Early Deadline: November 11th

Features & TV Pilots in 8 Genres

We’re looking for ALL emerging screenwriters! Whether you’re just beginning or a seasoned writer ready to redefine your career, we can elevate you to the next level. We’re searching for the most authentic and unique scripts in eight broad genre categories. For example, your script can be straight drama or a crossover script with dramatic elements. Mix and match any of the genres and surprise us to win cash in any category! This year we want to read your best work, the script that represents your genuine talent!

The winner of each genre category will receive $2,500 cash. Of the eight scripts selected, one of you will go on to win the Grand Prize and receive an additional $10,000 for a total of $12,500. You will also be accepted onto the ISA Development Slate, where the Development Team will get your script in front of top industry pros from companies like MGM, Gidden Media, ICM, plus ISA vetted literary agents and managers.

*ALL ENTRANTS will be offered a FREE Class with ISA’s Director of Education, Max Timm (worth $49 each).

 8 Genre Winners Will Meet With Industry Mentor

This season’s mentors to be announced. Last season’s readers included:

Sheila Hanahan Taylor (Breaking In, American Pie, Final Destination):

With over 25 feature films under her belt, including Universal Studio’s recent box office darling BREAKING IN, and the $2 Billion Worldwide grossing AMERICAN PIE and FINAL DESTINATION franchises, Sheila has also had movies awarded in competition at Toronto, Seattle, Miami, Chicago, Mill Valley, Tumbleweeds, Heartland and many other worldwide fests. Upcoming projects include the sixth installment of New Line Studio’s FINAL DESTINATION franchise; horror film SISTERS OF SAMHAIN, in partnership with Cinestate/Fangoria Films, Bloody Disgusting, and Grade A Entertainment; and the high-tech thriller ENTRY LEVEL, in partnership with Culmination Films and 13 Films.

Farrell Ingle (Homestead, Saltwater Cowboy):

A writer-producer whose recent credits include sci-fi thriller HOMESTEAD with Gunpowder & Sky and SALTWATER COWBOY starring Glenn Howerton with FX and USA. He has worked in the writer’s room of the Marvel Disney+ series MS. MARVEL and on the run of production for DEADPOOL 2. Previously, he was a development executive with 87eleven and Zucker Productions.

Diane Drake (What Women Want, Only You):

Diane’s first produced original script, ONLY YOU, starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Marisa Tomei, sold for one million dollars, while her second produced script, WHAT WOMEN WANT, starring Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt, is the second highest grossing rom/com of all time (boxofficemojo.com). Both films have also been remade in China featuring major Chinese stars, and WWW was recently again remade as WHAT MEN WANT with Taraji P. Henson.

Elliot Grove (The Living and the Dead, Deadly Virtues, Amber):

Elliot is the founder of Raindance FiIm FestivaI (1993) and the British Independent FiIm Awards (1998). He has produced over 700 hundred short fiIms and five feature fiIms: the multi-award-winning THE LIVING AND THE DEAD (2006), DEADLY VIRTUES (2013), AMBER (2017), LOVE IS THICKER THAN WATER (2018) and the SWSX Grand Jury Prize winner ALICE (2019). 

Krista Sipp (Literary Manager / Producer at First Friday Entertainment)

Krista Sipp is a literary manager based out of Los Angeles. She and her partner, Devon Byers, founded First Friday Entertainment in 2017. First Friday is a management and production company representing writers, directors, and producers in the film, TV, and digital space.  Originally from Connecticut, Krista started her career at management company Circle of Confusion in 2008. After holding positions at studios and production companies across the industry, she returned to Circle of Confusion in 2015 before moving on to launch her own company. 

 8 Genre Winners Will Meet with Industry Mentor

This season’s mentors to be announced. Last season’s readers included:

Sheila Hanahan Taylor (Breaking In, American Pie, Final Destination):

Farrell Ingle (Homestead, Saltwater Cowboy):

Diane Drake (What Women Want, Only You):

Elliot Grove (The Living and the Dead, Deadly Virtues, Amber):

Krista Sipp (Literary Manager / Producer at First Friday Entertainment)


Grand Prize

(Selected from 8 Genre Award Winners)

$12,500 Cash

(Includes $2,500 from Genre Award)

Genre Awards

(1 Winner from Each Genre Category)

$2,500 Cash Each

(8 Winners Selected from 8 Genres)


Mega Early: Oct. 6th – $29
Early: Nov. 11th – $39
Regular: Jan. 13th – $49
Final: Feb. 17th – $69


Quarter-Finalists: March 17th

Semi-Finalists: April 14th

Top 10 Finalists: May 3rd

Genre Winners: May 19th

Grand Prize Winner: May 19th

Our Industry Partners Include

Shoot Your Short
Shoot Your Short

The Grand Prize Winner will be automatically accepted onto the ISA Development Slate for a full year, where our team will work to promote promote them and their scripts to top agents, managers and producers.

