Deadline: May 1st, 2017 – $55/entry
*writers may register at any time and submit the script later
$15,000 | long-term industry circulation | consultations with execs
(see Awards for more details)
The 10th Annual 2017 Script Pipeline TV Writing Contest is searching for extraordinary television writers and the best unproduced pilots. As the community of writers migrating to TV has grown, the level of talent has skyrocketed. And with the market expanding every year, the demand for new writers and content is higher than ever before.
Facilitating connections between new writers and leading TV producers, managers, and agencies has proven remarkably successful, with numerous Script Pipeline writers finding elite representation and gaining crucial introductions to otherwise impossible-to-reach industry execs. So far, $6 million in screenplays and TV pilots have been sold by competition finalists and “Recommend” writers since 2003. Last year, over 10,000 screenplays, pilots, and pitches were reviewed across all competitions and services, making Script Pipeline one of the leading companies in the world receiving unproduced material.
Finalists are given exposure to Script Pipeline’s industry partners, approximately 200 qualified contacts, and the following:
- $15,000 to winner, $1,500 to runner-up
- Consultations with Script Pipeline’s Director of Development and other execs
- Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, and others searching for new TV material, tailored to each individual project
- Additional material review for potential circulation
- Long-term circulation and development for all finalists (and select semifinalists)
- Exclusive invitations to private writer/industry events hosted by Script Pipeline
Our intent: to circulate exceptional material, launch careers, and push scripts closer to production.
– NOTABLE SUCCESS STORIES –
Script Pipeline Contest Winner Sells Spec for $3 Million, Development Network Series
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 most in-demand young writers in the industry. The film has grossed over $400 million worldwide and spawned the 2016 film The Huntsman.
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.
“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, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles)
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 (2014) and was tabbed to write and executive produce the event series Esmeralda for ABC Studios.
In March 2016, Disney gave the go-ahead on developing Rose Red, based on an original script by Justin Merz and a pitch by Evan that will serve as a companion piece to the original Snow White story.
Among all these projects, he’ll be making his directorial debut with Ink and Bone for Dimension Films and wrote an initial draft for Warner Bros. and MGM’s Tomb Raider reboot coming in 2018, starring Alicia Vikander (Ex Machina).
Tripper Clancy’s Contest-Winning Script in Production, Hired to Write Studio Features
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, and Tripper’s buddy-comedy pitch Winter Break was picked up by QED International 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.
“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 (Henry the Second, Stranded)
Fox picked up Tripper’s spec Stuber in April 2016, acquiring the script for the mid-six figures. The screenplay is based on an idea developed by Tripper and his manager Jake Wagner (Good Fear Film + Management).
In addition, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is slated for production–Shawn Levy’s 21 Laps (The Spectacular Now) and 3311 Productions to produce.
Screenwriting Contest Winner “Militia” in Production
Jeffrey Dean Morgan to star in Militia, winner of the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Writer Henry Dunham found representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with industry partner Madhouse Entertainment.
Ralph Ineson (The Witch) and Jack Huston (American Hustle) join Morgan in the cast. Dunham, repped by UTA, will also direct. Cinestate and XYZ films are producing the crime/thriller.
“Without the momentum my win gave me, I don’t know where my screenplay would be. I owe Script Pipeline for everything.”
– Henry Dunham (Militia)
The script was a unanimous pick amongst Script Pipeline staff for top honors in the 2015 contest. 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, which rehashed the original plot during development. It was released in 2013.
– View more news in the Success Stories section above –
- Jeffrey Dean Morgan (The Walking Dead) to star in Militia, winner of the 2015 Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition. Writer Henry Dunham found representation less than a month after contest results were announced, signing with industry partner Madhouse Entertainment.
- In February 2017, 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 2016 Screenwriting finalist.
- Nir Paniry’s Princesses to be produced by Grey Matter Productions and Disney. 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 in March 2017. Dani was introduced to reps from Bellevue at a Script Pipeline writer/industry event months prior.
- Kevin Jones, winner of the Great TV Show Idea Competition and a three-time Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist, signed with Jake Wagner (Good Fear) and UTA in 2016. Script Pipeline helped develop his contest-winning pitch into a pilot script, which is being shopped to major producers and networks.
- Producer Michael Klein (Dobre Films) picked up the sci-fi/action feature Moon Rush by Matt O’Reilly. Script Pipeline connected O’Reilly, who has other projects in various stages of development, with Dobre at the beginning of 2017.
- 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.
- Six years after winning the 2010 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.
- Production wrapped on the feature Galileo, written by competition finalist Jen Goldson, in October 2016. At the 2015 Script Pipeline writer/industry event, Jen met director Jay Silverman and producer Bethany Cerrona, who optioned the script immediately. It took less than a year to get the film made. Santino Fontana (Crazy Ex-Girlfriend) and Dania Ramirez (Entourage, Devious Maids) star in the romcom.
- Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Madhouse Entertainment and Paradigm in March 2017.
- TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) signed with UTA less than a few weeks after placing in the 2016 contest.
