2023 Screenwriting Contest

Pre-register Deadline: September 15th, 2022

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

The 21st Annual Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition connects talented writers with production companies, agencies, and managers. As one of the longest-running and most successful screenplay contests, we focus specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing ambitious storytelling, and pushing original projects into production.

The company’s unique process—consisting of long-term writer development, promotion, and circulation of material—gives finalists proper one-on-one 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, including studio releases Stuber and Snow White and the Huntsman. Most recently, Legendary bought Pipeline finalist Bring Me Back by Crosby Selander for seven figures, and winners Erin Muroski (TV Writing) and Daniel Jackson (Screenwriting) signed with reps at Bellevue, with Daniel's Cauliflower landing the #1 spot on the Black List. Many others have signed with UTA, Kaplan/Perrone, Alibi Management, Zero Gravity, and more after Script Pipeline introductions. View notable success stories.

Script Pipeline selects 10 finalists, with one winner and one runner-up, who receive the following:

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

Up to 50 Quarterfinalists and 30 Semifinalists will receive general feedback on their work from Script Pipeline's development execs, plus consideration for industry circulation.

DEADLINES

Pre-register: September 15th, 2022 - $25
Special Entry: December 20th, 2022 - $45
Early: March 1st, 2023 - $55
Regular: May 1st, 2023 - $60
Late: May 15th, 2023 - $65

Entries also accepted via:

   

Following the quarterfinalist and semifinalist judging rounds, 10 finalists are chosen by August 1st, 2023. From those 10, we select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up.

Announcement dates and monetary awards:

Grand Prize Winner (1) - $25,000: August 12th, 2023

Runner-up (1) - $2,500: August 12th, 2023

Finalists (10): August 1st, 2023

Semifinalists (up to top 30): July 20th, 2023

Quarterfinalists (up to top 50): July 10th, 2023

Brief, general feedback will be provided for Quarterfinalists and Semifinalists, in addition to consideration for industry circulation and longer-term assistance from Pipeline's team.

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

  • Introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for screenplays
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's senior execs
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Long-term script circulation to industry and continual guidance connecting with companies
  • Invitations to private events and Symposium panels hosted by Pipeline

*top 10 finalists are also awarded a copy of Final Draft 12 software, from our partners at Final Draft

 

Judging is based primarily on the overall quality of the script, including storytelling ability and fundamental components (e.g. dialogue, plot, structure, and character). Concept marketability, originality, and writing style are also taken into consideration to various degrees.

Best piece of advice is to submit material that highlights your distinct voice—what separates your script from the norm. Although we're strict on judging and only work with a select group of writers annually, all types of genres and styles are fair game. In the past, finalist and winning screenplays have ranged from microbudget indies, to true stories, big-budget sci-fi, straight genre pieces, and everything in-between.

Being selected as a Quarterfinalist or higher means that we feel the script has potential, the writing is above average, and it's a project we're confident in helping further develop and promote to industry.

All contest judges are comprised of our Script Pipeline development execs and senior-level staff. We don't use unpaid interns or volunteers or seasonal readers ...

Basic guidelines:

  • Cover page should include the title, but remove any contact information (name, email address, etc.). Logline and genre on the title page as well is preferred.
  • Co-writers are allowed. List each writer's name when registering your script.
  • PDF required. All software should have a convert to PDF function, including Final Draft, Celtx, and others.
  • 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.
  • Script Pipeline Screenwriting or TV Writing winners, runners-up, and finalists since 2013 are not eligible.
  • 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).
  • All rights to the material remain with the entrant, whether they place as a finalist or not.
  • The script entered must not have been produced in its full form. Shorts based on the script are a-ok.
  • Electronic submissions only.
  • Must be at least eighteen (18) years of age at time of entry.

View complete rules and guidelines

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 2023 finalists:

*FOR INDUSTRY: request to read Script Pipeline winners and finalists here.

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Pre-register: September 15th, 2022 - $25
Special Entry: December 20th, 2022 - $45
Early: March 1st, 2023 - $55
Regular: May 1st, 2023 - $60
Late: May 15th, 2023 - $65

WHAT ARE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

Quarterfinalists: July 10th, 2023
Semifinalists: July 20th, 2023

The top 10 finalists are posted to the site on August 1st, 2023 and one Grand Prize Winner and Runner-up is announced on August 12th.

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

At no extra fee, writers may submit a new draft at any time up until the late deadline of May 31st, 2023. Yes, this is atypical. Yes, we're (probably) the only contest that does that, tyvm.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

Absolutely yes. Applicants outside the US are welcome to enter ANY Script Pipeline contest.

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.

View sample here

WILL YOU ACCEPT SHORT SCRIPTS OR PITCHES?

Only feature-length scripts are accepted. Pitches may be submitted to our bi-annual Pitch Competition. Short scripts may be submitted to Film Pipeline.

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.

CAN I SUBMIT TO OTHER CONTESTS OR COMPANIES AFTER ENTERING?

Yes. 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, regardless of whether they place.

ARE WRITING TEAMS ACCEPTED?

Two or more writers are fine. Only one writer needs to register. If the script is selected as a Quarterfinalist, all co-writer names will be added to the announcement.

Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.

Finalist Sold Spec in Seven-Figure Deal

Crosby Selander's finalist script Bring Me Back sold to Legendary Entertainment in 2020 after a bidding war. The deal landed in the seven figures, making it one of the most lucrative spec sales in years—and one of the few specs ever sold for over $1 million from an unproduced writer.

After placing in the top 10 of the Screenwriting season, Bring Me Back was circulated to several Pipeline industry partners, with Kaplan/Perrone signing Crosby a few weeks later.

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 Sold Specs to Fox, Wrote for Multiple Series

Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2011 before selling several specs to studios.

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.

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 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.

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.

TV Contest Runner-up Staffed on Netflix, BET, Fox, 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, followed by the CBS comedy The Unicorn, Netflix's Family Reunion, where he won a WGA Award, then joined the staff of the BET show Bigger and Fox's Call Me Kat.

Fox Bought 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. Everyday Insanity was Laura’s first TV show sale.

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