Next Deadline:
December 31st, 2019 ($40/entry)

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

The 13th Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition is searching for extraordinary television writers and original, compelling pilots for exposure to production companies, agencies, and managers. Together with the Screenwriting Competition, Script Pipeline cultivates relationships with the industry's leading executives, focused specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production. Script Pipeline contest winners have optioned pilots and been staffed on major network shows, including Howard Jordan Jr., who wrote for Superior Donuts, Netflix's Family Reunion, and the CBS sitcom The Unicorn.

"In a matter of hours, Script Pipeline achieved what I’d been trying to do for years: they got my foot in the door. . . and changed my life in more ways than I could have imagined."
- Justin Daries James, TV Writing Contest Winner (Powerhouse)

The company’s intensive process, consisting of long-term writer development and widespread circulation of material, gives Script Pipeline writers access to some of the top industry execs worldwide. $7 million in screenplays and pilots have been sold by competition finalists and "Recommend" writers, with several scripts produced since 1999. As of summer 2019, over 10 films and series from Script Pipeline writers are in active development or production, with some due for release later this year.

Finalists receive 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 TV writers
  • 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
  • Invitations to writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

All entrants may request a no-cost call with our Creative Executive, who can answer general questions on the industry or the Script Pipeline process.

Deadline Dates
Pre-registration: December 31st, 2019 – $40
Early: March 1st, 2020 - $55
Regular: May 1st, 2020 - $60
Late: May 15th, 2020 - $70

Enter the 2020 season by filling out the form on the right-hand side of this page. Writers may register at any time. There is no additional fee to send an updated draft from now until the regular May 1st deadline.

Entries also accepted via:

    


- FEATURED SUCCESS STORIES -

Tripper Clancy Sells Stuber and Multiple Specs to Studios

Contest winner Tripper Clancy signed with a Script Pipeline partner in 2009 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, the Amazon film High Five, the comedy Hacker Camp for Hasbro, and an adaptation of The Art of Fielding for Mandalay / IMG. He also sold additional specs The Ambassadors and Winter Break.

"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 (Stuber)

His first 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).

One of the Biggest Spec Sales in History from Script Pipeline Winner

SWATHposter2016After 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.

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

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, as well as writing and producing roles with NBC's Midnight, Mass. and the series Five Ghosts, 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.

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 2018 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment. It was released in January 2019.

The project, originally titled Militia, won the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition before being picked up by Cinestate. 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.

"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)

Top critics praised Henry's directorial debut:

"Shows pulpy promise and is a step ahead of its genre peers." - The Hollywood Reporter

"A pitch perfect example of low-budget craft." - Birth. Movies. Death.

"Deafens through sensationalized silence. . . . You’re not supposed to feel safe or comfortable, precisely as Henry Dunham plans." - Slash Film

And Rolling Stone selected Standoff as one of the top 10 films to see in January 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 competition winner to get produced.

- View more in the Success Stories section -


                   

  • TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) sold the series Everyday Insanity to Fox in 2019. Sterling K. Brown and Ken Olin (This is Us) producing. Laura signed with UTA shortly after placing in the 2016 Script Pipeline season.
  • 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, moving on afterward in 2019 to Netflix's Family Reunion and CBS' The Unicorn.
  • 2019 TV Writing Competition Runner-up Jess McKillop (Signature) signed with Grandview after Script Pipeline industry circulation and introductions to the powerhouse management company.
  • Octagon Entertainment signed Screenwriting Competition winners Joshua Johnson and Jamie Napoli (Getaway). Script Pipeline execs introduced Octagon manager Jeff Diamond to the writing team, who have another feature in development.

"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)"

  • Screenwriting winner Peter Malone Elliott (Junior) signed with manager Zach Book. Peter's biopic on Frank Sinatra Jr. was hailed as one of the best true story screenplays Script Pipeline ever reviewed. He wrapped production on his first feature, Wired Shut, in 2019 and has multiple other film and TV scripts in development.
  • Searching, written by Sev Ohanian and Aneesh Chaganty (Screenwriting Competition finalists and winners of the First Look Project), premiered at Sundance and was quickly picked up by Sony for $5 million. Sev previously co-produced The Intervention and Fruitvale Station. The film is Aneesh’s feature directorial debut. Their next feature, Run, produced by Lionsgate, premieres in 2020.
  • Sara Monge signed with Josh Dove at IPG Management after Script Pipeline circulation. Her pilot SOS placed in the top 10 of the TV Writing Competition.
  • 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.
  • Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) is 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.