- Android, written by Script Pipeline Fellowship selection Matt O’Reilly, attached Aaron Paul (Breaking Bad, The Path) in October 2016. Olga Kurylenko (Quantum of Solace) set to co-star in the sci-fi/thriller and had been attached since 2015. Niall Johnson (White Noise) directing, with Infinite Studios and Picture Films producing.
- Screenwriting finalist Andrew Martin Robinson (Cut Its Head Off) signed with Peter Katz (Story Driven) in August 2016–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 2015 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 in August 2016, the script Red Widow to studio STX Entertainment.
- Contest winner Jason Kaleko signed with Energy Entertainment. He was previously developing feature and TV material with Script Pipeline execs.
- 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, 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 Script Pipeline industry contact.
- After placing as a finalist with the horror/thriller Shed, Dennis Widmyer and Kevin Kolsch went on to direct the hit indie film Starry Eyes. They were tabbed in January 2016 to direct the sequel to Universal’s breakout horror Mama and are also attached to direct Summit Entertainment’s Exorcism Diaries.
- 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.
- 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 first 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 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 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. It was the competition’s first major success story, and the first Script Pipeline writer to sell a spec for over six-figures.
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.
Grand Prize Winner – announced late July 2017:
- Exposure to Script Pipeline’s industry network and a personalized circulation plan
- 1-on-1 consultation sessions with the Script Pipeline development team
Runner-up – announced late July 2017:
- Exposure to Script Pipeline’s industry network and a personalized circulation plan
- 1-on-1 consultation sessions with a development executive
Both the Grand Prize Winner and Runner-up receive these finalist benefits. . . .
Finalists (8) – top 10 announced July 1st, 2017:
- Immediate circulation to 200 companies
- Long-term circulation and development assistance from Script Pipeline executives–on the contest-placing script, as well as additional projects
- Invitations to exclusive writer/industry events throughout the year, including the finalist event
Semifinalists (up to top 2% of submissions) – announced late June, 2017
Quarterfinalists (up to top 4% of submissions) – announced mid-June, 2017
With over 200 companies in the Script Pipeline network, industry reviewing 2017 finalists include:
- Brooklyn Weaver (producer/manager, Energy Entertainment) – Extant
- Jake Wagner (manager, Good Fear Film + Management)
- Tripp Vinson (producer, Vinson Films) – Journey to the Center of the Earth, The Rite
- Michael McKay (development exec, Lakeshore Entertainment)
- Sean McKittrick (producer, Darko Entertainment) – Donnie Darko, Bad Words
- Michael Ohoven (producer, Infinity Media) – Capote
- Rob Deege (producer, Indomitable Entertainment) – Soul Surfer
- Liz Destro (producer) – The Butler, Cake, Life After Beth
- 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. Only one writer needs to register.
- PDF preferred, but will accept Final Draft, Celtx, 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 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.
- 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.
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 you and 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 industry execs interested in reviewing Script Pipeline Competition finalists, email us. We will only consider those 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 AND ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?
Regular Deadline: May 1st, 2017 – $55/entry
Quarterfinalists and semifinalists are selected in June 2017. The top 10 finalists are posted to the site on July 1st, and one Grand Prize Winner is announced in August 2017.
IF I MAKE UPDATES TO MY SCRIPT AFTER ENTERING, DO I HAVE TO RE-REGISTER AND PAY A NEW ENTRY FEE? WHAT IF I WANT TO SEND MY SCRIPT IN LATER?
No need to re-register: writers may submit an updated draft at any time at no additional cost, provided they paid the full entry fee at the time of registration. Writers may also register now and submit the script at a later date.
Email our contest coordinator if you would like to replace your previous submission. After May 1st, however, we will not accept new drafts.
CAN INTERNATIONAL WRITERS ENTER?
Yes. Applicants outside the US are welcome to enter this and 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 are kept separate from the actual judging process.
*Current turnaround time for contest notes is approximately 3-5 weeks after registering and requesting feedback. Keep in mind the turnaround time is slower if submitting close to or on deadline dates, as we receive a larger number of requests. It’s highly recommended to register and request feedback as early as possible if you’re looking to revise the script and turn in a new draft prior to the final deadline.
WILL YOU ACCEPT WEBSERIES SCRIPTS OR PITCHES?
Only scripts are accepted. This includes hourlong, half-hour, and web or short-form series scripts. Pitches may be submitted to our Great TV Show Idea Competition.
CAN I SUBMIT A NEW DRAFT OF MY SCRIPT AFTER ENTERING?
Yes, and there is no additional fee for resubmitting. Final draft of the script must be submitted by May 1st, 2017.
SHOULD I PUT CONTACT INFO ON THE COVER PAGE?
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 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.
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 2017, we will announce the Grand Prize winner at a private writer/industry reception. Afterward, loglines and scripts are circulated to over 200 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.
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. Only one writer needs to register. For our records, please email us with the name of the other writer/s after registering.
Email our contest coordinator with any other questions.