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Program Description

Deadlines and Fees

Program Benefits

Announcement Dates

Sponsors and Associations

Lee Jessup New York Film Academy International Screenwriters' Association Script Pipeline Jen Grisanti Consultancy UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television Alumni Save the Cat! Robert McKee Story Seminar The Black List Dell Technologies ScriptHop Inktip Dave Trottier Carole Kirschner StoryO

Frequently Asked Questions

Most Popular Questions

Do you have a question not listed here?  Email us directly at bigbreak@finaldraft.com.

Since I shouldn’t include my personal information in the body of my script or on the title page, how do I remove or clear the title page?

To clear the title page:

  1. Go to Document > Title Page
  2. Select all the text with Apple (Command) + A on Mac and Control + A on Windows
  3. Press the Delete key to clear the page
  4. Go to File > Close to return to your script

After the script is saved, when it’s next opened in Final Draft, Document > Title Page will be blank. Don’t worry, the entry system captures your title and provides it to the reader.

To remove the title page from the PDF export:

Final Draft 12 / 11 / 10: Click here

For information on how to create the title page, click here.

What is the Diversity category? Is it for scripts about Diversity issues?
The Diversity category is for scripts written by underrepresented writers. The story itself does not have to be about inclusion or issues of equality. When submitting, you will be asked to select the Diversity category and the actual genre of your script so we can assign it to the appropriate reader. For example, Diversity – Horror.

If you are a writer who qualifies for this category you are welcome to submit in both Diversity and non-Diversity categories of the competition (each of those entries is charged a separate submission fee). The Diversity category exists to encourage writers who have underrepresented voices in Hollywood to enter the contest. These writers are also welcome to submit their scripts to any of the other categories they are eligible for.

Why do you have a Diversity category?
There is a great demand in the film and television industry for stories from writers from diverse backgrounds. The Diversity category allows us to easily identify these writers for industry professionals.
Who can submit in the Diversity Feature Film and Television categories?
Underrepresented writers, including:

  • American Indian
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Black
  • LatinX
  • Middle Eastern
  • Women
  • Non-Binary
  • Differently-abled
  • Any other voices that have been historically ignored by Hollywood.

How can I be sure my script will not be plagiarized?
We recommend that you register your script with the WGA and/or the U.S. Copyright Office. We do not require such registration for entry. We are aware that we instruct you not to include a cover page (so that readers cannot see your name) and that copyright or registration information would normally be on that page. We simply recommend that you take at least one of those steps to protect your intellectual property.

Whether you do or do not take those steps, your script will still be read. At no point in the entry process do we check for registration or copyright. Our contest has been running 20 years and we are very careful with our entrants’ scripts. However, those easy steps will help ensure that your work is protected.

How long should my screenplay be?
Suggested length for screenplays is approximately 80 to 120 pages and for teleplays it is approximately 25 to 70 pages. Entries over 150 pages WILL BE DISQUALIFIED.

Submissions less than 20 pages or that are clearly not a screenplay (short stories, comic books, etc.) will also be disqualified.


What are the criteria for judging, and which genres are accepted?
The eight main feature genres for entries are:
  • Action/Adventure – Films with strong action scenes, exotic locales, stories of adventure.
  • Comedy/Rom-Com – Romantic comedies, straight, dark and raunchy comedy, satires, etc.
  • Diversity – Open to writers from diverse backgrounds. 


Who can enter? Underrepresented writers, including but not limited to:

  • American Indian
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Black
  • LatinX
  • Middle Eastern
  • Women
  • Non-Binary
  • Differently-abled
  • Any other voices that have been historically ignored by Hollywood
  • Drama – More serious, realistic scripts exploring dramatic stories with deep themes.
  • Family/Animated – Scripts directed to the children/family market, movies that can be enjoyed by the whole family, animated features.
  • Period/Historical/War – Biopics, scripts based largely in the past, war epics, and scripts featuring historical characters.
    Sci-Fi/Fantasy – Space travel, disaster and post-apocalyptic stories, scripts set in alternate worlds and universes, stories with magical elements.
  • Thriller/Horror – Scripts that use suspense, fear and/or tension as main story elements, spy and crime thrillers, psychological thrillers, mysteries, ghost, zombie and monster stories.

