The 2017 Spec Script Tournament

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Spec Script Tournament logo - girl holding script, pencil, wearing knight's helmetScreenplay Readers is proud to announce our 2017 Spec Script Tournament, a screenwriting competition for non-established screenwriters.

Contest Mission

To discover and provide recognition and creative support to non-established screenwriters. Our contest mechanics are very simple, and our prizes, though some are cash, are less about cash and “Hollywood access” and more about helping non-established screenwriters develop and improve their work. 

How we define “non-established”

A non-established screenwriter is any screenwriter who’s never had any of their feature film scripts or tv pilots produced or sold, and who has 5 or fewer screenwriting credits on IMDB, for any film.  If you’ve got 5 or fewer screenwriting credits on IMDB, and have never had any of your feature scripts or tv pilots produced or sold, you’re eligible. (See full rules below)

How the tournament works

Screenplay Readers is a script coverage and feedback company. Each month, we read, score, and provide feedback for all of our customers’ spec scripts.   After we reach our tournament deadline, Screenplay Readers’ panel of judges will select 3 tournament champions from the list of finalists. Customers of Screenplay Readers who order any 3-Reader Coverage, our Extensive Script Notes service, or our Live Session service, are eligible to have their scripts automatically entered, free of charge, into the tournament, or, you may enter your script without having to order any service from Screenplay Readers, in which case the entry fee is $35.

Contest Deadlines and Dates

Submissions begin December 1, 2016 and run through May 31, 2017. Winners will be announced July 1, 2017.  We don’t pretend to be one of the bigger, better-funded script contests, and we don’t promise you a lot of hot air and “industry access” like many other contests do, but what we lack in cash awards, we make up for in our commitment to our winners to help them improve and strengthen their scripts in order to have a better shot with agents, studios, managers, and even the bigger, more expensive script contests.

The Prizes

Greenhorn Script Contest First Prize

Roundtable with Indie Producers, $250.00 (US), and 3 Months of Free Script Coverage

Consisting of a 2-hour session with producer/Screenplay Readers founder B. O’Malley and 2 veteran indie producers, to help you strategize how to improve, market, fund, produce your screenplay, or get it seen. 

plus The Screenplay Readers Digital Collection (see below) and your script is added (with your permission) at the top of our producer database, The Script Hub (see below)

plus 10 free credits to create 10 fully-pro, 14-page line-item film budgets for your film from Film Budgeteers (a $970 value). Three months of free script coverage = 1 script coverage per month for 3 months.


1ST PLACE WINNER 2017:  DULLES by James Davis

Greenhorn Script Contest Second Prize

10 Pages of Extensive Script Notes

plus The Screenplay Readers Digital Collection (see below)

plus  your script is featured (with your permission) at the top of our producer database, The Script Hub (see below)

plus 5 free credits to create 5 fully-pro, 14-page line-item film budgets for your film from Film Budgeteers (a $485 value)



Greenhorn Script Contest Third Prize

3 Months of Free Script Coverage

plus The Screenplay Readers Digital Collection (see below)

plus your script is featured (with your permission) at the top of our producer database, The Script Hub (see below)

plus 2 free credits to create 2 fully-pro, 14-page line-item film budgets for your film from Film Budgeteers (a $204 value). Three months of free script coverage = 1 script coverage per month for 3 months.


The Script Hub

Free Script Hub access for all entrants

All entrants may opt to list their scripts and contact info on The Script Hub, our private, exclusive database of writers and spec scripts which is regularly searched by dozens of invite-only independent producers, agents, and filmmakers looking for great scripts, who contact YOU directly, not us. Writers have full control to modify and/or delete their listings, and may list as many scripts (or just loglines) as they like.

The Greenhorn Script Contest Digital Bundle

All winning writers receive The Screenplay Readers Digital Bundle

A must-have bundle of digital books, files, contracts, and templates for screenwriters and filmmakers, including The Indie Film Business Plan, The 2,000+ Agent and Producer Contact Database, The Hollywood Cheat Book Collection, and more (a $267 value)



Who are the judges?

The judges are the experienced team at Screenplay Readers, a team whose experience includes reading and development for companies such as CAA, Sundance, ICM, Bad Robot, Universal, Disney, and Warner Brothers.  

What are the judging criteria?

Submitted works will be judged with a strong emphasis not only on uniqueness of voice, strength of concept, and execution of story, character, dialogue, conflict, theme, and pacing, but on the script’s overall potential, either artistically or commercially, or both. Bottom line: If the judges feel your script has something about it that may intrigue a producer, agent, manager, name talent, or any particular audience, that counts more in this contest than flawless execution.

Is there an earlybird or late deadline?  Will you have quarter-finalists, semi-finalists, etc.?

Nope.  We’re not huge fans of making things complicated.

What if I pay to enter but don’t meet your criteria for being a non-established screenwriter?

Please make sure you meet our criteria before entering. Entries are non-refundable.

Can I have more than one script in the contest?


How much is the entry fee if I order coverage with my script?

If you order any 3-Reader Coverage, Extensive Script Notes service, or  Live Session service, your entry fee is $0.  If you choose to not order any of those services, you may still enter the tournament by paying the entry fee and submitting your screenplay.