Over 80 Scripts From Development Slate Writers Have Been Produced or Optioned and Over 60 Writers Have Been Repped

Over 80 Scripts From Development Slate Writers Have Been Produced or Optioned and Over 60 Writers Have Been Repped


Produced by Taraji P Henson, starring Gladys Knight and Method Man, Seasons of Love garnered Peres and co-writer Sharon Brathwaite, an NAACP Nomination for Best Writing in a TV movie.


Denise’s short The Dark of Night, directed by Robin Wright and starring Leslie Bibb, premiered at Cannes. Denise has also recently won an inaugural Sloan Foundation Grant to further develop her screenplay Lucky 13.

Jason Goldberg


Jason sold Stay Out of the Attic to Top Dead Center Films, which is premiering on Shudder, and optioned his script Flatwoods to Street Worth Media.


Lucy was accepted into the HBO Access Program, and is signed with Brillstein Entertainment Partners and APA.

Order Feedback with Your Entry

Add high quality feedback and receive up to 5 pages of notes from our experienced readers.

Order Feedback with Your Entry

Add high quality feedback to your submission and receive 2-3 pages of notes from our experienced readers.

Sponsored by

  • All writers from all countries are welcome to enter the competition; however, all scripts must be submitted in English, and entry fees must be paid in U.S. dollars.
  • Emerging Screenwriters Grand Prize Winners and their screenplays are ineligible to enter into any future contest season.
  • If you receive 2nd – 6th place awards 3 times with 3 different screenplays, you will no longer be eligible to submit.
  • Scripts must be the original work of the author(s) and may not be encumbered by any third party.
  • Scripts that have been sold, produced for a profit, or are currently under option are not eligible.
  • Novels, short stories, stage plays, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, and/or spec scripts for existing TV series are not eligible. Your script must be an original screenplay or teleplay.
  • Screenplays adapted from your own self-published books, plays, or other source material are eligible if you have retained all rights to your work.
  • Adaptations from other works are permissible, provided all rights have been secured to adapt the work.
  • Adaptations of works in the public domain are permissible.
  • Collaborative work is eligible; the writers are responsible for the distribution of the competition prize(s).
  • Those that receive a free script feedback are not eligible to receive a free resubmission, which may come as an option with purchased script analyses or unless otherwise stated in a promotion.
  • You understand that a script analysis can take up to 90-days turn-around time and may not be received before the end of the contest.
  • Entries and payments are accepted online only. We’re GREEN!
  • Promotions must be used at the time of submission and will not be added to previous submissions.
  • Multiple entries are permissible and get a discount.
  • Once a script has been entered into the competition, we will only accept substitutions of new drafts or corrected pages if you contact us within 24 hours. After that, under no circumstances will we accept changes. If you wish to submit a revised draft of your script, you must enter it as a new submission and pay the appropriate entry fee.
  • Writers under the age of 18 years old must have parent or legal guardian’s permission to participate.
  • Competition applicants must accept without reservation the decisions rendered by the judges.
  • You understand that it is your sole responsibility to register Material with the U.S. Copyright Office and/or with the Writer’s Guild of America or the appropriate agency in his/her country.
  • Payments to be accepted via Paypal or through registrations on the ISA website. All major credit cards accepted.
  • By entering this competition, and in the event you are declared a finalist and/or winner, you understand and accept that Emerging Screenwriters and the ISA will be free to use your name, likeness and voice for advertising or promotional purposes without additional consideration.
  • You are under no obligation to participate therein.
  • You may submit your screenplay to any other person, competition, producer, agent, publisher, and/or organization.
  • If you submit to the Emerging Screenwriters Competition, you will retain all rights to your screenplay.
  • No agreement for compensation, other than the prizes, has been implied.
  • Prizes may be distributed in the rate of 1 package per person based on the highest placement and not per winning screenplay, depending on the request of the sponsor.
  • The cash prizes will be distributed 3 months from the date of the final announcement.
  • ISAConnect Membership prizes expire after 90 days and cannot be combined with a current free ISAConnect membership.
  • Decisions of the Judges are final and may not be disputed. The Judges will adhere to our competition guidelines; however, the competition and its administrators may not be held responsible for any errors or omissions on the part of the Judges.
  • Length requirements are as follows: 1). Full-Length Features: 70-120 pages. 2). TV Pilots: Up to 70 pages.
  • If you order a script analysis you may be charged separately $1 for each page over 120 pages, or the reader may only read the first 120 pages.
  • Please do not enclose synopses, casting suggestions, letters, resumes or photos with your submission. They will not be forwarded to the Judges. However, standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes, may be included with a TV Pilot submission. Email them to: Submissions@EmergingScreenwriters.com.
  • You understand that your logline and screenplay will be reviewed by our staff and/or our panel of Industry Judges for evaluation. You also understand that any one of the staff or judges may have been or may be exploring ideas similar to yours, and you hereby waive any claim that the Emerging Screenwriters Screenplay Competition, its staff or judges may have misappropriated any ideas or portions of your submission logline or screenplay.
  • You understand and accept without reservation that you are an independent contractor and that Competition Administrators are not responsible for withholding any taxes or payments to any government agency, at any level, be it state, local or federal.
  • By entering the Emerging Screenwriters Screenplay Competition, you agree to the rules.
  • For more inquiries, please email us at Info@EmergingScreenwriters.com

When are the competition deadlines and announcements?

