2021 TV Writing Contest

Special Entry Deadline: December 31st, 2020

$40.00

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

The 14th Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition is searching for extraordinary television writers and original pilots for exposure to production companies, managers, and agencies. Together with the Screenwriting Competition, we cultivate relationships with the industry's leading executives, focused specifically on finding emerging writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, bold storytelling, and pushing original projects into production.

The company’s unique process, consisting of long-term writer development and widespread circulation of material, gives finalists access to top execs worldwide as well as the proper 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. In September 2020, Legendary picked up finalist screenplay Bring Me Back by Crosby Selander for seven figures, and over the last few years alone, Script Pipeline winners and finalists have optioned screenplays, sold shows, or were staffed on streaming and network series, including Writers Guild Award-winner Howard Jordan Jr. (Family ReunionThe Unicorn), Tripper Clancy (Die HartI Am Not Okay With This), and Laura Bensick (Everyday Insanity). Many others connected with representation, such as Screenwriting winner Helen Gaughran signing with UTA and 2020 writers signing with managers at Kaplan/Perrone, Writ Large, and Zero Gravity.

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, showrunners, and others searching for TV writers
  • Long-term script circulation to industry and continual guidance in connecting with companies
  • Development assistance from Script Pipeline's senior execs
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Invitations to private events hosted by Pipeline Media Group

Up to 75 Quarterfinalists and 30 Semifinalists will receive general feedback on their work from Script Pipeline's development execs, plus consideration for industry circulation.

DEADLINES

Special Entry: December 31st, 2020 - $40
Early: March 1st, 2021 - $50
Regular: May 1st, 2021 - $60
Late: May 15th, 2021 - $65

Entries also accepted via:

   

Following the quarterfinalist and semifinalist judging rounds, 10 finalists are chosen by July 1st, 2021. From those 10, we select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up.

Announcement dates and awards:

Grand Prize Winner (1) - $25,000: July 25th, 2021

Runner-up (1) - $2,500: July 25th, 2021

Finalists (10): July 1st, 2021

Semifinalists (up to top 30): June 25th, 2021

Quarterfinalists (up to top 75): - June 18th, 2021

Brief, general feedback will be provided for Quarterfinalists, while Semifinalists may receive more in-depth follow-up from Pipeline development execs, in addition to consideration for industry circulation and longer-term assistance.

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

  • Introductions to managers, producers, agents, showrunners, and others searching for TV writers
  • Long-term script circulation to industry and continual assistance connecting with companies
  • Script development from Pipeline's senior execs
  • Additional script reviews and consideration of other material for industry exposure
  • Invitations to private writer and industry events hosted by Pipeline

*top 10 finalists are also awarded a copy of Final Draft 11 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 characterization). Concept marketability, originality, and writing style are also taken into consideration.

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 pilots have ranged from period dramas, to comedies, to animation, true stories, sci-fi, 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.

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 highly preferred. All software should have a convert to PDF function.
  • Script should be an original pilot or spec of an existing or recent series. 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 2011 are ineligible.
  • No limit on the number of entries. Each entry is a separate fee.
  • Simultaneous submissions are allowed (i.e., you can enter other TV 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 fine.
  • 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 200 production companies, managers, agents, directors, independent producers, networks, and other executives over the past two decades, leading to more success stories annually than any other competition.

Some of the industry reviewing 2021 finalists:

WHAT ARE THE DEADLINE DATES?

Special Entry: December 31st, 2020
Early: March 1st, 2021
Regular: May 1st, 2021
Late: May 15th, 2021

Writers can submit early to take advantage of the lower entry fee. Script isn't due until May 15th, 2021.

WHAT ARE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?

Quarterfinalists: June 18th, 2021
Semifinalists: June 25th, 2021

The top 10 finalists are posted to the site on July 1st, 2021 and one Grand Prize Winner and Runner-up is announced on July 25th.

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 15th, 2021.

CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?

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

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 Idea Competition.

ARE SPECS OF EXISTING SERIES ALLOWED?

Yes. We review specs for all types of shows, regardless of their current production status, though we'd recommend entering a spec of a more current series produced in the past 5 years.

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 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 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 Sells Specs to Fox, Writing for Netflix and Quibi 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 Quibi 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

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.

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, 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.

In 2020, he began development with Sony on a reimagining of the cult hit Anaconda.

Script Pipeline Winner an 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 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was acquired by RLJ Entertainment.

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

Top critics from The Hollywood ReporterSlashFilm, and others praised Henry's directorial debut, and Rolling Stone selected Standoff as one of the top 10 films to see in 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 winner to get produced.

TV Contest Runner-up Staffed on Netflix, BET, 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 in 2018, with his first solo-written episode premiering that year, followed by the CBS comedy The Unicorn, starring Walton Goggins (Justified).

Afterward, he wrote on Netflix's Family Reunion, where he won a WGA Award for the episode "Remember Black Elvis?", then joined the staff of the BET show Bigger in 2020.

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2021 TV Writing Contest

December 31st, 2020 - Special Entry Deadline

$40.00

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