APPLICATION DEADLINES

Accepting Features & TV Pilots

regular

Sep 21, 2021

$55

ISAConnect $50

EXTENDED

Oct 19, 2021

$65

ISAConnect $60

LAST CHANCE

Nov 09, 2021

$75

ISAConnect $70

Now Accepting Entries On the ISA!

Grand Prizes
 
Grand prize winners receive $10,000 in cash, an iPad, career coaching, meetings with renowned Hollywood screenwriters and literary managers, and much more.

 
 
**All prizes and awards are subject to change, including changes which are a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.**
 
 

2 Grand Prize Award Winners
  • One Feature Grand Prize and one TV Grand Prize winner will be chosen from the 11 Feature Genre and TV Format award winners
  • These two Grand Prize Award Winners are flown to Hollywood for meetings and networking with executives, producers, agents and managers
 
Each Grand Prize Award winner receives
  • An Apple iPad
  • A Dell XPS 13 Laptop
  • A trip to Hollywood – roundtrip airfare to Los Angeles plus hotel accommodations
  • $10,000 cash
  • UCLAex Masterclass
  • Breakfast with screenwriter/producer Pen Densham (Riding the Alligator, Moll Flanders, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, producer of Backdraft)
  • Cocktails with Big Break Grand Prize Alumni
  • 60-90 Minute Career/Meeting Prep Session from screenwriting career coach Lee Jessup
  • Copy of Save The Cat! Story Structure Software
  • Admission to one Robert McKee Story Seminar in 2022 in London, New York or Los Angeles
  • Extended Screenplay Coverage
  • Query Letter or One-Sheet analysis and a personalized, signed copy of The Screenwriter’s Bible by Dave Trottier
  • Script consultation with a Script Pipeline’s Director of Development for potential industry circulation
  • The Final Draft Mobile™ App for iPad

Additional Prizes for TV Grand Prize Winner
  • Script Consultation from Jen Grisanti Consultancy including written/verbal notes and meeting to review the notes and your logline
  • One-hour career consultation with Carole Kirschner of Park on the Lot to create a step by step, personalized game plan for leveraging the contest win

11 Feature & TV Awards
  • 11 Feature and TV Winners, including the Grand Prize Winners, share over $100,000 in cash and prizes!
  • 8 Feature Winners in each of the following genres: Action/Adventure, Comedy/Rom-Com, Diversity, Drama, Family/Animated, Period/Historical/War, Sci-Fi/Fantasy, and Thriller/Horror
  • Three TV Winners in the following formats: Half-Hour Pilot, Hour-Long Pilot, and Diversity Pilot

Each Feature and TV Award winner receives
  • $1,000 Cash
  • Final Draft 12
  • The New York Film Academy Fellowship
  • Luncheon with Big Break judges and other industry professionals
  • Writer brand assessment from Lee Jessup
  • 60-minute webinar with screenwriting career coach Lee Jessup on how to capitalize on your Big Break win
  • Three months free hosting of your script on The Black List. Grand Prize Winners also receive two free evaluations from The Black List readers
  • InkTip Script Listing: a 4 month listing of your script on InkTip so that producers and reps can find you
  • InkTip Weekly Leads: weekly production leads for writers to pitch to
  • Free entry to any Script Pipeline Season – Feature or TV
  • StoryO from Jungle Software
  • One-year International Screenwriters Association CONNECT membership
  • Free Big Break Contest entry for 2022
  • Script coverage from Big Break readers
  • Copy of Save The Cat! Strikes Back by screenwriter Blake Snyder

TV Format Winners also receive
  • Level 1 10-Week TV Spec & Pilot Teleseminar from Jen Grisanti Consultancy
SCHOLARSHIP & JUDGES
NYFA SCHOLARSHIP
Co-sponsored by The New York Film Academy, this unique screenwriting fellowship is a merit-based scholarship designed to raise each writer to a higher level of storytelling craft and provide intensive real-world training in the business of Hollywood. Attended only by Big Break finalists, the fellowship is a unique opportunity for winners to build their recent success and further develop their careers.
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JUDGES

Michael Chung - VERVE

Rachel Kiner - PARAMOUNT PICTURES

Matt Dy - LIT ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

Sonia Gambaro - 3PAS STUDIOS

Jeff Portnoy - BELLEVUE PRODUCTIONS

Chris Coggins - HEROES AND VILLAINS ENTERTAINMENT

Leyla Kader Dahm - CITIZEN SKULL PRODUCTIONS MANAGEMENT

John Zaozirny - BELLEVUE PRODUCTIONS

Roberto Larios - VERVE

Zack Zucker - BELLEVUE PRODUCTIONS

Jonathan Hersh - HOUSEFIRE MANAGEMENT

Jason Lubin - FIRST STORY ENTERTAINMENT

FAQ

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
  • LGBTQIA
  • 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.


Judging


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
  • LGBTQIA
  • 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
  • LGBTQIA
  • 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 2021 Big Break Contest?
Deadines and the associated entry fees:

$45.00 – Early Bird Deadline – June 22, 2021
$55.00 – Regular Deadline – September 21, 2021
$65.00 – Extended Deadline – October 19, 2021
$75.00 – Last Chance Deadline – November 9, 2021

Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by 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:

$45.00 – Early Bird Deadline – June 22, 2021
$55.00 – Regular Deadline – September 21, 2021
$65.00 – Extended Deadline – October 19, 2021
$75.00 – Last Chance Deadline – November 9, 2021

Dates reflect deadlines for electronic submission of scripts. All entries must be electronically submitted by 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. We accept Final Draft (FDX) or Adobe Acrobat (PDF) files.


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. Complete information on eligibility can be found in the Big Break rules on the Big Break product page.

In fact, many scripts are submitted in PDF format. The judges have no idea which software generated the script.


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).


What do I do if I’m having problems submitting?
Our team is happy to assist you with your entry. Please note the error message you have received (screenshots are preferred) and contact us at bigbreak@finaldraft.com. Below are examples of the error messages you may receive:

Unable to upload script (please make sure your file is 1mb or less)
Rejection from processor
Credit card decline
Credit card decline due to address
Other


Eligibility


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 2022. These announcements will be made in our Corporate Newsletter and on our social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram).


How can I verify that my submission is in order and has been received?
You will be notified by email immediately after submitting your script that your entry has been received. If you have received a confirmation email, your script is in our system and no further action is necessary. If you have not received a confirmation email, please check your junk mailbox or junk filter. If the confirmation is not in either place, email us here bigbreak@finaldraft.com for a copy of your confirmation. We will contact you if there is any technical issue with the file you submitted.


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.

RULES

Fees and Deadlines - ISAConnect members save $5 
$45.00 – Early Bird Deadline June 22, 2021
$55.00 – Regular Deadline September 21, 2021
$65.00 – Extended Deadline October 19, 2021
$75.00 – Last Chance Deadline November 9, 2021


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

 
Submissions
  • 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 Final Draft (FDX) or 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.

Eligibility
  • 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 finalists 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 finalists, receive a free entry in the 2022 Big Break Contest as part of their 2021 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, Cast & Crew Production Software, dba Final Draft will pay airfare and hotel for up to two writers, and two writers will have the option to attend meetings with studio executives and agents. 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.

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.