For TV scripts, we accept entries in:
  • Half-Hour Original Pilot – 30 minute original television scripts, typically comedy but not always.
  • Hour-Long Original Pilot – 60 minute original television scripts, typically dramas but not always.
  • Diversity Original Pilot – Open to writers from diverse backgrounds. Who can enter? Underrepresented writers, including but not limited to:American Indian
  • Asian/Pacific Islander
  • Black
  • LatinX
  • Middle Eastern
  • Women
  • Non-Binary
  • Differently-abled
  • Any other voices that have been historically ignored by Hollywood

Pick the genre that best fits your script. You can also enter the same script in a different genre for additional consideration, but you will need to submit another complete entry for that script. The readers and judges look for qualities such as craft and execution, originality, dialogue, and structure.


Is coverage provided?
We do not provide coverage for screenplays entered into the contest, however coverage is included as part of the prize package for winning scripts.

Who will be reading and judging my screenplay?
Our readers are professional script analysts from diverse backgrounds who carefully evaluate each entry and sign confidentiality agreements to ensure that your work is protected. After screenplays are narrowed to finalists, a panel of notable industry professionals conducts the final judging to determine the winners. These jury members represent award-winning writers, producers, and A-list development executives.

Entering Your Script

Who can enter?
Any rule-abiding writer 18  and older whose screenplay or teleplay is not currently optioned.

What is the deadline to enter the 2022 Big Break Contest?
Deadines and the associated entry fees:

$49.00 – Early Bird Deadline April 12, 2022
$59.00 – Regular Deadline June 21, 2022
$69.00 – Extended Deadline July 12, 2022
$79.00 – Last Chance Deadline August 2, 2022

Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on their respective deadlines.

Is there an entry fee?
Yes, the Big Break Contest does charge an entry fee to cover the costs of administration and reader fees.

Entry fees:

$49.00 – Early Bird Deadline April 12, 2022
$59.00 – Regular Deadline June 21, 2022
$69.00 – Extended Deadline July 12, 2022
$79.00 – Last Chance Deadline August 2, 2022

Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on their respective deadlines.

Can I enter the same script in more than one year of the Big Break Contest?
Yes, many entrants revise their scripts several times and re-enter. Some have gone on to become finalists after doing so. Only category winners and grand prize winners may not re-enter their winning scripts.

Can I submit multiple screenplays and/or teleplays during one contest year?
Yes, you may enter as many different scripts as you wish. Each script must be submitted as a separate entry.

Can I enter the same revised script more than once in the same contest year?
Yes, but the revised script will be counted as a new entry and must be submitted separately.

Do you prefer digital or printed scripts?
We’re environmentally conscious and only accept digital scripts. Entries must be submitted in PDF format.

Do you accept teleplays or stageplays?
We accept hour-long and half-hour original television scripts in addition to feature screenplays. We do not have a category for stage plays.

Do I need to be a Final Draft user to enter the Big Break Contest?
No, you do not have to use any Final Draft products to enter the Big Break Contest. Scripts must be submitted in PDF format.

Can I submit a screenplay with a writing partner?
Yes, you and up to three other writing partners will be credited as winners and will divide the prizes amongst yourselves with the exception of travel for the grand-prize feature and grand prize TV winners. Travel and hotel for up to two writers in those categories will be provided. It is the responsibility of the winners to decide who will travel and attend the meetings and how the cash and prizes will be distributed.

Can I send my script in a language other than English?
You may enter the contest, but the script must be written in English so that our readers can read it. If a script has other languages in it as part of the plot, simply denote that the line will be spoken in another language using a parenthetical, e.g. (Speaking in Spanish).

Can I submit images, audio, or accompanying documents along with my screenplay or teleplay?
Scripts in the industry are judged on the merit of the story and the writing skills. Because our judging emulates the industry evaluation process, we cannot accept any supplemental materials along with your script.

The exceptions are:  1. Original hour-long and half-hour TV entries, which may include standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes, as part of the screenplay. 2. Images within the script (maximum file size is 20mb).

Can I submit revised drafts?
You can submit a new draft of your script as a new entry during our open entry period. Once the entry deadlines have closed, we can no longer accept new submissions, including updated drafts for finalists.


I don’t live in the United States. Can I still enter?
Yes, we accept entries from most nations and territories in the world. We’ve received submissions from Canada, the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, Germany, France, Spain and China, to name a few. And if you’re one of the grand prize winners, we’ll fly you from wherever you live to Los Angeles.

