however, the script you're entering must not be currently under option and must not have been previously produced as a feature film.

CAN I SUBMIT TO OTHER CONTESTS OR COMPANIES AFTER ENTERING?

There are no restrictions on submitting to other writing competitions or sending your script elsewhere while entered in the contest.

IF I PLACE AS A FINALIST OR WINNER, DO I RETAIN THE RIGHTS TO MY SCRIPT?

Yes. All rights to the material remain with the writer.

DO I NEED TO COPYRIGHT MY SCRIPT?

Although a copyright is not required to enter the competition, we recommend you register your work with a copyright service, such as the U.S. Copyright Office, or the Writer's Guild of America.

ARE WRITING TEAMS ACCEPTED?

Two or more writers are fine. Just list each writer's name when registering your script.

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.