$25,000 | long-term industry circulation | script development
Pre-Register Deadline: December 31st, 2017
The 11th Script Pipeline TV Writing Competition is searching for extraordinary television writers and fresh, compelling pilots for exposure to production companies, agencies, and managers. Launched in 2008 as a response to the growing demand for new episodic content, the competition has established its role as a go-to outlet for emerging writers looking to get staffed on shows or develop their TV material. Together with the Screenwriting Competition, Script Pipeline cultivates relationships with the industry’s top executives, focused specifically on finding writers representation, supporting diverse voices, championing marketable, unique storytelling, and pushing more original projects into production.
The company’s distinctive long-term facilitation process helps contest alumni find elite representation and gain crucial introductions to Hollywood, with $6 million in screenplays and pilots sold by competition finalists and “Recommend” writers since 2010 alone. Last year, over 2,500 pilots and specs were entered in the TV Writing Competition, a significant spike compared to previous seasons–a testament to television’s massive expansion.
Finalists receive immediate circulation to Script Pipeline partners, in addition to the following:
- $25,000 to winner, $1,000 to runner-up
- Personal introductions to managers, producers, agents, directors, and others searching for TV writers
- Development assistance with Script Pipeline execs
- Additional script reviews for potential circulation
- Long-term circulation for all finalists (and select semifinalists), tailored to each individual project
- Exclusive invitations to private writer/industry events hosted by Script Pipeline
Submissions also accepted via:
– 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 (Rose Red, Divergent)
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 tapped 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 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 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). Announced in May 2017, Tripper will be adapting the acclaimed novel The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.
In addition, his contest-winning script Henry the Second is in pre-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 (writer/director, 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.
- 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.
“I’ve personally signed a number of writers from the Script Pipeline competitions, including Evan Daugherty and Tripper Clancy, and immediately review any material they send my way.”
– Jake Wagner, Manager (Good Fear)
- The Devil in Evelyn, winner of the 2016 First Look Project (Teleplay), was picked up for development by Mandalay Pictures in September 2017. Script Pipeline set up the writers, brothers Ben and Tyler Soper, with meetings after extensive circulation to Pipeline’s industry network.
- 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.
- Screenwriting Contest finalist Max Martini directing 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). Martini’s company, Mona Vista Productions, will be donating 30% of the film’s profits to charity.
- 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.
- 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.
- Screenwriting Contest finalist Charles Stulck signed with manager Andrew Kersey in September 2017, a mere two weeks after introductions by Script Pipeline. Charles placed in the top 10 with his horror/comedy Cult-de-Sac.
- 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.
- 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.
“Less than a week after the competition, I scored a meeting with Andrew Kersey for my finalist script. We hit it off right away, and I am now signed with a smart and talented manager. . . . I can’t thank Script Pipeline enough for their dedication and the exposure they provide writers.”
– Charles Stulck, Screenwriting Contest Finalist
- Andy Tennant (Hitch, Sweet Home Alabama) 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 2015 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. Off the Menu is set for a 2018 release and will screen at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF).
- Howard Jordan (Family Be Like), runner-up in the TV Writing Competition, signed with Madhouse Entertainment and Paradigm in March 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.
- TV Writing Competition Runner-up Laura Bensick (The Mother) signed with UTA less than a few weeks after placing in the 2016 contest.
“Script Pipeline’s care and attention for their finalists is unparalleled. Their network is vast and their reputation stellar. Thanks to Script Pipeline, I signed with a manager. I couldn’t be more grateful for all they’ve done to advance my writing career.”
– Andrew Martin Robinson, Screenwriting Contest Finalist (Cut its Head Off)
- 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 the script Red Widow to studio STX Entertainment.
- Contest winner Jason Kaleko (Snatch) 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.
“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)
- 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 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.
After quarterfinalist and semifinalist judging rounds, 10 finalists are chosen by July 1st, 2018. From those 10, we select one Grand Prize Winner and one Runner-up, announced in late July.
Grand Prize Winner (1) – July 29th, 2018
- Immediate circulation to select Script Pipeline partners
Runner-up (1) – July 29th, 2018
Finalists (8) – July 1st, 2018
Semifinalists (up to top 1% of submissions) – June 25th, 2018
Quarterfinalists (up to top 3% of submissions) – June 18th, 2018
The Grand Prize Winner, Runner-up, Finalists, and select Semifinalists receive the following:
- Development assistance with Script Pipeline 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 to industry
- Exclusive invitations to private writer/industry events hosted by Script Pipeline
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 2018 finalists include:
- 21 Laps – Stranger Things, Arrival
- Anonymous Content – The OA, 13 Reasons Why
- Sean McKittrick (producer, QC Entertainment) – Get Out, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
- Brooklyn Weaver (producer/manager, Energy Entertainment) – Extant, Reverie
- Jake Wagner (manager, Good Fear Film + Management)
- Zero Gravity Management – Ozark, The Accountant
- CAA (agent, Barry Kotler)
- Scott Free Productions – The Good Wife, Taboo
- Fuqua Films – The Resident
- Silent R Management / Jewerl Ross (manager, reps Academy Award winning director Barry Jenkins)
- Madhouse Entertainment – Prisoners, The Ark
- Mosaic Media Group – Downward Dog, Talladega Nights
- Jeremy Garelick (director/producer, American High) – The Wedding Ringer, The Break-up
- Tripp Vinson (producer, Vinson Films) – Intelligence
- LBI Entertainment – We Bought a Zoo
In addition to over 100 other managers, producers, and agencies.
- 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 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 DATES?
Pre-Register Deadline – December 31st, 2017
Early Deadline – March 1st, 2018
Regular Deadline – May 1st, 2018
*writer may register at any time and submit their script later at no additional fee as long as we receive by May 1st
WHAT ARE THE ANNOUNCEMENT DATES?
2018 quarterfinalists and semifinalists are selected in late June. The top 10 finalists are posted to the site on July 1st, and one Grand Prize Winner and Runner-up is announced in late July.
IF I MAKE UPDATES TO MY SCRIPT AFTER ENTERING, DO I HAVE TO RE-REGISTER AND PAY A NEW ENTRY FEE?
No, you can email us the latest draft any time before May 1st, the final deadline, at no extra fee.
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 4-6 weeks after submitting. You’ll have an opportunity to send an updated draft at no additional fee any time before the final May 1st 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.
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 2018, we will announce the Grand Prize winner at a private writer/industry reception. Afterward, loglines and scripts are circulated long-term to 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.
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.
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.
Contact our contest coordinator with any other questions.
- 2017 TV Writing Contest Results
- 2016 TV Writing Contest Results
- 2015 TV Writing Contest Results
- 2014 TV Writing Contest Finalists
- 2013 TV Writing Contest Finalists
- 2012 TV Writing Contest Finalists
- 2011 TV Writing Contest Finalists
- 2010 TV Writing Contest Finalists
- 2009 TV Writing Contest Finalists
- 2008 TV Writing Contest Finalists