Being the runner-up in 2019 was a huge break for me. Within hours of Script Pipeline announcing the results, I was getting read-requests from management companies. Within a week, one of those companies reached out and asked to meet with me. Two weeks after that, I had a manager. . . . I think the only mistake a writer can make with Script Pipeline is not submitting each year. If you don’t get the result you were hoping for, then just keep working and resubmit the next year. It is 100 percent worth it.”
- Jess McKillop, TV Writing Contest Runner-up (Signature)

  • Writers Burke Scurfield and Adam Lederer signed with manager Drew Shenfield at Mosaic. 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.
  • 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).
  • After extensive development through Script Pipeline's Workshop, Eddie Mensore produced his gripping drama Mine 9, released in 2019. The film won top honors for Best Film at Cinequest and The Arizona International Film Festival.

"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)

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.

"Having no connections to the industry and needing some quality feedback, I turned to high-level contests like Script Pipeline. From the day I became a finalist, they've championed my work and sent it to a long list of industry members. Even through reputation alone, I’ve gotten requests to read my script."
- Sommer Rusinski, TV Writing Contest Finalist (In Irons)

  • Screenwriting winner Tyler Burton Smith (Henchman) wrote the reboot for Child's Play released in 2019 and has multiple film and TV projects in development.
  • First Look Project contest winner Besa on track for production—Louis Mandylor (My Big Fat Greek Wedding) directing. Written by Michael Miceli, the crime/thriller won the Adaptation category for the inaugural First Look season and was later optioned by Cecil Chambers of Triumphant Pictures.
  • Dragon Run, written by Bradley Stryker, was optioned by Pop Art Film Factory and producer Daniel Zirilli. The script placed in the top 10 of the Screenwriting Competition.
  • 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.
  • 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). Craig placed in the top 10 of the Screenwriting Competition and is a Script Pipeline "Recommend" on other features.
  • 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.
  • 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.

"While I knew Script Pipeline would help circulate my script, the amount of attention they gave my pilot, my other material, and me was mind-blowing. I wouldn't be here without them."
- Sara Monge, TV Writing Contest Finalist (SOS)

  • Charles Stulck signed with manager Andrew Kersey, after introductions by Script Pipeline. Charles placed in the top 10 with his horror/comedy Cult-de-Sac.
  • 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.
  • Precious Cargo, a finalist in the Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition written by Max Adams, was produced. The film stars 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 with 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 (Get out, Us) 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.
  • The first major success for Script Pipeline: Screenwriting Contest winner Slammin' by Aaron Metchik and Joseph Garner sold to Warner Bros. for six-figures in 2003. They were the first Script Pipeline writers 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

Following quarterfinalist and semifinalist judging rounds, 10 finalists are chosen by July 1st, 2020. From those 10, we select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up, announced in late July.

Grand Prize Winner (1) - July 27th, 2020

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

Runner-up (1) - July 27th, 2020

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

Finalists (10) - July 1st, 2020

Semifinalists (up to top 1% of submissions) - June 23rd, 2020

Quarterfinalists (up to top 3% of submissions) - June 15th, 2020

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
  • Invitations to 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 2020 finalists include:

Script Pipeline's judging 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.

Basic guidelines:

  • Cover page should include the title only. Remove any contact information (name, email address, etc.) on 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 and other file formats.
  • Script should be for a half-hour or hour-long series, original pilot or spec of a currently running show. 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

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Deadline dates are as follows. Note that you may register early for the reduced entry fee and send the script in later.

Pre-registration: December 31st, 2019 – $40
Early: March 1st, 2020 - $55
Regular: May 1st, 2020 - $60
Late: May 15th, 2020 - $70

WHAT ARE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

2020 quarterfinalists and semifinalists are selected in 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 27th.

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

No. You may submit an updated draft any time between now and May 1st, 2020 at no additional cost. Scripts may be emailed to our coordinator.

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 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

WILL YOU ACCEPT TV SERIES PITCHES?

Only scripts are accepted. This includes hourlong, half-hour, and digital or short-form series scripts. Pitches may be submitted to our Great TV Show Idea Competition.

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.

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 currently be under option and must not have been previously produced.

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.

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.

2020 TV Writing Contest

December 31st, 2019 - Pre-register Deadline

$40.00

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All entrants may schedule a no-cost 15-minute call with our Creative Executive, who can answer any general questions on the industry or the Script Pipeline process.

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