Suspense Competition Rules & FAQ
Early: March 22 – $29
Regular: April 26 – $39
Final: May 25 – $59
- During Covid and/or until further notice, meetings or consults will be virtual.
- All writers from all countries are welcome to submit; however, all scripts must be submitted in English, and application fees must be paid in U.S. dollars.
- Script must be the original work of the submitting writer 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.
- Original full-length feature screenplays and TV Pilots only are accepted. Anything else, including but not limited to short scripts or web series, novels, short stories, stage plays, musicals, treatments, synopses, reality show concepts, documentaries, and/or spec scripts for existing TV series are not eligible. Script submissions must be an original screenplay or teleplay.
- Screenplays adapted from the submitting writer’s own self-published books, plays, or other source materials are eligible if the writer retains all rights to the work.
- Adaptations from other works are permissible provided the writer has written permission by the owner to adapt the material.
- Adaptations of works in the public domain are permissible.
- Co-written material will be accepted. However, any and all prizes issued will be based on a single applicant.
- Multiple submissions are accepted by one writer, however if one or more screenplays of the same writer tie, only one screenplay (the decided “best”) will be selected to determine the chosen winner.
- The writer understands that script feedback can take up to 90-days turn-around time and may not be received before the end of the final application deadline.
- Emerging Screenwriters cannot guarantee feedback for your script will be received within enough time to resubmit during the same season.
- Applicants must submit materials and payment online only.
- Once a script has been submitted, substitutions of new drafts or corrections may only be accepted within 24 hours of the original application. A revised draft of a script may be accepted after 24 hours if it is entered as a new application with the appropriate fee.
- Promotional discounts or waivers offered may only be utilized at the time of submission.
- Promotional discounts or waivers offered may not apply on all submission platforms (i.e. Film Freeway)
- Writers under the age of 18 years old must have parent or legal guardian’s permission to participate.
- 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.
- The writer understands that it is his/her sole responsibility to register material to be submitted with the U.S. Copyright Office and/or with the Writer’s Guild of America or the appropriate agency in his/her country.
- Applicants awarded a placement understand and accept that the ISA will be free to use his/her name and likeness for advertising or promotional purposes without additional consideration.
- Writers retain the rights to their screenplay.
- Applicants are non-exclusive to this competition and may submit their screenplay to any other person, competition, producer, agent, publisher, and/or organization.
- No transfer, substitution or cash equivalent for prizes is allowed.
- The ISAConnect Membership prize may only be used within 90 days and may not be combined with any current free membership.
- Length requirements are as follows: 1). Full-Length Features: 70-120 pages. 2). TV Pilots: Up to 70 pages.
- If applicant orders feedback a $1 per page fee may be charged separately over 120 pages, not including the Title Page, or the reader may only read the first 120 pages.
- Standard title pages should be included: listing the script title, name of author(s), telephone number, and email address. Applicants will not be disqualified if it is not included.
- Under no circumstances should the writer include name or contact information within the body of the script.
- Emerging Screenwriters is not responsible for any applicant errors or omissions on any submitted application materials.
- Synopses, casting suggestions, letters, resumes and photos will not be considered. TV Pilot submissions may include standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes.
- You accept without reservation that the submitted logline and screenplay will be reviewed by Emerging Screenwriters staff and/or panel of Industry Judges for evaluation and that any one of these employees, or judges may have been or may be exploring ideas similar to the submitted material, and the applicant hereby waives any claim that the Emerging Screenwriters Suspense Screenplay Competition, its staff or judges may have misappropriated any ideas or portions of the submission, logline or screenplay.
- There are no refunds for any reason after 24 hours from submission.
- The writer understands and accepts without reservation that he/she is an independent contractor and that Emerging Screenwriters Administrators are not responsible for withholding any taxes or payments to any government agency, at any level, be it state, local or federal.
- By submitting to this competition, your email address will be added to the contest database as well as the International Screenwriters’ Association newsletter for weekly updates, contest promotions and other notifications. You may unsubscribe at any time.
- It is our full intention to fulfill all prizes as posted. However, due to an unlikely event, act of God or other, we reserve the right to update or edit prizes.
- BY ENTERING THE CONTEST YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ AND AGREE TO THESE RULES.
What are the announcement dates?
Quarter-Finalists: June 14
Semi-Finalists: June 28
Finalists – Top 10: July 19
Grand Prize: August 9
Do you accept submissions via snail mail?
No. In an effort to be green, we’re not accepting hard copies via the postal service. We’re accepting online submissions and online payments via the ISA website. This includes all major credit cards.
Do I have to submit my script as a PDF?
Yes, and if you aren’t sure how to create a PDF, our staff is happy to help.
Should I include my title page with my screenplay?
Yes, you should include your title, your name, telephone number and email address.
Can I submit a screenplay under a pen name?
Can I submit with a co-writer?
Yes. Prizes will be issued per project, not based on the number of writers.
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?
Do I receive feedback with my submission?
You can order feedback for an additional fee. Choose your FEE TYPE to make your feedback selection at the bottom of the submission form.
– Full Feedback (Up to 3 Pages of Notes): $59
– Development Evaluation: $99
When will I receive my feedback?
Your feedback will be emailed to you within 90 days of submitting your script, usually much sooner. Feedback is separate of contest judging.
Can I re-submit a rewrite or corrected version of my script if I haven’t ordered feedback?
No, you must submit your screenplay as a new submission for the price of the current deadline fee.
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: GenreContest@EmergingScreenwriters.com
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. Scripts should be standard length.
What’s the minimum/maximum permitted page length?
Features: 70 – 120 pages. TV Pilots: 10 – 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?
A $1 per page fee may be charged separately over 120 pages (not including the Title Page) on feedback orders, or the reader may only read the first 120 pages.
What genres do you accept, and can I submit with more than one?
We accept all genres of scripts that have suspense elements.
Do you accept novels, short stories, stage plays, musicals, treatments or synopses, reality show concepts, documentaries or spec scripts for existing TV series?
No, we’re sorry; we do not. We accept ORIGINAL narrative feature length screenplays and narrative sitcom or hour-long 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 sure can, and there’s a discount if you enter them all at once. Check the fees at time of entry.
Will entering early increase or decrease my chance of being a finalist?
Entering early will neither increase nor decrease your chance of being chosen, but it will save you money!
How will I know if you received my script?
You will receive an email confirming your submission immediately upon completing the entry form and payment. If you do not, please email us here: GenreContest@EmergingScreenwriters.com
What if my script is optioned or sold after I submit?
As long as your script was not optioned or sold prior to the date you submitted, you are still eligible.
I don’t live in the United States. Can I still enter?
Yes, and we look forward to reading your work. Please just make sure it’s in English. No other languages are accepted at this time.
Any other questions feel free to email us here: GenreContest@EmergingScreenwriters.com