Mega Early: Oct. 6th – $19
Early: Nov. 11th – $39
Regular: Jan. 13th – $49
Final: Feb. 17th – $69

Quarter-Finalists: March 17th
Semi-Finalists: April 14th
Top 10 Finalists: May 3rd
Genre Winners: May 19th
Grand Prize Winner: May 19th

Do you accept entries via snail mail?

No. In an attempt to be green, we’re not accepting hard copies via the postal service. We’re accepting online entries and online payments via Paypal only. This includes all major credit cards.

Do I have to enter my script as a PDF?

Yes. We only accept scripts in PDF format.

Should I include my title page with my screenplay?

While you are welcome to include a title page with your title, author(s) name, telephone number and email address, the full title page is not required and will not have any effect on your placement.

Can I submit a screenplay under a pen name?


Does my script have to be registered?

No, but we DO recommend registering your work with the WGA and/or the Library of Congress Copyright office.

Does the writer maintain rights to the screenplay?

Yes, always!

When will I receive my feedback?

Feedback is completed in the order in which it is received and will be emailed to you within 90 days of your submission date.

What if I make a mistake and send the wrong script?

If you make a legitimate mistake entering and recognize this within 24 hours, email us here, and we’ll send you instructions on replacing your screenplay: Info@EmergingScreenwriters.com

What genres do you accept?

We accept all genres. We understand scripts can be categorized in many genres. Please pick from the genre grouping below that best reflects your screenplay. You are welcome to enter in more than one genre, but another entry fee is required.

Family/Holiday/Young Adult

Can I enter in more than one genre?

You are welcome to enter in more than one genre, but an additional entry fee is required.

What if my script does not fall into one of the accepted genres?

We understand scripts can be categorized in many genres. We offer what we think is a wide variety of “umbrella” genres which most scripts will fall under. Please pick from the genre that best reflects your screenplay. If your script is a Western, for example, you should decide if it best fits into the Action/Adventure category, or the Drama category (or whichever genre represents your script outside of Western). If your script is an animated film, does it fit into the comedy category, or the fantasy category? Since this is a genre competition, our professional readers will read and score your script in the context of which genre you submit it as, while of course also being aware that a script can be multiple genres at once.

Do I need to submit a logline? Synopsis?

Logline: YES / Synopsis: NO

Do you accept short screenplays?

No, not at this time.

Will my screenplay be accepted if it’s not in the traditional format?

Scripts should be written in standard spec screenplay or teleplay format, set in 12-point Courier font. Common programs for this format include: Final Draft, Movie Magic Screenwriter, or Celtx. Scripts should be standard length. While your entry will still be fully considered if it is either formatted differently or longer or shorter than these specified page counts, for your own benefit we recommend that you adhere to the page length and formatting guidelines.

What’s the minimum/maximum required page length?

Features: 70 – 120 pages. TV Pilots: Up to 70 pages.

My screenplay is longer than 120 pages. Will it be disqualified?

No, but we urge you to stay within the guidelines. It’s rare that a good screenplay requires more than the standard number of pages.

If I’m over 120 pages and receiving feedback, will my full script be read?

If you order feedback, you will be charged $1 for each page over 120 pages. You will be emailed to discuss and billed separately, or you are welcome to just have your feedback done on the first 120 pages of your screenplay at the regular price.

Do you accept novels, short stories, stage plays, treatments or synopses, reality show concepts, musicals or spec scripts for existing TV series?

No, we’re sorry; we do not. We accept ORIGINAL feature length screenplays and TV pilots only.

Can I submit an adaptation of a book or play?

Absolutely, as long as you have full rights to the material and either are the author or have a written agreement with the author allowing this script to be written and marketed.

Can I submit more than one screenplay?

You can submit up to 4 screenplays per submission form. When you do, you will receive a discount for your 2nd and 3rd script entries.

Will entering early increase or decrease my chance of winning?

Entering early will neither increase nor decrease your chance of winning, but it will save you money!

How will I know if you received my script?

You will receive an email confirming your entry immediately upon submitting. If you do not, please email us here: Info@EmergingScreenwriters.com.

What if my script is optioned or sold after I enter the competition?

As long as your script was not optioned for a contract that is still in effect or sold prior to the date you submitted it to the competition, you are still eligible for an award.

I don’t live in the United States. Can I still enter the competition?

International entries are absolutely welcome, but all scripts must be in English. No other languages are accepted at this time.

Does Paypal accept currencies other than the American Dollar?

Yes! Paypal is set up to exchange most currencies into the American Dollar. Please visit www.Paypal.com if you have any questions.