Notifications and Verification

When are the semifinalists, finalists and winners announced?
Announcements regarding who has progressed in the contest will begin early 2023. These announcements will be made in our Corporate Newsletter and on our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).

Rights, Options, and Adaptations


Do I retain the rights to my screenplays after submitting to the Big Break Contest, whether or not I win?
Yes, you retain all rights until you choose to sell or option your screenplay and/or teleplay.

I’ve written a screenplay based on a true story. May I use real people’s names in my Big Break submission?
We do accept adaptations of true stories, however, you must be sure that the people represented in the script have given you permission to use their names and stories unless those stories are in the public domain and the rights are available. In order to enter, you must be able to grant the rights to the story you wrote to a producer, should they want to option the script. Securing the rights to the source material is the responsibility of the screenwriter. If you feel that the rights are available, you may certainly enter. Regrettably, we cannot offer any advice on whether or not the rights are available. We recommend that you consult an attorney if you plan to pursue the project, as the question regarding rights – even life rights – would eventually come up and need to be addressed prior to anyone’s optioning or buying the script.

Is it possible to submit an adaptation of a novel that no longer has copyright (author deceased over 100 years ago)?
We do not accept any adaptations, only original material.

Would you accept a screenplay that is an adaptation of a published book, where the writer has contractually optioned the movie rights to the book?
No, the source material for an adaptation must be written by the screenwriter entering the contest.

Can I submit a screenplay or teleplay that was previously under contract but the contract has elapsed?
Any script that is CURRENTLY NOT under option (or contract) is eligible to enter the contest. If a pre-existing option has expired, you are able to enter.

What happens if I have an opportunity to sell or option my screenplay or teleplay after entering the contest, but before the contest is over? Will I still be able to sell or option it?
Yes, you would simply have to inform us that the script was optioned or sold and we would remove it from the judging. We highly encourage all writers to hold off on withdrawing their submission until any option deal is indeed fully executed.


Fees and Deadlines
$49.00 – Early Bird Deadline April 12, 2022
$59.00 – Regular Deadline June 21, 2022
$69.00 – Extended Deadline July 12, 2022
$79.00 – Last Chance Deadline August 2, 2022

Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by midnight (Pacific Time) on their respective deadlines.


  • The Big Break Screenwriting Contest only accepts online entry of feature film and television screenplays (original pilot scripts only – miniseries cannot be accepted).
  • No printed scripts will be accepted.
  • To enter your script electronically, you must submit your screenplay in PDF format.
  • You are not required to use Final Draft in order to enter the Contest.
  • All submissions should consist of:

– Full-length screenplays (approximately 80 to 120 pages);
– Teleplays (hour-long approximately 40 to 70 pages, half hour approximately 20 to 35 pages).

  • Any entries over 150 pages WILL BE DISQUALIFIED. Entries less than 20 pages that are clearly not a screenplay (short stories, comic books, etc.) will also be disqualified.
  • All necessary information is captured upon entry of digital submissions, so title pages should be removed or contact information must be deleted from the title page. The title of the script will be provided to the reader as part of the file name and in the judging form.
  • Do NOT include personally identifying information (name, etc.) ANYWHERE in your script as this will result in INSTANT DISQUALIFICATION. This includes:
– Writers name, WGA or representation info on the title page;
– Writers name on ANY page of the script;
– Writers name within the script’s file name.
  • Entry should consist of a screenplay or teleplay only. Do not include resumes, pitches, synopses, casting suggestions, letters, or other supporting documentation with your submission. Judges will not receive these materials.
  • The exception is original hour-long and half-hour TV entries, which may include standard supplementary materials, such as lists of recurring characters and future episodes, as part of the screenplay. This information would need to be included within the same file, at the end of the script.

