Student Screenwriting Contest

contest closed

Previous season's winner and runners-up announced. The Student Competition will re-launch 2018.

The Student Screenwriting Contest will re-launch soon.

The Student Screenwriting Competition is open to qualified entrants who are a graduate or are currently enrolled in a university, junior college, or certified film school. Students may submit a feature-length script in ANY genre or budget range. Non-film majors and graduate students are welcome to enter as well.

As a guest lecturer at a number of film schools, including USC, UCLA, and Full Sail, Script Pipeline founder Chad Clough recognized that talented students in the beginning stages of their writing careers needed a better chance at connecting with the industry, so this exclusive competition was launched to find the next up-and-coming screenwriter. For over a decade, Script Pipeline has linked writers with execs looking for new material, with over $6 million in specs sold to major studios from Pipeline alumni.

The winner and runner-up are given exposure to approximately 200 qualified contacts, as well as:

  • $1,000 to Grand Prize winner
  • Consultations with Script Pipeline's Director of Development and Senior Consultant
  • Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, and others searching for new projects.
  • An opportunity to submit other material to Script Pipeline for internal review

As one of the only screenwriting competitions specifically geared toward students, this is a rare opportunity for talented, promising writers to gain real-world development experience--the key steps toward launching a career in film.

[typography font="Arial" size="18" size_format="px" color="#52c0fb"]- NOTABLE SUCCESS STORIES -[/typography]

Universal Buys Script Pipeline Contest Winner Spec for $3 Million

After introductions by Script Pipeline to partner Jake Wagner, Evan Daugherty sold Snow White & the Huntsman to Universal for $3 million. It marked one of the biggest studio spec sales in years and subsequently made Evan one of the hottest young writers in the industry. The film has grossed over $400 million worldwide.SWATH Poster

"Immediately after the competition, Script Pipeline introduced me to a manager, and the connection helped launch my professional screenwriting career."
- Evan Daugherty (Divergent, Snow White and the Huntsman)

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.

DAUGHERTY_25293895After 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. Most recently, he was one of the writers on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The Michael Bay film starred Megan Fox and was released summer 2014. Evan is tabbed 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.

Among all these projects, he'll be making his directorial debut with Ink and Bone for Dimension Films, and as of February 2015, he will write Warner Bros. and MGM's Tomb Raider reboot.

Watch the interview with Evan and Script Pipeline CEO Chad Clough
Read Evan's Script Pipeline Interview

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, which brought a new plot to the project during development. It was released in 2013.

Tripper Clancy Sells Screenplay to Fox, Writing Comedy for Sony and Hasbro

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.

In September 2013, he sold the comedy The Ambassadors. Tripper's buddy-comedy pitch Winter Break was picked up by QED International as the last spec sale of the year, and in early 2014, he was hired to write the animated comedy Shedd for Paramount.

"I cannot underestimate the impact Script Pipeline has had on my writing career. Winning the contest directly led to my new representation, which in turn led to working with studios such as 20th Century Fox."
- Tripper Clancy (Stranded, SheddThe Ambassadors)

20thFox Sony   Paramount   QED

In addition to the action-adventure comedy Stranded for Sony Pictures, with Kevin James (Grown Ups, The King of Queens) attached to star, Tripper is writing Hacker Camp for Hasbro.

Meanwhile, as of October 2015, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is slated for production by summer 2016--Shawn Levy's 21 Laps (The Spectacular Now) and 3311 Productions to produce.

[typography font="Arial" size="15" size_format="px" color="#52c0fb"]- View more news in the Success Stories section above -[/typography]

 UTA        WB       NBC

  • 2015 Screenwriting Contest winner Henry Dunham signed with Madhouse Entertainment and UTA less than a month after Script Pipeline announced results. His winning script Militia is currently being shopped for potential production.
  • Contest winner Jason Kaleko signed with Energy Entertainment in 2015. He was previously developing feature and TV material with Script Pipeline execs.
  • Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) signed with WME and manager Chris Goble (Grandview). As of 2014, he has multiple projects in development with major producers, including Spooked, with Dan Lin producing, and Five Nights at Freddy's, which he's co-writing with director Gil Kenan (Poltergeist).
  • Precious Cargo, a finalist in the 2010 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition written by Max Adams, was released in April 2016. The film stars Bruce Willis, Mark-Paul Gosselaar, and Claire Forlani.
  • Script Pipeline "Recommend" Micah Barnett sold a one-hour drama, Ricochet, to NBC, a few years after finding management through a Pipeline industry contact.
  • Contest winner Morgan Von Ancken (Cutting Numbers) signed with UTA.
  • 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) in 2013.
  • 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." View the film here on Hulu.
  • 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 first brought the project to Sean McKittrick (Donnie DarkoBad Words) at Darko Entertainment.