If I order a coverage two times, for one particular script, will that script have two chances to win the contest?

Technically, yes, but should either of those two drafts reach our finalist stage, we will only consider the highest-scoring version of it. 

Can I enter multiple scripts? 


Can I enter a short script? 

Yes, but only if you pay the entry fee. Customers who order our Shorts and Treatments coverage service may join the tournament by paying the $35 entry fee.

Is my script automatically entered into the contest when I order any 3-Reader Coverage,  Extensive Script Notes service, or  Live Session service?


What happens after I upload my script using the contest upload form?

You’ll receive an email receipt.  If you also ordered service, you’ll then receive your finished coverage or notes as soon as we finish.

What if I want to improve my script based on the coverage I receive, and re-enter it?

You can do that, free of charge. Just re-upload your script using the same contest upload form.  Once the deadline for entries closes, we will judge either (a) the most recent draft of the script you’ve uploaded, or (b) the specific draft you tell us to use.  If you’d like to tell us which draft to enter, just drop us a line.

How many times can I improve and upload new drafts of the same script to the contest upload form?

Upload as many different improvements of the draft as you like.  Our judges will only use the most recent one, or the one you tell us to use.

Can I enter the contest if my script has already received coverage from Screenplay Readers or from any other entity?


I ordered a 3-Reader Coverage,  Extensive Script Notes service, or Live Session service prior to the contest opening date.  Can I still enter my script into the contest for free?

No.  You’ll need to either pay the entry fee (see above) or order coverage after Dec 1, 2016, and before the tournament deadline of May 31, 2017.

What does the meeting with the producers entail?

The meeting is a hands-on, 2-hour sit-down with 3 independent film producers.   The session will focus on whatever you’d like:  making the script better, finding an agent, finding a buyer for the script, how to make the script more shootable, how to raise funds for the scripts – it’s no holds barred.  If you’re not in Los Angeles, the meeting will be held via internet conference such as Skype or Google Hangouts.

If I win First Prize, does meeting with you and the producer team mean you’ll own my script, or be entitled to a percentage of its sale?

No. Neither Screenplay Readers, the tournament, nor any of its producer team will ever have any claim to your work, nor any revenue derived from it.  Period.  The meeting with our producer team is strictly advisory and for you to take advantage of however you wish.

What does the X months of free script coverage entail?

Winners of the free coverage can send in whatever script they like and receive a free comments-only coverage, up to one per month, for the term of their prize. 

What do the 10 pages of script notes entail?

Our script notes service provides in-depth, line-by-line analysis of your screenplay, from soup to nuts.  Conflict, character, dialogue, format, suggestions on improvements, etc.  Our script notes service is great for writers looking for more than what our script coverage typically provides.

Will I receive any feedback when I submit my entry?

Only if you entered by ordering any 3-Reader Coverage or our Script Notes service, in which case your entry fee is waived, and your coverage/notes/formatting is sent to you as soon as we complete it.

Contest Rules

1. To be eligible, entrant must not have had any of their feature film scripts or tv pilots produced or sold (“sold” being defined as having received $10,000 or more for the script from any entity), and must have 5 or fewer screenwriting credits on IMDB, for any film. Credits for short films or student films are not counted towards this maximum. If one or more of your screenwriting credits is shared with one other writer, those credits count toward your maximum.  If one or more of your screenwriting credits is shared with two or more other writers, those credits do not count toward your maximum. “Story by” credits or any other credit that doesn’t read “Screenplay by” or “Written by” do not count towards your maximum. WGA members are eligible, as there are many WGA members that would still be considered “non-established” by any measure, but only if they meet all the above requirements.  All winners will be thoroughly vetted before any prizes are distributed. In addition, all employees and/or affiliates of Screenplay Readers, past or present, are not eligible.

2. Entrants may submit their script directly from the contest signup page and by paying the $35 submission fee, or by ordering any of our coverage or script notes services.

3. All entries are final. We unfortunately cannot provide a refund once the script has been entered, as entered scripts get placed in front of our paid readers almost immediately.  If you would like to withdraw your script from the competition at any time after submission, just let us know via email, but all submission fees are non-refundable.

4. All entered scripts must be (a) written in English, (b) between 60 and 120 pages, (c) must adhere to standard screenplay format, including 1″ margins on all sides and 12-point Courier-based font, and (d) must include the contact information for the writer(s) on the title page, including name, phone, and email.

5. After the script has been submitted,  swapping out the draft with another draft or script, for any reason, is prohibited, except when submitting a new draft of the same script for which you’ve received a coverage with a higher score.

6. There is no limit to the number of spec scripts you can enter.

How to Enter

1) At the top of this page, click on the blue button that reads “Add To Cart,” then check out via Paypal or with a credit card. Or, you can order any 3-Reader Coverage or Script Notes, from Screenplay Readers and your entry fee will be waived.

2) After checkout, you’ll be sent an email. In that email is a link to our Script Tournament Upload Form.

3) Click on that link and you’ll be taken to our Script Tournament Upload form.

4) In the form, enter your information, attach your script, and make sure you include your order number when asked by the form.  Your order number can be found in your order email.

Accepting submissions December 1 2016 through May 31 2017.