Multiple Entries

  • Entrants may submit multiple entries. Each submission must include its own entry form, a separate file and separate entry fee. Entries will be considered for the genre prize in each category and for the grand prize in either feature film or television.
  • The Big Break Contest is open to any individual who is 18 years of age or older at the date of entry and has access to the Internet.
  • Employees, officers, directors, contractors and agents, and their immediate families and household members regardless of where they live, or members of the same households (whether related or not) of Cast & Crew Production Software, dba Final Draft and its respective divisions, affiliates, subsidiaries, agents, Big Break Contest sponsors, and advertising agencies (collectively, the “contest providers”), are not eligible to participate in the Contest or to win any prize.
  • Screenplays under option at the time of submission are not eligible.
  • Adaptations are not eligible unless the source material was written by the screenwriter of the entry in question. Scripts are not eligible if the source material has been sold, produced, or is currently under option to any third party.
  • Grand Prize winners in Features and TV and category winners are not eligible to re-enter their winning scripts in future Big Break Contests. They are, however, eligible to enter different scripts for consideration. Grand Prize Feature and TV winners, as well as category winners, receive a free entry in the 2023 Big Break Contest as part of their 2022 prize package.
Co-Writers and Prize Division
  • Screenplays written by up to four people may be entered into the contest. Only one entry fee is required for such entries. All writers’ names should be listed on the online entry – if they are not, your co-writer’s name will not be reflected on our website if your screenplay advances in the contest. List the writer who will be the primary contact first, and include the address, telephone, and email for that person only. All writers must authorize submission of the entry. By clicking Submit, all writers authorize the submission.
  • If a screenplay written by multiple writers is one of either of the Grand Prize winners, all cash awards will be split equally between all writers. If a screenplay written by multiple writers is any of the category finalists or Grand Prize winners, prizes will be divided at writers’ discretion but only one of each prize will be distributed.
Revisions, Refunds, and Resubmissions
  • In order to run a fair contest for all entrants, revisions or missing pages will not be accepted under any circumstances once an entry has been received.
  • Once an entry has been submitted and payment has been processed no refunds will be issued.
  • If the script is rewritten during the entry submission period, the writer(s) may resubmit a script as a new entry for consideration in the contest. A resubmitted script is treated as a new entry and requires an entry fee.

Prize Conditions

  • Prize travel is subject to capacity controls, availability, weather, seasonal influences, and certain other restrictions, all of which are subject to change. No changes will be made to travel details once any element(s) of the travel arrangements have been booked, except at Final Draft’s sole discretion. All airline tickets issued in conjunction with the prize are not eligible for upgrades, frequent flyer miles, or any other promotional benefit. Final Draft is not obligated to replace any lost or stolen tickets (including any event tickets or admission passes), travel vouchers, certificates, or similar items once they are in the winner’s possession. Travel must be roundtrip. Final Draft will determine the flight itinerary in its sole discretion. No refund or compensation will be made in the event of the cancellation or delay of any flight. Air travel is subject to the terms and conditions set forth in these Rules and those set forth by Final Draft’s air travel prize supplier, as detailed in the passenger ticket contract issued by such supplier.
  • In connection with travel related to any prize element or activity, please be advised that the policies of each prize provider, CDC guidelines, and the recommendations of health officials must be followed. In addition, guests should be aware of and comply with government guidelines regarding travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines before visiting any prize destination. Please note that any public location where people are present provides an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19, and Final Draft or any other prize provider cannot guarantee that any person will not be exposed during a visit.

Ownership and Industry Release

  • Big Break Contest entrants retain all rights to their screenplays.
  • By entering the Big Break Contest, you represent and affirm that your entry is an original creative work, and does not infringe, misappropriate or violate the copyright, trademark or other intellectual rights of any third party.
  • By entering the Big Break Contest, you acknowledge and agree that contest Judges receive numerous submissions of ideas, stories and scripts, and that your entry, and the ideas and stories embodied in it, may be similar or identical to other material already received and/or developed by one or more of the Judges. You also agree that you are not entitled to any compensation or credit for use by contest Judges of any such other material.

General Provisions

  • By agreeing to these Rules and Conditions you agree that you have read the rules of the contest and that you have the authorization to submit this screenplay to the Big Break Contest. You further agree that your screenplay is owned by you (and co-author(s)).
  • VOID WHERE PROHIBITED OR RESTRICTED BY LAW. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply.
    The entrant shall indemnify and hold harmless Cast & Crew Production Software, dba Final Draft its employees, contractors, agents and Big Break Judges from and against any and all claims, liabilities, losses, damages, and expenses (including but not limited to attorney’s fees, and costs of the court) which may be incurred by reason of any claim involving copyright, trademark, credits, and/or publicity to the Screenplay entered.

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