Darko          APA          WME

  • 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.
  • Finalist Matt Altman signed with APA and Parallax Talent Management. In 2014, he and co-writer David Matalon sold their feature script The Feud to Vandal Entertainment, and in January 2015 he sold his spec Sam & Liz: A Killer Love Story to Relativity Media.
  • Finalists Sean Fallon and Charlotte Barrett had their first feature, Virgin Alexander, produced after their placement in the Script Pipeline contest's top 20 sparked interest in the project.
  • Geno Scala, finalist in the Screenwriting Competition, received over 14 feature film writing assignments due in large part to his contest placing. In 2015, he was hired to write and develop a horror for Templeheart Films.
  • After placing as a finalist with the horror/thriller Shed, Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch went on to direct the 2014 hit film Starry Eyes.
  • Script Pipeline industry partners Marty Berneman, Eric Balfour, and Stephanie Varella (Off the Grid Entertainment) are representing the TV project Breathers, a sci-fi/drama written by 2011 TV Writing Finalist Will Wallace and based on the comic by Justin Madson.
  • Script Pipeline Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin' sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003.

Many other writers have optioned their work, found paid writing jobs, produced their films, and garnered management or agency representation through Pipeline's extensive network of over 200 companies.

View more Script Pipeline success stories

Script Pipeline's criteria is based primarily on the overall quality of 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.

Although we're known to be strict on judging, all types of genres, styles, and voices are fair game. We're simply looking for stellar writing and the key factors of a

Industry contacts reviewing 2015 finalists include:

  • JC Spink - The HangoverA History of Violence
  • Tripp Vinson (Vinson Films) - Journey to the Center of the EarthThe Rite
  • Jake Wagner (Benderspink)
  • Michael McKay (Lakeshore Entertainment)
  • David Boxerbaum (Paradigm)
  • Brooklyn Weaver (Energy Entertainment) - Extant
  • Sean McKittrick (Darko Entertainment) - Donnie DarkoBad Words
  • Michael Ohoven (Infinity Media) - Capote
  • Irene Yeung (Vertigo Entertainment)

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.

2014 Grand Prize Winner:

  • $1,000
  • Direct circulation to Script Pipeline's industry network
  • 1-on-1 consultation sessions with the Pipeline development team

The Grand Prize Winner also receives everything listed below for finalists. . . .

Finalists (3):

  • A seat to Script Pipeline's Secret Door Pitchfest in August 2015 as a recognized contest finalist to pitch to 25-30 industry reps ($1,600)
  • Exposure to 200 companies
  • Memberships to Script Pipeline's Writers Database ($280)

Everyone who enters the 2014 Student Screenwriting Competition are eligible for the following prizes (random selections unless noted):

  • 10 memberships to Script Pipeline's Writers Database ($700)
  • 2 free entries to the Secret Door Pitchfest with personal pitch consultation [writers hand-selected amongst entrants based on merit, such as those who came close to the finalists but fell short] ($950)

Basic guidelines:

  • Contact information (name, email address, etc.) preferred, but not required, on the cover page.
  • 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 of course 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. It is, however, recommended you copyright your material.
  • Open to writers worldwide.

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. High school students may enter, but must be 18 at time of entry.
  • You have not sold or optioned any film screenplay to any entity or individual greater than $25,000.

View complete rules and guidelines here

    Energy    Benderspink    ParadigmLogo

Our network of over 200 companies include studio-level representatives from: Benderspink (We're the Millers), Energy Entertainment (Extant), Green Hat Films (The Hangover), WME, Lakeshore Entertainment (Million Dollar Baby), 3 Arts (Parks and Rec), Paradigm, Vinson Films (Journey to the Center of the Earth), CAA, and more.

View full list of companies reviewing finalists


You don't have to be a film or writing major to enter. As long as you're a currently enrolled student you're eligible.


Students enrolled in a post-graduate or MFA program, or a certificate or extension course (e.g. UCLA) are allowed to enter.


If you're selected as a winner or finalist, we'll need some sort of proof of enrollment at that point only.


We would prefer basic contact info--name, email, and phone number.


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


Although it is not required to enter our 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.


Two or more writers is fine, but at least ONE of the co-writers must be a registered student. Only one writer (the student) needs to register.


You may list a pseudonym on the cover page of your script, however your real name must be used during registration.


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

Email our contest coordinator with any other questions:

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